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Murky Depths #6
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: Jason Beam
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths  ISBN/ITEM#: 1752-5586
Date: 19 November 2008

Links: Murky Depths / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Murky Depths #6 – The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction features stories by Alan Frackleton, David J. Howe, Brian G. Ross, Damien G. Walter, Jonathan C. Gillespie, Alan James Roll, Christopher Morris, J.C. Alegria, Sophy Adani, C.J. Carter, Luke Cooper, Lavie Tidhar and James Johnson.

The new issue of Murky Depths, sub-titled The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction is #6 and, once again, mixes stories and art.

The fiction in the issue begins with "The Last Marianne" by Alan Frackleton. Owen is cleaning up mirror glass, shattered by a woman named Marianne. But as the story goes on, we learn what Marianne really was or is. This one had a feel that was progressively more and more creepy.

Next comes a graphic story, "All I Want for Christmas" by C.J. Carter-Stephenson. A young boy wants the newest thing for Christmas, a real robot. Things don't go well but the end was kind of obvious.

"The Third Time" by David J. Howe is reprinted from a magazine published in 1995, but worth resurrecting. A man named Staple has become obsessed with a new drug, but taking it produces a very different reaction.

In Brian G. Ross's "Between Hanson & Hendrix", a man is looking for a CD for a rock group called Heart Attack. He can't find it on the racks and it's only available behind the counter. This was a nicely done little story and my favorite of the issue.

"Horizon" by Damien G. Walter is set in some future world. A man awakes in a strange place and seems to have just been born. He wanders out to find something of his destiny in an effective story with a killer ending.

Luke Cooper contributes a new graphic story in "Hellhound". This is a follow-up to his multi-part story "The Dark Gospel" and, once more, features his "half-angel Nephilim", Halo Slipping. While there is a next story promised at the end, Cooper (as he promised in an interview in #6) gives us a self-contained story. Halo Slipping, on the way to a dinner-date, comes up against a creepy cult called "The Revelationists" who are using a demon called a Hellhound to do their dirty work. Cooper gives us an exciting, butt-kicking story and I'll look forward to the next one.

"Flashback". Jonathan C. Gillespie's "Best in Class" is set in some post-apocalyptic future. Sunday is an AI vehicle and his owners are dead. A friend of the family finds him and they set off on a journey across the blasted landscape. Sunday turns out to be a bit too helpful in this subtle little story.

"Are You Lonesome Tonight?" by Alan James Roll features Sally, a young girl in a future in which robots are taking more jobs. Her father is still employed but he is more talented than his job and provides her with something special in an otherwise unhappy life.

I have reviewed fiction by Lavie Tidhar in many different magazines but here he provides the words to a graphic story "The Butcher and the Fly Keeper – A Christmas Love Story". Tidhar always provides a different but enjoyable tale and here he does not disappoint. Two people are brought together in the kind of Christmas story that could only appear in Murky Depths.

"Alms for Oblivion" by Christopher Morris features a mystery writer struggling with a new novel. But his problems are worse than that, his daughter had been kidnapped three years ago and he is getting messages from someone about her. This one is a real chiller.

J.C. Alegria draws upon piloting experience in "Ghoul is My Copilot". It's Christmas Eve and a man has the grim task of transporting the body of a despised, nasty old man. You might expect that this is not easy and Algeria gives us a good story.

The last graphic story, "The Factory" by James Johnson is set in a grim future in which children are forced into grim labor, but what they are making has a bearing in their lives. This one is the best combination of art and story.

Last of all, there's "The Head of St. Mark" by Sophy Adani, a far future story in which the survivor of a massacre must get back to his people and goes to great lengths to do it. This was the most inventive story in the issue.

Murky Depths is a good little horror magazine that gets better with every issue. Landing an author like Lavie Tidhar is a real step up. You should really subscribe.

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