Cover Art by Vincent Sammy

Fiction by:
Jason Kahn (6th of September)
Paul Marlowe (13th of September)
Scott Brendel (20th of September)
Damien Filer (27th of September)

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by Joe Vaz

All four of this issue’s stories are never-before-published original fiction.
Starting off the batch is ‘Forge of The Soul’ by Jason Kahn, which takes us to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, a small town about to be struck by fear and paranoia last seen around 40 years earlier, in another small town called Salem. Next up we have another piece from Something Wicked alumni, Paul Marlowe, entitled ‘Cotton Avicenna B iv’ which takes us to the dingy back alleys of London one Victorian night, and features the founder of The Etheric Explorer’s club, (which features in ‘The Resident Member’), Rafe Maddox. Scott Brendel’s ‘Groundswell of Love’ is about a rather unfortunate event, that, coupled with a momentary lapse of concentration, results in a pretty bleak (but surprisingly funny) outcome. And to close off our month of original fiction we have a beautiful piece by Damien Filer, about a girl whose somewhat ill brother requires a life-changing favour from her, in ‘Herman’s Bad Seed’.
Our Feature Interview this month is with Cabin Fever author Diane Awerbuck

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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Cover Art by Vincent Sammy

Vincent Sammy

I illustrate primarily in watercolours. I find it fast and effective. I usually add backgrounds in photoshop, as well as add effects and final visual optimisation. But the basic image is always done in watercolours. I like having an actual "original" artwork.

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by Jason Kahn

“…‘Tis a perilous time we live in, good people, as we are beset on all sides by the agents of darkness,” boomed the orator in deep, sonorous tones. Despite the stifling air, an icy chill prickled up Mary’s spine. This voice was familiar too, though its owner’s identity eluded her. She moved closer, attempting to see.
“Just a fortnight ago in Chester County, a homestead of God-fearin’ Christians all under one roof slept sound in their beds, when a tribe of godless red savages swooped down in the black of night. The men folk were slaughtered where they lay, and the women and children were taken, no doubt to sate the savages’ evil appetites.”
Many of the congregants shouted and yelled in anger. Mary could see the minister’s form now: his black robe, a mane of silvery hair. She moved closer.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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interview by Joe Vaz

I was thinking about The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, which is one of those plays we all read in high school, and this image popped into my head. A beautiful girl (Abigail Williams) with a wicked smile, just walking down the middle of the street in 17th century Salem, and behind her, the town burns.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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by Paul Marlowe

FOR AS LONG AS WE’VE SOUGHT to understand and manipulate the world there has been magic. It could be the painting of animals’ images on cave walls to control or placate them. It could be the plotting of the stars’ motions and the tracing of their effects on earthly events. Or just ways to win friends and influence people. And for as long as some have looked for occult power, others have condemned that power, real or imaginary. Two trials show how far attitudes towards magic can change with different times and circumstances.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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by Paul Marlowe

London! Paragon of cities. How many wonders there are, in its villas, its marketplaces, in its streets and tunnels. London – this uncommon weal of fateful miracles, and of horrors that I know only too well. Cheek by jowl a multitude lie, a thousand-thousand strange tales between them, unknown but for the chance mis-step into an unfamiliar alleyway – the passing glimpse along a half-lit, fog-swathed street. So has it always been in the great cities that draw in every kind of creature. Those who toil; those who live upon them. The builders, the wreckers. Town- and country-men. The eager, the wicked, the mad; and not from this isle alone, but from all the ends of the world. Indeed, not only from this… but now, let me see. How to begin.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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interview by Joe Vaz

I often forget exactly what inspired a story, probably because it's usually a convergence of several things. Or sometimes because of a lack of sleep. (See question 2.) One thing that contributed to it was a realization that Rafe's timeline was going to coincide with the Jack the Ripper murders.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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by Scott Brendel

I was in such a rush to bury her, I forgot about the ring.
By the time I remembered, she’d been in the ground over two weeks, out behind the barn beside the old oak tree, in a hole I’d dug with a few swipes of the backhoe’s bucket. Nothing fancy, nothing ornate--just a deep hole with her at the bottom. The practical kind of thing an old farm widow would appreciate.
But I had forgotten the ring, an oversight that would come back to haunt me.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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interview by Joe Vaz

I didn’t set out to write a comedy, but my narrator — twitchy, hapless sort that he was— turned up with a cosmic “kick me” signed pinned to his back. I decided to let him do the talking.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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review by Joe Vaz

Published by Umuzi PB 144 pages RRP R150 (Kindle £1.49) The furniture is made for children. The parents I need to see are the ones who never come. Most of them are overly interested, clutching their handbags. 'Mister September,' they say, making my title - a common one on the Flats - sound like a caption from a calendar. Or, if they are men, are stepfathers, mustached and overbearing, smelling of the aftershave that announces them. They show their teeth and say, in a joke that is not a joke, 'You teachers. You have such nice lives. All those school holidays.' From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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interview by Joe Vaz

I panicked when Henrietta Rose-Innes released her excellent collection, ‘Homing’. I felt that if I didn’t get these guys down soon, then someone else was going to nab them. South Africa is rich that way, a repository of tall tales that haven’t been completely told. The loopholes are still many and varied. But they’re getting closed up as writers realise where they are.
Short stories feel truer, somehow: they’re a way to take the fragments of real life and work them into something satisfying – and that hardly ever happens in the chaos of the everyday.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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by Damien Filer

“What is this pain down in my seed?” Herman was prone to wonder, of a day. He would fidget and shift, so restless there at the dinner table, grease beading up on his big ole forehead under the shine of the fluorescent light.
“Hush up,” Mama would tell him, then give him a shot with those laser eyes.
Still he’d fidget something awful, turning redder than red, he would. But Herman wouldn’t say another word about that terrible pain down there in his seed, least not ‘til next night’s dinner.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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interview by Joe Vaz

Damien Filer’s stories and poems have appeared in dozens of books and magazines. His short story collection From Blood to Water includes stories recognized in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror and recommended for the Nebula award. Filer is a grant recipient from the California Institute of Contemporary Arts and a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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by Mark Sykes

People of Earth, I have a warning for you, we’re all going to die in a rain of fire from the sky!!! I know this because I watch a lot of sci-fi movies. And the general message that these movies send out is that if you’re not from here and you visit Earth, vast oceans of virtually impenetrable human ignorance await you. Even if your mission is one of peace, exploration or discovery, you’re still in for a shitty, shitty time.

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)
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