After some unfortunate delays, I’m pleased to say that July’s featured story from the latest issue of the World Unknown Review is now ready and available for your reading pleasure on the Featured Story tab.
Now, as an editor, I always feel I should be impartial to this sort of thing, but there’s always a favorite story every year. It’s just the nature of the beast. Volume I was Luther M. Siler‘s fantastic “Culuqun.” Volume II introduced me to Adam L. Bealby through his heartbreaking “Selective Memory.” This year, the award went easily to Max D. Stanton‘s “The Hero of Madgeburg.” Like “Selective Memory” from last year, “The Hero of Madgeburg” is not a tale for the faint of heart. It’s a dark, gritty story of a soldier trying to escape from war, only to find himself stumbling into a nightmare much worse. Stanton does not hold back with grotesque, macabre characters that turn your stomach, making the reader feel the same horror and disgust that our hapless hero is going through. It’s a heavy metal album told in solid, wonderful prose, filled with darkness, fantasy, and the occult…all the things teenaged me would have made horrible fanart to.
Perhaps it’s my love of these dark themes that really drew me to this story. There’s a nostalgia about it that really taps into a certain part of my personal aesthetic, but it’s so much more than that, too. It’s shocking, it’s stunning, it draws you into this mad journey and slaps you in the face with a surprise around every turn. It’s good, solid dark fantasy with a historical touch, and I’m incredibly pleased to have the honor of sharing it with my readers.
Keep an eye out for an interview with author Max D. Stanton later this month, too, where I’ll hopefully be able to delve more into what influences and inspirations went into making this terrifying tale.