‘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 ‘Kzine’ is packaged makes ‘Kzine’ the perfect companion for the mobile reader.

Kzine Magazine Issue 7
Cover: Dave Windett
Editorial: Graeme Hurry
A ROOM IN THE SKY by Louise Hughes
CALL HOLD by Steve Conoboy
KID SISTER by Forrest Roy Johnson
Reviews by Graeme Hurry:
THE WORLD BELOW by Mike Philips

This is my first time reading something of this sort: A collection of short stories all of them with different genres. And you know what? I enjoyed them. Some are better than the other but that only boils down to personal preferences. Each story is well written and has a unique element.

‘A Room in the Sky’, by Louise Hughes, is one of those stories that start by throwing the reader in the middle of something and explain a little bit of background through the progression of the present situation. The only sci-fi element is the environment, as Louise Hughes describes futuristic technology in the context of a stranger buying a new apartment. Louise also manages to build a world which intrigues, as through the whole story, we only get a few glimpses of this futuristic world. At its core it has a very strong emotional drive as it centres on a mother of five doing something extreme to give her children the chance for a better standard of living. Basically, it feels like a dramatised robbery in a futuristic setting with a crime out of necessity element to it. I enjoyed how things played out in the end, but, if I was given the chance to explore in more detail what pushed the woman to act in the way she did, I would have liked it more.

One of my favourite is ‘LORD LION’S DESIGN’, by Simon Kewin. I am always fond of political games embedded in a good narrative, and having one where vampires and werewolves are protagonists, makes it even better. This story is but a snapshot of a bigger picture where the main issue is discrimination and intolerance of other people or “groups” of people against one another. Instead of religion or skin colour, we have, humans, vampires and werewolves. However, what makes this clever is the fact that the main issue is a matter of pure breed and half-breed individuals. Lord Lion is a vampire, who happens to be Home Secretary of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He wants to become Prime Minister and he tries to do so by playing the usual political games. However, his plans are all thwarted by someone very close to him and he is punished, not for being a vampire, but, for his ideas of noble blood lines and what not. The story is fast paced and quite alluring. It is set in the modern world and I applaud Simon Kewin for making other races band together for a more tolerant idealism.

‘CALL HOLD’, by Steve Conoboy, is a funny transcript of a call centre. Technically, it is a transcript of a call used to train call operators of a time travelling machine producing company. This story won’t blow your sock off, but it is a well written piece of sci-fi comedy. The transcript is mainly used to highlight the dangers of abusing such techniques as random jumps and Fibre Weaving.

‘KID SISTER’, by Forrest Roy Johnson, is a short detective story which starts with a brother and a sister trying to catch a poacher, but it quickly turns into a dangerous drug related affair. Forrest Roy goes to great lengths to give a likeable character as our main protagonist who happens to be the “amateur” detective, the brother. This story ended abruptly and I wish I knew how it ends, as it builds to a climax we never get to see. Over all, it’s an average crime thriller à la famous five with an adult vibe approach.

A story that starts out innocently enough, but turns dark very quickly, ‘BLOOD OF THE SACRAFICE’, by Mike Phillips, surprised me. It starts with a man being saved from kidnapping by an old woman who happens to be a witch of some sorts. For the revenge, the villain of this piece decides to sacrifice his enemy in order to receive more mystical powers. The hero of the story is a young girl, who like her grandmother, has some sort of magical powers. An entertaining read that serves as a test for the young girl to prove her worth to her grandmother.

‘EVERY STEP YOU TAKE’, by Sarah L. Byrne, sounds like the last mission of an alien race to topple the earth’s economies. This story is all about what is right in the context of freedom of choice. This is a very insightful narrative with well written characters that really draws you into the story. Somehow I have the feeling that it tries to be a commentary about the problems of the modern world. I enjoyed it and I do place it as my second favourite, however, I think these kinds of stories suffer from being short. This particular one has the potential for more development and I mean that in a good way.

‘IT DOESN’T SOUND TOO GOOD’, by Edward McDermott, is a weird and strange tale. Basically, some private detective receives some bad news from a doctor, which the reader does not get to know and instead of doing something about it, he goes to his bar to get a drink. No, seriously, that is all there is to it. It is a good characterisation piece about the main protagonist, the P.I., since we learn a lot in the few paragraphs available. However, it left me disoriented, not knowing how to react. Is it a comedy piece or a serious one? I guess it all comes down on how you relate to the character.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading these short stories. They are thought provoking and entertaining. The writing was good in all of them and even though I feel that some are better than others, over all, they are a nice mixture. If you are looking for a short good read, I would highly recommend you pick up this issue of ‘Kzine’. Also, starting from this issue ‘Kzine’ will start an occasional Reviews section of novels published by current and past Kzine authors. They offer an extra “further reading” style to the whole experience and add an extra incentive to the fans of this particular Kzine. I also want to mention the cover design by fan favourite creator Dave Windett (who is one of our esteemed guests at the Malta Comic Con 2013) which has a unique style to it which I found stunning.

Find out more on Kzine by visiting: http://www.kzine.co.uk

Get your own copy of issue 7 from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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