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Murky Depths #2 by Terry Martin
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: Geoff Taylor
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths  ISBN/ITEM#: 1752-5586
Date: 20 December 2007

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

Murky Depths returns for a second issue, featuring stories by A.R. Yngve, Jason Sizemore, Katherine Patterson, Stan Nichols, Edward Morris, Willie Miekle and others with stories either heavily illustrated or in graphic fiction form.

Murky Depths, subtitled The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically, Dark Speculative Fiction, is back with issue #2. As before, it is a mix of text stories, graphic fiction (comic book style) and other features. All the stories, but one, got a Very Good from me.

The stories begin with "The Art of War", a two-pager in graphic format that shows us the wishes for immortality of a struggling artist in 1904 Vienna. Next up is "Duchess Street" by Kurt Kirchmeier. On a dark street in some nameless town, a young woman is being prostituted by a loathsome pimp. But this poor woman has a very different protector. In "With a Wimper, With a Bang" by D.M. Moehrle, the people of Earth are finally wiped out by sectional rivalries. Will the survivors on Mars fare any better? A.R. Yngve's "Super-Size Security" detail a new way to insure that a prison is escape-proof. The next story, "Tin Man" by Luke Cooper is a section of a story that I will review when it is complete.

"Yellow Warbler" by Jason Sizemore takes place in a future Earth devastated by war and plague. Into the church of a small, isolated community, comes a member of an alien race that some blame for the tragedies. Preacher Jeremiah Jones welcomes him but others do not. What will they do? First-time writer Hannah Davey, follows with "Bernadette and the Sirens". In a future Earth where the climate has taken a bad turn, Bernadette Bastion dances, but that will change in a significant way. Katherine Patterson's "The Litter" features an old woman who has invited a young family to choose their pick of a litter of puppies. It comes as no surprise that there is something else going on in this chilling little tale. Another graphic story, "Death and the Maiden, Episode Two" by Richard Calder, follows, but again, I'll skip a fragment of a story for now. Next comes a one-pager, "Venus and the Birth of Zephyus" by Sarah Wagner. In this one, an observation satellite is diverted from its purpose. Silvanus Moxley gives us a humorous poem in "The Last Flight" about a particularly bad shore leave.

"Spoil" by Stan Nicholls is another partial story, this one all text, I will review when complete. Edward Morris's "Hair of the Dog" is set in a really bad section of San Francisco. Crack addict Marisela Ibara comes across a strange, frightened old man and witnesses a horror. This is followed by a short graphic story, "Firewallburn" by Dennis Hopeless and David Ryan which I thought was just a lot of pointless violence. Willie Meikle's "Phantom Payment" features a computer glitch that seems to have a personality. It has a purpose, too, before it can be at peace. In the last story, "Poppets", Mike Driver shows how an old man finally brings some peace to his neighborhood. The issue is rounded out by a humorous poem from Alex Wilson, "Church of Saturn".

All in all, I like this magazine, but I think it has too many serialized stories. Other than that, if you like horrific graphic fiction, then, this is for you.


Our Readers Respond

From: Luke Cooper:
    Thanks for the honest review of issue 2 of Murky Depths. I would just like to say that my own story, The Dark Gospel: Tin-Man, has been written so that it can be read either as a short story or as the first chapter of an ongoing serial. This was done because I believe, as you do, that a multi-part story may alienate casual readers of the magazine.
From: Terry Martin
    . . . in fact both "Death and the Maiden" and "The Dark Gospel" are episodic and can be read as standalone short stories, although the latter has more of a linking thread. Part 1 of "Spoil" also ends on a note that lends itself to a complete short story.

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