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Supernatural Tales #11
editor: David Longhorn
291 Eastbourne Avenue, Gateshead, NE8 4NN
£7.50 / $15

review by Mario Guslandi

Turned into an annual anthology for the last two years, Supernatural Tales reverts back to its original fortmat, that of a magazine featuring both fiction and non-fiction dealing with the horrific and the supernatural. Editor and publisher David Longhorn has assembled a nice issue that, in addition to book reviews, a commentary on Nigel Kneale on DVD, and an affectionate eulogy of the late Charles L. Grant by Adam Golaski, includes seven new stories by Peter Bell, Adam Golaski, Helen Grant, Joel Lane, Tony Lovell, Mark Nicholls, and D. Siddall.

Once again Longhorn's taste as a fiction editor must be highly praised. Joel Lane contributes Still Water, a tense, solid noir with a taste of horror, while Mark Nicholls provides Ramoth-Gilead, a tale with a Faustian touch and a Jamesian undercurrent, in other words a classical ghost story like the ones they used to write in the good old days.

Not everything is clear in Adam Golaski's Andie (am I getting thick or clarity is becoming a bit obsolete in today's dark fiction?). Two different women share the attention of a traveller during a forced stop due to a cancelled air flight. What is fantasy and what is reality? The narrative style is so compelling that the inconsistencies of the plot are easily forgotten and forgiven.

Two stories, however, are simply outstanding. The Sea Change by Helen Grant is an excellent piece set in the world of sea divers, where a man's life is altered forever by the discovery of a wreck sitting in deep waters. The author exhibits the uncommon ability of spreading uneasiness in every page and imparts an ambiguous sepia-like quality to the story.

In Peter Bell's deeply unsettling Nostalgia, Death & Melancholy, the dangers of going back to the places of childhood and of unearthing memories best left alone blend with the power of evil art. The solid storytelling, the exquisite wording and a deep sense of mystery and dark make the tale truly unforgettable. Supernatural Tales definitely remains a first-class magazine not to be missed by any lover of good dark fiction.
Supernatual Tales 11

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