Black Gate – Number 10 (Volume 2, Number 4) – Spring 2007
by John O'Neill
Edited by John O'Neill
Cover Artist: Denis Rodler
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 1 July 2007 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Black Gate,/i> #10 has chockfull of stories and articles well worth reading. This issue includes stories by Martha Wells, Iain Rowan, Mark Summer, Judith Berman and others.
This is the first issue of Black Gate,/i> that I've read and if #10 is typical, I hope to read more. The issue has a mix of name authors and new writers and is pretty consistently entertaining All but two of the stories got a Very Good from me.
"Soldiers of a Dying God" by Harry James Connolly is an exciting tale of the Royal Engineer of Tindehall, the last human city in the world, who must find a way to battle the forces of the Digger People, They send the soul-sucking silverwings against the Engineer and his assistant Shinak. The two come across the Soldiers of Ormalith, their city's dying god. The soldiers are under a spell and they are freed by a clever trick.
In "A Book of Silences" by James Enge, Morlock Ambrosius wonders why people and things are suddenly disappearing before his eyes. He discovers why and puts an end to it in an unusual tale. Martha Wells' "Reflections" is the story of two adventurers, Ilias and Gilead who are seeking an evil wizard. Gilead has special powers but is taken prisoner by a strange force. How this plays out shows a lot of imagination.
"Welcome to the Underworld" by Iain Rowan continues the adventures of Dao Shi, from Rowan's previous stories. By using his wits, Dao Shi escapes his pursuers, defeats pirates and enters The Underworld of the city of Quishen, where he will probably have more adventures.
"The Naturalist: Going to the Applewash" by Mark Summer is set in 1832 British Honduras. A man named Brown is accompanying some soldiers but they encounter fearsome insects called "antriders." In Greg Story's "A Covenant in Mud", Judy just wants to move to the countryside where she can grow pot for profit. Unfortunately, there is something worse out there than narcotics agents.
I enjoyed "Awakening" by Judith Berman. In this fantasy story, a woman wakes up amongst decayed skeletons. She finds that she has survived a battle that took place 200 years ago. She still has something she must do. "Sight of Vengeance" by Howard Andrews Jones is a detective story. Who is killing men and taking their eyes? In an ancient Moslem city, Dabir and Asim must investigate.
There were only two stories that I found disappointing. "Skyspider" by David Dubord is a fable involving spiders whose world is in danger. Edward Carmien's "Before the Wind" is the tale of a young woman who must win a race. Not very original.
Still I liked Black Gate. It had a good article called "The Big Little SF Magazines of the 1970's" about the large sized SF and fantasy magazines of that decade. The issue is well worth picking up.