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Weird Horror #1

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Welcome to the new pulp! Weird Horror magazine is a new venue for fiction, articles, reviews, and commentary. We expect to publish twice-yearly. Long live the new pulp! FICTION: Shikhar Dixit; Steve Duffy; Inna Effress; John Langan; Suzan Palumbo; Ian Rogers; Naben Ruthnum; and Steve Toase. NON-FICTION: Tom Goldstein; Orrin Grey; Lysette Stevenson; and Simon Strantzas. COVER Welcome to the new pulp! Weird Horror magazine is a new venue for fiction, articles, reviews, and commentary. We expect to publish twice-yearly. Long live the new pulp! FICTION: Shikhar Dixit; Steve Duffy; Inna Effress; John Langan; Suzan Palumbo; Ian Rogers; Naben Ruthnum; and Steve Toase. NON-FICTION: Tom Goldstein; Orrin Grey; Lysette Stevenson; and Simon Strantzas. COVER ART: Sam Heimer INTERIOR ART: David Bowman; and Nathaniel Winter-Hebert DESIGN: Vince Haig; and Nathaniel Winter-Hebert


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Welcome to the new pulp! Weird Horror magazine is a new venue for fiction, articles, reviews, and commentary. We expect to publish twice-yearly. Long live the new pulp! FICTION: Shikhar Dixit; Steve Duffy; Inna Effress; John Langan; Suzan Palumbo; Ian Rogers; Naben Ruthnum; and Steve Toase. NON-FICTION: Tom Goldstein; Orrin Grey; Lysette Stevenson; and Simon Strantzas. COVER Welcome to the new pulp! Weird Horror magazine is a new venue for fiction, articles, reviews, and commentary. We expect to publish twice-yearly. Long live the new pulp! FICTION: Shikhar Dixit; Steve Duffy; Inna Effress; John Langan; Suzan Palumbo; Ian Rogers; Naben Ruthnum; and Steve Toase. NON-FICTION: Tom Goldstein; Orrin Grey; Lysette Stevenson; and Simon Strantzas. COVER ART: Sam Heimer INTERIOR ART: David Bowman; and Nathaniel Winter-Hebert DESIGN: Vince Haig; and Nathaniel Winter-Hebert

30 review for Weird Horror #1

  1. 5 out of 5

    Merl Fluin

    All hail the new pulp... This is of course the impatiently awaited successor project to editor Michael Kelly's "Year's Best Weird Fiction" series, which he wound up in 2018. His introduction to issue 1 of this new magazine promises "pulpy goodness! We are hoping to bring some fun (and terror) to our readers." I can't honestly say I felt much in the way of terror, but it was certainly fun. There are eight new pieces of short fiction, plus a smattering of non-fiction and reviews. The quality of the All hail the new pulp... This is of course the impatiently awaited successor project to editor Michael Kelly's "Year's Best Weird Fiction" series, which he wound up in 2018. His introduction to issue 1 of this new magazine promises "pulpy goodness! We are hoping to bring some fun (and terror) to our readers." I can't honestly say I felt much in the way of terror, but it was certainly fun. There are eight new pieces of short fiction, plus a smattering of non-fiction and reviews. The quality of the fiction is much more consistent and solid than is usually the case with anthologies. The stand-outs for me were John Langan's delicately rendered "Where The Hollow Tree Waits" and Ian Rogers's "You Can't Save Them All", which reads like an account of what would happen if (view spoiler)[The Bad Seed's Rhoda Penmark became a social worker when she grew up (hide spoiler)] . Overall, though, I might have enjoyed the non-fiction even more than the fiction – especially Orrin Grey's little piece about 1980s monster books, which is so charming it positively twinkles. In the interests of full disclosure, I guess I should admit that there was one story I abandoned after a few paragraphs because it was so badly written it was making my gums bleed. I won't specify which, because I don't want to be mean-spirited, and in the end it's all a matter of taste. I know from experience that there are hundreds of horror fans out there who love the kind of excessively ornamented prose that I loathe. And who am I to tell them they're wrong? Even though – let's be clear – they are wrong.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patrick.G.P

