Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review: Chizine

The Chiaroscuro (Chizine) WebZine is an electronic 'Zine featuring original work from today's best dark fiction authors and edited by Bram Stoker winning editor Brett Alexander Savory.

Opening up the fiction is Camp by Jeremy C Ship. Like the title suggests, this story could be classified in the same realm as Camp/Horror pictures. It's a Russian Doll piece of fiction, as layers are slowly stripped away to reveal a school of slaughterers that bequeath to their children the time honored traditions of the 'Camp.' Told in first person, Jeremy pulls no punches with quick, savvy lines delivered to shock and repulse. We have only a vague notion what, exactly, the Camp is for as girls and boys go through slaying initiations involving victims that are certainly not animals. Not for the squeamish, Camp fits into ChiZine nicely.

The second story felt a little bewildering; unfortunately, The Burial of the Dead by Lavie Tidharjust didn't resonate with my personal taste. There is nothing overtly wrong with the prose or sentence structure, but I dislike puzzling plots that (too me) have no meaning whatsoever. A gambling drifter in Asia is our main guy, a young man who has bought into 'The Game.' Said game seems to be played with communion wafers procreated from the corpses of the dead, which in turn hold the elements for physical transformation. It's a short-story that seems to have ingredients like that of Clive Barker's The Damnation Game, but I suspect it will hold a different structure for others.

The last of the short-fiction is The Teacher by Paul G Tremblay. Now, this story is unquestionably more entertaining. Told in an honest and eccentric first person narration, The Teacher will keep you reading until the end with its morbid, slowly-building connotations. Our female narrator is often funny and metaphorical, juggling two plot-strands related with her home life and her perverse school Teacher and his unconventional lessons. I'd be lying if I said I completely understood it , but that's just the way some stories are - and become better for it.

ChiZine also features poetry (of which I am certainly no critic). Plus the added extras of book and movie reviews. Best of all, its free of charge!

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