Kzine is a genre based digital magazine for Kindle. Edited by Graeme Hurry (Kimota) Kzine is published 3 times a year, and each issue collects a number of short stories from different writers which mainly range from science fiction, horror, fantasy and crime. The varied stories, their short length and the digital format in which the whole zine is packaged makes Kzine the prefect companion for the mobile reader. Issue 3 was released towards the end of May and Issue 4 will be released at the end of September 2012.

Fan favourite creator Dave Windett (who was one of our esteemed guests at the Malta Comic Con 2010) and is the designer for all the Kzine covers sent Wicked Comics an advanced copy of Kzine Issue 3, which Chris Le Galle will hereby review.

Kzine Magazine Issue 3

Cover: Dave Windett

Editorial: Graeme Hurry

A New Conscience: Anthony W. Eichenlaub

Artificial: J. Michael Shell

Depths: C.I. Kemp

Deamworld: Caroline Dunford

In His Eyes: Milo James Fowler

The Danger in Between: Ian Welke

The Horrid Music of the Hydrogen Band: Don Norum

Once upon a time (when I still had hair on my head and my beer belly was not yet conceived) I was sitting in a classroom as part of my English A level studies. Despite this being over two decades ago I still remember it very clearly. Professor Camilleri Gauci posed this question: “Do you think people today read more or less than they used to in the past?” Class consensus was that due to the distractions brought about by new (at the time) technology people were reading less. However, the professor with a wicked smile said that he taught because of technology people were actually reading more. He further explained that though he agreed with us that reading in a traditional sense was on the decline, people were still reading more. Reading habits had changed and since at the time the internet revolution was just starting (at least in Malta) people were reading emails and articles on the net, people were also reading newspapers, magazines and comics, reading text while playing video games and watching TV and reading subtitles while watching movies. His point was that people were reading in shorter bouts but as a result reading on the whole was on the increase.

This was the first thing that came to my mind while reading the editorial of Kzine #3. What was true more than two decades ago still holds true today, perhaps even more. With the fast pace of life people might have less time on their hands, and Kzine is designed with this concept in mind. Offering people on the go interesting short stories, which do not hurt their pockets nor burdens them with weight. Welcome to the digital age! But with so much digital material available with the click of a button, how does Kzine fare?

The first thing that struck me whilst reading issue 3 was that the stories on offer were varied enough to appeal to different tastes of people, yet consistent enough to be packaged together. As a writer I’ve always believed that short stories are perhaps harder to nail, because although a strong ending is a must in all creative writing, when it comes to short stories the strength of the ending actually defines the success or otherwise of that particular story. A case in point is the Don Norum’s horror/sci-fi The Horrid Music of the Hydrogen Band. Being a tad too scientific for my particular liking, I must admit that at times I made an effort to read through it. However, its explosive ending was so rewarding that in the end I was glad I stuck with it.

If writing a short story demands impressive skill, offering a selection of stories from different writers that tackle different themes, is perhaps harder still. But judging from the high quality of the seven stories on offer here this is something that editor Graeme Hurry excels in. All the stories on offer stimulate the mind and entertain in equal measures. Out of the seven stories here, five I enjoyed immensely, Norum’s entry was a tad sluggish but I loved it’s ending, while Ian Welke’s The Danger in Between I enjoyed reading but felt it lacked a killer punch.

The standard on offer here is so good that I can’t make up my mind which story I liked best and if I have to be brutally honest it’s a tie between Eichenlaub’s sci-fi/crime story A New Conscience, Shell’s romantic/Sci-fi entry Artificial and Kemp’s fantasy/mystery Depths. I found all these three particularly intriguing, easy to read but still intellectually stimulating. Fowler’s multi genre In His Eyes, and Dunford’s mesmerising Dreamworld come close second. Really good stuff. I think the reason these stories work so well is that irrespective of the genre they all touch upon emotions everybody can identify with. You don’t need to be into a particular style to get the best out of them, if you like good story telling then you’ll love Kzine issue 3.

A word of praise also goes to cover artist Dave Windett. The fact that I am a big fan of his cartooning is no secret, but the different approach (photo manipulation) adopted for his work on the covers of Kzine highlight his versatility. Mysterious, intriguing, subtle and a touch of humanity are all elements incorporated in the cover. The covers do enough to tease you into guessing what the zine is all about but as with the actual content of the stories in it, you never quite know what you’re in for before you actually read them.

Whether you’re interested in science fiction, horror, fantasy and crime or whether you simply want to read some entertaining (often taught provoking) short stories, with Kzine you can’t go wrong. If Graeme manages to keep the quality of the stories as good as they are in this one, success for Kzine is guaranteed!

Find out more on Kzine by visiting:

http://www.kzine.co.uk

Get your own copy of issue 3 from Amzon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

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