    Weird Horror is Undertow Publications' new horror magazine, created in the vein of the pulp magazines of yesteryear. They’ve done a splendid job on the layout and design of the magazine, which is incredibly appealing. The contents were a mixed bag for me though, the opening essay by Strantzas was good, as was Orrin Grey’s article on The Crestwood House Monster books. I also liked the concise movie and book reviews that round out the issue. Steve Duffy’s tale “White Noise In A White Room” was the Weird Horror is Undertow Publications' new horror magazine, created in the vein of the pulp magazines of yesteryear. They’ve done a splendid job on the layout and design of the magazine, which is incredibly appealing. The contents were a mixed bag for me though, the opening essay by Strantzas was good, as was Orrin Grey’s article on The Crestwood House Monster books. I also liked the concise movie and book reviews that round out the issue. Steve Duffy’s tale “White Noise In A White Room” was the clear standout for me. Incredibly eerie and well written, the story is vague enough to set my mind reeling with horrifying images. I would go as far as to say it’s worth picking up this first issue of Weird Horror for this story alone. John Langan’s tale is also quite good, and I like how he builds up creeping tension through such a short narrative. Unfortunately, I didn’t care too much for the rest of the stories, ranging from decent to quite bad in my opinion, but I’m glad I picked up this issue and I’ll pick up the next one too as I’m glad to see a magazine devoted to new horror fiction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shikhar

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Weird Horror #1 Full Disclosure: I have a story in this magazine, and as such, will only mention where within the ‘zine it appears. Weird Horror #1 fills a void, where weird horror meets literate pulp-type fiction, and it does so admirably. Here is a rundown of the fiction contained herein: Following fascinating commentary by Simon Strantzas about the very nature of horror, Orrin Grey reminisces about the Crestwood House books dedicated, each one, to a classic horror film—and how they sparked his Weird Horror #1 Full Disclosure: I have a story in this magazine, and as such, will only mention where within the ‘zine it appears. Weird Horror #1 fills a void, where weird horror meets literate pulp-type fiction, and it does so admirably. Here is a rundown of the fiction contained herein: Following fascinating commentary by Simon Strantzas about the very nature of horror, Orrin Grey reminisces about the Crestwood House books dedicated, each one, to a classic horror film—and how they sparked his own interest in writing horror fiction. Then the reader enters the fiction arena with “Krazy Krax” wherein Naben Ruthnum presents to the reader an almost comically obsessive-compulsive personality as the protagonist. That he carries out the worst of his crimes against several people is evident from the story’s beginning. What is astonishingly entertaining is the length and breadth of his collections (enough to fill an entire house) and the entry of the uncanny, through his very hobby, as an inexplicable form of vengeance. Be sure to read any advertisements tucked between the pages of this story. Steve Duffy’s “White Noise in a White Room” is a masterpiece of subtlety and