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Black Static



18th Oct, 2011

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Item image: Black Static 25 Cover

The original art on the cover is taken from Ben Baldwin's illustration for Alison Littlewood's 'About the Dark' and Rik Rawling's illustration for Ray Cluley's 'The Travellers Stay'.



Item image: BS25 Contents



Item image: About the Dark

About the Dark by Alison Littlewood
illustrated by Ben Baldwin

Dark Cave didn’t sound the most promising place to hang out, but it was the driest place Adam could think of away from the town centre. Adam didn’t want to be in the town centre, mainly because his latest school had an ‘attendance optimiser’, otherwise known as a truant officer. The truant officer knew what Adam looked like, partly because of the number of times he’d hauled him back to classes, and partly because of the way Adam had tried to deck him the last time he’d tried.

Item image: The Curtain Parts

The Curtain Parts by Christopher Fowler
illustrated by Vincent Sammy

It started when the lights suddenly went out. / Opening the front door of the apartment and peering into the dimness of the top floor corridor, I became aware of a tall man in a black nylon Nike T-shirt and jogging shorts standing against the distant wall. / “I thought I heard someone outside,” I said nervously. “Were you banging?” / He lowered his left shoe and came closer. A narrow skull framed by endearingly slept-on hair, deep set eyes that diverged disconcertingly. “We’ve got cockroaches. Bloody great brown things like they have in America. I just chased one the size of a small cat out into the hall. They come up from the river at high tide. It’s because the lights are out. They come out in the dark. I thought I’d squash it, but if they’re strong enough to breed after a nuclear blast I suppose they can survive a rubberised heel.” 

Item image: The Travellers Stay

The Travellers Stay by Ray Cluley
illustrated by Rik Rawling

By night the motel was nameless, the stuttering fluorescence of its neon sign only a rectangular outline of where words once were. The light made the shadows of the building darker and gave moths the false hope of somewhere to go, collecting the dust from their broken wings so that a once vibrant white was now mottled and sulphurous. / By day the place fared no more favourably. The title of its sign was visible, travellers stay, but so was the fact that it needed a fresh coat of paint twenty years ago; flakes peeled like scabrous sores. In sunlight, the building behind the sign was more than a dark shape but not much more, the drab monotony of its sun bleached walls broken only by the repetition of plain numbered doors.

Item image: The Holy Spear

The Holy Spear by Barbara A. Barnett
illustrated by Dave Senecal

When Eric hit the ground, all he felt was pain – pavement scraping his cheek, machete hilt digging into his hip, forearm burning where he had been bitten. / “Sorry, mate,” Jacob called down from the barricade. “It’s too late for you.” / With a groan, Eric rolled onto his back. The barricade loomed over him, a motley assemblage of sandbags, cars, concrete blocks, and whatever else had been scavenged from the city. The top, at least ten feet above, was a blur of spotlights, barbed wire, and silhouettes peering down at him. One by one, the silhouettes began to disappear.

Best. Summer. Ever. by Nathaniel Tapley

Dear Mr Prosser / First I should explain why I am writing to you because of. I am writing to you because of I owe you an explanation for my recent behaviour. Debbie says that I have not only let myself down but I have also let her down and let the whole of Sunbucket down and how do I think you would feel about that? Let me assure you Mr Prosser I know you would not feel good about that. 



Item image: BS25 White Noise

White Noise
horror news usually compiled by Peter Tennant

Item image: BS25 Coffinmaker's Blues

Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk

Back in May this year I listened to a radio programme claiming that in times of economic crisis people turn in ever-increasing numbers to the comforts of the spirit world. This brief examination of the so-called psychic was complemented by another programme in which someone asked, rhetorically, “Why do people go to therapists? Don’t they have aunties?” I mused on this as I saw Kate McCann’s book on supermarket shelves, her missing daughter Madeleine smiling out at prospective consumers of grief.

Item image: BS25 Interference

Interference by Christopher Fowler

From the moment Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz said “There’s no place like home” I knew she’d be one of those Americans we hear about who never bother getting a passport. Home is safe. Home is what we know. Therefore, Hollywood thinks that ‘foreign’ is what we fear. It’s when we go outside of our comfort zones, and bad things start to happen.

Item image: BS25 Night's Plutonian Shore

Night's Plutonian Shore by Mike O'Driscoll

Justin Cronin’s mammoth post-apocalypse quest story, The Passage, belongs to a strand of fantastic fiction whose enduring appeal owes as much to its psychological and philosophical themes, as it does to the bewilderingly inventive depictions of apocalypse and its aftermath. It’s a tradition that has produced a huge and rich body of work, both by writers firmly rooted in the fantasy and SF genre, and by others primarily associated with literary fiction. Writers as diverse as John Christopher and J.G. Ballard, Stephen King and Samuel Delany, P.D. James and Margaret Atwood, have all been inspired to produce either traditional, narrative-driven takes on the collapse of civilisation, or surreal, complex philosophical responses that are more interested in exploring and embracing their particular apocalypse rather than resisting it. 



Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant

Horror Down the Years: Bricks by Leon Jenner, Roman Hell by Mark Mellon, Viking Dead by Toby Venables, King Death by Paul Finch, Revenants by Daniel Mills, The Devil in Love Jacques Cazotte, The Third Section by Jasper Kent, Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry, A Lust for Lead by Robert Davies, Isis Unbound by Allyson Bird, The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett, The German by Lee Thomas, O My Days by David Mathew, The Zombie Autopsies by Steve C. Schlozman MD, The Joy of Technology by Roy Gray; The Chaos Theory of Everything: D.F. Lewis interviewed, plus reviews of Weirdtongue, Nemonymous Night, The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies

Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Tony Lee

Coverage of current and forthcoming releases including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Tomorrow When the War Began, The Twilight Zone Season 4, The Cape, The Cat o' Nine Tails, Fringe Season 3, Manhunter, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, Gantz, Stake Land, Empire of Passion, The New Daughter, The Ward, Mother's Day, Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer, Straw Dogs, The Tree of Life, Mimic Director's Cut, X-Men: First Class, Episode 50, Cannibal, Blood Runs Cold, Deadtime Stories, The Man With the Severed Head


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