Sapphira’s Castle, Series 3, issue 7 (September 2006). Ed. Saxa Aleixo. Pp. 60. $5.00 (approx £2.80).

Reviewed by Flora Fabiana

(Notice.) A copy of this hard-to-acquire journal was picked up at Fantasy-Con in Nottingham last year, by a correspondent who kindly passed it onto me when she was done. Apparently Sapphira’s Castle is edited by Portugal-based Aleixo, but distributed via a small publisher in the USA, and hence found its way to a dealer’s table at the UK fantasy convention. I’m told she was given this copy by Clive Barker, who said it was worth reading.

Well into the third relaunch of this rather venerable journal of classic gothic horror and paranormal romance fiction, this issue contains four medium-length stories and a substantial introduction by the enthusiastic and clearly knowledgeable Aleixo, who not only speaks to the resurgence of the paranormal romance genre in the mainstream, but also gives in-depth and helpful background on the authors and stories featured herein. None of the stories are weak: one is a reprint from a mid-1990s chap-book, the others original. The stand-out is Mercy Monica Otis’s “Steel Handler,” a ghost story full of social commentary, heart-ache, and ambiguous ending. How nice that people are still producing labours of love such as this small journal, and long may they continue to do so.

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