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Murky Depths #16
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: Neil Roberts
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1752-5586
Date: 27 May 2011

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

Murky Depths #16 - The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction features prose stories by Alan Baxter (art by Rick Fairlamb), Mercurio D. Rivera (art by Russell Morgan), Ian R. Faulkner (art by Ed Norden), Andrew Roberts (art by Ciaran Collins), Jonathan Pinnock (art by Caroline Parkinson), Michael J. DeLuca (art by David Migman), J.S. Watts (art by Anna Robertson) and Kevin Anderson (art by Lahlahlou) . It also features graphic stories by Richard Calder, and Leonardo M. Giron (more Dead Girls!) and Lavie Tidhar & Neil Struthers.

Murky Depths #16, The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction, has just arrived in time in my mail box and it's another great issue.

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 "Mirrorwalk" by Alan Baxter and art by Rick Fairlamb. When their grandfather suddenly becomes ill and is hospitalized, Peter and Claire must retrieve some things from his house. Peter discovers a curious scroll that promises the ability to travel to any location through mirrors. He is not cautioned by the fact that he does not have the whole scroll. You can probably guess that there are problems. The issue starts out with a good little cautionary tale.

Next up is "All Smiles" by Mercurio D. Rivera with art by Russell Morgan. A man named Bovis, who is President of, one assumes, the U.S.A., is naked and in a cage with his vice-president Ginny who has become quite mad. Aliens have used chemicals to force them into having sex. This one was pretty disgusting and nasty, but very effective, nonetheless.

In "Valeria" by Ian R. Faulkner with art by Ed Norden, Kirby, a police detective, is called to a gruesome murder scene. Before he enters the room, his partner, who is visibly agitated, warns him not to go any further. Kirby does anyway and goes for a nasty ride, investigating the crime. This was another edgy tale of horror.

Andrew Roberts contributes "Blood Not Boiling" with art by Ciaran Collins. This one is a simple little two-pager. A woman goes to a very special clinic to have an abortion. Afterwards, she is leaving and remembers she forgot her ring. You will be surprised by what she finds in this well-written story.

The text stories continue with "Teamwork" by Jonathan Pinnock and art by Caroline Parkinson. Maurits is part of a crew exploring a planet when something goes wrong with the communication systems for him and his crew. Crewman A can only communicate with Crewman B who can only communicate with Crewman C and so forth. Also, their viewplates are not displaying what they should be seeing but what one of the others should be seeing. Can they use teamwork to get back to their ship? This one had a really great ending.

In "Mowing Them Down" by Michael J. DeLuca with art by David Migman, Kenny is an ex-con working in his Uncle Nick's bowling alley. He wants to reform his life but that isn't easy. When a pale-faced kid comes in to play Centipede, things go seriously haywire. This one had a nice twist at the end and was a good read.

Jet is nervous about "The Audition" in the story by J.S. Watts and art by Anna Robertson. He has had his appearance altered because of a contract from a television show that he had starred in that prohibits him from ever working again after the show is cancelled. My problem with this story is that I found that premise to be too unbelievable.

The last text story is "Momentum" by Kevin Anderson with art by Lahlahlou. Dwight is waiting around the carnival he used to work in, even though the world is coming to an end. He meets Claire and shows her that winning the Strongman game (that thing where you hit something with a sledgehammer to send something up to ring a bell) is just a matter of "momentum". That phrase becomes important at the startling end to this one!

Through the issue are two graphic stories, both of which are parts of continuing stories. I like to review these when they are complete. I will say that "Dead Girls, Act II, Episode 1" by Richard Calder and Leonardo M. Giron starts an interesting new story arc in this series with the "dead girl" and her boyfriend escaping their captors. They've collected the first arc of that "Dead Girls" series into a book and I'd review it if I had a review copy. As far as "I Dream of Ants: Episode 2...The Exterminator" by Lavie Tidhar and Neil Struthers is concerned, it really needs to be read completed. Lavie Tidhar is a great writer and what I see so far is very promising.

I'm sure glad I'm getting Murky Depths again. You should, too. Subscribe!

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