Robert G. Male

Killing Time Horror E-Rag™

Killing Time Horror E-Rag™ was a bi-monthly magazine that ran from Oct 1, 2001 until October 21, 2004 encompassing eighteen web issues and one final audio and video presentation.  Within its pages were articles, short stories, poetry, reviews, and serialised stories.  The E-rag retained a small but loyal following, moving from being free in the first two years, to paid subscriptions in the third.  The final appearance was a special exclusive to only the existing membership and was provided at no additional cost.

Many of the articles were run as series under a specific and defining name.  The first year included the in-depth look at movies with multiple sequels in the "Horror Movie Franchise Discussion", and a look at the requirements and process of "Writing in the Dark".  In the second year the franchise discussion was alternated with the "Horror Cinema Autopsy", taking a look at movies that were infamous for being banned. That year each issues also carried the "Hangman's Noose", which tied up the loose ends and suggested answers as to why the hanged man smiles.  Year three brought about a look into the career of a huge name in the genre under the spotlight of "Ghostly Illumination" and finished up with the "Sommatoria" the summation of and for each issue.

The articles weren't the only thing to run in themes.  Year one's short stories were launched each issue by the "Caster" series.  Each of these stories featured the casting of spells and what the terrible costs they tolled before, during, and after their casting.  The second year brought to the readership the "Deservers" series, each story serving up some despicable character you'd love to see get what they deserve, and they did in such horrific glory.  The third years worth of issues took a broader tact with a nameless series of stories inspired by songs.  Sometimes an entire song spawned the story, other times just a line or two.  The stories ranged all over the size scale and other than the first one the song was always veiled to protect the rights of the songwriters and bands.

Then there were the serialised stories.  Each was like a super-sized short story, told in pieces, one issue at a time.  The first one was called "The Lizard of Hallucination".  Due to the E-rag's page format at that time this story often had more than one cliffhanger within the same issue.  It was the story of a man who kept seeing things, culminating in the appearance of a strange lizard, a sighting with dire and continued consequences.  The second serial story was "PSY3007", the story of a young man living in a haunted house, caught up in a struggle against dark forces, and trying to use his parapsychology class to solve both.  The third serial story was "Sun Cycle", a tale of three people who seem to have survived the end of the world.  They find themselves travelling in a world overrun by walking dead people, where being eaten would be a blessing compared to the sick alternative some of the rising dead present.

Finally, the last issue, and only 'issue' of the fourth year, was an experiment in sight and mostly sound.  There was a video introduction complete with an awesome animated opening, and a short advertisement for the sponsor company.  This was followed by a brief "Letter from the Editor" on the webpage, a staple from every issue.  Then there was the main attraction, a thirty-eight minute audio-book/reading of a story called "The Hard Price".  The story took probably about as much time to record as it did to write it.  Narrating isn't as easy of a job as it seems.  Set in the early 80's the story was one of need, desire, pain, and of course the hard price.  The story had a little additional help from some music in the opening and the ending.  It was a fitting and wild end to the publication.

Here is the intro video to the special one time only audio edition.

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