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Redsine volumes 7, 9 and 10

edited by Trent Jamieson and Garry Nurrish

(Prime, $6.00, paperback, 144 pages; January, August and October 2002.)

Redsine is a magazine of dark fantasy and horror, cover scanpublished (more or less) quarterly. The quality of the publication is absolutely fantastic; it is a 5in x 8in trade paperback with consistently stunning colour glossy covers, packed full of stories, interviews and reviews, and nicely illustrated in black-and-white.

Let me at the outset put my cards on the table. It is difficult to review a magazine or anthology. For one thing, there are so many authors represented that it is impossible to include them all in the review. For another, there are so many variations in theme, not to mention readability, that I find it difficult to put everything in focus. So I am left with something muddy and elusive: my impressions.

The beautiful presentation gave me very high hopes, but I was a bit disappointed once I started reading. Perhaps the stories are a bit too far out for me -- but I cut my teeth on Dangerous Visions, so cover scanthat doesn't seem a reasonable explanation. I did enjoy some of the stories very much, and I read each of them all the way through. Some seemed to lack originality -- others were so new and so weird that they were absolutely shocking. I read volumes 7, 9, and 10 in order, and found 10 to be by far the best. I suppose I may have taken that long to get used to the editors' taste...

So here are some highlights:

In Redsine 7, Simon Logan reworks an old theme in an interesting way. A ritual "Sacrifice of the Pig" is performed every year, and Richard has come to observe and report. His involvement ends up somewhat more personal than he expected. Nathan Burrage's protagonist types "A Message to Medicare" -- he wants his vocal cords removed. Keith Brooke writes of Mac, who has an interesting solution when he gets bored with his current lover; he gives her "What She Wanted". Brian Stableford introduces us to Bruce Halpern, who has "Nobody Else to Blame" for the suicide of his daughter, and who waits for a break in the television shows before calling anyone.

In Redsine 9, Forrest Aguirre presents "The Enthroned Remember", in which the lynched Mitwundu is seduced by the wife of the man he killed. She cover scandoesn't mind his rotting flesh; in fact she worships him and hopes to join him.

In Redsine 10, Dirk Flintheart recounts in "Rake at the Gates of Hell" how little ScabRat is on duty guarding Hell when there's the unexpected appearance of MacFlannery, whose demands to get in lead to a series of peculiar events. It seems he isn't dead yet. The short-short "Eye Contact", by Monica J. O'Rourke, is an especially haunting tale of a student imprisoned by her professor. He didn't kill her, so there must be hope -- mustn't there? In M.J. Murphy's "The Dream Queen", Lockridge is obsessed with the girl he remember from long ago. He's found her again, but she has a new name. And when he sleeps next to her he seems to wake up in odd places, but still in his bedclothes. That frightens him, but terrifies her.

Did I like these volumes of Redsine? Sometimes. Do I recommend it? I think so. Is it great? No. Is it disturbing? Yes. Is it worth reading? Yes. I understand Prime has no plans to continue the magazine, so the inevitable final question is this: Do I hope it finds another publisher, and a continued existence? Most definitely.

Review by Chuck Gregory.

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