July 30, 2012

Rabid Reads: "Abomination Magazine #1" edited by Corey J. Goldberg

Abomination Magazine #1
edited by Corey J. Goldberg
April 2012

When I opened up the first issue of Abomination, I really didn't know what lay in wait for me. I naturally assumed I would get a few horror stories from an upstart magazine, a couple of which I might actually like. Abomination surprised me.

Corey's introduction offers a sincere message from a guy who loves horror enough to start another venue in which to showcase it, but he makes it plain that it's not just some short stories he wants to highlight. It seems poets and artists are welcome to the fold as well.

Following the introduction is a remarkably good drawing entitled "Bite," of a couple sitting on a bench, though the macabre tone of the actual picture is less romantic and quaint that just that. One of the things I like about illustrations like "Bite," as well as the three others included, is that they complement the written word amplify the tone and timber of a book. What's more, speaking of illustrations, this inaugural issue even included a short story in the form of a comic strip. "The Power of Dreams" by Michael Gedkowski was a Lovecraftian-inspired crime story with graphics as rough as the subject matter.

What brought me to the dance is the stories, though.

William J. Fedigan's "Burning Like Dead Skin" was the first short story and probably made it quite clear that Abomination wasn't out to print pure pulp. The writing style had a kind of staccato feel to it, told through the eyes of a couple very disturbed criminals. It was a bit murky at first, but once I adjusted the style it was a really good story.

"Selection" by W.B. Stickel was memorable, due in part to its reminiscence to an old Twilight Zone episode I remember of a Nazi soldier who learns what it's like to be a Jew under the thumb of German tyrants. Where "Selection" stands apart is its introduction, intriguing characters (especially the visitor named Melaku), and the remorseless tone.

My favorite story would have to be Matthew S. Dent's "Whispers in the Skin Garden." This one harkened back to some of those wonderfully dark fusions of horror and sci-fi from years past. Imagine endless fields of living skin, grown for the purposes of skin grafts and the like in a not-so-distant future, then imagine the poor bastards who have to tend those fields. The grim resignation of the narrator really came through and evoked a lot of sympathy.

At face value, this first issue feels like a hodgepodge of horrors, with its varying forms of storytelling. But if you're a person who is open to dark fiction that comes in a myriad of forms, you may want to keep an eye on this one. For a ragamuffin magazine, it shows a lot of promise.

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