quiet revelation, primarily revealed through dialogue. Yet, a feeling of unbearable dread attends the reader to the very last sentence. A woman named Clava purchases an eerie medallion, with an eye at its center, from someone called the Doctor, in Inna Effress’ poetically-written tale, “The Devil and the Divine.” Its purpose, she is told, is that she can win the love of a gifted singer that has caught her eye, so long as her desire is forbiddingly “carnal.” Ms. Effress’ language is rich with metaphorical imagery — such that “The Devil and the Divine” reads like an extravagant piece of poetry. In “Children of the Rotting Straw,” Steve Toase has created a thoroughly unique, darkly fantastic world in which a mother does whatever is required — climb strands of yarn up into and above a sky made from rotting straw — in order to rescue her enslaved daughter, stolen out of her bed by malevolent yet vulnerable scarecrows, capable of independent movement after the sun dips below the horizon each evening. Shades of a dark “Jack and the Beanstalk” are brought to mind. Suzan Palumbo has crafted a heartfelt weird science fiction tale in “Her Voice, Unmasked.” The protagonist is a robotic creation named Justine, whose creator, an exacting narcissistic bully referred to only as “the Maestro.” A chance encounter with Lise, a young—though the eldest student—at the ballet class for which Justine volunteers, changes everything. “Her voice...” is clearly the work of a deft hand, able to play the reader’s emotions like a virtuoso. Palumbo’s tale is perfectly controlled, and more importantly, perfectly placed, at the center of WEIRD HORROR #1, giving the reader a tender reprieve from the strange horrors that bracket it. Kudos to editor Michael Kelly for his thoughtful story ordering. Ian Rogers’ “You Can’t Save Them All“ is about social worker Veronica, and her new case, that oddly silent child named Susan. The connection Veronica feels for Susan violates the number #1 rule of social work: do not get attatched. The young girl, Susan, has secrets. But then, so does Veronica. “You Can’t Save Them All“ does not unfold so much as it tightens around the reader, much like a spool of high-tension wire. Author Rogers expertly turns the hand crank until said reader is crushed by that merciless wire. The next story is “The Night Kingdom” by Shikhar Dixit...in other words, this reviewer. John Langan’s “Where the Hollow Tree Waits” is as challenging as Steve Duffy’s “White Noise in a White Room,” and competes with it for my favorite tale in this volume. In the tale, the protagonist, Martin, arrives in the kitchen to find his father, Les, already seated at the kitchen table. Martin starts brewing coffee and takes this opportunity to regale Les with a vivid and disturbing dream he had the night before. It becomes clear that Martin has lost his wife or lover, Cassie, within the past year. Les sits, moving very little, and patiently listens—but an aura of malignancy emanates from Martin’s father. And all the while, as Martin narrates his dream, his hand stealthily approaches the wooden block from which protrude the sharpest of kitchen knives. Editor Michael Kelly’s placement of this story is a wise move, as if to remind readers that WEIRD HORROR is a compendium of exactly that. Strangeness, darkness, and fear.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sheena Forsberg

