Monday, 6 November 2017

Supernatural Tales 35

David Longhorn (editor)

I've been planning to pick up a copy of Supernatural Tales for a while now but things kept getting in the way and I'd forget about it.  This time when I got a mailout from Mark Valentine detailing his very intriguing contribution I straight way grabbed myself a copy.  Turns out it was worth every penny and I really should have started buying these sooner.

The magazine consists of 6 and half (possibly) stories and a couple of reviews.  The latter are of a book, a film and a comic, none of which I'm familiar with although the comic is an adaptation of Arthur Machen's superlative 'The White People'.  If you've read Longhorn's blog - - then you'll know his reviewing style is eminently readable and he makes all three sound very enticing.

The first of the stories, 'Absolute Possession' by Charles Wilkinson is a hugely intriguing but ultimately frustrating prospect that sets up a mystery only to suddenly bring the whole thing to a crashing halt.  I really wanted this to be much longer to give Wilkinson the opportunity to develop and tease out and fully realise the really interesting premise.  Indeed, I was so taken by Wilkinson's writing that I tracked down a copy of his collection published by Egaeus Press.

Mark Valentine (photo by R.B. Russell)
Mark Valentine's story, 'The Scarlet Door' did everything his mailout promised it would with a story of the unexpected perils of book collecting. Andrew Alford's 'A Russian Nesting Demon' struck me as a very glib story about body dysmorphia and I skipped past Micheal Chislett's, 'The Subliminals' as it was part 1 of a story to be continued in the next issue when, if it concludes there, I'll read both parts together - it's also the reason for that 'possibly' you may have noticed back there.

Matt Joiner's paean to the buildings of our past and the remnants of their existence that inhabits our memories takes literal form in his 'The Utter Dust' which set me to quietly remembering those places that meant much but are now lost in all but memory.

John Howard is an author we've encountered here at Wyrd Britain before on a number of occasions and have always been delighted to do so.  His contribution 'The House at Twilight' also deals with place, memory and loss in a bittersweet tale of love broken, lives parted and the brutality of loneliness.

The beauty and the power of Howard's story does no favours to Helen Grant as her story of Midas' curse and the greed of selfish venal men seems rather empty after it.  A re-read a few days later helped me enjoy it more as a fun tale but I think it needed to be otherwise positioned in the magazine as anything would have struggled in the emotional backwash of Howard's piece.

As I said at that top of this I've long been meaning to dip a toe into S.T. and it seems I chose the most opportune moment as for the most part this was a very fine collection that I heartily recommend.

Buy it here -

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