Tuesday, October 18, 2022

The Dark #88 (Sept 2022)

The Dark, ed. Sean Wallace & Clara Madrigano. Issue 88 (Sept 2022). Prime Books. $1.99 or online at thedarkmagazine.com.

Reviewed by Zachary Gillan

The Dark is a monthly online zine famous for both its excellent dark fiction output and its stringent and remarkably rapid rejections—indeed, while I was working on this review a tweet went somewhat viral from an author irate that they had rejected his manuscript three minutes after he submitted it. It’s a leading venue for modern horror fiction that favors atmosphere over gore, and provides a home both for the big names of the genre and relative newcomers. All four stories in the September 2022 issue are strong entries. Stylistically, they share a clear, realist voice, with rather straightforward narratives. There are flashbacks, and the smartly-paced unveiling of details necessary for the genre, but none are overly experimental or knotty in approach.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Roanhorse, Tread of Angels (2022)

Rebecca Roanhorse, Tread of Angels. Solaris, 2022. Pp. 176. ISBN 978-1-7861-8874-8. £9.99.

Reviewed by Andy Sawyer

The story begins in a gambling joint in Goetia, a mining town in the mountains run by a privileged elite. It’s an unholy place and Celeste, a dealer at the card tables of the Eden, “Perdition Street’s premiere gambling and drinking establishment,” has seen her share of squalor, degradation, and exploitation and there’s the obligatory saloon-fight in the first ten pages. But when her sister Mariel, a singer at the Eden, is arrested for a particularly nasty murder, Celeste is forced to embark upon a quest to prove her sister’s innocence. In doing so, she sees even more of the town’s darker side than she ever thought existed.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Polar Borealis #22 (2022)

Polar Borealis, ed. R. Graeme Cameron. Issue #22, July 2022. Free online at polarborealis.ca.

Reviewed by Storm Blakely

The 22nd issue of Polar Borealis, a publication I was, until now, unfamiliar with, opens with an editorial, musing on how far this Aurora-award winning publication has come in the six-plus years since its inception. Read all over the world, nominated for and winning awards, a paying market for Canadian writers and artists, while still acknowledging how challenging the industry can be. Overall, it’s cheerful and optimistic; hopeful, with an eye on the future.