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The New Bedlam Project by Jodi Lee (editor)

Something is wrong in New Bedlam... 

The New Bedlam Project follows the adventures of numerous and sundry characters found in the past, present and future of one messed up little town. Originally started as a companion piece to the Courting Morpheus anthology, the webzine has taken on a life of its own.

We publish several short stories and a selection of poetry in each quarterly issue; new writers and old-hats.

Once you visit New Bedlam, you’re never the same again.

An anthology, no longer online

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Listed: May 24, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

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Strange Little Town

By Linda Schoales, editor

Nov 12, 2009: “The New Bedlam Project” is a web zine based around the town of New Bedlam and its inhabitants. Each short story or poem tells a tale of this strange, haunted, and possibly cursed small town. The stories vary in length between one screenful of text and several pages. If you like horror or dark, urban fairy tales, you’ll probably find something here to enjoy.

There are currently three issues posted online. New readers may want to start with “Through New Bedlam” by Jodi Lee, which is in the first issue. The piece is short but it sets up the mood of the collection and gives the reader insight into what the various writers are trying to accomplish.

The third issue has one poem and 8 short stories. The first story is “The Grass is Always Greener”. It’s a very short, urban horror story about a travelling salesman confident of selling his dictionaries to the school and all the writers living in the town. Unfortunately, the denizens of New Bedlam don’t take kindly to strangers.

“This Town Hides an Inferno” is the longest story. It stars a preacher with a past but without a church, the local tart with a heart of gold, and a mysterious stranger who comes to town. The characters are well-drawn and the ending leaves as many questions as answers.

“Bluebeard’s Daughter” is the kind of dark fairy tale that could take place in a town like New Bedlam. There’s not much action but the point of view is interesting.

I finished the issue in a few hours but fortunately there are currently 2 other issues online. If you enjoyed “Eerie, Indiana” or like short stories in a horror vein, you’ll probably find several you’ll enjoy in these collections. New Bedlam is an interesting town, although strangers would be advised to pass through it fairly quickly.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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A trip through a dark town with multiple drivers…

By zoewhitten, member

Jun 11, 2009: The New Bedlam Project is a web zine with multiple authors writing around the same fictional location of New Bedlam. Varying between shorter flash fiction and poetry and longer short stories, every person is free to develop a dark story about the history of this cursed town. Jodi Lee’s entry in the issue, Through New Bedlam, helps to explain more about the idea behind this project.

In the first issue, three of the stories caught my attention above the others. The writing level for the others was good, but they weren’t quite as memorable. First was Garbage Man, by R. Scott McCoy. Starting from the perspective of a nebulous entity, the story quickly moves in in a teen who can pull object into his dream world. This looks like it might play out as a typical revenge fantasy, but the ending veers off in a completely different direction. It’s a nice, creepy touch that pulls the story out of dark fantasy and back into horror.

In Steven Shrewsbury’s Backwash, a university professor gifted with psychometry is called to a dig site to shed light on the location’s distant past. The depiction of the past through Dr. Blackthorn’s eyes helps to explain how the ancient tribes of New Bedlam evolved to become something colder and less sentimental by abandoning "cruder" practices.

And then Louise Bohmer sheds light on a race of fey plaguing a new resident of the town. This one is short and open-ended, implying that there is more to come. I sure hope so. Louise has a talent for whetting the appetite, and I look forward to seeing more entries about the fetch.

I can’t properly review the poems, as I’m horridly illiterate on matters of poetry. But of the two poems offered, I found fivefivefivefivefive by John Irvine to be the more interesting entry.

My only real complaint now is that the issue was a very quick read. I was able to cover most of the issue on the same evening. I guess that’s not really a problem, because now I’ll be waiting intently for the next issue.

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