I have a short list of markets that have rejected my stories that make me want to try harder to ‘get in’. One Buck Horror is one of those markets. The people at the helm are so damn nice too which makes me want to become one of the lucky ones to get chosen.
While horror isn’t my first choice for the many genres I write, it does hold a special place. Horror has such a broad brush too. My preference is the kind that crawls along my skin. Not in the ‘toss around blood and guts and teenagers doing the horizontal bop in the woods’ kind. Surprise me. Show me that level of revenge and comeuppance that makes me cheer, not the crap ending of thinking one person gets away only for them to become food for the creepies. I’m looking at you, Decent, Part 2.
Alright, enough rambling. On with the ins and outs of one Buck Horror’s first issue by story.
The voice of this is of a young child and the overall tone is well done. It’s a story of a friend going to his friend’s Jenny’s house for the equivalent of a play date. All is not well, however, in GI Joe Land because something festers in the basement and it doesn’t like noise. Clue the curious kid who descends the basement steps and sends his brave GI Joe into the goo. Cue awakening goo and a panicked Jenny.
While I didn’t care for the style in which it was presented (more like a show’n’tell in kindergarten), it works for the piece. The only other thing I could say is I wonder how this story could have played out in present tense.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
A Lullaby for Caliban
Enter a creepy carnival and an initiation to a local soda jerk club (minus the dancing) and you’ve got the next offering. What I loved about this one was the imagery and setting of tone. It made you feel like you were beside the MC sneaking through a carnie after dark.
Now, if you’ve been following this blog, you know my views on ‘ly’ words. For all the wonderful imagery this piece brings, it also cuts a few corners it what I can only assume was to keep word count down. Phrases like ‘quickly but quietly’ and ‘suddenly’ lack the depth the author showed for much of this piece. I kept waiting for more suspense and I know the author could have delivered tenfold.
I don’t quite understand the need at the end to switch tenses either. In my opinion, it didn’t add anything meaningful. I would love to see this fleshed out to a longer short story.
Still, I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5.
The Last Nephew
Ah this one is my favorite of the bunch. It’s a story of a boy living with a man his calls Uncle yet they are not of blood relations. Told in the first person, we see through the eyes of the MC well. Through veiled actions, we see the blossoming of deceit to save the other nephews before him. All to the tick tock of a watch.
This is so well written that I don’t even pause when the mention of the first nephew comes into play. Never a question as to who this person was. Front to back I read this one, gobbling up each word, each paragraph until I reached the big smile at the end. The last sentence was nothing short of breathtaking and worth the price of the magazine on its own.
I give it a solid 5 out of 5.
I’m going to be blunt here, as most of you who read my blog know I am well capable of doing. This story is the ugly duckling of the group. The picked last at gym class dodge ball target. I really want to find a glimmer of hope in this one but for me, it fell flat. This is a story about walking through a snow-covered cornfield near creepy woods (though the distance isn’t quite clear) and seeing glowing lights (and the words ‘lights’ is used liberally) that grow in size. Enter the freaked out MC.
I’ll give you a phrase that had me cringing ‘grinning his gap toothed grin’. Ugh. Thesaurus anyone? Can I get a hyphen please? Let’s move on to the next part that irked me. The MC sees the glowing twin lights and decides to chuck a rock at them. How convenient is it that he bends down and finds one in the snow right where he’s digging? He should play the lottery with that luck. Point three: when the thing the glowing lights turn out to be chases him, the MC doesn’t want to put his family in danger. He laments about the family… all but the sister previously mentioned in the story. I realize little brothers usually loathe their female siblings but still? Seriously? Okay, one more point and then I’m finished tearing this one a rather nice ram-rod sized asshole. The MC is screaming as this thing is playing ‘my what big eyes I have’ yet no one hears him in the garage?
The worst part was it had the potential to have me on the edge of my seat and it failed.
1 out of 5.
The Ginger Men
I guess you could call this one my second favorite as far as how well-written it is. It had a pod people feel to it but with a nice flaky crust. I wasn’t sure of the age of the MC, other than they were young, but that didn’t take away from the piece. A special green wiggly substance is used to make obedient spouses and what not with a little added revenge in ways. The calm cool demeanor of those allegedly not affected by the goo or the servants to the master is downright creepy.
The last sentence disappointed me because it had a PoV slip in it. If the MC doesn’t see it, it didn’t happen. Fade away shots are for movies, not for reading.
It’s a solid 3 out of 5.
All in all, this fledgling magazine’s first edition was well done. Despite my nick picking, it offers something a little different than the norm and is in a genre that is a crowd pleaser. Scary is good and I’m hoping to see more from One Buck Horror. I highly recommend purchasing this over at Amazon so don’t be a cheap ass. It’s only a dollar.