    A pulpy magazine reminiscent of the good old days, but in which the stories are wholly of the modern day and age. The stories cover a broad field of the weird, and I didn’t like all of them (nor did I expect to), although there were some that really impressed me. I found myself appreciating the reviews and non-fiction included such as Orrin Grey’s piece on 80s monsters & Simon Strantza’s blurb on horror as a genre. If interested, see below for an overview of the short stories. As I often do, I’v A pulpy magazine reminiscent of the good old days, but in which the stories are wholly of the modern day and age. The stories cover a broad field of the weird, and I didn’t like all of them (nor did I expect to), although there were some that really impressed me. I found myself appreciating the reviews and non-fiction included such as Orrin Grey’s piece on 80s monsters & Simon Strantza’s blurb on horror as a genre. If interested, see below for an overview of the short stories. As I often do, I’ve marked the ones that stuck with me the most with an “*” Krazy Krax (Naben Ruthnum): -A man discovers his wife & stepsons leaving him one night. -A vintage 60s comic book & his step-son’s orders for ‘fun products’ (practical joke devices & tat) from a company that must be long gone, but somehow isn’t. *This might not sound scary on face value but made for a surprisingly haunting & sad story. White Noise in a White Room (Steve Duffy): Set during the Northern Ireland Conflict, A mysterious stranger is found in a cave & held captive in a military prison and he is under suspicion of being with the IRA, although the IRA denies any knowledge of him. Nobody seems to know him, there are no records of him of any kind, and he isn’t talking. They find themselves having to call on a ‘visitor’ (retired/forced out interrogator) in the hopes of getting answers. The Devil and the Divine (Inna Effress): Clava is desperate for the love of a singer and turns to unconventional means in the hopes of attaining it. She goes to a (witch?) doctor and is given a ring with an eye on it. Things don’t go according to plan and eyes feature prominently further on as she pushes even harder for this unrequited love. *Children of the Rotting Straw (Steve Toase): A mother & her daughter seemingly live alone in a world in which scarecrows walk & abrasive yarn falls from the sky (which is composed of sticks). *Her Voice, Unmasked (Suzan Palumbo): Justine the automaton is being prepped for an aria by her maestro/creator. More of a story about breaking free & independent thought than horror. *You Can’t Save Them All (Ian Rogers): A social worker haunted by her brothers drowning when they were kids, connects with a mysterious girl. The pitter-patter of small feet at the end of this story is anything but sweet and there were a few things I didn’t see coming in this short. *The Night Kingdom (Shikhar Dixit): This short took me back to Chambers’ The King in Yellow. A journalist is told a spooky story about a book called the Night Kingdom & the subsequent effects on the reader Eric Robert Sandoval (who soon after reading it ended up in a psych ward). He then makes the mistake of tracking down Eric’s brother to learn more and inadvertently ends up with the book that should never be read with dire consequences. Where the Hollow Tree Waits (John Langan): A man tells his father about last night’s nightmare. Although it’s just 4 pages long, Langan still manages to somehow build tension gradually.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The first issue of a new weird fiction periodical from Undertow Press. It has great production value with a large oversize format and glossy pages. I will definitely be adding a subscription to this going forward and I recommend giving it a try. Standouts for me were: Orrin Grey's article on Crestwood House Monster Books. I read these books cover to cover as a kid yet hadn't thought of them in years. This was a great kick of nostalgia for me. The fiction story The Nightmare Kingdom by Shikhar Dix The first issue of a new weird fiction periodical from Undertow Press. It has great production value with a large oversize format and glossy pages. I will definitely be adding a subscription to this going forward and I recommend giving it a try. Standouts for me were: Orrin Grey's article on Crestwood House Monster Books. I read these books cover to cover as a kid yet hadn't thought of them in years. This was a great kick of nostalgia for me. The fiction story The Nightmare Kingdom by Shikhar Dixit which is a relentless and brutal addition to one of my favorite weird story tropes: The manuscript that drives it's readers to madness. The fiction story Where the Hollow Tree Awaits by John Langan. This reads like one of the dreadful monologues from a Lynch film where a character recites a terrible dream and it is impossible to look away. John Langan is one of my very favorite authors and he continues to amaze me with every story I read by him. Four Stars because not all of the stories landed for me. This is not surprising considering the stories are incredibly different in both subject matter and execution.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Extra 1/2 star for giving me a new horror perodical to look forward to a couple of times a year.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Picked up the digital version during Undertow's awesome Black Friday sale yesterday. For now, until I have the physical, I'll reserve rating of the artwork inside since I didn't get the full deal on my Paperwhite, but the text, be it the short fiction or the reviews or the opening from Simon Strantzas, was all quite good! Some of the reviews are for books I'll likely never get my hands on, but never say never, eh? To the surprise of no one who knows my taste and favorite authors, my favorite of Picked up the digital version during Undertow's awesome Black Friday sale yesterday. For now, until I have the physical, I'll reserve rating of the artwork inside since I didn't get the full deal on my Paperwhite, but the text, be it the short fiction or the reviews or the opening from Simon Strantzas, was all quite good! Some of the reviews are for books I'll likely never get my hands on, but never say never, eh? To the surprise of no one who knows my taste and favorite authors, my favorite of the short fiction was John Langan's. But there were no duds amongst the lot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Boyd

