Kenneth Cain's Reviews > Shock Totem 1: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted

Shock Totem 1 by K. Allen Wood
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Aug 25, 12

Read from July 10 to August 23, 2012

If you are anything like me you have a “to read” pile. If you have a digital collection, it grows, expands, and has a life seemingly out of control. Often what you purchase and want to read is pushed back, while those you have to read are drawn to the forefront. Then your list is inundated with all the interesting freebies that are thrown your way, making anything hard to find. Sometimes these works can be lost or even forgotten. However, I am glad I found the first issue of Shock Totem and pushed it up to the top of my list.

Not only did the stories exceed my expectations, but I also enjoyed the other aspects of the magazine. I cannot recommend enough John Boden’s interview with John Skipp. It was interesting to hear how he made his way and he also had some interesting thoughts that are quite relevant to what we are seeing now in the self-publishing industry.

I think, “Murder for Beginners” is a delightfully funny story. “Below the Surface” and “The Dead March” were intriguing stories that had a good feel and kept my attention. Although slightly predictable, I very much enjoyed “Slider.” Perhaps it is the baseball fan in me that allowed the story to resonate so well; I don’t know, but this story sucked me right in. While all of the stories were written and edited well, one in particular stood out. I thought “Thirty-Two Scenes From a Dead Hooker’s Mouth” had a different take, both in style and idea. Stories often are designed to take you from elation to disaster, but not this one. This one did a 360 on me that left me considering its structure long after I finished the read.

All in all, this is a very strong start and I plan to move up the other issues in my reading list that I had previously purchased.
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08/07/2012 page 15
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