Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Black Gate 12

I finished reading the latest issue of Black Gate, so I thought I’d post a review of some of the content as a way of drawing further attention to my favorite magazine. By the way, if you’d like to read this issue of Black Gate, it is available for a limited time as a FREE DOWNLOAD.

“Oblivion is the Sweetest Wine” by John R. Fultz is well told, arguably the best tale of the issue. The protagonist is an experienced thief with lofty plans of retirement, and I found myself hoping he would succeed. I didn’t know exactly where the story was going, so I was a bit shocked by the turn of events.

“Payment in Full” by James Enge is the latest tale of Morlock the Maker, continuing with many of the same characters from “The Lawless Hours,” published in Issue 11. I liked the voice of the female narrator, demonstrating Enge’s extending range as a writer. It was an enjoyable read, and I have but one critique. Just as Christopher Walken’s character in a Saturday Night Live sketch needed more cowbell from Blue Öyster Cult, I needed more Morlock from this story. Too many other characters were crowding him out. Not that they were bad characters, but I don’t like to see Morlock’s spotlight stolen for too long.

Martha Wells contributed another piece with Ilias and Giliead in “Houses of the Dead.” I know she has a lot of published material with these two characters, but I like that she didn’t expect the readers to know all of it. I’m sure there were some points of interest for those who have read much more than me, but I was given enough structure to understand this world and the two characters without needing to read Wells’ other volumes. “Houses of the Dead” pulled me in quickly by presenting a mystery that Ilias and Giliead needed to solve with their limited experience. I hope to see more tales with these characters in future issues.

I wish I had more time to review the other stories. I enjoyed all of them (although I skipped out on the Tumithak story) and recommend reading the entire issue. Download a copy while you still can!


James Enge said...

Thanks for the kind words, Matt. I'll try and amp up the cowbell in future stories.

Matthew Wuertz said...

Guess what?! I've got a fever, and the only prescription... is more Morlock!