The October 2021 issue of the Kindle and print-on-demand science-fiction, fantasy, crime and horror magazine KZine contains ten original stories by Lindsey Duncan, Luke Foster, Joe Giordano, Pauline Gostling, G Miki Hayden, Tony Kirkwood, Saul Lemerond, Mark Levenson, Scotty Milder and Nicole Tanquary. The cover art was by Dave Windett and the magazine was edited by Graeme Hurry.
KZine Issue 31: Review of October 2021 Issue
Steve Rogerson reviews the thirty-first issue of the Kindle science-fiction, fantasy, crime and horror magazine KZine
There are ten short stories in the October 2021 (Issue 31) issue of KZine, a science-fiction, fantasy, crime and horror magazine for the Kindle. After I finished all ten over a few days, it was the crime stories that stayed in my mind and I was quite surprised looking back to discover there was only three of them, but three very good ones at that.
That said, Joe Giordana left me feeling disappointed, but that was because I wanted it to be longer, so no bad thing there. Mark Levenson surprised me because I correctly guessed who did it. And G Miki Hayden had me gripped.
As to the rest, Luke Foster had me laughing and I enjoyed piecing together Lindsey Duncan’s story. But the winner of my best in the book for this issue has to go to Nicole Tanquary; I like dark.
“It was Only Ever About the Why” by Pauline Gostling
Bridie’s angry with Michael; he’s cut down their dead daughter’s tree. She rants at him when he comes home for lunch, giving the reader the back history at the same time. Nice twist at the end.
“Krarg the Barbarian Versus the Fair” by Luke Foster
The title gives away the fact that this story does not take itself seriously. Most of its length is a big battle between Krarg and the various entities at the fair, so it does what it says on the tin. Enjoyable in a people and things being ripped to pieces sort of way.
“Hemorrhagic” by Scotty Milder
Oh, wow, this is depressing. At first, this seems to be about Ted investigating the death of the girl in the park, the one lying on the grass, and sitting on the bench next to him, talking. As it turns out, this is more about Ted’s life; the girl knows the right questions to ask. Sad, but not sweet.
“Butterfly” by Nicole Tanquary
A very powerful story., It starts light, with a little girl – Addie – playing in the woods. The only real problem is her neighbour David, a year older and a bully. Her parents are a problem to a lesser degree in that they still call her Adam and think of her as a boy. Then Addie finds an old well with fairies at the bottom, and things get a whole lot darker.
“The Tuna of your Mind” by Saul Lemerond
Q-Ascii is a problem solver, but to solve these sorts of problems serious neuro-enhancers are needed, and they are starting to take their toll. There is a whole load of stuff he no longer remembers. Does it matter? Maybe. A very short techy story that asks more questions than it answers, but who needs answers?
“No Rest on the Sabbath” by Mark Levenson
I like a whodunnit. Not long after Barry and Jack had an argument in the synagogue, Barry was dead, apparently from a heart attack, but the post-mortem suggested poison was involved. Jack, aware he might be a suspect, decides to play sleuth, asking the questions and working it all out. I was shocked because I correctly guessed the murderer despite missing all the relevant clues.
“Thirteen Gold Bars” by G Miki Hayden
A chance meeting on a train saw Robert and Gow form an alliance in a scam involving gold bars. Robert, though, was greedy and wanted more than the 50:50 they’d agreed. OK, you can see where this is going, and I won’t tell you how it turned out, just to say the journey was entertaining.
“Gasping” by Tony Kirwood
What do superheroes do when they get old? Well, in this story they get an agent, and so do the supervillains, and sometimes the same agent, doing what agents everywhere do and that is get rich while others do the real work. Amusing with nice sound effects.
“Spider Web” by Joe Giordana
Bragg is an experienced homicide cop chasing a serial rapist and murderer nicknamed Spider-Man, after the superhero cap he left with one of his victims. His partner for this case is Jill, daughter of a retired policeman and looking for a full-time move to homicide. They have a suspect and devise a plan using Jill as bait. My criticism of this story is it moves too fast and is too short. It is a crying out to be a longer detective story, maybe even a small book, building up the tension, more attention to detail and so on. I also think the ending would have worked better if we knew more about Jill and what drives her.
“Light Off Snow” by Lindsey Duncan
Song’s Hand had been sent to slay the Snow Beast, but when she appeared, not with the beast’s head, but with all of it, standing next to her very much alive, confusion and fear worked through the gathered crowd. What happened next is told from different points of view as the picture is slowly created. Sorcery and regicide come together to create a puzzle to end the issue.
Also in Issue 31
The issue ends with the normal chapter giving brief biographies of the authors. Make sure you read Pauline Gostling’s biography if you are in need of a little chuckle. 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 who do not like reading from a tablet.