Encounters Magazine – Volume 1 Number 1 – Fall 2009
Edited by Guy Kenyon
Cover Artist: Chris Osman
Review by Sam Tomaino
Black Matrix Publishing
Date: 25 January 2010
Links: Black Matrix Publishing / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
There's a new publisher of short genre fiction and they are quite ambitious. They are called Black Matrix Publishing and they plan to publish four quarterly magazines a year with an average of over 70,000 words per magazine – all fiction. Their first is Encounters Magazine, described as "an eclectic look at scifi, fantasy, horror, contemporary fantasy and the paranormal."
The fiction in this issue begins with "Silver Shears" by Lori Strongin. Arthur the Pendragon is reborn in the early 20th century and his life is observed by the Fates, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos in this interesting, but all to brief, look at how things might have turned out.
"Our Subterranean Complex" by Raleigh Dugalis is science fiction. Our unnamed narrator is a recent college graduate who has been substitute teaching. He accepts a temporary but well-paying job with the Pentagon. Deep in the lower levels of the complex, he winds up teaching Shakespeare to a tentacled creature named Magnus in this haunting tale.
"A Game for Distinguished Gentlemen" by Louise Morgan takes us to the supernatural realm with four men, playing a game of cards. The stakes are high in this unsettling piece.
"Animal Appetites" by Erin O'Riordan is a clever retelling of something familiar involving a girl with a red hood, her grandmother, and a wolf.
In "The Crossly Dale Society of Lady Shamans" by Deborah Walker, a woman attends a meeting of lady shamans, improbably meeting in a church hall. Things don't work out so well in this interesting story.
"The Hevellyn Ram" by JJ Beazley is the story of two friends Gavin Bowyer and Colin Crawford. They are on an extended field trip with their school and Gavin decides to play a practical joke on his friend by placing a ram's skull that he has found on Colin's pillow. He even makes up a story to go with it but things get out of hand in this nice little chiller.
Next up is "A Hunter Hunted" by Alva J. Roberts. Sara is a woman on the prowl at a bar in Colorado when she gets a redneck named Billy to come outside with her. Billy does not get what he is expecting and things don't work out well for Sara either in this horrifying, nasty story.
In "The XY Conundrum" by James A. Stewart, Billy's father is a scientist working on developing a type of super-soldier. He needs something he doesn't have but Billy helps out in this piece with a real stinger ending.
"Stairway to Heaven" by Lou Antonelli and Edward Morris is narrated by a man named Tom DiSalvo, who edits a local newspaper in a small town in East Texas. The story takes place in the current day and it's unusual that one night he encounters a young girl in hippie garb on the porch of a house that had been owned by a woman who has been dead for fifteen years. The girl says she's the woman's daughter, but her surviving children are all in their fifties. The story unfolds in an interesting way and has a particularly nice ending.
In "The Kramers", Blake Kimzey shows us you can find true horror without any supernatural element at all. Tom Kramer works for the local Fish and Wildlife department, as did his father who committed suicide when he was a kid. His mother has psychological problems and this all leads to an end that will make you squirm.
"Childhood's Bitter End" by P. Matthew Kimmel introduces us to three hunters who shoot what they think is a goose but it's something else. This was another effective horror story.
We get more horror in "The Wintrose Chronicles" by Pete Mealing. Brother Wintrose has founded a religious order with two other men, but the place they choose for an abbey has some particular problems. They deal with a horrible monster, but things don't end there in a well done little tale of terror.
Last of all, there's "In the Garden of Time" by Martin Turton. This is another 2012 apocalypse piece and it gives it to us from the viewpoint of people we come to care about.
This was a slickly produced magazine but there is one thing I'd like them to add. They tell us nothing about the authors. Even if they do not have a lot of previous credits (and, at least, some of them have), it's always nice to know something about them. I’d like to see Black Matrix Publishing succeed and this magazine was a good start. Check them out at their website (www.blackmatrixpub.com) if you want to support new writers and their publisher.