Murky Depths #8
Edited by Terry Martin
Cover Artist: James Johnson
Review by Sam Tomaino
Murky Depths ISBN/ITEM#: 1752-5586
Date: 20 May 2009
Links: Murky Depths / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
There is no other magazine like Murky Depths, The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction, and issue #8 is another great read.
The fiction in the issue begins with "Peachy" by David Tallerman. In this one pager, Peachy is the cat of our unnamed narrator and the cat seems in a strange mood. Why that's the case becomes clear at the end of this perfect little story. That's followed by a graphic piece "The Wrath of God – Part 1" which I'll review when it's complete.
Sam J. Drane's "What the Tongue Will Taste" is about a guy who would have to be described as a sex addict. He's had it with everyone and now he wants something I'll describe as "the greatest love of all". He finds a way for this to be accomplished but things turn out different from what he expects. This was pretty nasty but also pretty effective.
Geoffrey Girard's "Collecting James" starts with two men, James and Zimmerman. Zimmerman is showing James his very special collection, chips taken out of people's skulls that resonate with their special talents. As the story progresses, we learn about James's "hobby". This one was a well-written little chiller.
The graphic tale "Hero in Hell" by James Johnson starts with the death of a super-hero and continues in a locality that the hero does not expect. This was a nice little look at heroes and what makes them.
J Westlake's "Out of Time" features an event that we might have seen before. Marcus is caught in a world in which time stands still. Everyone and everything is frozen like a statue. What's different here is that Westlake takes the story further and we get a look at what it would be like to live in such a world for a long time. Westlake does a good job with this one.
The title "My Muse Wears Army Boots" in the story by Christine Luca really tells us quite a bit. Jeff Billings has a special talent. He can communicate with the recently deceased. He works as a hospital orderly and has the job of taking the dead to the morgue. They tell them the stories of their lives but he lacks the ability to profit from this. He's a wannabe writer but can't translate what he knows into fiction. When he helps a great writer through his last days, he does not get any writer's secrets, but he does acquire something else. This was a good example of "be careful what you wish for".
"Recall" by Chris Huff is another graphic piece which is an effective little look at the issues involved in extending life.
Lawrence Buentello contributes a good little piece about J.T. Evans who suddenly discovers his special power. He can bring the dead back to life. He has been mourning his dead wife for five years. Can he do something for her? This one takes a nice little nasty turn at the end.
Jo is a new mother in Richard Rippon's "Monitor" but she hears strange words coming out of her baby's monitor. Is he calling her nasty names? Just when you think this is going in a certain direction, Rippon surprises us in this little chiller.
There's one last regular story in "Nosing With the Four-Stroke Kid" by Kevin Brown. This is another nice little one-pager which starts with a young man admiring a real cool motorcycle. Its female rider is annoyed at first but he charms her into letting him get on it. Once more we get a real killer ending.
The issue ends with another graphic story in "The Pilgrimage" by Christopher Baker. Zenith is on a special pilgrimage, one in which her friend Zenith gives his life. Baker surprises us with an end we do not expect in another effective story.
Once more, I repeat that Murky Depths is worth your support if you like graphic horror. I recommend that you subscribe.