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Murky Depths #3 by Terry Martin
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: Richard Calder
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths  ISBN/ITEM#: 17525586
Date: 26 March 2008

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

Murky Depths #3 is here with its usual mix of articles, poetry, graphic (comic-book style) fiction and illustrated fiction by Edward Morris, Richard Calder, Stan Nicholls, Ian Faulkner and others.

Well, another issue of Murky Depths, subtitled "The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction," has arrived in my mailbox. This is Issue #3 and has a nice mix of dark stories, all of which got a Very Good from me.

The first story is "What's Yours Is Mine" by Pike Stephenson. Riley is a small-time crook who has killed his partners in a robbery and taken all the cash. Now, all he needs to do is sneak over the border to Canada. However, in the woods, he meets a strange creature with some surprising intentions of its own.

That is followed by "Evention" by Mike Webster, a short graphic story about a man and his memories of a woman who died in a gruesome manner. Montilee Stormer gives us a future in which taking one's life has become legal and tightly regulated. In "The Suicide Bar" of her story, when a bartender asks "What's your poison?," he means it.

"Nine-Tenths of the Law" by Edward Morris is about possession of the demon-from-Hell kind. A demon escapes captivity and is going to loose itself upon the world. But in today's society, that's not so easy. Jeffrey Archer-Burton shows us a world in which, one night, almost everyone died in "In This The Era of the Great Wilting." The seemingly sole survivor in New York City, and maybe the world, is Melanie. Then, she meets someone else.

Another part of Richard Calder's "Death and the Maiden" graphic story follows, but I will skip that as it is not complete.

Martin Hayes' story is set in the year 2096. This is not a Brave New World but a "Shit New World." Hayes writes an amusing short-short. "Maimed" by Hazel Marcus Ong is set in the Pyrenees. An old man tells a little girl of a another girl named Bernadette that he knew as a child. The story takes on a familiar feel, like a famous one set in a German town, but this one goes off in a different direction.

Next comes part two and the conclusion of "SPOIL" by Stan Nicholls. SPOIL is a disease that seems to take only people who believe in God. This story is a reprint from 1993; Nicholls, in the interview elsewhere in this issue, says he wrote it in reaction to people who thought AIDS was God's judgment on homosexuals and drug addicts. Well, I'll say that this conservative Catholic found the story very effective and well-written.

"The Dark Gospel" by Luke Cooper is another partial story that I'll try to review when it is complete.

"Speak Ill of the Dead" by Ian Faulkner is the story of Blueberry Keller, part of a counter-terrorist task force fighting a cult of living dead called "deadheads." They've taken her brother, so she infiltrates their lair to find him.

After a seriously dark poem, "Zombie Diva" by Glynn Barrass, the issue concludes with "The Love Ship Guide to Seduction in Zero Gee" by Steven Pirie. Platt is a man in a loveless marriage who goes looking for love with a young woman named Maureen in a very different hotel.

Murky Depths is for people who like a dark mix of art and story. If that's your taste, this magazine is highly recommended.

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