THEAKERS QUARTERLY #56 edited by Stephen Theaker. Zine review

THEAKERS QUARTERLY #56 edited by Stephen Theaker, Theaker’s Paperback Library, p/b, £4.44, www.theakersquarterly.blogspot.com

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

This summer’s editorial comes from Howard Phillips as To The Rescue appears as tongue-in-cheek as it gets when concerning Editor Stephen Theaker’s reviewing antics. It’s hard not to smile when you read it, but also bear in mind that there may be some truth in it. Howard reminds us that there are six stories in this issue which read more like novellas due largely to their length, and one  is a mix of fantasy and sci-fi which can impress all readers. Also, for people who have ever contributed to Theaker’s before, there is the opportunity of running free advertisements for suitable projects in the magazine.

Fiction is of the fantasy variety with Concerning Strange Events at the Manor of Sir Hugh de Villiers, Valiant Knight From Ms. Janaway D vii (About 1830), translated from the Middle English by David Penn. Geoffrey, a monk is asked to go to see his cousin, Sir Hugh on his deathbed as he has a story to tell – a fantastic one he wants only him to hear. Penn writes well in the old English and has us read in awe and wonder at his tale of pestilence and devastation from a demon who has destroyed the lives of a far away village.  Three Bodies by Cam Rhys Lay has Master Serafina Nicoletto investigate Lord Holdsclaw’s daughter’s interest in a man, Gar Mallott who is suspected a cad and only after her money. Cam’s heroine feigns her interest in Holdsclaw’s problem, her funny thoughts make interesting reading all the way through. The Christmas Cracker: A Ghost Story by Rafe McGregor where Roderick writes Largo Delapena for an evening of fun with his friend Wilfrid Fletcher, but an unexpected turn of events where the mottos on strips of paper from the crackers are less than savoury messages of death and doom Wilfrid and co seem compelled to investigate

The Christmas Cracker is the shortest of the four stories, yet my favourite for its smooth introduction and Rafe’s way of putting the reader into his world of cosy fireside mystery and the hope of a night of festivities in the darker hours. There are the stories that made my day, though I am sure readers will have their own.

The Quarterly Review comes from the usual suspects with an additional member; Rafe McGregor who has also penned The Christmas Cracker. Here is a mixed back of novel reviews, audio, comics and movies starting with comic reviews for Fall of Cthulhu Omnibus by Michael Alan Nelson, Mateus Santalouca and Chums concerning the plans of Nyarlhotep, the creeping chaos and the Necronomicon, Locke & Key Vol 6: Alpha & Omega by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez who tell of Lovecraft, Massachusetts and a keyhouse. This is a case of writer and artist doing a bang up job of working together on a major project. It’s interesting to see the look of Theaker’s is still as fun and keeps the interest, always showing their excellence.