I have every issue of Black Gate… a fantastic magazine. I don’t think I’ve posted any reviews for it yet though, so I’ll start with the latest issue. (Note: I subscribe to the print issue, but there is now a digital copy available too).
The Beautiful Corridor
Jonathan L. Howard
Good, fun adventure tale, with a thief daring to steal a relic inside of a trapped temple.
The Good Sheriff
David Wesley Hill
I enjoyed this western-on-another-planet story. It was weird, but the weirdness worked well, against a more familiar background — the grizzled cowboy surviving on bravado and wits.
The Face in the Sea
John C Hocking
A rescue mission goes wrong for sea-faring Vikings, as they face magical powers that they have no ability to counter. Solid, adventure tale.
A very strong and realistic, yet exotic, world, solidly anchors this story. Much like the Naturalist, which I’ll get to later, this is the kind of story that immerses you in a world first, a world that could only exist in this story, the only world in which this story could exist. Much of the ‘fun’ of reading a story like this is in being exposed to culture, that while based on our world is injected with such imagination and originality that it carries the story even if it is not that strong. And better yet, this story is strong, with an interesting protagonist. Great!
The Murder at Doty Station
Fun murder mystery set far-away, far into the future. Funny, likable characters, carry this story.
The Evil Eater
Peadar O Guillin
Nice horror adventure, original and compelling. What is going on is nicely disguised, I thought I had guessed how things would turn out but was pleasantly surprised to find myself proven wrong.
Bones in the Desert, Stones in the Sea
A brother journeys to his sister’s village to bury her, only to discover she has a child that no one wants, but one they do not want him to take. A sad tale, of loss, of gain, set against a interesting world.
The Merchant of Loss
Justin Stanchfield & Mikal Trimm
A bizarre story of merchants who collect and sell such intangibles as pain and loss. Greed and betrayal plays pivotal roles in this unique story that left me guessing throughout. A strong story.
Return of the Quill
John R. Fultz
Another fabulous world, this time a dying city ruled by sorcerers, constantly on guard against invasion. Layers of betrayal build the story. Really liked this one.
L. Blunt Jackson
An unique fable, told competently, this is one of my favorite stories this time around. A man gains the blessings of spiders, but, as is so often the case is tempted to walk away from what is good in his life, for what he desires.
Silk and Glass
Sharon E. Woods
An entertaining story, a creature that is able to take the form of humans is sent to steal away a talented artist from an impregnable city. But love and desire, betrayal, complicate the situation.
The Naturalist Part 3
I have enjoyed the previous two parts to this story and the third is no different. This is a world I could imagine living in, it feels real, authentic, a variation of our own world with just enough of the marvelous/horrible to make this a tale of the fantastic. A very satisfying conclusion to a fabulous adventure.