“Titanium Mike Saves the Day,” by David D. Levine explores how myths are created, and how they evolve over the years. Starting in the far future, we’re granted a story of Titanium Mike, a space-age Paul Bunyan, born from the union of Gravity and Vacuum, whose adventures and exploits are as impossible as they are legendary. Three more installments, each one reaching further back in time than the last, likewise tell tall tales of the mythical man, and although he may be slightly diminished in each earlier incarnation, he still proves to be both inspirational and influential in man’s journey to the stars. The last story, well… that tells the truth of the Titanium Mike story, putting the perfect cap to things. This is as perfect an examination of how reality becomes legend and legend becomes myth as any I’ve seen, and it’s a sure bet that when we really do go out into space, we’ll need someone like Titanium Mike to keep us company.
In Donald Mead’s “A Thing Forbidden,” we’re introduced to a young woman suffering from some profoundly disturbing conflicts following her traumatic experiences as a member of the ill-fated Donner Party. A somewhat struggling Methodist, she has sworn to convert to Catholicism, despite the reservations of others and her own internal struggles. But can she reconcile the Eucharist — the symbolic eating of Christ’s blood and flesh — with her vow to never again taste human flesh? And what secret is her mother hiding from her? It’ll all come to a head when an enemy tries to make Virginia choose a bloody path. This is a thought-provoking, strange look at the nature of faith and symbolism, intent and principles, and what it means sometimes to survive against all odds. Definitely one of those stories that sticks with you afterwards.
Originally Posted on SF Site, 2007