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Murky Depths #1 by Terry Martin
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: Steve Stone
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths  ISBN/ITEM#: 1752-5586
Date: 26 September 2007

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

Murky Depths #1 is a heavily illustrated digest sized magazine from the United Kingdom. It features prose stories and comic stories from Richard Calder, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Lavie Tidhar, Paul Abbamondi and others.

Murky Depths #1 is a magazine that wants to mix prose fiction and comic books. I liked the stories, prose or comics, but the illustrations were a bit of a mixed bag.

The first prose story is "Looking In, Looking Out" by Gareth D. Jones and is one of the best in the issue. An alien intelligence makes contact with an unborn child. Its observations make for a very good short-short story. Douglas Warwick's "Come to My Arms My Beamish Boy" is a sad tale of a man dying of Alzheimer's. In "Paston, Kentucky", Jonathan C. Gillespie gives us an exciting adventure about three men who are mankind's last hope against an army of artificially-created drones who attack and eat anything metal. "67442" by Paul Abbamondi is a one-page story about a newly created being that gradually learns his mission. Kate Kelly's "Supply Ship" starts out with people stranded on a planet, waiting for supplies from Earth. It concludes with a genuine surprise.

"State Your Name" by Jon Courtenay Grimwood is a reprint of a story published last year. It features a man with a plan to find a new life. Eugie Foster's "Cyberevenge Inc." features a young woman whose life has been ruined by a cyberstalker. She finds a company that will help her strike back. But at what price? "Today Is Not" by Michael Sellars features a woman who has suffered a great loss. This is one of those that gets more chilling as it goes on. In "The Quality of Mercy", Ron Shiflet gives us a man named Ben who can see people's futures. What does he do with this knowledge? "Naught But Ash" by Anne Stringer starts with a hanging. Are we in the Wild West? Well, all I'll say is things go off in a different direction. The last prose story is from small-press favorite Lavie Tidhar. "The Pattern Makers of Zanzibar" features a reporter in the 1870's, tracking down a still existing slave trade in Africa. He finds something even more insidious.

The issue also includes short comic book stories. Richard Calder's "Death and the Maiden" features an encounter between a prostitute and a very unusual john. The story was OK, but I did not care much for the artwork. "The Other Woman" by Chris Lynch is a touching story about a man celebrating a different kind of anniversary. Luke Cooper's "Empathy" is about an unusual hostage situation. "Snow Blind" by Marcie Lynn Tentchoff is a poem about a woman's lover returning from the sea. Ed Norden's "I Bleed Light" is a grim little poem with illustrations that I did not care for.

The stories here are, for the most part, pretty good. Some may like the modern illustrations but they are not to my taste. Nonetheless, I recommend this new magazine.

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