Reviewed by Sophie Yorkston
In the future, time travel is outlawed. It is almost impossible for criminals to dispose of anyone. But with their hold of an illegal device, the mob can send people back in time to disappear. Their agents in the past are called ‘loopers’. They kill and dispose of every assignment. Part of their contract is one day they will deal with their own remaining loose end—their future selves. This day comes with a golden handshake and a promise of 30 years of retirement before they will be sent backwards to be their loop’s end.
The Navy Mammalian Military Program has had some unexplained losses. Captain Sullivan wishes to get to the bottom of it. Will his worst fears be realised when he reveals an insidious cetacean plot? SY
Captain Sullivan was given to waive formalities and allow his crew of dolphin trainers to address him as “Skipper” when his mood was right or the circumstances favorable. Neither beneficent mood nor favorable circumstances prevailed as he prepared to address a meeting he had called of his “Military Dolphins,” a sobriquet his trainers bestowed on themselves in honor of the dolphins they trained.
He picked up a sheet of paper from those piled on the dais in front of him. Simultaneous with his beginning to read, there appeared on the screen behind him a grinning Lieutenant Daniels (junior grade). “November 17—Clifford ‘Smiling Jack’ Daniels was laid to rest today with full military honors. Something had ripped his oxygen tank clear off his body. A shark, possibly. Lieutenant Daniels was added to the investigation which had begun with the first death.”
Despite the solemnity of the moment, seeing Daniel’s cognomen under the photo, Sullivan had to force down a smile at how those in the military loved to bestow nicknames.
Reviewed by Damien Smith
Earthfall: The Battle Starts Here is the first book in the new Earthfall series by Mark Walden, author of the excellent young adult H.I.V.E. series.
An extortion attempt leads to more trouble than any of the parties had bargained for. When a gift horse appears, perhaps it should be looked in the mouth, before it’s too late. Revenge, murder and the supernatural all feature in this great story from an author, whose debut anthology will be published late in 2012. SY
I tightened my grey overcoat as I ran through the busy city streets on the chill morning, sirens already echoing behind me. A weight, hot and hard pulled at the inside pocket of my coat. I supported it with my hand.
The noise, I thought, that’s what did it.
The sound they’d made, a kind of muted popping was hardly discernible from the traffic noise of the city outside. But me? Well I had to defend myself and it was loud; my gun didn’t have a silencer.
Detective Pol Broadleaf is stuck with the baffling case of a slippery serial killer. When the murderer is as skillful as a chameleon, Pol cannot get a grip on him. The danger is closer to home than Pol knows, and he may already be too late. Set on a space station, Warren Goodwin’s story is gritty and gives us all idea of what it means to work a tough beat. We look forward to seeing more of Warren’s work, as his debut novel is slated for publication in winter 2012/3. SY
Detective Pol Broadleaf stepped through the holographic police barrier and nodded at the patrolman on the other side. The young officer started to say something, then changed his mind. Probably ‘good morning’, which it decidedly is not. Especially for the vic. The door to C-8-14 was open and a female patrol officer stood there. Good. The forensics team hasn’t arrived. Better yet, neither has the press.
“Detective.” The woman was shaken, but only another cop would spot it. “It’s messy.”
“Who found the body?”
“Neighbor. He works the same shift, and noticed the open door.”
Werewolves and vampires make unusual dinner companions, but in a time of truce, dinner at Azurewrath is for the purposes of peace. Thomas Cromley knows that somewhat is amiss, but cannot figure it out. A story of genteel society, where not even mythological creatures can resist intrigue. Esme Carpenter is one of the youngest authors in our catalogue, but her recent young teen novel, Against the Elements, is definitely a testament to her skill as a writer. SY
Watch your back.
That’s the only piece of advice I was ever given. It’s served me, for the most part. If you don’t watch your back, things can happen back there that you wouldn’t ever see. Dodgy dealings, snide comments. Stabbings. And suchlike. But it’s the piece of advice that I draw on when I’m invited to Azurewrath.
I couldn’t tell you why my Order sends me there. I hate the place, I hate the company, and worse besides they hate me too. Common courtesy, I guess. Keeping the peace. Whatever peace there is. I don’t trust the smiles they give me at Azurewrath. I don’t trust the cutlery.
