Aphotic Realm Apparitions Issue
Edited by Dustin Schyler Yoak and A.A. Medina
Released July 4, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
From the awesome cover art by Gunnar Larsen, to the variety of fine writing and art inside, the premier issue of Aphotic Realm grabs your attention. Available both in paper or electronic forms, the overall quality of this magazine is intense. Usually the average first issue of an independent mag is okay. This mag wants to blow your socks off and it does. Even the advertisements look special! Everything is big, bold, and colorful.
Besides the stories, there are two feature stories about important people in our world of speculative fiction, fantasy, and graphic novels. Roland Mann’s section is called Mann’s World and talks about his life as a comic book creator, professor, author, and editor. The other feature is about Matt Peters the driving force behind independent press, Beating Windward. Not only is there a profile about Matt but also a peek at what the press offers. If I were a rich man, I’d buy one of each of these badass looking titles!
I guess you could say that there are really three feature pieces, because there is also a nice gallery of Gunnar Larsen’s art. It is detailed, colorful, and…disturbing. Which is great and means we’re all going to love it! Really awesome stuff!
There are an amazing amount of stories deftly packed into this issue. The majority are fictional pieces, but the editors bookended the collection with two pieces of nonfiction that fit very nicely. Dustin Schyler Yoak’s opener is about ghosts and the beliefs about them. It includes a cool and entertaining tale about going out ghost hunting that I enjoyed. While A.A. Medina’s Hex, Drugs, and Azrael features some Ouija Board weirdness that is, well… kind of creepy! Real world meets real spiritual encounters!
My favorite story in this issue of Aphotic Realm is Steve Carr’s If A Ghost Comes Knocking. Nicely put together with a great build up! You swing right into the action without preamble. There is a shining man outside a little girl’s twelfth story window and he isn’t friendly. Nope, he has a debt to recover from her money stealing daddy. Unfortunately, Daddy doesn’t want to do the right thing and ends up paying for it with something more valuable than cash!
I also enjoyed The Princess and The Tower by Steve Hoskins. It is a cool trilogy of connected tales that is a twist on the classic theme of a noble prince rescuing his sleeping beauty from an unreachable tower. I doesn’t take long to see that the rescuers are the ones who need saving! They aren’t locked out of the tower, they’re locked IN! Very cool!
Since it’s not much fun to know how every story goes before you buy the book, Waternish Boy by Christopher Stanley will be the last story I go over. I like Fairy stories that really show the multiple magic facets of the little people with big powers. This tale shows a young boy finding his own tribe and finally being happy.
A cool thing I really like about Aphotic’s layout is that they give a short bio after the story. Most of them also have a picture and it is cool to see how most of the writers are just like us. There is usually contact info as well. So there’s an opportunity to expand your network and also information about submitting to Aphotic.
I definitely encourage you to support Issue #1 of Aphotic Realm today! Not only is it going to be great having another cool horror mag to enjoy, but it will be a new market for those of us who write! Don’t miss out! Grab a copy today, before they’re gone. Be a part of something BIG!