BLACK STATIC 31
The front and back cover art is by Richard Wagner.
Barbary by Jackson Kuhl
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
I began to smoke mummies on the advice of a pharmacist off Pacific Avenue. His was an almost derelict alleyway shop, the sign faded, the bills in the window brown and curling. Several times I had to step like a Lipizzaner in the lane over inebriates or dragon-chasers, and I couldn’t imagine how such a frail old geezer passed daily to and from his business unmolested. For all I knew he never left and slept under the floor, subsisting on unguent and rose water. And for me – well, the risk of a blackjack or a knife between the ribs was a lesser injury than my chronic disorder.
Sister by Seán Padraic Birnie
illustrated by Vincent Sammy
After my sister died, in the appalling silence which filled our home, I made an effigy from the store of materials in her studio. I had never made anything before, never sung or played an instrument, never painted or drawn a thing in my life, but in that desolate winter I found myself imagining this figure in the empty spaces of our house, this odd likeness of my sister which was not my sister, and it seemed only natural to set about the task of making it.
The Perils of War According to the Common People of Hansom Street by Steven Pirie
illustrated by Rik Rawling
In number twelve Hansom Street, Mrs Elms turns her good ear skyward. The cat’s already under the stairs and Mrs Elms is sure the drone in her bad ear is the distant rumble of propellers. “Doodlebugs on the way are they, Arthur?” she says to the cat. “Mr Anderson says it’ll be a bad one tonight. No moon, he says, and those dirty fly-boys like a dark sky with no moon.”
The Things That Get You Through by Steven J. Dines
I. Lilac is the Colour of Denial
The news of Eedee’s death isn’t forty minutes old before James Graves is in the bedroom pulling on white coveralls and cracking the seal on the can of purple paint. Correction: lilac paint. Edith hadn’t known her own mind on many things – the important stuff mainly, like what career she wanted or how many kids, if she even wanted kids at all – but she’d known she wanted lilac for the bedroom; she’d known that much. And lilac, he thinks, is what she’s going to get, even if she is never coming back.
Skein and Bone by V.H. Leslie
They parted company at Paris Gare Montparnasse, Laura and Libby waving goodbye to Jess who stood with her coterie of male admirers. Laura was only pretending to wave goodbye to Jess and the boys; it was Paris that she was really bidding farewell. Libby, on the other hand, waved enthusiastically to her friends on the platform, regretting already that she had agreed to leave. As if to confirm her misgivings, Luc kissed Jess on the cheek and the other boys jostled around, eager to impress her now that Libby was gone. They didn’t look back. And as the train pulled out of the station, Libby wished for a moment that she didn’t have a sister.
Two Houses Away by James Cooper
illustrated by David Gentry
I saw Albie and his wife walking past the old vicarage at six-fifteen in the morning, which was strange because Albie’s wife had passed away several months ago. I rubbed my eyes, freeing them of the last vestiges of sleep, and looked again. The sky was grey, still dreaming of sunlight, and Albie and his companion appeared knee-deep in rolling waves of mist. It was difficult to be exact about anything. It was like they were staggering, frame by painful frame, through their own shared delusion, where husband and wife were reunited, one seemingly supporting the other, each with an armful of nothing to see them safely to the end of their days.
Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
the second in a two-part appraisal of Ghostwatch on its 20th anniversary
Cast and crew met up on Hallowe’en night 1992 and watched Ghostwatch going out – ‘live’, as it were. Ninety minutes later, with Michael Parkinson ‘possessed’ by Mother Seddons and Sarah Greene trapped in the ‘glory hole’ under the stairs, the BBC switchboards were jammed with irate callers, angry at being taken for a ride, as they saw it. (Possibly also angry at being scared in the comfort of their own homes – another reason I wanted to write a television scary movie: in the cinema you go to the story, in television the story comes to you.)
Interference by Christopher Fowler
I thought I should talk about the pitfalls of professional writing for a few columns. Here’s something to bear in mind: your first big publication sticks to you forever. I’ll go to my grave being described as ‘the author of Roofworld’. In fact, it was the fourth book I wrote but the first that came with high expectations and a decent publicity budget. It wasn’t hugely successful in the grand scheme of things – an ill-advised cinema campaign went wrong after a very expensive commercial aired with the flop movie The Fly 2, and many readers didn’t know where to look for it. Was it SF? Horror? Crime? Satire even? Or just an adventure?
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
Dark Regions Press: Crustaceans by William Meikle, The Dark Side of Heaven by Gord Rollo; Sinister Grin Press: Sacrifice by Wrath James White, Down by Nate Southard; Two Anthologies: 13 edited by Adam Bradley, Chilling Tales edited by Michael Kelly; The Book(s) of the Film: Saw by Benjamin Poole, Hulk by Tony Lee; Eibonvale: Feather by David Rix, A Glimpse of the Numinous by Jeff Gardiner, Where Are We Going? edited by Allen Ashley; Watching the Detectives: Dark Room by Steve Mosby, The Chosen Seed by Sarah Pinborough, The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly, Terribilis by Carol Weekes; Chômu Press: The Orphan Palace by Joseph S. Pulver Sr, Dadaoism edited by Justin Isis & Quentin S. Crisp, I Am a Magical Teenage Princess by Luke Geddes, Crandolin by Anna Tambour.
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Tony Lee
Zombie Contagion, Ultimate Zombie Feast, Blade II, Blade Trinity, Lady Snowblood, Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance, The Basket Case Trilogy, Cube, The Devil Rides Out, The Mummy's Shroud, Rasputin: The Mad Monk, The Curse of Frankenstein, Closed Circuit Extreme, Apartment 143, Chernobyl Diaries, Lovely Molly, Cabin in the Woods, The Pact, Snow White and the Huntsman, Spartacus: Vengeance, Rosewood Lane, The Thompsons, We Are The Night, Grimm Season One, Red Lights, Storage 24, Silent House, The Harsh Light of Day, My Ex, Inbred, Some Guy Who Kills People, Dead Man's Luck, Cockneys vs Zombies, Monstro!, Killer Joe, Excision.
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