Eight dark stories form the bulk of the January 2014 issue of genre magazine KZine, a short-story magazine produced exclusively for the Kindle. This issue's selection ranges from horror and fantasy to science fiction. The authors are Steve Jordan, CI Kemp, Dan Grace, MC Tuggle, Richard Zwicker, Mjke Wood, Douglas Sterling and Rhonda Parrish.
KZine Issue Eight: Review of January 2014 Issue
Eight genre stories grace the pages of issue eight of Kzine (January 2014). Steve Rogerson reviews them.
KZine is a science-fiction, fantasy, crime and horror magazine for the Kindle. Published three times a year, it aims to provide original genre fiction for the mobile reader. This issue (Issue Eight, January 2014, Kimota Publishing) contains eight stories crossing the genres. Mixing more than one in each story almost seems to be a theme this issue. I was impressed by the high quality of all eight stories, though I give particular mention to “Pickman’s Motel” for being a real page turner.
“Heat” by Steve Jordan
Ten-year-old Victor likes to experiment. He also likes wrestling, but his favourite always loses. To babysitter Jess’ dismay, Victor’s experiments have moved to living creatures – a mouse, next door’s cat, a… Well. And well told, this nice cross between science fiction and horror.
“Pickman’s Motel” by CI Kemp
Todd and Melanie discover an small art gallery, Melanie is fascinated by the grotesque paintings; Todd is not, but is convinced by his wife to drive to the motel where the artist was last seen before he disappeared. When Melanie decides to start painting, things go wrong, horribly wrong. This is a good, solid horror story, with vivid descriptions that tingle the spine.
“Small victories” by Dan Grace
Jord works on a spacestation, but the hours are long, health and safety neglected, living quarters cramped. Add to that racism and homophobia, and this is far from the ideal workplace. Jord’s new bunkmate though has plans to change that. This is an overtly political story and, while short, manages to encapsulate the workers versus management battle that has existed since industrialisation.
“Spell check” by MC Tuggle
Jordan has accidentally created a creature that has invaded her house. She turns to an old customer, Floyd, for help. This is a quaint magical story, a little bit sad and a little bit scary.
“T-vision” by Richard Zwicker
When someone calls to report their own murder, Detective Marsell is understandably suspicious. But Bob LeMay has the latest Tomorrow-Vision gadget that provides a possible simulation of your future. This is written like a classic detective story but with a science-fiction theme. It should be liked by fans of both genres.
“The abolitionist” by Mjke Wood
Ronnie has his appeal turned down and faces another 18 years in gaol, but there might be an alternative, a scientific alternative. Doctor Lisa Simmonds’ father died in prison and she has developed a way to treat inmates such as Ronnie, a way that gives them a conscience so they can be released. But what is her real motive? This is a gripping psychological story. The exchanges between Lisa and Ronnie are fascinating, and the conclusion, though predictable, still leaves an imprint.
“The angel in the hourglass” by Douglas Sterling
She is outside time, and she visits her daughter as a child and as a grown woman in a world where all but she is dead. Lytkin caused this collapse but he can’t achieve his aims while she is still around. Can she though change time to stop this happening? Beautifully written, this explores the paradoxes of time travel and its consequences. Have your thinking caps handy when you read this.
“The other side of the door” by Rhonda Parrish
Young Aric suffers physical abuse from his father, and has since his mother died in suspicious circumstances. One night, out of his bedroom window, he sees a boat being rowed to shore, though the boat appears empty. This a cute and tragic little ghost story to finish off a cracking selection.
Also in Issue 8
Graeme Hurry’s editorial talks about how he selects the stories for each issue and why this one has three authors who have appeared before. This is followed by a sole book review – the zine only reviews books by current and past KZine authors – of A Death in the Asylum by Caroline Dunford. The cover of ENGN by Simon Kewin is also pictured, but without a review. However, this was the review copy so I suspect this was fixed for the actual issue.
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