Reviewed by Catherine Davis
Much of issue two of Escaping Elsewhere could be categorised as science fiction or horror. It features nine stories of varying lengths by a mixture of new and established writers as well as poetry and a book review. Aside from the black and white picture on the cover there are no illustrations.
The magazine begins with The Woodcutter by Steven Dines, a short flash that mixes the darker aspects of fairy tales with a painful reality. The writing is intense and emotive, yet the ending, although appropriate, feels a little abrupt.
Dwellers of Oar Knob by Eric S. Brown recounts a mission into a mineshaft haunted by mythological creatures. After some slightly clumsy scene setting it becomes a gory action story that doesn't quite manage to scare, although it comes close.
Shellie 3177345=465*6833 by Jason Earls is a mathematical horror story about a haunted calculator. It's an interesting concept, that a ghost could be summoned by an equation but sadly the under-developed characters prevent the story from achieving plausibility.
Todd Seaward's The End of the Whole Stupid Mess details the collapse of civilisation after a mass power failure. It is well told and, unfortunately for humanity, believable. The understandably misanthropic narrator brings humour and empathy to the story.
Sustenance by Mark E. Deloy is the tale of a man who becomes drawn into a sad and gruesome situation. The writing has a very Victorian feel, which is slightly disorientating, yet adds to the sense of isolation experienced by the narrator. It's a strange, just about plausible, story of losing control.
John Hubbard's Home Improvement is based on a rather clichéd idea; family move into mysteriously cheap house and start hearing strange noises. Although the eventual chain of events is not quite what I expected the story never really manages to rise above the cliché to become truly terrifying, and it is let down by poor characterisation.
Unclaimed by Giselle Melanson is one of those “what have we done to the Earth?” stories. A flash fiction story set in an auction house, it works well enough without bringing anything particularly new to the theme.
Peter Tennant's Jupiter Ascending begins by gently making fun of horoscopes and gradually becomes a dark tale of obsession. Its matter-of-fact tone brings humour and an air of inevitability to the story as it progresses to its natural yet shocking end.
The magazine's final story, God No, Didn't Mean by Derek J. Goodman is narrated by a music obsessed man who feels compelled to buy a non-descript looking CD in record shop. It rambles through scene setting and back-story for a little before becoming briefly chilling. Without any real explanation for the CD however, the story does not seem to reach its full potential and lacks impact.
Trial of the Grave Robber by John Grey
In the Catacombs by Christopher Hivner
History's Stalemate by Natasha Larry
Carpe Demon Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom- Julie Kenner
Escaping Elsewhere edited by Nicole Gray--Escaping Elsewhere, P. O. Box 936, Savage, MD 20763, United States of America. A5, 52pp, $5US or 4/$20US (for other countries refer to website).
Website: - www.escaping-elsewhere.com
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