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Black Static



16th Nov, 2013

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Item image: Black Static 37 Cover

Cover art by George Cotronis



When Charlie Sleeps by Laura Mauro
illustrated by Richard Sampson

Item image: When Charlie Sleeps 

Propped against the bathroom door, clutching an old guitar, Hanna sings Charlie another lullaby.

Go to sleep, Charlie.

He’s awake in there, still. The black beetles that come from under the bathroom door are his messengers. They walk ponderous circuits, antennae trembling, moving jerkily like windup toys.

Sleep, Charlie, sleep.


Bones of Crow by Ray Cluley
illustrated by George Cotronis

Item image: Bones of Crow

Maggie tapped her cigarette twice on the pack before putting the filter to her mouth, an affectation she’d picked up years ago when she first started smoking. She’d seen it in a movie; it packed the tobacco tighter or something. Whatever the reason, it was as much a part of her habit now as sneaking up to the roof to enjoy it. Her lighter was a cheap throwaway but it did the job. She cupped the flame, brought it to her cigarette, and sucked in the day’s first glorious breath of nicotine. Pocketing the lighter, she took the cigarette from her lips and exhaled the smoke with a sigh.


All Your Faces Drown in My Syringe by Ralph Robert Moore
illustrated by David Gentry 

Item image: All Your Faces Drown in My Syringe

Late at night. Rain rolling down the black panes of the skylight, melting the moon.

In the root beer darkness of their bedroom, candles behind them on their bed stands, they spoke low, faces this close on their pillows. Molly with a sad smile. “My grandfather. When I was really young he’d toss me up in the air.” Eyes drifting, knowing Roger wouldn’t interrupt. “He’d hoist me up by my armpits, and I’d look down at this old face below me, that unconditionally loved me, glasses glinting, big grin of dentures, then he’d launch me up over his head. There were always those scary, happy heartbeats when I was floating above his hands. Free. But knowing he’d catch me. He always did.” 


The Strongest Thing About Me is Hate by DeAnna Knippling

Item image: The Strongest Thing About Me is Hate


The Sunflower Seed Man by Priya Sharma
illustrated by Richard Wagner

Item image: The Sunflower Seed Man

Man, woman and child. Father, mother, daughter. They make slow progress along the lane. The houses thin out and the road markings disappear, the hamlet dissolving into countryside. Birds sing out in liquid notes, music pouring from their throats. There’s a summer stillness, this golden day fixed in the sun’s amber gaze.


The Sound of Constant Thunder by Steven J. Dines
illustrated by Joachim Luetke

Item image: The Sound of Constant Thunder

Before the end I was a city council employee: a street custodian. I removed the litter they dropped on the pavement, the shit they let their dogs drop when they thought nobody was around, and the wild animals their big, fancy cars dropped on the way to their big, fancy jobs in the city. The city of No More. That was my nickname for it back then; as in, make it stop. And it was what I continued to call it after the war: No More, as in no longer there, as in vacant.



Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk

Two recent meetings made me think seriously about the future of the writer at this point in history.

Firstly, I was seeing a Channel 4 exec about a horror series. They didn’t know The Evil Dead when I mentioned it, nor had they seen Rosemary’s Baby, clearly didn’t know the tonal difference between the two, and blank looks greeted my mention of Fringe, Supernatural and Buffy. Then I listened to their notes…

But that wasn’t what upset me.

What did was someone saying, apropos of The Returned – the brilliant (subtitled) French supernatural series of exceptional beauty and eeriness that had recently been shown on the channel – “Oh yes. We would never have commissioned that here.”


Blood Pudding by Lynda E. Rucker

I recently caught up on the second season of the anthology series American Horror Story, set in a hospital for the (purportedly) criminally insane, so madness has been on my mind, and in particular madness among women. Madness and horror have always been intertwined. But when women exhibit symptoms of madness, the implications are different.



Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant

books by M. John Harrison, Hilary Scudder, Pat Cadigan, Terry Grimwood, Shaun Hutson, Guy Adams, Melvin Burgess, Royce Prouty, Helen Grant, John Howard, Michael Boatman, Keith Deininger, Elizabeth Massie, Jon Bassoff, Sarah Pinborough, Ralph Robert Moore, Eric Red, Douglas Thompson


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

The Body, Byzantium, No One Lives, The Walking Dead, Only God Forgives (with a chance to win the Steelbook), Squirm, The Mummy, The Wicker Man, Halloween, The Witches, Creepshow, The Fury, The Headless Ghost, The People Under the Stairs, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, The Last Exorcism Part II, All Superheroes Must Die, I Spit on Your Grave 2, The Disco Exorcist, Thanatomorphose, American Horror Story: Asylum, Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman, The Purge, Nosferatu, The Conjuring


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