Not to long ago I had the privilege of reading and reviewing Midnight Echo magazine issue 8. Midnight Echo is the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association. Midnight Echo comes out about twice a year. Each issue contains over 100 pages of horror literature, art, poetry, a regular column on understanding poetry, author interviews, articles on movies and a vampire comic called Allure of the Ancients which is illustrated by the author from episode 91 of Horror addicts, Greg Chapman.
The theme for issue 9 of Midnight Echo is mythology. The issue contains an article on Russian mythology and every story in the magazine deals with mythological creatures. Some of the stories in this magazine include Changeling by Jonathan Mayberry which is about shape shifters, The Wee Folk by JG Faherty about a group of little people who live in the woods and kill those who bother them and there is another great story by the name of Little Boy, Little Girl Lost In The Woods by Mark Patrick Lynch which gets into witches and Hansel and Gretel. This story shows how much fun fairy tales can be with a horror twist thrown in.
My favorite story is The Fathomed Wreck To See by Alan Baxter which takes a look at the myth of Sirens. This story is so amazingly good that I’m dying to ruin it so I can talk about it, but I won’t because I really think you should buy Midnight Echo issue 9 and read it for yourself. The story is about a man named Dylan who is having problems with his wife and a Siren who wants Dylan to herself. This is a love story but it looks at the dark side of love and is not one of those make you feel good kind of love stories.
Proving that Midnight Echo is not your normal horror magazine is the regular column called Tartarus by Charles Lovecraft which helps explain how metre and resonance are used in dark poetry. There is also a great article on movies based on Australian myths including films about a haunted house and one about an Aboriginal spirit that feeds on animals, women and children called the Bunyip. The magazine also includes articles on Middle Earth mythology, an interview with the creator of the comic Killeroo and an interview with author James A Moore.
Midnight Echo is an excellent horror magazine. This magazine is for the hard-core horror fan, the type that can’t go to long without reading a good horror story or watching a horror movie. It’s also for the people who are always on the look out for great horror fiction, art, and interviews with the people who make them. If you’re not a hard-core horror fan you might not be able to appreciate it, but If you live and breathe horror, you owe it to yourself to buy a copy.
I also recently read After the Fire by D. Alexander Ward. Things started simple enough, two boys named Frankie and Lane at the age of 12 decide to go on a little adventure. There is a house in their town known as the witch house and they decide to explore it while the witch is out-of-town.
They break into the witch’s house and see things that they’ve never witnessed before. They hear a noise in the attic and decide to investigate and see something that makes their worst nightmares seem tame. In a rush to escape the witch’s house they knock a candle down and start a fire and Lane is killed in the blaze.
As an adult Frankie is plagued by constant nightmares of that day. Some horrors never go away and have a tendency to ruin your life. Will he come to terms with what he saw in that house, and the death of his friend or will the nightmares haunt him for the rest of his life?
After The Fire is a psychological horror story that looks at how one horrific event can affect your life forever. There is some great and disturbing imagery in this book. The way the witch’s house is described was excellent, including the pictures of post death Victorian corpses that the house contains. This is a good tale about redemption and confronting your personal demons. Its also a short read with great characters, a lot of action and enough spooky atmosphere and gore to keep horror fans happy.