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My Zine 398, and what people are saying about it.

Reviews for 398#10.

Review from Zine World #28

Hell yeah, a collection of original short-short stories by Elizabeth J. M. W. that are great. While not as ethereal and crafted as Patricia McKillip's novels, these stories brought fantasy to mind
(yes, this comparison shows how much I liked these stories). "The Boy
Who Owned the Forest" is simple and neat, while "The Winter of the
River" is bittersweet. Nearly all the stories are awesome. Well worth
your time. Order now. (mishap)

Review from Sample Press (www.samplepress.org)

This zine is a compilation of favored short stories from the previous nine issues of 398, with two new stories to boot! The stories are well-written fairy tales, some with a lesson, some seemingly
without (although it may have been there and I just missed it).
Elizabeth's writing is colorful and descriptive and I enjoy her style
quite a bit.

Here's an excerpt from the story titled Summer: "She would come knock at my door early in the day, while the morning doves were still singing. Her anklet had tiny silver charms and bells that sounded like
an ice cream bicycle in a dream - by that sweet music I could always
anticipate her knock."

See what I mean? Nice, descriptive authoring, especially for a zinester. A typical zinester tends to favor the short and sweet method of writing fiction. It's nice to see someone giving their words a lot
of flair. This is a solid effort that reads like Grimm's Fairy Tales
for the underground set. Snag a copy if you like fiction zines. Good
stuff. (Jennifer Manriquez)

Review from Broken Pencil, Issue 40: (www.brokenpencil.com)

If you take a quarter-sized zine, pack it to the brim with short stories and toss in some cartoons, you have the main ingredients that make up 398. Serving up a whole whack of fairy tales, 398 is a litzine
that has created a Wonderland all its own with stories of crazy
cornfield mazes, swimming pianos and magic. One thing to truly
apprecite about this zine is its accessibility: its reading level will
provide a comfortable challenge for children but will also engage
older readers. And while the stories are fantastical, they have
substance and avoid sugarcoating reality. Take "The Piano that Swam"
for example:

"My mother died.

My mother use to play the piano.

My mother died, but father kept the piano.

I would sometimes catch father staring at the piano after her death. It was as if he was willing it to play like mother used to do every night after dinner while father did the washing up. He'd say, 'It's a
pleasure to do the dirty work when accompanied by such beautiful
music.'"

Intrigued? I was. Of course, there are also stories that follow the traditional formula of storytelling, like this one: "There once was a boy who owned a forest, one could even say he was the King of the
forest, although no official title was actually given."

So of the eleven stories in issue 10 (two new stories and nine from previous issues), there is quite a diversity of topics to choose from. Elizabeth J. M. W., the zine's wordsmith, approaches her stories with
such elegant simplicity that retunrning to the mythical land of my
youth was a welcomed expedition. (Amy Greenwood)

Review from Narcolepsy Press Reviews, Issue 4

First of all I love mini zines like this. It'll fit perfectly in a Levi's back pocket. This zine is one of those that is like a little book. Excellently written by Elizabeth J. M. W. it's got 11 short
stories. There's a fantasy element to these stories. A boy and a girl
fall through the ice into an underwater kingdom in "The Winter of the
River". A girl and her spider discover the magic of zines in "Cornelia
and Timothy". One called "The Tree" was real short and written in a
unique way to depict one day that a tree decided to go for a walk. One
of my favorites was "The Paper Boy" about a girl whose boyfriend is
paper. Like -- a piece of paper. (Randy Robbins)

Review from Razorcake

<span><span>A collection of short stories from earlier issues of 398 make up this fantastic piece of literature, which I can say is hands-down the best fiction zine that I’ve ever read. Don’t be deceived
by the plain layout; each page has all the beauty and creativity of any
of the best-known fairy tales. Your inner child would be thrilled by
stories with titles like “The Boy Who Owned the Forest” and “The
Abandoned Castle.” I’d absolutely love to see these stories illustrated,
but they are so wonderfully told that the words on the pages will come
alive in your imagination anyway. (Lauren
Trout)</span></span>

a review for 398#8

398 is the most imaginative zine I've read this past
year. Elizabeth's 398 is a zine of fairy tales. In her newest issue we
are awoken on page one with a smack against our bedroom window. It's
raining and, at first, we think nothing of it:

<span>"SMACK. Pitter patter drip drop drip ...SMACK.

Cornelia opened her wide brown eyes and looked straight ahead where she
supposed the ceiling would be if she could see through the thick
darkness that coated her bedroom. Fat raindrops splattered against her
window: pitter patter pitter patter SMACK. Cornelia did not think that
last sound was a raindrop. Drip-drop drip-drop. The rain dripped over
the edge of the roof, over the eavestrough. Pitter patter drip drop
SMACK."</span>

Crawling out of bed to investigate, we eventually let the source of this noise in through the window. Startling and flying haphazardly around the room, we finally calm it, and it in turn, inspires us.

We also get a gallery of spider sketches by Elizabeth and friends, as Elizabeth states: “This issue has a bit of a spider theme, which seems relevant since it is the eighth issue and spiders have eight legs
and all.” And we conclude with a short about a zine workshop she lead
at a local library.

Everything about 398 is uplifting. The zine is half-sized (the long tall way) and comes with a stamped spider of various colors on the cover. You can pick up a copy here and feel inspired again! (Alan
Lastufka)

and some reviews for 398#6

From Zine World

"Split zine done by the same author. The 398 side has refreshing and absorbing short stories. Each is a well-crafted, exquisite gem. The Zombies side contains an email interview with author Tamora Pierce and a
book review. I loved the aesthetics of this zine. The selection and
placement of black and white photos, the textures and colors Elizabeth
chose, along with the little surprise graphic elements really enhance
this zine. Well worth one dollar." (Anu)

From Broken Pencil

"I started out with 398 and it left me covered with goose bumps. "The Piano That Swam" begins with "My mother died. My mother used to play the piano. My mother died, but father kept the piano." The
narrative voice leads us through family memories prior to her mother's
death, illustrating her mother's piano tunes as the crux of happy
times. Now that it is just her father and herself, happy times in the
house cease to exist. This is partially due to her father's
depression, despite her best efforts to recreate a sense of happiness.
398 seems almost like a journal entry, until the night she witnesses
the piano sliding out of the house and into the river. With this
metaphorical shift, the present reality unfolds itself hauntingly.
Next we have a fairytale-type story, where a dark side and a moral can
be found. Again, the tale features an estranged father/daughter duo.
These stories left me chilled. Flip the zine over for Zombies in the
Snow and it's a whole new feel. Included is an interview with Tamora
Pierce, author of The Protector of the Small Quartet, and a book
review for Francesca Lia Block's Wasteland. This is an interesting and
nicely written little combo."(heze d)



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Comment by kit feral on November 25, 2009 at 3:57pm
after reading these reviews, I definitely want to get a hold of your zines!

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