zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Review: Dark Animus Issue #10/11


via HorrorScope by BT on 6/24/08
Dark Animus Issue #10/11

I've read a number of these anthologies/periodicals and there has always been a story that lowers the overall level of the publication. This is simply not the case here.

Corpus by Richard Harland
Should we embrace technology simply because it's highly advanced from ours and because those offering it seem to be a totally peaceful and higher evolved species?
Corpus announces the warnings of such folly, loud and clear.
The underlying moral of making the most of what you have, live in the moment and be careful what you wish for is nicely done in this easy to read depiction of a society too ready to accept change at any cost for the promise of a better future.

No Hands by MP Johnson
What if...all the puppets in the world, from unadorned sock puppets to intricate ventriloquist's dummies, came to life, and decided that the human race didn't respect them enough? What if...they decided that the only way to get that respect was through terror? What if...this tale was told through the eyes of a contract gardener whose hidden hero came to see the light of day in a wonderful exposé of violence through the application of lawn mower blades and weed whacker cord. Then I guess you'd have the amusing read that is "No Hands" and be thankful for it.

Just A Game by George Ivanoff
When today's computer gamers and an Internet savvy public, cross over to immersing themselves into virtual gaming, will the world be a safer place? When twisted individuals want to begin their antisocial behaviour in the comfort of their living room before becoming bored and wanting to try it out in the real world, will society be able to cope? Only if good minded program writers have their way.

Necromancing the Bones by Paul Haines
A very amusing and ribald tale poking serious fun at D&D gamers and the stories they create.
It seems the adventurers in this world live interconnected lives, with "the good" guys very much in league with the perceived "bad" guys, in an eternal cycle of swindling the common folk out of their money.
Filled with acts of bestiality, brotherly love, and profanity, it is a very funny romp through the product of some very twisted gamers' imaginations.

Vara by Charles Spiteri
Is the AHWA 2006 short story contest winner. It is a beautifully told story with an extreme sting in the tail. The prose is filled with flowing descriptions that evoke wonderful emotions. Jean takes his boyfriend back to his home town to witness the Good Friday festival where there is a procession involving statues, the Vara, from the local church. But the age darkened wood effigies of Christ and his tormentors aren't what they appear to be.

Mr Swift and the Dead by George Higham
Mr Swift's last client, the witch, died before he could deliver her last requested shipment therefore he's short the coin to move from the plague infested city. When he finds himself boarded up within her house though, things quickly become dire. Now he knows what she was using all those dead baby's for that he'd supplied her with--and it wasn't for the Sunday stew.

Cold Desires by Brian M. Sammons
A tale that makes the reader hold the book at arm's length in the beginning. A tale most "normal" people would find repulsive, slowly reels you in. With wonderful use of the language, I found I had unwittingly become engrossed in the description of an act I found repugnant in the extreme. And then I was hit with the twist which made it all perfectly acceptable, kind of, in a seriously twisted and utterly brilliant way.

A Million Shades of Nightmare by Cat Sparks
Written and illustrated by Cat Sparks, this is a very well told, strangely sedate tale of one girl's fears. Cat seems to reach intimately into the heart of the girl and presents us with a fear with which we can easily connect. In a peaceful, dare I say idyllic, setting, Cat then hits us with a pinch of darkness that is never truly revealed, leaving me wondering if I'll ever be bathing in the seaside pools of my youth again.

The Corner and Back by Andrew Wood
Our hero, who has to run the gauntlet to find provisions to keep himself and his beloved alive, does something I could see myself doing in a similar situation, if I was so unfortunate to find myself as a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world.
This piece has been so well written, I found it easy to drop into the first person point of view and even easier to admit to myself that I would be capable of doing exactly what he does. Could you admit to doing what Andrew's protagonist does?

Scarecrows and Devils by Kevin Anderson
A look from the other side, without actually telling us what side we're on to begin with.
A well paced story similar to a roller coaster with plenty of ups and downs. When purchasing your ticket, the vendor obviously forgot to warn you about the surprises you're in for, and when you come upon them, you're totally unprepared. And have a greater enjoyment because of it.

Der Wulf by Tim Curran
Dark, visceral and extremely powerful, it becomes a simple task for the reader to identify with a group of German soldiers and the horrors they endure during war. Then when it turns supernatural, it is only a small step to find yourself barracking for the historical bad guys to find an escape.

Dig This by Paul Kane
A thinking man's zombie story. A story of three teenage boys and a simple implanted thought that they are compelled to follow through to its fateful conclusion. An easy read that lulls the participant into turning the pages till the final scenes, where it really doesn't matter who's idea it was to begin with.

The Shape by Tim Curran
Tim shows his versatility with his second included story in this collection, by moving to a post-apocalyptic setting where something decidedly malignant has been born by man's self destructive tendencies. The old saying of "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" takes on a whole new meaning when the man made denizens of hell have been unleashed to walk the earth.


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