    some really good ones in here. particularly the entries by Toase, Palumbo, Rogers, and Dixit

  9. 4 out of 5

    David

    High production value in this nice glossy book, with heavy pages that feel de luxe. I enjoyed the mostly older books reviewed, and mostly foreign horror flicks reviewed. For my finicky tastes, I liked less than half the stories included - some of which seemed to be neither weird nor horror. Labels are elusive anyway. Overall, we see here an auspicious lauch for this new biannual mag from Undertow. I will definitely be checking out later volumes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex Jiménez

    this book made me so excited about what's going on in the world of horror fiction/horror anthologies! it took me a while to get into it (i wasn't super into the first two stories), but after that, i was completely immersed. standouts for me: — "children of the rotting straw" by steve toase (my favorite overall; SUCH a cool take on scarecrows and played with time in a very interesting and unique way) — "her voice, unmasked" by suzan palumbo (gave me lesbian/sapphic vibes) — "you can't save them a this book made me so excited about what's going on in the world of horror fiction/horror anthologies! it took me a while to get into it (i wasn't super into the first two stories), but after that, i was completely immersed. standouts for me: — "children of the rotting straw" by steve toase (my favorite overall; SUCH a cool take on scarecrows and played with time in a very interesting and unique way) — "her voice, unmasked" by suzan palumbo (gave me lesbian/sapphic vibes) — "you can't save them all" by ian rogers (i love creepy children!!) overall, an excellent collection of weird horror. tbh for a long time i didn't really "get" what "weird horror/weird fiction" was and i was too afraid to ask, so that's why i picked up this collection and i'm so glad i did! will definitely check out the other editions of weird horror

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wyatt

    I haven't read a horror magazine cover to cover since I was a teenager. Having grown up reading The Twilight Zone Magazine, Weird Tales, The Horror Show, and Cemetery Dance, it was fun to revisit the spirit of those days while reading the new Weird Horror magazine from Undertow Publications. (That said, I read this issue in ebook format, so I did not get a chance to experience the magazine in its full print glory.) The nonfiction pieces were all great. My favorite of the short stories was John L I haven't read a horror magazine cover to cover since I was a teenager. Having grown up reading The Twilight Zone Magazine, Weird Tales, The Horror Show, and Cemetery Dance, it was fun to revisit the spirit of those days while reading the new Weird Horror magazine from Undertow Publications. (That said, I read this issue in ebook format, so I did not get a chance to experience the magazine in its full print glory.) The nonfiction pieces were all great. My favorite of the short stories was John Langan's, but the others were also enjoyable. My only complaint is that the longest story in the volume was also the weakest. I'm looking forward to reading future issues of Weird Horror.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leanne Olson

    The first issue of a new Canadian horror magazine. I liked the variety of stories, and I'm curious to read future issues. Standouts for me were Steve Toase's very weird Children of the Rotting Straw, Suzan Palumbo's sci-fi opera-singing robot story Her Voice, Unmasked, and John Langan's folk horror Where the Hollow Tree Waits, which was mesmerizing. I also really enjoyed the film reviews -- there were a couple I hadn't heard of and need to track down. The first issue of a new Canadian horror magazine. I liked the variety of stories, and I'm curious to read future issues. Standouts for me were Steve Toase's very weird Children of the Rotting Straw, Suzan Palumbo's sci-fi opera-singing robot story Her Voice, Unmasked, and John Langan's folk horror Where the Hollow Tree Waits, which was mesmerizing. I also really enjoyed the film reviews -- there were a couple I hadn't heard of and need to track down.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robert Bose

