01/01/2012. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: The Australian Horror Writers Association. 126 page illustrated magazine. Price: download $ 1.99 (AUS), subscription details on website..
check out website www.midnightechomagazine.com
This is the first time I've read ‘Midnight Echo’, the bi-annual magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the fiction. A Science Fiction special edition, it contained stories that will make you think and shudder at the same time, stories where you will be in fear of losing your soul and reason for existence.
There's lots of good stuff coming from Australia at the moment. We've already seen some of it reviewed in SFCrowsnest, notably ‘Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine’ and ‘Midnight Echo’ magazine is no exception. In the PDF format which I reviewed here, it's 126 pages in length and contains 11 stories, a couple of interviews, poetry, biographies and reviews. I thought the art was exceptionally good. In the introduction and throughout the magazine, we have some of the sinister creatures from ‘Eye Of Infinity’, written by David Conyers, plus lots of colour and monochrome illustrations combining together to make this a very appealing publication. Professionally done, I would say.
Artwork does make a big difference to a magazine only if it is in the right context and strategically placed throughout the pages to maintain the interest of the reader. A difficult task at any time but it seems to be successful here. I like the way it continues from the editorial right through to the end. A well balanced publication!
Attractive as the magazine may be, if the fiction isn't up to scratch then it's not worth the effort. Fortunately, the fiction proved to be very good. ‘Earthworms’ written by Cody Goodfellow was the opening story. It sort of turned the world upside down. Okay, we are making a right mess of the planet and in the future matters will probably be quite catastrophic but what if this changed Earth was just the ticket for an alien species? Terraforming in a completely different sense! This story pulled the rug from under your feet and the ending was quite prophetic.
There were a couple of excellent interviews with Charles Stross, the author of ‘Rule 34 And The Laundry’ series and also the Science Fiction illustrator, Chris Moore. Really good question and answer interviews with lots of opinion and explanation.
In the fiction, we are taken to Neptune and its satellite Triton and also to a distant star in the future which has an accretion disc of billions of dead bodies. Then there are black slaves sailing aboard a Portuguese ship in the 16th century, calling for their God to save them only to find that this god doesn't really mind who he eats.
The overall quality of the fiction was of a high standard, professional in its delivery and command of the English language. A pleasing range of styles and subject matter, sufficient to keep you interested all the way through the magazine. There is also a comprehensive book review section which covered a large number of publications.
There are lots of magazines out there on the market, some in print, some on-line and some in both formats as with this one, ‘Midnight Echo’. With hard economic times now with us, many will go to the wall but where the quality is good and engaging, there should be enough support for some to survive. I haven't read this magazine before but I was taken by its quality and readability. I would definitely say that this is one to recommend to discerning readers, wishing for something a little bit different. As mentioned, it is Australian and hardcopy subscription prices vary depending on where you are in the world so it would be best to consult their website for more information.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA