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Encounters Magazine - Volume 1 Number 3 - June/July 2010
Edited by Guy Kenyon
Cover Artist: Char Reed for
Review by Sam Tomaino
Black Matrix  
Date: 25 August 2010

Links: Encounters Magazine / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The third issue of Encounters Magazine is here with new stories by Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano, Jacob Friedman, Andre Cruz, Murphy Edwards, Harper Hall, Paul Celmer and Pete Wood, Timothy Miller, Erich Bergemeier, William Wood, JJ Beazley, Michael G. Cornelius, Benedict J. Jones, Martin Turton, Jack MacKenzie, Mel Murphy, Clare M. Clerkin-Russell, David Castlewitz, Jack D. Gibson, Alex Sivier, Lawrence Buentello, Mark DiAntonio and Michael W. Garza. .

Here is Encounters Magazine, #3 which comes along with the news that Black Matrix Publishing has discontinued Night Chills, Outer Reaches and Realms and collapsed their content into Encounters Magazine, which is now bimonthly. They also now indicate which type of story each one is in the Table of Contents. I have reproduced that in my listing.

The fiction in this issue begins with "Just the Good Ol' Boys" by Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano. Michael approaches a cabin to meet with what turns out to be four individuals. As the story develops we learn who they are for a different take on an old subject.

Allied soldiers, crouching in a trench, are surprised in "No Man's Land" by Jacob Friedman, when a body comes out of nowhere to land on one of them. Another of them is detailed to take the body to the place where bodies are stored. When he doesn't come back, the horror begins in this atmospheric tale.

Andre Cruz's "Death with a Conscience" is told from the point of view from an intelligent soldier's gun, one that also has emotions. Why this is so becomes apparent in this good little debut story.

In "Coal Black Talons" by Murphy Edwards, our narrator, much the worse for drink, sees creatures that kill a man, consume him and melt back into a wall. For his second encounter, he is armed. He stops some of them, but loses an eye in the process. His battles with these creatures continues in this chilling story.

It's 1953, but when a seriously pea-soupy fog rolls into to London, people see "A New England" in the story by Harper Hall. It's not a pleasant vision and it causes many to die from heart attacks. This was another nicely-told tale.

"Fire And Ice" by Paul Celmer and Pete Wood is the story of Gonzalez, Tanner and Parker trying to survive in the cold night of Titan. Parker had been sent out on a mission to get the generators from their ship. She returns empty-handed and there is something very wrong with the situation in this story with a nice sting at the end.

In "Blood of the Stones" by Timothy Miller, Alyssa's Uncle Mike storms into her house with blood stains on his boots. He wants her late father's gun and is acting strangely. She finds out the danger that is coming from the mine her father had died to seal up. This story is pretty good but a bit familiar in its plot.

"The Last Words of Daniel Shupak" in the story by Erich Bergemeier are what he wants to say to the wife he no longer loves. A low-velocity shock wave is approaching and he, his wife and the people with them are all doomed to die. The only problem is that the glimpse we get of Daniel's thoughts will not make us mourn him.

The "Voidbreaker" in the story by William Wood is a ship that is guided through the void by gifted people called “intuitives” or “twits". Michael Bennett is one of them and is paired with another intuitive named Carmody. On this trip, Michael sees a ship that Carmody does not. What is going on? Michael finds out in another good read.

Gregory and Mark take a walk through "Whitesytch Wood" by JJ Beazley on Halloween Night and encounter a strange force making it difficult for them to leave. How they do makes for a nicely dark tale.

Rocky's mother is much concerned with the "Décor" of the neighborhood in the story by Michael G. Cornelius. Her problem is old Mrs. Hildebrandt who has moved in next door. She has had a stroke and does not get into the swing of things. Rocky knows better. There is something really creepy about her. As Halloween approaches, he finds out what it is in this well-told story.

"Live Bait (An Angler's Lament)" by Benedict J. Jones is a brief, but effective, tale about a man who goes up to a new lake to fish but finds something very unusual.

In "White Moon" by Martin Turton, Nathan Ragnar returns to Relar's Town, a place he had grown up in and escaped from. Someone is killing native geradin children and he, now part of a group called the usirads has been sent to solve the mystery. He also confronts his past is this nicely done story.

Archibald Phillip Sterling, a professor of natural history in Victorian England is looking forward to his meeting with the Queen on the next day in "The Belly of the Beast" by Jack MacKenzie. Before that, a man named Bilgin asks him to investigate the appearance of a fire-breathing dragon in the middle of London. Sterling is skeptical but allows Bilgin to lead him to the place where there is indeed a dragon. It has eaten some people, including Bilgin's wife, and seems to be suffering some form of gastronomic distress. Sterling solves the problem but makes another mistake in this amusing piece.

In "Gator Country" by Mel Murphy, our narrator finds himself in the middle of nowhere with a herd of cattle (don't ask how) when he notices something is spooking the cattle, his mule and various wild animals. He finally sees what they are fleeing from in this wild, exciting tale.

The "True Believers" in the story by Clare M. Clerkin-Russell were the first colony on Mars. They have been there a long time and are down to only seven. Now, a ship is coming from Earth which has survived a great plague. What can they offer these new colonists? This was a poignant, sad and touching story.

"Holotatoon" by David Castlewitz features Jack, who while drunk, gets a holographic, intelligent tattoo that's driving him crazy and keeping him from getting a job, until he learns the magic word. This one was a real hoot!

In "Reality House" by Jack D. Gibson, Judith, John, Don & Lenny produce a reality haunted house show. It had been a ratings hit but then declined. Now they are at a creepy old house and hope they can revive their series. It's not much of a surprise what happens but it's handled well and the very end is quite good. This was a nice debut story from Gibson.

"Old Girl" by Alex Sivier takes us to another planet where Damon has been sent to check on the scientists. But he has a lot to learn about the native life in this imaginative tale.

"Leviathan" by Lawrence Buentello features Koestler, a man whose life was destroyed by his wife's infidelity. Now he has come back for revenge. He has his doubts but they are allayed by a dark man who urges him on. From what this dark man says, you might figure out who he is but that would make this one no less chilling.

There is "Trouble in the Red Nebula" in the story by Mark DiAntonio and Tarn, Sid and Quillan are amongst the part of the marines sent to deal with it. With them are Ravagers, members of a suicide squad known for taking extreme measures. As things get bad they have to make a fateful decision in an action-packed story.

Last of all, we have "In Through the Out Door" by Michael W. Garza. After an accident at the Cyclotron Particle Accelerator Facility at the University of California at Berkley (where he works), Greg has been having strange dreams. He has been using higher mathematics to interpret the dreams and they seem to be prophetic. Can he figure out the prophecy before the event happens? This was a good end to the issue.

So Encounters continues as does Black Matrix Publishing. Check them out at their website www.blackmatrixpub.com if you want to support new writers and their publisher.

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