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Crowded Magazine #1

Crowded Magazine #1
Crowded Magazine
Crowded Magazine is a speculative fiction magazine published as an iOS app for the iPad and as a PDF. It gives authors and subscribers a say in the stories they publish.

Crowded Magazine Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

Based in Australia, Crowded Magazine's editors Baden Chant and Ethan Fode illustrate the issues of why they would have wanted to create yet another speculative fiction magazine when there are already so many around. They make a good enough point, but when they continue to say that Crowded Magazine was an idea that spanned decades until they felt they had the right time to publish it, you tend to believe them as reading what they write in the What Why and Who editorial section seems so honest. They have made this magazine especially for the tablet computer market, so for those who have been out and bought their iPad (it's iPad only), this will be ideal. It is possible to order the magazine in a print format, but it is a little pricey.

The stories are a treat to read and will appeal to everyone -- they will all have their favourites, mine was "The Garden," by Rich Larsen, but there are others that will appeal to most, "Mirrorball" by Jason Helmandollar, "The Anything Cloak" by Michael Wehunt and "King of Shreds and Patches" by Thomas Brennan. Though it joins the ranks of the indie magazine department, the quality of the stories and the mixed genres is impressive to say the least and the cover art is just as pro looking as many other mainstream magazines in the sf, horror and fantasy vein. This has a mixture of all three, and other aspects of fantasy and horror in-between which also goes a long way to impress the discerning reader.

As it comes out three times a year, it isn't any wonder readers will want to get straight to the fiction, which is varied and excellent:

"From Sorrows Gate," by Ian McHugh

This sounds like a story that is the shaping of a deeper, more detailed world that will be worth broadening on for a series of novels. Many will find this an important look at how we react to drastic and dramatic change in our world, and what we would do in a dangerous situation if our world was under threat. As it is told from a fantasy point of view, it questions a lot of moral sides you might take if you were this particular protagonist.

"Mirrorball," by Jason Helmandollar

Aging is a concept many don't like to think about, but when people start to grow old, there are all kinds of problems they face, in this tale; we get into how the old people in the story feel as a result of age catching up with them. The two characters are easy to read about, and the writer has made their lives and what they have gone through as real as he possibly could -- and that, in my opinion is the true mark of a writer destined for good things in his career.

"Athlete's Foot," by Bill Ferris

This is one of the more speculative tales in the whole magazine, and has a thoroughly indie feel to it in terms of character and setting. It is well-written and leaves you waiting right until the very end to find out the crux of the story.

"The Wild Hunt Below the Horizon,"by David John Baker

If you are into gods and goddesses in fiction, then this will be one you will want to read as it uses the concept of world religion as a basis for the EL ethical intelligence. The characters are threaded into the story extremely well, and the story unfolds the way it should, even though there could have been more mentioned on the EL.

"The Anything Cloak," by Michael Wehunt

If you could have a cloak, what would you do with it; you would probably do what this teenager does in the story and use it for every possible occasion, even when it's not necessarily needed. There is, in this one a question of ethics, and right and wrong -- and would you do what the character in this story does with it, or would you have more sense?

"King of Shreds and Patches," by Thomas Brennan

I found this another ethics story and a case of what would you do in this situation? The setting is well constructed, and the writer manages to bring the three main characters in the story together in a clever and industrious way that many who go for this kind of speculative story will like.

"The Garden," by Rich Larsen

With Webber's mother you don't need enemies when she's the perfect antagonist. This is a creationist story gone horribly wrong, at least for Webber, and readers will find the pacing just right for a short tale that tends to stick in the mind. Rich Larsen gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a man who is at the mercy of a woman who sees herself as giving when she only wants to cause trouble in paradise.

"House Hunting," by Shannon Fay

Now we're going into fable or fairy tale territory with "House Hunting." I liked this one as it is a modern take on a fairy tale theme that wouldn't be out of place in another modern tales magazine. It starts out as a standard fantasy story with the familiar setting and characters, but soon descends into something more than expected.

"Matron Saint of Murder," by Alexander Austin

This story as far as I am concerned has it all, the believable setting, the wonderfully imagined characters and the story's original concept brought to life by a writer who obviously knows how to weave a tale.

Copyright © 2013 Sandra Scholes

Sandra has been published in many magazines in both the US and UK respectively including The British Fantasy Society, Fantasy Book Review and Love Romance Passion to name but a few, and is currently writing short fictional horror in the blazing sunshine - for once.

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