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As a sort of magazine, this collection of tales, tied to a loose definition of witchery, is surprisingly good, only 2 or 3 real duds. (Horror, in general, is becoming more nuanced these days – in literature and in life.) I've never been able to put up with horror poetry, so I skipped the ending pile of bad rhyming. The opening story, "Though Shalt Not Suffer" by Matt Neill Hill, makes the trials of a child destined to become inquisitor and immolator in a Cormac McCarthy future horrifyingly comprehensible. In Adrian Cole's "No Holds Barred," a middle executive makes his way up the corporate ladder through eliminations arranged by a trio of Macbethian allies. And I particularly liked "Laying the Hairy Book" by Josh Reynolds, on how to get rid of an ancient instruction manual for the black arts that refuses to be destroyed. No need to detail the rest of the collection. It's worth it – far more than the $.99 I paid online. But I wish that the editors at Wildside Press would hire a couple actual proofreaders. The glaring typos and verbal blunders are like stepping on gravel while walking up the stairway.
Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2017
WEIRDBOOK Annual #1, theme "Witches" is now available! From its re-boot outset, #31, this always quality filled zine has in many a way respected the form of the poem, not to mention, put the name of Clark Ashton Smith/his material (as well as some fine Cthulhu Mythos stuff) within each issue from the outset & including the anniversary issue, thus today's generation of readers are also becoming aware of CAS smile emoticon:)
Multi-talented editor of Weirdbook Doug Draa has always been a stanch supporter of poems, not to mention, outstanding material in the field of today's label of "Weird"...heck, Draa put himself on the line with this anniversary issue by getting more poetry/verses into the issue than originally allowed for it! Publisher/Executive Editor John Gregory Betancourt and Consulting Editor W. Paul Ganley have also been a shining light of Literature unwavering from years ago to its current manifestation - this duo's work of blood, sweat, and labors of Love are truly appreciated indeed smile emoticon:)
Speaking of labors, the work of true craftpesonship in every issue by Steve Coupe should not be over-looked as each and every issue of Weirdbook has physically been impressive and this huge volume for the anniversary release is simply awesome! Among others, all those who have had poems/verses included in this zines owe a fantastic debt to Steve as his lay out for each & all have been most appropriate and stunning indeed visually and as a very professional manner of presentations for each, not merely a group paste and such for the usual step-child of such publications!
This anniversary issue contains the finest in what can be truly called Poets/Poems that are far from being niche material to the best of talented mechcanical versifers as H. P. Lovecraft basically refered to himself! S.L. Edwards' "The Witch-Queen," David F. Daumit's "The Ballad of Blighted Marsh," and Chad Hensley's "Little Youkai at the Witch House" are fantastic examples of what CAS felt was the best in poetry's goals - being Imaginative Poetry & was the sign of true Poets indeed! smile emoticon:)
Too often, the women in such a field, especially today, are often overlooked for their outstanding gifts and additions to Literature,,, much less the "weird" field...but this anniversary issue has some of the most impressive ones out there practicing the craft in such superior style, not simply relying on way over-used themes and subject matter & forms! "Salty," by the gifted Lucy A. Snyder, " "A Witche's Work is Never Done," by Lori R. Lopez is one of the most originally clever of such tales, and "A Warlock Slips Into My Dreams," by Darla Klein is so right on to bring this volume to a "conclusion"! "Witches" is something that will just keep on giving for years to come and most certainly well worth ones hard earned cash indeed! As Editor Draa well puts its in his opening editorial, ""You can rest assured that each and every contributor is a master/mistress of the strange, the bizarre, the frightening, and lastly, the ENTERTAINING!"
Lots and lots of readable prose here (don't understand poetry that much). Let me mention some of the gloriously bewitching stuff that I came across : 1. 'No Holds Bard' by Adrian Cole 2. 'Strange Days in Old Yandrissa' by John R. Fultz 3. 'Hag Race' by Andre E. Harewood 4. 'Best Friend Becky' by Wayne Faust 5. 'Pulled Over' by Paul Spears 6. 'The Witch of Pender' by John Linwood Grant (Mama Lucy adventure— goes without saying!) 7. 'The Nora Witch' by Brandon Jimison Overall, a really solid anthology that you might enjoy no matter what the season is. Recommended.