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Monday, June 3, 2013

Magazine Review: Mustang's Monster Corral

Edited by Jess Keith Harris, this little blog-magazine has a bevy of little articles and short shorts.  The articles focus and writing and war, often insightful.  The stories focus on monsters, whatever that trope may mean to the writer (and, ultimately, editor).  This tends to produce horror or suspense stories, but a few skew into fantasy or science fiction.

The best of these is a little, odd, dark fantasy "Deeper Wounds" by Brandon Bell about dolls.  A rather stunning piece, that cleverly implicates the reader, if marred by few minor writing infelicities, i.e. "charred savoriness."  Highly recommended.

Small Gods by Charles Payseur is another dark fantasy that begins in one genre but ends in another.  Or has it?

One thought-provoking piece, "The Masks" by Alexandra Grunberg, asks us who the monster is.  Clearly, one man seems to be as he unmasks his unknown love.  But isn't the victim also a passive monster?

In Very Poor Taste by Jess Harris has the best characterization of the lot.  Two schoolgirls try to outwit each other although one knows something the other does not.  Clever title.

A number of these are strong short shorts:  "The Hook Man" by Alex Hughes wherein our natural bias is thwarted; "Offerings for the Dead" by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt takes a familiar twist tale but develops it in a different setting and characters.

Two works that gain by being pitted against one another--both treat childhood fears from different angles:  "Nothing Under the Bed" by Ken Goldman and "The Quiet Dark" by Renee Carter Hall.

Flawed but interesting works:  A vignette by Josh Reynolds, "Owd Hobb" has a compelling voice.  "Blend" by Gaines Post demos a cool high-school-bullied monster although it takes an odd turn.

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