Underbelly is a new paying market online zine that focuses on transgressive fiction. This zine dares to take stories to a whole new level as a much needed kick in the ass for 21st century fiction.
One of the editors contacted me on Twitter and requested a review. I hadn’t thought of reviewing zines before, but Underbelly piqued my curiosity, and I just had to know.
Wait. What? What’s transgressive fiction?
In essence, Underbelly’s trangressive fiction is everything to the extreme, with a broader range. Tired of heterosexual dark fiction limited to predictable formulas? Underbelly has something for everyone.
From the website:
Extreme Horror, Splatterpunk, Bizarro, LGBTIQ+, Pornorotica (yes, we made that up, but you know what we mean!), freaky fantasy worlds and futures, ridiculous mash-ups, or anything just plain weird.
Underbelly Issue #1
The issue starts with a story about a soldier and alien sex, then jumps to a new level with each story that follows. Nine stories in total, for this 60 page read. And if that’s not enough, there are illustrations.
Many stories have commentaries on different aspects of perversion, sexuality, and personal identity, yet they could be read only for the pleasure of something beautifully strange, or darkly twisted.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. No, really, I do. Ew, yet another indie zine trying to be all hip and different by reinventing the wheel. Or, you’re thinking, ew, how perverse. But none of that is the point of Underbelly, and it’s not the point of this review.
I admit that I was mildly concerned about misrepresentation, but the concern went away rather fast. Some of the stories I enjoyed more than others, and a number of them really impressed me. All stories have very original concepts that kept me reading to the end. In the end, it’s a satisfying read.
Regardless of personal preference, I appreciate that issue #1 isn’t trying to be gross for the sake of grossness. Perverse, taboo, and for an adult audience? Without a doubt. But each story is there for a reason. Make no mistake. This is art.
Check out the website here.
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