But even vampires know not to stab a werewolf at a dinner party. I suppose, with the cutlery at least, I’m safe. If I watch my back.
Reviewed by Mysti Parker
Sequels are tricky things. Sometimes they lack the novelty and excitement of the first book in a series, particularly when the book is the second in a trilogy. Often, those books serve more as a segue into the finale than as a stand-alone story in themselves. I’m happy to report, however, that Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, performed as well as any solo book of its genre.
In edition 4 we were pleased to have published Gary McMahon’s short story,Toy, a compelling story about what is fashionable. In this review we are pleased to have Gary under the spotlight with some probing questions by Editor-in-Chief of SQ Mag, Sophie Yorkston. GH
SQ: What sparked your love of the horror and supernatural?
GMc: I’m really not sure. According to my mother, even as a small child I was drawn to the macabre. She tells a story about pushing me through a local market in my pram and letting me choose a poster for my room from a stall selling books, comics, posters, etc…apparently, I chose something with a man riding a giant spider and stabbing it in the eye with a spear. I actually remember that image. She didn’t let me have the poster.
SQ: Your writing has been compared to your countryman, Clive Barker. What do you think of this comparison? Read the rest of this entry
John sat on the floor, wishing desperately he hadn’t stubbed his last cigarette out. If he was outside, he could smoke; but he wasn’t outside, and the idea of getting up and walking all the way to the front door just to go outside and smoke seemed ridiculously tedious. If he was going to go that far, he might as well just go home. Which didn’t seem like such a bad idea, really.
He climbed to his feet, steadying himself against the wall. His hand was completely encircled by one large yellowed water stain, a blemish that started in the top right-hand corner of the room and widened and narrowed, almost artistically, all the way down to the floor. He stared at the stain for way too long, thinking about how much fun it would be to trace the shape of the stain with a black magic marker, fill in the shape with doodles and squiggles, turn it into a real piece of artwork. He forced himself to take the two small staggering steps that would take him out of the room and into the hallway leading to the living room, the hallway full of family photos framed in cheap flowery metal frames, all the pictures of Keith and Sarah’s family, including the ones of the two children they lost. The little girl, aged five, and the little boy, aged nine, both dead.
This hallway never seemed right to him. There was too much before photographed and cataloged in this walk, and it bothered him. This hallway belonged to a nice house, of a happy family, and of him as a welcome guest, wearing clean clothes and bearing gifts like nice bottles of wine and takeout food and even flowers, like some smarmy character from a feel-good television show. The walk through the short hallway always felt to him like drowning, and it was only with the greatest exertion that he pulled himself along the wall through the congested hallway and into the living room.
Keith was sitting on the couch with a little boy. The room was full of hungover people ruffling the little boy’s short hair again and again, with the boy smiling patiently through it all as if happy to be in the center of attention. “That’s my boy!” said Keith, again and again, his arm around the boy’s shoulders. He also ruffled the little boy’s haircut. Sarah, in the kitchen making Irish coffees for everyone, smiled every time Keith said “That’s my boy,” patting her stomach as though to reassure the baby inside that he or she would also receive similar accolades once born.
Welcome all to November.
As we reached our last issue for 2012, I look back at all we’ve achieved this year.
A big thanks to all who have supported us with their incredible images, narratives, and stories about themselves. We’re moving onwards and upwards for SQ Mag and we could not do it without your ongoing interest and contributions.
Our eye-catching cover this month comes to us courtesy of a very good friend of the editor, Steven Thor Gunnin. He’s a graphic designer from Illinois whose work I had the pleasure of being introduced to while he completed his Masters here in Australia. He’s been published in a number of anthologies, including Elements of Time: Past, Present, Future and Elements of the Soul. He lives with his wife Lucinda, who is also a writer, and cat Rain.
In this edition we follow up with Gary McMahon, who tells us a bit more about how his life influences his writing and some insights into his method. This Yorkshire author has written many short stories and novels, such as Rain Dogs, Hungry Hearts, Pretty Little Dead Things, Dead Bad Things and the Concrete Grove trilogy.