Here’s a grungy little roadside pump station and redneck hellbilly museum out in the back of beyond. You pull in, switch off, listen to the isolated, isolating silence. And as your car is ticking down in the subtly insect-chirping night, this guy in filthy overalls comes out. His name is Cain he tells you, and this surely could not bode well. The overalls are stained with grease and crimson and odd-smelling lube, and he’s got a funny little smile this guy, when he does smile, and black under his fingernails and when he slips that bowser nozzle into your uncapped tank it feels like abuse. A service molestation.
Something grubby pale and close to the ground waits, back in the shadows of the doorway the attendant emerged from. You think it may be a dog. A cur that has sniffed at and rubbed against geeks and freaks and two-headed everythings for too many years. Dark wisdom in the eyes above its whiskered muzzle. It grumbles and mumbles to itself.
This guy’s actually quite amiable and he won’t let you go until you come inside and visit his dingy old museum and view the exhibits therein. And you end up opening your boot and bringing out one of the preserved, jarred oddities that you travel with, to offer him. And he is happy to barter.
It’s been a long wait, but the double issue of pulp favourite Dark Animus has finally arrived, crawling from a convenient sewer opening and slithering its black- and red-flecked self into select postal boxes. Is it worth the wait and the close to twenty dollars you’ll be paying for its 160 pages?
Firmly bound, a vividly coloured cover somewhat reminiscent of the Oriental Tales of old. Thirteen stories, a couple of them novelette length, one a prizewinner, five by Australian authors, two by American pulp meister Tim Curran, a sprinkling of four poems, seventeen pieces of art.
Science fiction horror, killer hand puppets, V.R. shenanigans, grotty sword and sorcery, sexual escapades with the dead living, fear of marine creatures, monster invasion, exhumations, witchcraft, demons, werewolves and post-apocalyptic spectres.
I openly profess my fondness for the works of Curran. He seems to love what he does, a fine workman in the niche he has chosen, and, hey, he’s a fan of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
It’s disappointing to read that, henceforth, this print publication will be solely electronic. However, an e-version of this mag will certainly be better than none. Whatever it takes to keep this dark spirit alive and raising Cain.