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Black Static # 6 - Aug/Sept 2008

01/02/2009. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin

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bi-monthly magazine: UK publisher/editor address: Andy Cox, TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 2LB. Price: 3.99 (UK). ISSN: 1753-0709.

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The submerged baby doll's head on the front cover of 'Black Static #6' is perhaps the most appropriate the young magazine has produced to date. An unsettling, head-turning image that reflects the work found on the pages within.

The sixth of Andy Cox's dark fantasy and horror magazine sees the new layout fully emerged from its chrysalis to showcase an eclectic mix of short stories and non-fiction. Stephen Volk talks to us about Robert Downey Jr's other film in 2008, the dark indie flick 'Fur'. Simon Avery tells a strange short story of a man's relationship with a darkly disturbed girl and their return to her parental home. Each page provides something a little bit unexpected.

This issue is probably the strongest I've read for fiction. Nina Allan's 'En Saga' is a little confusing and feels unfinished but even this weaker story is compellingly told. Ray Culey's first story sale 'Viva Las Vegas' is a little rough around the edges but packs a good dollop of B movie charm.

Three of the stories are very good indeed. Paul Meloy's 'All Mouth' is a gritty realism tale of a lodger in an unfamiliar living situation, with a disturbingly effective twist in the tale. Peter Tennant's 'Special Needs' follows a man who calls a prostitute. The creepy way this turns out surprises both the character and the reader.

Easily my favourite contribution to this issue is Melanie Fazi's 'Back On The Road', a particularly good ghost story set in a motorway service station. Delicately written with excellent quirky characters, this is a real highlight.

The usual reviews and an interview featurette with Scott Sigler are also included, along with a few more columns. To be honest, though, when the stories are as good as in 'Black Static #6', the magazine's non-fiction feels rather dull in comparison, Volk's excellent contribution excepted. A more fictional balance of pages would increase my enthusiasm for what is already a very good magazine.

Tomas L. Martin

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