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Murky Depths #10
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: Lars Rasmussen
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths  ISBN/ITEM#: 1752-5586
Date: 21 November 2009

Links: Murky Depths / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Murky Depths #10 The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction features stories by Mike Carey, Ian R Faulkner, Richard Rippon, Alex Curnow, Jeff Cook, Mark Ball, Richard Calder, Luke Cooper, Toby Anderton, Lavie Tidhar, and James Johnson.

Murky Depths, The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction, reaches a landmark issue with #10, providing more great entertainment.

The fiction in the issue begins with "Now? and Then?" by Mike Carey. Paul Gantwick's life is at its lowest ebb. His mother has died. His girl-friend has left him. He's lost his job. Defiantly apathetic, he refuses a job offer as marketing director for a pharmaceutical firm. The managing director of the firm comes by his home and offers him a taste of a revolutionary drink called Then! which can bring the past back. While this was the longest prose story in the issue, it kept my interest throughout and was a very good read.

Next, came the graphic story "Dead Girls - Episode 2" (story by Richard Calder and great artwork by Leonardo M Giron). Continuing the story from the past issue in which young girls, when they reach adolescence, might become "half-human, half-robotic vampires", Iggy cannot resist the "dead girl", Primavera, and her desire to escape quarantined London. This is developing into a very interesting series and I can't wait for the next part.

In Ian R Faulkner's "The Other Side of Life", Hawkins is a cop, embittered by the horrible death of his daughter, and is obsessed with rooting out the people who use something called the Lazarus virus to revivify dead people so they can be used for sick purposes. This had happened to his daughter. This was a well-written tale of dealing out justice

The second graphic story was "The Last Precinct Part 1 Holly Demonica" by Luke Cooper, the latest in his series of stories about a human cop and a rogue angel. Detective Goulding seeks out his old partner, Eddie "Prozac", who's lost his girl, a succubus named Holly Demonica. More of the ongoing story is revealed in this kick-ass first part of a two-part story.

"Soul Music" by Richard Rippon features a damned soul who was a record company scout, looking for new musical talent for Lucifer to enjoy. This is tricky because God gets all the best. He inhabits the body of a living man and proceeds to corrupt a fresh new talent. This was quite an imaginative tale.

The graphic tale "Claimant" (art and story by Tony Anderton) is a simple one-pager narrated by someone older than 55 and unemployed. This one is just a little different for a great last panel.

Alex Kurnow's "Radio Man, Frequency Woman" is set in a world in which people communicate entirely through their Encoded Personality Unique Transmitter (called EPUT and pronounced "epput") which runs people's lives and controls who they can interact with. Our narrator tries to go against this, with disastrous results in another well-written three-pager.

Talented writer, Lavie Tidhar, teams up with artist Neil Roberts for a wry little story about a boy who finds a finger in the street. In a bizarre world not quite like ours, he has some trouble figuring out what to do with it. This one was a real hoot.

You'd expect Jeff Cook's "Christmas Miracle" to be not the typical kind. You'd be right! Peter is at the bedside of his father who is in a coma and not expected to wake. It's Christmas Eve and Peter's mother has gone to get herself a cup of coffee. Peter uses to opportunity to say something to his comatose father. Not exactly Dickens but a good read in the opposite direction.

"The Naked Soul of Man", the last graphic story (by James Johnson with art by Lars Rasmussen) combines Antarctic exploration, Norse myth, and a World War I legend in a very effective and subtle way. You have to be familiar with Arthur Machen to get all of this but, if you are, it's very rewarding.

The fiction ends with "The Long Haul" by Mark Ball. This was a science fiction tale of a man transporting goods over a long distance and what he does to recover his life. This was a good ending to the issue.

Let's hope that Murky Depths continues with many "tens" of issues. For that to happen, you must subscribe.

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