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Murky Depths #15
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: Manon
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1752-5586
Date: 21 February 2011

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

Murky Depths #15 – The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction features prose stories by Juliet McKenna, Anthony Malone, John Hilario, Jon T. Cook, Robert Davies, Richard Thomas and Kaolin Imago Fire (with accompanying artwork by Nancy Farmer), Dylan Williams, Russell Morgan, Matt Soffee, Rick Fairlamb, Brian Tiphar and Natalia Pierandrei. It also features graphic stories by Al Ewing & Neil Roberts, Robin Bell & Thomas Tuke, Gareth Jones & Mick Trimble, Rory McConville & George Gousis, Jasper Bark & Paul Rafferty and Lavie Tidhar & Neil Struthers.

Well, it's been a long time since I was sent a copy of Murky Depths, The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction, which was Issue 10 way back in 2009. Now, I have Issue 15 in hand.

The magazine has two formats for its stories. One is mostly text with some illustrations, the other is a graphic story. The text fiction in the issue begins with "An Unforseen Legacy" by Juliet E. McKenna (art by Nancy Farmer). This one is a nice little piece about the death of a saloon keeper named Tom Marvel. He died with a lot of his stock still ready to drink and local people decide to keep the place going. Solicitors from London arrive to inquire into how Marvel died and we get a good mix of references to various Victorian stories of the fantastic, which I won't specify so as to not spoil it.

Next up is "Deep Trouble" by Anthony Malone (art by Dylan Williams), in which a man has an encounter with a fantastic monster from the deeps and an equally fantastic scientist named Kate who knows how to deal with it, all well-told in just two pages.

In "The Fence Sitters" by John Hilario (art by Russell Morgan), we get a grim look at a future New Zealand which has been abandoned by so many of its people that drastic measures have to be taken. This was quite an effective one.

The text stories continue with "Spare Change" by Jon T. Cook (art by Matt Soffee). A clever little one-pager about a consequence of the disappearing phone booth that we might not have thought of.

In "Judging Glass Globes at the Hemophiliac’s Zoo" by Robert Davies (art by Rick Fairlamb), we get a look at a future in which intelligent chimps like R.B. Pornography have disagreeable tasks while religious pilgrims make their way to a better place. This one was quite effective and nasty.

Richard Thomas's "Victimized" (art by Brian Tiphar) tells of a woman who finds a way to deal with past abuse and makes for another good story.

Last of the text stories is "Now! and Then! 2" by Kaolin Imago Fire (art by Natalia Pierandrei) which is a good little look at a man involved with a company that is marketing a new drug and the unusual side effect it has.

Through the issue are six graphic stories. In "Boxed In" by Al Ewing (art by Neil Roberts), we get a well-told and well-designed series of panels focusing on a man frustrated that no one ever listens to him and what he does about it.

"Suzie Pepper's Teeth" by Robin Bell (art by Thomas Tuke) features a girl whose adult teeth do not come in when she loses her baby teeth. Where they show up and why makes for a good story.

Gareth Jones's "Frozen" (art by Mick Trimble) is a chilling, effective little one-pager and that's all I can say.

"The Face" by Rory McConville (art by George Gousis) is a strange little story about a truly bizarre business.

The "Fishers of Men" in the story by Jasper Bark (art by Paul Rafferty) is not exactly what Jesus had in mind, but makes for a good story.

The last graphic piece, "I Dream of Ants" by Lavie Tidhar (art by Neil Struthers) is only Part 1 of a story, so I'll review the whole thing when it's complete.

Well, I glad that Murky Depths is sending me issues again. I am sorry I missed so many issues. Apparently, they've collected the first art of that "Dead Girls" series into a book. I'd like to have an opportunity to read it so we will see what future mailings bring. Meanwhile, I again recommend Murky Depths, which is like nothing else on the market.

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