Somebody Else Saturday just morphed into a whole bunch of people.
The first issue of Shock Totem is a wondrous thing. From K. Allen Wood's editorial, in which we discover the birth of the magazine and the evolution of its name, through the stories, the interviews and the reviews, culminating in Howling Through The Keyhole -the stories behind the stories.
Shock Totem is one of those rare beasts with not a single lacklustre story. T.L. Morganfield's twisted, wonderful mind brings us the dark humour of The Music Box. I challenge you not to laugh out loud at certain points. Not a good story to read in a quiet, echoing room or if you find small things terrifying. Jennifer Pelland brings to the party a very effective micro-piece, while Mercedes M. Yardley tale of two girls with a bloody shovel and a corpse is at times hilarious. I do like my humour dark.
Paranoia powers Don D'Ammassa's Complexity - it's all in the code - I have only one word to review this story: FanFrigginTastic. Below the Surface by Pam L. Wallace is a fantasy tale of two sisters in a far-off land with dark undercurrents that have you shouting, 'run' at the page. I was expecting Slider by David Niall Wilson to be a time travel tale (remember the old TV show 'Sliders'?), I was right in one way and very wrong in another. An intriguing tale of baseball, death and legend. I wouldn't be surprised to see Slider mentioned in a Best of the Year anthology (along with several other 'Shock Totem' stories).
Brian Rappatta brings us zombies (all good magazines should have at least one zombie tale) in The Dead March. Rappatta gives us a unique take on the genre and I'd like to see his protagonist's gifts displayed in a longer work. The final story in the issue, Thirty-Two scenes From a Dead Hooker's Mouth, by Kurt Newton wins the best title award. Newton's tale runs from its end to its beginning, showing us in reverse how a life unravelled. Excellent stuff.
And no review would be complete without a nod to Robert Hoyem's beautiful cover.
You can purchase Shock Totem directly from the publishers or from Amazon.