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Black Static # 15 - February/March 2010

01/11/2011. Contributed by Pauline Morgan

Buy Black Static # 15 February/March 2010 in the USA - or Buy Black Static # 15 February/March 2010 in the UK

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bi-monthly 66 page magazine: UK publisher/editor address: Andy Cox, TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 2LB. Price: GBP 3.95 (UK). ISSN: 1753-0709).

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Any outlet for short stories is good. All magazines need support if they are to continue to exist but not all readers will like all magazines. ‘Black Static’ is a stable companion to ‘Interzone’, the SF magazine. It calls itself a horror and dark fantasy publication and is an outlet for writers of that genre. Most readers would probably buy this magazine for the fiction and it contains five new stories, illustrated by a different artist.

There is nothing supernatural about ‘Eight Small Men’ by James Cooper (illustrated by Ben Baldwin). It portrays the horror of real life and the cruelties that can be inflicted on children. The narrator and his brother return reluctantly to the house where they spent some part of their childhood as their ‘foster-father’ is approaching death. The thrust of the story revolves around the death of the son of the household. It is well told and has a ring of conviction about it.

‘The Knitted Child’ by Simon Kurt Unsworth (illustrated by Jim Burns) takes an unusual approach to not being pregnant. It is told from the perspective of the knitted doll made by the grandmother of the household. Its role is a kind of fertility charm that is not working. It is a clever story and would be at home in a literary magazine as there is little horror in it, only an understanding of the desperation some women feel to conceive a child.

‘Maximum Darkness’ by Alan Scott Laney (illustrated by David Gentry) is the author’s first published story. It is probably a story about madness and contains a number of well-crafted set images. It contains too many other extraneous factors that ultimately the sense of it is lost.

‘Babylon’s Burning’ by Daniel Kaysen (illustrated by Rik Rawling) explores the theme of the talented being head-hunted for a large corporation whose methods are suspect. Initial resistance is overcome by blackmail. Of these stories, this is the most graphically horrific.

‘Death By Water’ by Sarah Singleton (illustrated by Ben Baldwin) is a modern selkie story with the protagonist searching for his lost wife. It is a poignant tale of grief and loss and is perhaps the best of the five.

As this is a magazine, the contents include more than fiction. There are three short articles by established writers. Christopher Fowler’s ‘Interference’ comments on the trends in films and the problems of scriptwriting. Stephen Volk’s ‘Electric Darkness’ is an entertaining piece about films, whereas Mike O’Driscoll takes censorship as his theme for his article, ‘Night’s Plutonium Shore’.

Tony Lee has tried to comment on every DVD and Blu-Ray since ‘Black Static # 14’. As this runs to some eight pages it makes one wonder if he should not have been a bit more selective, especially as he only seems to like Japanese film horror. Although Peter Tennant has more space than this for books, his pages do include an interview with American writer Alexandra Solokov, a consideration of zombie graphic novels, reviews of two of PS Publishing’s novellas as well as a round-up of the state of horror fiction in Australia.

Most magazine’s have an editorial. ‘White Noise’ replaces this as it is more a news spread about the British horror scene. Overall, this is a magazine worth looking at for anyone wanting to keep in touch with the horror genre.

Pauline Morgan

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