Murky Depths #17
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: Dylan Williams
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths ISBN/ITEM#: 1752-5586
Date: 22 July 2011
Links: Murky Depths / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Murky Depths #17, The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction, is here with another great issue.
As I have noted before, 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 "How to Disappear Completely" by Richard Rippon, art by Charles Cutting. Our narrator is a man who can project his mind to faraway places. He is hired by a company to engage in various forms of espionage. The others include a woman and a young man, but our narrator is the most talented. This story develops this idea in a very interesting way and provides a very good ending.
In "Mexico Needs You" by Zachary Jernigan, art by Lee Simpson, a man has just had something that looks like a large, black flatworm removed from his rectum. Apparently, this thing caused him to move to Mexico to take up residence there. If that's weird enough for you, read the rest of the story which is quite good.
"20/10" by Jacob Edwards, art by Dan Havardi, features an old man who is given what is a very unusual birthday present by his grandchildren. He finds himself in a restaurant with a high-priced menu but an unusual form of entertainment - bullfighting. The whole story is very strange, but ultimately incomprehensible.
"Smiles" by Kurt Kirchmeier, art by Russell Morgan, like many of the stories in this issue is told by a first-person narrator. The difference here is that the narrator is a flesh-eating zombie. This was a unique and interesting look at zombie stories.
"Whisperer" by Craig Pay, art by Rachel White, starts out as a crime scene investigating story with our narrator and his partner investigating what seems to be a gruesome suicide and an attempted one. The attempted suicide has sewn his lips together and writes the message "DEMONS TOOK MY WORDS". Problems begin when well-meaning doctors unseal his mouth. This one was a real chiller.
The text stories continue with "I Wish I May" by JC Geiger, art by Ankolie. In this one, a boy named Billy McRea is granted a wish by an alien orb. Billy can get whatever he wishes for. As in most stories like this, it's not easy to make such a wish and the orb visits Bill at various times in his life, but Bill always puts the wish off. What he finally wishes for makes for a fine story that brings new life into an old idea.
"Viscous Circle" by Elizabeth Creith, art by Benedict Lewis, is a one-pager that features two men using a time machine to go back to the age of the dinosaurs. Why they are doing this makes for a nice little story and is quite clever.
"Orion's Belt" by Martin Rose, art by Connor Boyle, literally begins with a bang. A man shoots his son in the chest. Seems the man thinks his son is an alien. This is another one that takes a surprising turn.
"Demon Kebabs, With Fries on the Side" by Christine Lucas, art by Francis Emmott, features a young woman, abused by her mother, who suddenly sees little demons hovering around people. She also occasionally sees halos around other people. This experience helps her deal with her mother and improver her life. Yet another good story for this issue.
The text stories conclude with "The Uninvited" by Richard Rippon, art by Dylan Williams. This one involves a woman making a meal for a guest. She wants her wheelchair-bound husband to make himself scarce. This was a nice little one-pager that provides a spectacular cover for the issue. The only problem is that the cover is a bit of a spoiler.
As with last issue there are two graphic stories which are parts of continuing stories. I like to review these when they are complete. "Dead Girls, Episode 6" by Richard Calder and Leonardo M. Giron continues to be an interesting new story arc in the "Dead Girls" series. The next installment of "I Dream of Ants: Episode 3-Antarctica" by Lavie Tidhar and Neil Struthers is as wonderfully bizarre as the other parts.
There is a done-in-one graphic story, "Desire" by Paul Matthews and James Mclean which features a man, bored with his perfect world on a quest for something stored in the frozen wastes. I will admit that I was surprised by the end, but I found it unlikely.
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