The Dark: Issue 1, October 2013

 The Dark: Issue #1, October 2013

The Dark: Issue #1, October 2013

My exploration of literary magazines continues!

Today, I dove into the very first issue of The Dark, from October 2013.

And. It. Is. GREAT.

There are only four stories—and it occurs to me that there are probably some readers who might balk at the idea of paying $2.99 for four short stories? Especially readers who're used to buying entire books on sale for $1.99?

Here's how I look at it. For one thing, $2.99 is less than the price of most comic books, let alone magazines. For another, I just like the idea of supporting projects like this.

And crucially: In so, so many anthologies and collections, there's a range of quality, with some stories being far and away stronger than others—but not so here. All four stories—all written by women, by the way—are EXCELLENT. They're all dark-ish fantasy, but still all quite different—one is warmer and funnier than the others (the Okorafor), one is more romantic (the Swirsky), one is set in a world that I very much want to visit again (the Slatter), and one is much scarier than others. 

Seriously, Lisa L. Hannett's Another Mouth is really, really scary:

White-crested waves crash on the coast as the young stranger creeps up the stairs. With arctic tread it slips into the house, shoeless and solemn and pale. Its trousers rolled above the ankle, sleeves above the wrists. Scalloped buttons carved of shell run the length of its arms, grazing Maura’s belly as it slinks past. She shudders at the creature’s touch, light though it is, somehow more feather than flesh.

Before pulling up a chair at the table, the wight glances at Maura. Nods with an almost imperceptible tilt of its chin.

Yes, she reads in that gesture. I am hungry

It's been a while since I've had a literally hair-raising reading experience, but I can reset the timer now, hoo boy. 

All of the authors were new to me except for Nnedi Okorafor, and you'd better believe that I'll be seeking out more by all of them. And, hooray hooray, now I've got a whole ton more back issues to read! *hits the buy button on Issue #2*