Dark Asylum #1

Review by Jenny Barber

Among Dark Asylum's varied contents, is a story from the editor of some genre newsletter, although the name at the moment escapes me! Asylum is also bursting at the gunwales with excellent artwork, interviews and reviews of all shapes and sizes. Not to mention a flood of stories designed to wash you away with their brilliance.

The Third Time by David Howe (hmm, sounds familiar!) is a great example of this. A man samples a ‘capsule’ and has the most electrifying trip he’s ever experienced. Then he tries another capsule. Big mistake. The world turns grey and suddenly complete strangers are attacking him for no apparent reason. Love the ending as it just adds the final bit mystery to the story.

One for Every Year He’s Away, She Said by Chaz Brenchley. Ooh yeah, another fabulous one. Takes sea-yarns into the horror dimension. Ever thought of dry-curing the odd stranger as a present for a loved one? One mother thought of doing just that for her favourite son. Unfortunately I don’t think he’ll get to appreciate it.

Inside Brian by Conrad Williams is the type of story that manages to be sad and funny at the same time. A James Bond fanatic who is the perfect bully target gets to have a very messy revenge on one of the bullies. This is a very impressive tale that’ll have you begging for more.

Head on the Block by D. F. Lewis is a bizarre tale of how to get over writer’s block. An author must come up with an opening paragraph. It must be a description of woman but, as yet, the mind and page are a blank. Various people pop in and spiders emerge from the weirdest of places and then it gets odder. This story promises interesting things but I think the ending whimpers a bit. Edited by Bianca Broderick and Mansel Wetherell.

This review was originally published in 1995, in the March/April issue of the BFS Newsletter (#19.2).