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Frederick J. Mayer and Zhar’s Outré House

Weirdbook No. 34 page 78From Weirdbook No. 34:

Award-winning poet Frederick J. Mayer’s short story, “Zhar’s Outré House,” is a meld of poetry and narrative that delights in description over deed. For example: “The vivacious vixenish lead vocalist gave a fleeting foxy wink to her awaiting, appreciating, but inattentive friends situated in the darkly lit place’s menses red vinyl half-moon shaped booth. Dr. Anne du Voor, whose robust rotundity displayed how an obese form could show no excess fat; Dr. Koh Rei-mi’s, in her prime forties, physique could of been that of a young model for August Rodin and Lady Jones.”

Franklyn Searight: Excavation

Weirdbook No. 34 page 60From Weirdbook No. 34:

In “Excavation” by Franklyn Searight, a lightning strike in Morris Clooney’s front yard seems to have triggered something. Over the coming months the earth rises to form a rectangular bed, a puzzle with no logical explanation. Even when Morris hires a young neighbor to literally dig into the matter, his questions remain. Then, one night the answer begins to materialize in a remarkably explicit dream from a time long past.

J. Michael Major’s In the Gallery

Weirdbook No. 34 page 48From Weirdbook No. 34:

J. Michael Major gives readers a peek inside the art scene, with “In the Gallery.” It’s all quite inspirational as we follow an accomplished painter, who shares his life’s canvas with his new protégé—including some enjoyable asides on the ups and downs of the creative vocation—but don’t ignore the setting. This is Weirdbook, where the final sentence can shatter one’s naive illusions.

Sean Patrick Hazlett’s Mukden

Weirdbook No. 34 page 35From Weirdbook No. 34:

A dark tale of swords and sorcery, Sean Patrick Hazlett’s “Mukden” follows Captain Tanaka Hideki through a tenuous partnership with the bandit Fu Shih and encounters with the ghostly shikome, fell servants of the underworld, on his way to reclaim his honor and reach Mukden. Hazlett captures the bleak, brutal pall of war as the Japanese and Chinese battle their Russian invaders.

Adrian Cole’s Mirrorman

Story page 1From Weirdbook No. 34:

“A Kiss for the Mirrorman” by Adrian Cole is a terrific fast-paced battle of wits and advanced weaponry. Set in the gritty streets of a future metropolis, an unnamed assassin tracks the Mirrorman and plunges him into a deadly trap. One for the issue’s best adventures.

Bret McCormick’s Demon

Weirdbook No. 34 coverWeirdbook began life as a fantasy and horror fanzine in 1968. The creation of Paul Ganley, it ran for 30 issues, ending in 1997. In 2015, Doug Draa asked Paul for permission to relaunch the title. With publishing help from John Betancourt, Weirdbook was reborn in September 2015. With issue 34 the magazine went quarterly.

Bret McCormick opens Weirdbook No. 34 with a light-hearted look at reality, and triggers a more serious question about belief in “The Demon in the Doughnut Shop.” Is seeing believing? The lead character is left with doubts, even after a shape-shifting demon from hell gives him a personal demonstration. The facts are indisputable, but emotion and past experience still imprint his perceived reality.