My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The highlight of this issue is most definitely the interview with Joe Hill. I haven’t read any of his work yet, but I’m really interested now that I’ve read this interview.
The short stories are pretty good. I found them slightly opaque, but this was generally pleasurable and atmospheric and it left some of the meaning to readers. The interviews with the writers cleared up a lot of things for me and made me appreciate these stories even more. I especially liked “They Called Him Monster” by Anaea Lay and the strange way the two characters reshape each other to return some agency and hope to the victimized party. “The Companion” by Ramsey Campbell is deliciously surreal and really frightening by the end. “And Yet, Her Eyes” by Brit Mandelo features a fascinating protagonist fragmented and devastated by war and violence and a kind of haunting after, leading to a moment when she finally has to confront what’s happening to her. “The Krakatoan” by Maria Dahvana Headley contains a surprising mix of ideas and images centered around a character who identifies as a boy trying to find out why his mothers keep leaving, set at Palomar Telescope in California.
Finally, Adam S. Doyle’s oil paintings are gorgeous, especially the dragon that emerges from a city.