Dark Tales : Issue Eleven
Reviewed By Gareth D. Jones
Another large helping of dark and disturbing fiction arrives in the form of Dark Tales #11. The whole issue is entertaining and varied in contents, and looks and feels quite smart too.
The opening story this issue is A. Reader’s Half Life, which is the name of a drug that reduces the patient’s age by half. Sounds like miracle, but as is usually the case there are unforeseen and rather unsettling side effects. The story is well written, and does a good job of outlining the true horror of the situation, with a profoundly thoughtful ending. At least, I thought it was the end, only to find another few paragraphs over the page that I thought rather blunted the impact. So, choose for yourself which end you think best.
Niall McMahon recounts A Dream of Faces, the touching tale of a young boy’s encounter with a terribly scarred burns victim who touches his life for a while. His initial reactions, the subsequent development of their relationship and her ultimately profound effect on his life really are engagingly told. The feelings of both come across well and ensure that the story will stay with you.
Debt is a story of lycanthropy by Andrew J Oliver. It’s only short, so there’s no real development of the characters or motivations beyond a brief setting of the scene. It’s also written in the second person, which I always find a little odd, but that’s just a matter of taste. The confusion and disorientation are conveyed well, but no real explanation is given. The success of the story then depends on whether you like reasons for the strange goings-on, or whether you’re happier with the unexplained.
A man attempting to retrieve his lost wallet from an eccentric old woman is the setting for Davin Ireland’s Growing Season. There’s some good descriptive work of the decrepit house and the overgrown garden, with the old lady becoming more and more creepy. The tale develops well as bewilderment and frustration set in, slowly giving way to horror as the old lady’s true purpose becomes clear. I’m giving up gardening after reading this.
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