Weird Tales Vol. 67 no. 2 Spring 2014, Issue 362 – The Undead Issue
Edited by Marvin Kaye
Cover Artist: Danielle Tunstall
Review by Sam Tomaino
Weird Tales Magazine / eZine
Date: 30 November 2014
Links: Weird Tales / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The undead themed part of issue begins with "#rising" by Cynthia Ward -+- Won't spoil this too much, just say that a "zombie apocalypse" breaks out and our narrator and her pregnant sister flee. You might have an inkling what will happen at the end, but it is something new.
"Ink" by Bob Fingerman -+- Comic book artists Chuck deals with the zombie apocalypse. It's rare I really dislike the style a story is written. This is one. Didn't care much for the story itself either.
"Happy Hunting Ground" by Andrew J. Wilson -+- A man older than 70, but still called the Kid, tells our narrator a story of when he was young. He was recruited by an ex-cavalry man named Ambrose Adams to hunt down a party of Utes that had killed a family of settlers. Also recruited is a mysterious man named Stark, who has only one eye and carries a Sharps rifle and a bible. As the posse advances, Stark begins to doubt Adams' story. But what is really strange is the landscape and the animals they encounter. Nice sense of the weird with much imagination.
"Until I Come Again" by Justin Gustainis -+- Jack the Ripper kills an Irish whore name Mary. He intends to continue but meets a tall dark stranger with a slight foreign accent and teeth which are sharp-looking. Once you read that, you know where this is going.
"The Waves from Afar" by Kurt Fawver -+- Our narrator sits on the beach at Clearwater, Florida and watches his wife and kids. They are no longer alive but they stand and stare at the horizon. About a month ago, the water of the Gulf of Mexico turned many colors. Somehow the EPA, after only two weeks of study, opened the beaches and people flocked to them, including our narrator and his family. He does not go into the water, but they do. After a while, there is an incident with a man with grave injuries standing and staring at the water. No one can remove him. A condition develops in which people die and zombie-like return to the water. Had a little trouble believing certain points of this one.
"Darkling I Listen" by Keris McDonald -+- A girl is telling a story to a ghoul. He tells of a young girl traveling with her father, an astrologer. They come to the village of Krisilith that is really two villages, one of the living and one of the dead. Her father is requested to come to the local Baron who is ill. The Baron dies and the astrologer is blamed. He is executed for witchcraft. The girl flees until she finds a very odd refuge. Good story. Very imaginative.
"Therapeutic" by Tim McDaniel -+- Jeffrey Harlacker has an intense fear of spiders. He is seeking therapy for it In the therapist's office, he meets Val Sklat, who has different problems, although they might seem familiar. Amusing.
"The Bride of the Vampire" by Ron Goulart -+- Another tale of Harry Challenge. This time he is after a group called the Undead Brotherhood, led by a vampire named Sir Warren Bellweather, responsible for a rash of murders in London. With the help of his friend, the magician known as the Great Lorenzo, he triumphs. Another fun read.
"One Day at a Time" by Charles Black -+- Our narrator takes care of his business like the title says. Clever short-short.
"From the Casebook of Dead Jack, Zombie P.I.: "The Amorous Ogre"" by James Aquilone -+- A zombie P.I. is hired to rescue a pixie from an ogre. First of all, I don't think a zombie P.I. is a great idea. Second, I'm sick of zombies, so if you're going to write a zombie story, it had better be good. Third. this wasn't.
The Unthemed Fiction section begins with "Letting Go" by Jamie Lackey -+- Alissa spends her 25th birthday where she usually does, at the grave of her mother dead 25 years. Pretty good.
"Coven House" by David C. Smith -+- Ghost hunter Curt Peterson brings his young wife Jill and a young reporter named Eric Tomko with him to investigate a supposedly haunted place called Coven House. In 1929, 12 people had allegedly been killed there by a farmer named Westley who had built the house. He had lost all of his family in the flu epidemic after World War I and has turned to spiritualism. He had attracted a group of Lost Generation freethinkers. They had performed various rituals until the night they were all butchered, including Westley. Since then, anyone who spent the night in the house died or disappeared. The house itself disappeared and reappeared on a regular basis. This is not subtle haunted house story, it gets seriously graphic but it does it well.
"Thinking of You" by Nicholas Knight -+- A man sits next to a woman in a train at 2 A.M. She doesn't seem to notice him for a while, until he fumbles in his pocket and is just about to say "Penny for your thoughts." Won't spoil the great ending of this short-short.
"The Game of Bear" by M.R. James & Helen Grant -+- Helen Grant completes an incomplete story draft by M.R. James. Two old men (Mr. A and Mr. B) are sitting in a room in a house owned by Mr. A. Child relatives of Mr. A are playing a game called Bear which involves a lot of screaming. Mr. A gets inordinately upset. Later, he tells Mr. B why. Years ago, a friend of his named Henry Purdue was being bothered by a relative, Caroline Purdue. She started sending him little gifts which he would not accept. Finally, one gift gets through with devastating results. Truly in the Jamesian tradition.
"Formidable Terrain" by Elizabeth Bear -+- Our narrator is the President's science advisor investigating the body of some enormous creature that fell from the sky. But the sting in this perfect little short-short comes at the end.
"The Impression" by Ramsey Campbell -+- Alan Dalton's grandmother takes him to a ruined chapel and gravesite to do a grave rubbing. Alan comes away with a picture of a Lord Perlston who supposedly killed a number of wives and sons who disappointed him. Alan becomes convinced that a man is following him. What can he do? The kind of classic chiller that Campbell does so well.
The last story is classified as 90th Anniversary Fiction, "Slaughter House" by Carole Bugge -+- In "The Eyrie", editor Marvin Kaye tells us that it is "a prologue to the same-named story about a haunted house from the July 1953 issue", by Richard Matheson. A woman named Mary O'Gary looks back at her youth when she was maid to the Slaughter family, and especially their spoiled daughter, Clarissa. Her parents threw a grand party and two brothers, Jon and Saul Edelman, attend. Clarissa is attracted to Jon who ignores her so she flirts with Saul. Jon still ignores her. Clarissa is so bothered she settles into a "black depression" and must be hospitalized. When she is released, her parents throw another grand party and tragedy strikes. Richard Matheson would have heartily approved of this story. I can pay it no higher compliment.
Weird Tales under its new ownership/editorship continues to publish some great fantasy and horror. Check them out at their website. www.weirdtalesmagazine.com , and subscribe.