Polluto issue 9 ¾: Witchfinders vs The Evil Red is now out! This was a particularly fun theme that has inspired all kinds of stories, with some completely unexpected interpretations. There is, of course, the Evil Red as communism, socialism, authoritarianism, secret police, and the welfare state. And, as usual, no Polluto author ever deals with a subject in familiar ways. A socialist paradise fuelled by severed pinkies? An alien drug that will end all war by instigating mass colour-blindness? There is guaranteed to be something new here to surprise any reader. There is witchcraft and magic, not to mention monsters and the undead. There is evil, fear, scapegoating, and denial. The Evil Red lurks in the darkest corners as well as boldly taking over the world.
Interestingly, one of the unifying ideas that connects many of these stories is the idea of powerful, and in particular sexually dominant, women. This is appropriate on several levels, as this is the ‘witchfinders’ issue (and what has scared men throughout the ages more than dominant women?) as well as the evil red (blood, sex, desire, passion). And our ‘witchy’ women are joined by a whole host of unexpected companions. Professor Dingleberry and his walking house, topped with its red coxcomb; vampiric ‘colour-eaters’ that feed on red; a man slowly disintegrating into numbers, thoughts and digital streams; a clay man rising from a river of blood; a libido-zapped librarian contemplating drawings found on Mars; and a bloodthirsty priestess controlled by her malevolent red chainsaw. And many more wait inside Polluto’s red-streaked pages.
Beginning with Cris O’Connor’s unique spin on the Wizard of Oz story, complete with Dorothy’s blood-soaked ruby slippers, and ending on Richard Thomas’ captivating and heartbreaking story of a haunted man in a broken world, Polluto issue 9 ¾ bewitches the reader from start to finish.
Next post... this issue’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ story!