Disturbed Digest # 14 – September 2016 (emag review).

October 24, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘Disturbed Digest’ is a magazine of fiction and poetry – lots of poetry! – but I will concentrate on the fiction.

disturbeddigest14

‘Mind Over Matter’ by Klara Gomez is well-written but basically a ghost story and an old hat theme. The ending is nicely done. I have noticed that any story which supposes life after death to be true is popular with United Statesmen and ‘Disturbed Digest’ is an American magazine. At least, this story made sense.

‘The Pines Of Bedlam’ by Dale Hollin left me baffled. It’s something about a woman and a hunter in a forest. Very confusing or perhaps just too subtle for me.

Anna is a research student doing a study in a prison and is assigned to room B14 which used to be where they did the hangings, Officer Gilbert tells her. ‘B14’ by Judith Field builds up the suspense nicely and an air of menace is efficiently manufactured by the prose. As ghost stories go, this was a good one.

‘The Sacred One’ by Derek Muk is quite a long yarn. Avner Goldman goes to Lake Tahoe for a paranormal conference with his buddy, Professor Albert Taylor, and they are called in to investigate a mummy found in a cave. It’s not Egyptian but Native American. When it vanishes, strange things start to happen as it’s spirit possesses the bodies of various townsfolk. This hoary old cliché creaks like the floorboards in an ancient manse but it’s very readable and quite good fun in a way.

‘Twenty Steps’ by Frances Sparks is about a woman being chased around the woods by The Shadow, a cloaked figure all in black with a red clad chest. It’s unusual by today’s standards because there’s hardly any dialogue and it’s told in solid chunks of prose, paragraphs of eight lines or more. The modern idea is to break up the page with lots of white space as dim readers find blocks of prose off-putting. We dim readers are now presumed to have the attention span of a gnat. I hail this bold return to old-fashioned methods and I liked the story which was fast-paced and suspenseful.

Robert Ichabod Pickman is a renowned writer of horror and dark fantasy, now very old and bed-ridden but still producing work. His father was a post-Victorian illustrator of macabre subjects who moved the family from Boston to Portsmouth under ‘questionable circumstances.’ The story is told in the first person by his carer, a lucky man who gets to meet the ‘editor’ who resides in the basement of the old house. ‘Pickman’s Editor’ by Richard H. Durisen is a decent modern sequel to the H.P. Lovecraft classic ‘Pickman‘s Model’.

‘Disturbed Digest’ is put out by Alban Lake Publishing who also give us ‘Outposts Of Beyond’ which I reviewed not long ago. ‘Disturbed Digest’ is basically horror fiction which I don’t enjoy as much as the Science Fiction in ‘Outposts’, but that’s just a matter of taste. I do read horror or dark fantasy now and then and I like Stephen King’s short stories and his early novels so I’m not averse to the genre. I liked four of the stories here, didn’t like two which isn’t a bad ratio and you can’t judge a mag by just one issue. Moreover, if you’re a fan of poetry there’s a lot here that might tickle your fancy. A curate’s egg but at the bargain e-price worth a look.

Eamonn Murphy

October 216

(pub: Alban Lake Publishing. 147 page ebook. Price $ 3.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-37072-579-3. Print copy: $ 9.00 (US))

check out website: http://store.albanlake.com/product/disturbed-issue-14/

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Category: Horror, Magazines

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About the Author ()

Eamonn Murphy lives in the west country and grew up reading Asimov, Heinlein, lots of other old SF and Marvel Comics. After many years hard labour he has settled down to a quiet life with a nice lady, two rescue dogs and four ducks. He writes reviews for crowsnest and a few short stories, some of which even get published in obscure magazines. His self-published (Beware!) horror novel 'Arnos Hell' set in a Bristol graveyard is available on Amazon as a kindle book. His YA novelette 'The Brigstowe Dragons' will be published shortly by Alban Lake. He seldom blogs at https://eamonnmurphyblog.wordpress.com/

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