The esteemed Dave Truesdale, founder of Tangent, has posted a detailed critique of our latest issue:
This thirteenth issue of Black Gate—with its usual complement of book and fantasy gaming reviews (not to mention a dandy article by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. on the magic in his popular Recluse series), and with its hallmark 200+ pages—was another wild ride, with some real standout pieces. Easily worth the $9.95 cover price.
Dave draws particular attention to two stories, including Myke Cole’s “Naktong Flow”:
Myke Cole‘s prose in “Naktong Flow” is smooth, evocative, and thoroughly professional. Some years ago he won the Writers of the Future contest, and it shows. “Naktong Flow” is set in the forest-jungles of the Far East, and follows Ch’oe, his men, their ancestor-magician, and a strange, magically-imbued wooden machine as they travel up the Naktong river in pursuit of the less-than-human creatures named the bonesetters… Think Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now and you’re on the right track. While totally self-contained and a proper short story, the ending is not what one might expect, and leads to the obvious conclusion that “Naktong Flow” should be part of a larger story. I, for one, will be eager to read it.
As well as the final chapter of The Naturalist by Mark Sumner:
An absorbing read and thoroughly enjoyable. Set in an alternate Central America in the 1830’s, it tells the tale of British explorers who encounter a race of swarming antriders who destroy everything in their path, including, of course, human settlements. Told through journal entries written by the protagonist, a Mr. Brown—the “naturalist” of the title–in the wonderfully expressive language of the time, it recalls the “lost world” tales of H. Rider Haggard and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sumner constructs a remarkably rich and well-researched world, full of detail and nuance, through which the naturalist, his entourage, and the British forces stationed there must fight to survive. Fraught with danger and excitement, and full of the mystery and color of a grand adventure, I heartily recommend The Naturalist.
The complete review is here.