In the last year, Journalstone publishing has grown to be a major publisher of horror and speculative fiction in the United States. Over the last year they have published several new novels, taken over the Hell Notes horror blog and bought Dark Discoveries Magazine. In addition to that they also have become the US distributor for Midnight Echo, the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association.
Midnight Echo issue 8 has just been released and has something that all horror fans will like. It contains 130 pages of dark literature, poetry, comics, interviews, art work, editorials, book reviews and non fiction pieces on mysterious locations in Australia. Just looking through Midnight Echo magazine, you can see that it was a labor of love to put this magazine together. The artwork is beautiful and the writing is excellent. The Australian Horror Writers Association does a great job of promoting horror art and literature in Australia, and they prove it in this magazine.
There are 12 short stories in this magazine with subjects ranging from zombies to an insane over protective mother. One of my favorite stories was A Visit With Friends by Joe R Lansdale. This story takes place in the future when people who didn’t get flu shots start to turn into zombies. There are four main characters, two of them have started to trap zombies and torture them which leads the other two to decide if the zombies deserve compassion or are they mindless creatures. I loved how the end leaves the reader thinking about what is morally right or wrong.
Another good story here is Blissful Ignorance by Matt Wedge which is about a very religious, overprotective mother and is told from a young girl’s prospective. The ending of this one is shocking and may be hard to read if your a guy. A lot of the the stories in Midnight Echo are by Australian writers or take place in Australia. I think this makes Midnight Echo different then other horror magazines and gave things a local flavor.
Issue 8 of Midnight Echo also contains 3 poems and an article on understanding poetry written by Charles Lovecraft. Since I find most poetry goes over my head, I found the article very helpful. Other non fiction material in Midnight Echo includes an article about diseases in horror films written by Gary Kemble, an art column that explores the world of horror comics and interviews with Jack Ketchum, Lee Battersby and Glen Chadbourne.
The people who put together Midnight Echo aren’t satisfied with bringing you fiction and interviews, they also have some great artwork by Glen Chadbourne , Chris Mars, who did the cover and David Schembri. The magazine also includes an ongoing comic series about vampires called Allure Of The Ancients, The Key To His Kingdom written by Mark Farrugia and illustrated by Greg Chapman.
Looking through the pages of Midnight Echo magazine, its obvious that everyone involved in the creation of the magazine has a passion for what they do. In the opening of issue 8 the editors say they want to publish “hard-edged-horror that pushed the boundaries and also blurred the distinction between right and wrong. ” I think they have succeeded in making readers feel scared and entertained at the same time. Midnight Echo is a magazine for horror lovers by horror lovers and I think if your into horror you should give this magazine a shot.