Black Petals Issue #74 Winter, 2016

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Beyond the Stars-Fiction by Brian McLelland
Doesn't Play Well with Others-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Killkenny Man-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
The Family F.-Fiction by George C. Economou
Masks of Innocence-Fiction by Dr. Mel Waldman
Trim Thought-Fiction by Chris Moylan
When the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Anticipating Miracles- 3 Poems by Teresa Ann Frazee
Cemetery Haze-3 poems by Michael Keshigian
Seven Horror Haiku-by Denny E. Marshall
Four Zombie Haiku-by Denny E. Marshall
Love Letter (to L. W.)-Poem by Reyhan Qayoom

January, 2016




Why Bother? By A.M. Stickel


Dan Graffeo sent along his book, THE GAMBLING BUG (Great Old Ones Publishing), for a review. Among the many vices against which people strive, gambling has proved to be one of the most vicious. Graffeo’s tale explores a possible origin for the temptation that invades the subconscious to catch the vulnerable. Although he doesn’t label it as such, it appears to be downright demonic. His author photo at the back of the book reflects this, and seems to be an inspiration for “The Gambling Bug” on the cover.

The characterizations of gambling addicts, and their support group (especially the leader), are spot on. Although I’ve never dealt with the fatal attraction of this addiction, and so didn’t expect to, I couldn’t help but sympathize with the gamblers’ plight. The physical and emotional depictions—from utter selfishness to heroic self-sacrifice—were excellent, even though annoying stupidity often overwhelmed positive attributes. What stopped me from complete approval of the message was its technical execution, not its negativity (given that the author claims to teach college writing).

Mr. Graffeo likes to switch back and forth in verb tenses, even within sentences. This is a bad habit I’ve seen in, luckily, only a few writers. It does not do justice to the author’s intent, and indicates inadequate editing. Once in a while a key word or phrase goes missing too. Ouch!

Why bother paying someone to edit your manuscript, or, if you have paid someone to do it, why bother reading over what they have done? If you want to know the reason, get this book.  But there is another reason to get the book: a story with a moral. These are few and far between in our gray-shaded era, and, thus, earns the author 2 out of a possible 4 Black Roses.

BP #74 continues our tradition of thought-provoking story content. Brian McLelland explores how a man influenced by beings “Beyond the Stars” might affect our evolution. Those crawlies come creeping right into Roy Dorman’s “Doesn’t Play Well with Others.” An experimental scientific solution for interplanetary exploration fails at launch in Charles C. Cole’s “Kilkenny Man.” George Economou takes us into the tiny lives of “The Family F.”. Dr. Mel Waldman’s “Masks of Innocence” points out paranoia in someone who can least afford to acknowledge it. Is Chris Moylan’s fictional adaptation to life’s complexity too real an option in “Trim Thought”? Finally, my take on the Apocalypse is offered in “When the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead.”

BP’s winter of 2016 poets are: Teresa Frazee (3 poems), Michael Keshigian (3 poems), Denny Marshall (11 Haiku), and Rehan Qayoom (a love letter in poetic form). The occasional bio is missing, according to the writer’s preference. To your editors, however, you are all “larger than life” for bothering to write for us. Happy reading and writing, my friends. Stay warm.

Site Maintained by Fossil Publications