Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Magazine review: Namel3ss Digest #1

Nameless Digest Volume 1

**** 1/2 Spring/summer 2012 Full color bi-annual digest.

One thing the horror fiction world is lacking is homes for short stories. It is tough finding somewhere to place short stories and even harder to find markets that will pay you anything for those stories. For years the best markets have been Cemetary Dance and Dark Discoveries. Both magazines do more than just short stories, and have for years been producing high quality work. In the last two years Dark discoveries really improved. A lot of that had to do with the partnership of DD founder James Beach with a new designer and co-editor Jason Brock (known for co-editing the Bleeding edge and Devil’s coattails with William F. Nolan). Dark Discoveries is still going strong but now Brock has branched off with Nameless. With the help of Managing editor and longtime weird tale expert S.T. Joshi it is hard to believe the quality is so strong on this the first issue.

The digest has a bold mission statement “Though the focus will always be on the macabre, weird, uncanny and esoteric, Nameless will also be a bastion for the under-appreciated idea, the unexplored possibility, the poorly understood concept. We are not a home for the pedestrian, the obvious, the common. It is a state of mind as much as anything, and as such is accepting of anyone that is curious, thoughtful and rational.”

This issue opens with a timely tribute to Ray Bradbury, whom we lost recently. Nameless is not as heavy on story as I expected featuring interesting articles on the films of Ken Russell (Tommy and Lair of the White Worm), several poems, and most interesting to me were the interviews with Australian dark surrealists Lee-Anne Raymond and Demetrios Vakras. They are fighting a legal battle over their art in their home country.

My favorite of the non-fiction articles was a piece on the influence of Poe’s “Fall of the house of Usher on Lovecraft’s “The outsider.” The best of the fiction pieces was a dark science fiction tale called “The Hungry Skull” by Gene O’Neil. I have read and reviewed two excellent books by Gene O’Neil so I was excited to see his name when I opened to the story. The only problem I see with Nameless can be found there. If I didn’t know who O’Neil was I would have finished reading the story and thought, “Wow that is great where do I find this guy.”

Nameless is really well done and I can only find one weakness and that is the lack of bios for the contributors. The Poe/Lovecraft piece is amazing and very insightful but honestly I have no Idea who James Goho is or why he is such an expert of the subject? That is a an easy fix, and really when the rest of the magazine is so well done who cares.

Fans of intelligent macabre art will enjoy this exciting new journal. Support this magazine, because lest face it there are not many paying markets and that alone makes this magazine worthwhile. The really cool part is that it is worth every penny for it’s quality.


thorns said...

Nice review, David. Now I'd like to get my mitts on a copy of this first issue. . .

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