REVIEWS

“Black Death Fall Guy” and “Toys” by Neil Colquhoun

http://neilcolquhoun.com/archives/253

“Black Death Fall Guy” is an amusing story of the possible origin of the Plague. The accused laments the situation he finds himself in after being judged by his peers. The story concludes with a comical twist.

I enjoyed this story; it made me laugh when I reached the end and discovered who the poor sap was who was accused of practically destroying the world.

“Toys” is a creepy little story just perfect for Halloween. The narrator lets us know that the toys in his bedroom DO come to life, just like the movies say. What will they do if he needs to get out of bed?

I was afraid that some of my toys came to life when I was in my dark bedroom, so this story gave me the creeps. Great story to read to your older kids for a Halloween scare.

Reviewed by Sheri White

“Air Waves” by Louise Bohmer, The New Bedlam Project

http://newbedlam.com/zine/?p=430

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you took Clive Barker’s sadistic twist on Fantasy and threw it in a blender with Bentley Little’s masochistic surrealism? No? I probably have you curious about what it would read like now, don’t I? To find out, you need to go over to The New Bedlam Project and read Louise Bohmer’s “Air Waves”.

Dried up musicians have become a trope of horror as of late, first one coming to mind is Joe Hill’s “Heart-shaped Box” and it’s suffering rockstar tired of the limelight feeling a need to punish himself, only realizing after he’s chin deep in some messed up shit that maybe life is worth living. Bohmer’s protagonist, Jody, who made me think of the anguished late Freddie Mercury is drawn unwillingly to the nasty little town of New Bedlam, a place where sleepless writers have stopped creating the monsters on page and started bringing them to actual horrifying life. Jody suffers from blackouts, the non-alcoholic but oft embarrassing kind, so he’d not surprised to wake in his car in a strange place, he just doesn’t understand how strange it is until it won’t let him leave. In the town’s defence it did offer him an easy out, except Jody’s heart-strings were pulled as a result of a sentimental discord from his past. Forced to write a song like he’s never written in his life, he must face imagery that is both disturbing and revolting to him.

The writing is rivetting, with humour sparsely yet thankfully woven in as Bohmer describes the ordeal Jody endures while writing the soundtrack to the weirdest gathering since the Mad Hatter invited his friends over for tea. I haven’t said it yet, though I can’t stress enough that you need to read this fucked up story. It will turn your stomach at the same time it strums chords in your heart.

I dare you to finish reading this story and not want to read more by this unique talent.

Reviewed by Brandon Layng 

“Before Your Time” by Icy Sedgwick

http://www.icysedgwick.com/fiction.html

“Before Your Time” is a quick and amusing story about a mix-up at the Pearly Gates, giving the protagonist a bit of a scare.

This is a well-written piece of flash fiction. I enjoyed the humor and the twist at the end. The description of the entrance to Heaven was perfect; I could see it clearly in my mind and it made me laugh. There are several other stories on this page that were just as enjoyable, so don’t stop with “Before Your Time”!

Reviewed by Sheri White 

“Caveat Emptor” by Melissa L. Webb

http://melissalwebb.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/caveat-emptor-friday-flash/

Lurking doom, greed and curiosity are the driving forces behind Melissa L. Webb’s flash piece, “Caveat Emptor”. The story opens with a description of a room in what the reader can only assume is located in an Aztec or similar South American temple where an imprisoned evil awaits freedom. While the premise isn’t original Webb does switch things up by not falling into the Pandora’s Box-story trap of placing a weak woman in the role of curious moron with a key to a box they’ve been warned will be the end of the world if it’s opened. Instead, Webb offers up a stereo-typical husband not listening to his wife, who has the common-sense to believe the dire warnings of the greedy shopkeeper that sold it to him. I would have thought this portrayal of the husband might irk me, however, Webb’s writing convinced me a man not taking his wife’s advice and ending the world was all too plausible a situation.

I enjoyed the dialogue between spouses the most in this story, it’s where she shows her strength. I recommend it for a quick read, especially the guys, because honestly wouldn’t you turn the key?

Reviewed by Brandon Layng 

“Letters From A Psychopath” e-serial by Myrrym Davies

http://gravesidetales.com/free-reads/letters-from-a-psychopath/letters-from-a-psychopath-1/

For the sake of this issue I’m only reviewing the first part in Myrrym Davies’ “Letters From A Psychopath” e-serial, which can be found as a free read on Graveside Tales Publishing’s website ( www.gravesidetales.com ). STLG will review more parts in the future as space and time permits.

The premise behind this dark humour serial is the question: “What happens to movie psychopaths when they retire?”. I’d never considered the concept before but I’m glad Myrrym Davies did, because the results are witty and a little disturbing. It begins with a letter from Mike (Michael Myers) to Chuck (Charles “Chucky” Ray), in which the character famous for silent stalking in Halloween describes to his possessed doll counterpart what life is like at his new retirement home, Millennium High Security Nursing Home. Mike has a few new friends, Norm, Jay, and Fred, whom he describes in amusing terms to his old friend Chucky.

As funny – often at the expense of victims – as the bored killers’ pranks are, the real fun with this serial comes from figuring out who each character is, since the author calls them by short forms decided upon by, Mike, the writer of the missives. I won’t spoil it for you by deciphering them here but if you’re really lost the author has also included a list in her original introduction to the series.

Part 1 (I suspect the same will apply to the other instalments as well) is a quick read, easily fitting into a coffee break at work if you’re looking for a few laughs with your large triple-triple and donut. It’s also a perfect way to get in the mood for a slasher movie marathon of all your old favs. Check it out and let the hack-and-flash hilarity begin.

Reviewed by Brandon Layng

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One Response to REVIEWS

  1. What a cool idea to review short stories by relatively unknowns! Great first issue. Thanks for this.

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