BLACK STATIC 27
The original art on the cover is taken from Mark Pexton's illustration for 'Cuckoo Spit'.
Empty of Words, the Page by Gord Sellar
illustrated by David Gentry
Smoke and burnt paper and scorched glue: John Whitney stank of all of them, of those hideous pseudo-murders, as he slid down on his haunches until his backside thumped against the chilly floor of the Gare Central. His shivering worsened as a frigid gust from outdoors slapped him across the face. He blinked at the main outdoor exitways, violence surging back into the muscles of his fingers. A few feet away from him, a rotten-mouthed old wino stared, coughing. Whitney’s Underwood typewriter wobbled on Whitney’s lap as he slipped a sheet of paper into its maw.
The Little Things by Jacob Ruby
illustrated by George Cotronis
Cassie was the oldest, Mother’s first tumor carried to full term. She was bright, full of life, and as cute as the typical thirteen year old girl; but while she appeared to be a young teen she was, in fact, only six. / This was a problem. As the one who took care of the family now that Mother could not, she had to be someone who could walk among society without being noticed. And Mrs Kareshi, the owner of the small market Cassie frequented, had done just that. Noticed.
Cuckoo Spit by Stephen Bacon
illustrated by Mark Pexton
Like a repulsive wart, Jackdaw Cottage crouched on the highest peak of the moor, tainting the natural beauty that surrounded it. As the miles between them closed, Megan felt its grip of malevolence tighten. / Her car topped a rise and she caught her first glimpse of the cottage for nearly 23 years. The house looked just as ugly in real life as it had in her memories.
The Churn by Simon Bestwick
illustrated by Dave Senecal
It started when Alison locked herself out. She normally checked her bag before shutting the front door, but was in a rush that day; it swung to and latched behind her. / In the end, she had to break in. She should have given George over the road a spare. She smashed a glass panel, let herself in, found the key. / The police car pulled up outside as she was ready to leave.
Family Tree by V.H. Leslie
illustrated by Rik Rawling
Tyler’s mum was wearing the horrendous bobble hat again. It was so poorly constructed with looping loose stitches and gaping holes that she might as well have wound the yarn around her head like a turban. The worst of it was the enormous green pompom, which toppled back and forward as she crossed the playground. Tyler flinched on seeing her and hoped Kevin and Phil hadn’t noticed.
genre news compiled by Peter Tennant
Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
With two key directors turning in their most formally boring films ever, Roman Polanski’s Carnage and David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, and a once-visionary British director (Terence Davies) turning in the turgidly uninteresting The Deep Blue Sea, not to mention the crushingly twee crowd-pleaser The Artist supposedly set for Oscar glory, it seems timely to look at a director who was the most unflinching and provocative of his era, but who in his twilight years descended into “garage” film-making with friends and relatives, clearly unable to give up the art form he loved.
Interference by Christopher Fowler
Once, one of the biggest categories in bookshops was Horror. Novels from Stephen King, Thomas Tryon, James Herbert and many others proliferated. My favourites included the sextet of Michael McDowell’s Blackwater novels and Jeffrey Konvitz’s The Apocalypse. But what happened? Horror books vanished. It’s hard to make supernatural novels properly ‘horrific’ because films have outpaced them in terms of visceral scenes – the only way to recapture the flavour is to make them nostalgic or aim them at lovesick teens – so I opted to write Hell Train in the style of John Burke, who wrote the Hammer novelisations.
Night's Plutonian Shore by Mike O'Driscoll
In an interview shortly before the broadcast of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker talked about his love of new gadgets and the speed with which we have been enchanted by apps that allow us to do stuff we would never have contemplated five years ago. Comparing technology to a drug, he speculated on where our desire for, and reliance on, gadgetry is leading us. What, he asked, might be the consequences of our relationship to technology? This is precisely what he set out to explore in Black Mirror, citing the influence of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, which used SF conventions to tackle controversial themes like racism, nuclear war and McCarthyism. Brooker, too, has used genre tropes to create three provocative and entertaining dramas that force us to consider how quickly and unquestioningly we have embraced technological innovations that have the power not only to change the way we perceive the world, but to shape opinion and make ‘old world’ media redundant. Best known for Screenwipe – his satirical analysis of how the broadcast media gives us what we think we want – Brooker has ventured down this road before, most notably with his zombie/Big Brother mash-up, Dead Set. As entertaining as that was, Black Mirror is in a different class altogether.
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
Books by Alison Littlewood (with author interview), Mark Morris, Ilsa J. Bick, Dayna Ingram, Nina Allan, Gemma Files, Michael G. Preston, Gary Fry, Cate Gardner, Ellen Datlow
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Tony Lee
Coverage of current and forthcoming releases including Dark Star, Shark Night, Beyond, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Tyrannosaur, Perfect Sense, Rolling Thunder, Gantz 2: Perfect Answer, Tekken: Blood Vengeance, Fright Night, Real Steel, Vanishing on 7th Street, Dellamorte Dellamore, Paranormal Activity 3, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Urban Explorers, Evidence, The Awakening
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