    Slick production values, fitting art, great features (intro, book and movie reviews), and excellent old style pulp feel. The two stories I loved the most had to be John Langan's "Where the Hollow Tree Waits" and Shikhar Dixit's "The Night Kingdom." Excited to see what the next issue holds! Slick production values, fitting art, great features (intro, book and movie reviews), and excellent old style pulp feel. The two stories I loved the most had to be John Langan's "Where the Hollow Tree Waits" and Shikhar Dixit's "The Night Kingdom." Excited to see what the next issue holds!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    The first issue of a new bi-annual from Undertow, consciously modeled on Weird Tales and the like (double columns!), with some non-fiction (all quite brief), some nice illustrations, and eight stories, two of which I loved, three of which I liked, two I didn't click with, and one I still haven't decided about. Not a bad ratio, as collections of original fiction go, and the title definitely has promise (and is a stretch outside Undertow's usual comfort zone, so good for them for that). Krazy Krax The first issue of a new bi-annual from Undertow, consciously modeled on Weird Tales and the like (double columns!), with some non-fiction (all quite brief), some nice illustrations, and eight stories, two of which I loved, three of which I liked, two I didn't click with, and one I still haven't decided about. Not a bad ratio, as collections of original fiction go, and the title definitely has promise (and is a stretch outside Undertow's usual comfort zone, so good for them for that). Krazy Krax (Naben Ruthnum) A man murders his wife and stepsons when they try to leave him. Not my thing. But: the violence is elided smoothly, the details that follow well-written and interesting. The man, a childish collector of childish things, petulant and narcissistic, then decamps to a warehouse from which the older boy had been mail-ordering retro toys (the full-page ad is included, in a nice touch); vengeance is had, dreamlike and diffuse. White Noise in a White Room (Steve Duffy) During the Troubles, the British Military try interrogating a Provo enforcer. A retired officer, always referred to only as "the visitor," is brought in to assist. Wonderfully disquiet quiet horror about human monsters and the shadows of the world and history. I should read more Duffy, I remember feeling similarly about “The Lion’s Den.” Again, there's violence, but it's elided in favor of the human after-effects rather than the gore. The Devil and the Divine (Inna Effress) A woman on a banyan-infested island obsesses over eyes (on jewelry or not) while trying to catch the attention of a beloved singer. Surreal and puzzling in a way that usually appeals to me, and while I kind of bounced off the prose, this one has stuck with me. Children of the Rotted Straw (Steve Toase) Malevolent ambulatory scarecrows threaten a woman and her daughter while they gather poisonous yarn that rains from a sky made of sticks. The woman finds a note that reads "Help Me," from which she deduces that a future version of her daughter is imprisoned within the scarecrow city in the sky. That's pretty weird, I'll grant you that. The second Toase story I’ve read concerning horrific yarn. Her Voice, Unmasked (Suzan Palumbo) A steampunk automaton opera singer (!) defies her creator to improvise on a folk song instead of the through-composed aria he wrote for her. Her working through/discovery of emotions is nicely rendered. Aside from a brief aside about the removal of her faceplates, I wouldn't call this horrific at all. You Can’t Save Them All (Ian Rogers) A social worker in Brooklyn tries to save a spooky little girl, who keeps insisting the woman is “different,” as the woman suffers recurring dreams of her brother drowning when they were children. If you guessed that (view spoiler)[she pushed him in (hide spoiler)] , well, so did I, but I assume you (and I) did not see (view spoiler)[she's-been-a-serial-child-murderer-ever-since (hide spoiler)] coming. This didn't work for me. The Night Kingdom (Shikhar Dixit) A New Jersey journalist investigates the wrong creepy book, which leads him into a nightmarish world of puppet monsters and raining teeth. Had a lot of stuff I like - creepy books, found manuscripts, a good monster, Gnosticism, an ultra-dark, Laird Barron-ish tone - but it ultimately felt a bit more like the outline for a story I'd love than a story I love in and of itself. Where the Hollow Tree Waits (John Langan) A man tells his father about a dream he had last night while the coffee brews. Like most (many? all?) Langan stories, this was a meditation on another work, but I don’t know enough Goethe to pick up all the references here. I can say it was a beautiful master class in ramping up tension steadily in a relatively small number of pages. “Father, do you not see the Elf-king?”

  15. 4 out of 5

    👑 💀

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shay

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason Bucher

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Carpenter

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kameron Ingrando

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tom Bensley

  23. 5 out of 5

    Popco

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Reid

  25. 4 out of 5

    James Everington

  26. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sirensongs

  29. 5 out of 5

    George Hopper

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Wilbanks

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