The January 2019 issue of the Kindle and print-on-demand science-fiction, fantasy, crime and horror magazine KZine contains seven original stories by Steve Bates, Mike Chinn, Lindsey Duncan, Cameron Johnston, Kevin Stadt, John H Stevens and Todd Sullivan. The cover art was by Dave Windett and the magazine was edited by Graeme Hurry.
KZine Issue 23: Review of January 2019 Issue
Steve Rogerson reviews the twenty-third issue of the Kindle science-fiction, fantasy, crime and horror magazine KZine
There are seven short stories in the January 2019 (Issue 23) issue of KZine, a science-fiction, fantasy, crime and horror magazine for the Kindle. There is more than a hint of humour in the first three stories but those who think that is setting the tone for this issue world be wrong. The other four stories explore different emotions and all good in their own right, so much so that it was hard to pick a favourite for this issue. I was torn between Mike Chinn’s funny post-apocalyptic tale, Cameron Johnston’s dark but enchanting fantasy and the intriguing way Steve Bates switched his story from one genre to another. It’s a tie.
“A World in Aspic” by Mike Chinn
Despite no longer being home to people, London was still a tourist attraction. The city’s last human – Jim – was looked after by robots, and he could have what he wanted as long he didn’t ask for anything unhealthy. But who were the visitors, and what were the robots planning? I challenge anyone not to laugh at the end.
“Killvampire.com” by John H Stevens
We know from the title that there is vampire hunting going on. But who is hunting whom? Dave in the club chatting up the much younger Nancy, or maybe the guy at the end of the bar? Short but fun.
“Stealing the City’s Dark Dream” by Kevin Stadt
Marco Price is not happy. His biggest rival – William Bennett – is constructing the tallest building in Night Water and has developed a highly addictive narcotic that could sweep the planet. This is a high tech, high action gangster story that doesn’t pause for breath. Excellent.
“Surviving Life” by Cameron Johnston
Alex’s grandfather is dying, and he tells her to seek out a metal box that contains a secret. It actually contained a locket and some old newspaper cuttings. The locket caused Alex to flashback to someone else’s memory. Look for the white lady, grandpa told her, and she did. A magical fantasy of dreams and how to fulfil them.
“The Grip” by Steve Bates
The clans have a common foe – the Grip – that attacks the minds seemingly at will. And so each clan offers sanctuary to members of any other clan if they are attacked. Or they did. When Kyle hears that one clan is to withhold sanctuary, he decides it may be time for change. His journey leads him to a meeting and a startling revelation. A clever twist turns this story into something else.
“The Sleepy Warrior” by Todd Sullivan
Joo Non is scared. He feels he cannot win the tournament and faces death. But if he can poison the favourite, maybe he stands a chance. This Korean sword-and-dagger tale is mostly about overcoming fear in a gladiator-style fighting arena. But how will Joo Non manage? Gripping, but not for the squeamish.
“Chains” by Lindsey Duncan
Nenna comes across a town in which all the people are frozen, trapped in their own minds. The source of this is a sorceress whose reasons seem almost reasonable. The discussions get a little philosophical between Nenna and the sorceress. Are any of us really free? You get the idea. Nevertheless, a pleasant ending to this issue. Interestingly, because the story is told in the first person, we never get to know Nenna’s gender. That sort of threw me off balance a bit, but should it have done?
Also in Issue 23
As usual, the issue contains a section giving brief biographies of the authors. The magazine was edited by Graeme Hurry and the cover art was by Dave Windett. And it is available from Amazon as a print-on-demand magazine for those that do not like reading from a tablet.