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Black Static 14 Dec 2009/Jan 2010

01/05/2011. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin

Buy Black Static # 14 – December 2009/January 2010 in the USA - or Buy Black Static # 14 – December 2009/January 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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Issue 14 of ‘Black Static’ opens well with the excellent story ‘We, Who Live In The Wood’ by Paul Finch. It’s a well written, perfectly proportioned tale of a man who takes his wife to a Devon cottage to convalesce. I frequently read dark fiction that has very poor pacing, but here the story builds at a really satisfying speed, with great characterisation and a satisfying and appropriate ending. A very long story for this magazine, this is definitely one worth reading.

As well as his traditional column, this time about new technology in cinema, Christopher Fowler has a story in this issue, ‘The Eleventh Day’. This is also an excellent piece about two Russians that get stuck in a lift in the St Petersburg International Archive. Stranded for days without food or water and no signs of rescue, they begin to bond. The dialogue is excellent, the pacing nicely done and the twist ending absolutely jaw-dropping in its execution. A fantastically chilling story.

Maurice Broaddus gives us ‘Hootchie Cootchie Man’, about a guy who steals cars and gives a lift to waitress with issues. There’s some nice characterisation that builds to a decent action scene and the mood of the piece is brooding and atmospheric. Rosanne Rabinowitz’s ‘Survivor’s Guilt’ is another well-written story, a period piece in London between the wars at a meeting of communists, where a woman with a supernatural past wants to talk to the left wing author presenting his work. It’s got some lovely historical details and a compelling protagonist, but isn’t quite as vital as some of the other stories.

The book and movie reviews from Peter Tennant and Tony Lee continue to cover a huge selection of new and rereleased horror, and Stephen Volk and Christopher Fowler contribute columns, less non-fiction than in most issues. Peter Tennant interviews Gary McMahon in this issue, who writes the final story, ‘Teen Spirit’, perhaps the most ordinary of settings of all the stories in this volume, about a mother worried about her teenage son’s behaviour. It’s a disturbing, unsettling, subtle piece of horror, but I didn’t connect with as much as the rest of the magazine, but overall this is one of the highest quality issues in a while.

Tomas L. Martin

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