Weirdbook Magazine #34 by Various Authors, including Adrian Cole, Bret McCormick, Lucy A. Snyder, Scott Harper, and many more,Wildside Press 2017, £2.49 ebook, £9.99 paperback, Website
Reviewed by Alex S. Bradshaw
This edition of Weirdbook magazine is packed full of stories and poems. It felt thick enough that it could have been a fully-fledged anthology rather than a magazine. The stories are well distributed throughout the magazine and the poems sit snugly between some of the stories. As I began reading through the magazine I certainly felt that I was reading a professional publication and I was shown quality fiction to settle me in to my reading.
Most of the authors in the magazine were new to me which I find an exciting part of picking up these kinds of publications especially as I will be keeping an eye out for some of these new authors in future; like Jason Rubis or Sean Patrick Hazlett.
As is the nature of collections of stories like this there are some short and sweet pieces and some longer, deeper pieces. In tandem with this some of the contributions are stronger than others and there were a couple that I felt missed the mark but might have had more of an impact with a bit more pruning by the authors.
But the stories and poems stayed with me, popping into my head well after reading and leaving me with a thirst for more. A good few of them stuck out but instead of talking about all of them I will take a moment to comment on the poetry and then talk about a couple of the stories: A Kiss for the Mirrorman by Adrian Cole; and Mischa in the Window by Jason Rubis
A Kiss for the Mirrorman is a pocket-sized urban fantasy that feels just like a full trip into a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world. The story follows a super-cop as he has to deal with a new threat from the criminal underworld that threatens to topple the flimsy status quo and turn it into chaos. Adrian Cole paints a vivid, broken world in brutal strokes and the action is quick to grab you by the throat. I thought this was a great action read with dark elements to it.
The poetry was an excellent palate cleanser between the longer stories and they were all wonderful at creating quick windows with alluring prose to make fantastic worlds, situations, and haunting characters.
Finally Mischa in the Window is a quick trip into the obsession of an old musician. It felt short and sweet and suitably weird. Jason Rubis does an excellent job of creating a full backstory and life beyond the pages quickly and with few words. The story left me with surrealist impressions of Salvador Dali twisted with horror and it stayed with me.
Overall I would say that Weirdbook is definitely worth picking up: the ebook is cheap and you get a lot of bang for your buck.
The contributions are varied and there is something for everyone – if you want something with lots of action then there’s something in there for you, if you want something a bit more horrifying then there’s something in there for you, if you want something with delicately crafted sentences then there’s something in there for you. Although I found a few of the stories wanting in the magazine it is overall an excellent collection and I am looking forward to the next issue.