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Black Static

New Horror Fiction BLACK STATIC 82/83 OUT NOW


14th Jan, 2014

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Joel Lane (1963–2013):

Item image: The Conscience of the Circuit

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Black Static supporter and contributor of twenty years Joel Lane, who passed away in November 2013. Nicholas Royle pays tribute to his dear friend in 'The Conscience of the Circuit'. (All photos by Nicholas Royle.)



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Front and back cover art by Joachim Luetke



A Knot of Toads by Andrew Hook
illustrated by David Gentry

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“Do you want me to take your photograph?”

The girl stands at the edge of the vastness of Lake Windermere. It’s the height of the season and Ambleside is rammed with tourists cramming themselves onto steamers and rowboats. Nationalities jostle in ways which were unthinkable only one hundred years ago. Tourist honey­pots illustrate global integration even greater than the internet. Drawn together for one common purpose: to see what it is which is out there. Except me. I’m here for other reasons; for understanding. I’m here because there’s safety in numbers.


The Last Fear by Tim Waggoner
illustrated by George Cotronis 

Item image: The Last Fear

My eyes snap open to darkness. My heart pounds in my ears, a fast throb-throb-throb, loud and painful. My lungs ache for air, but I hold my breath, as if I’m afraid to make even the slightest of sounds. I’m in bed, the lights off. I’ve been sleeping – and something’s woken me.


Passion Play by Malcolm Devlin
illustrated by Geoffrey Grisso 

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Cathy McCullough’s mother fastens the chain around my neck and turns me by the shoulders. It’s a small cross, unadorned and she puts her hand on my chest, covering it with her palm. Her hand feels warm, like it’s been balled in a fist too long.

“She would have wanted you to have it,” she says.

She looks at me and I wonder what she sees. I don’t look like Cathy, not really. Her hair is redder and mine is browner; I’m a little taller, and the idea that we might look similar didn’t cross my mind until her old class photo started doing the rounds. We all look the same in those photos, but on any other day, you’d never confuse us if you knew us both.


The Hanging Tree by Maura McHugh

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We’re all told a story about our birth: the panicked drive to the hospital, or how long your mother suffered, or if you’re lucky, how smoothly it went. Beginnings matter. No matter how difficult or easy, we like to recount them to each other. 


Passchendaele by Danny Rhodes
illustrated by Richard Wagner

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Hewson arrived at the farm earlier than expected. It had not been such a trial after all, just a short drive through the Kentish countryside, a hop across the channel, an hour or so of cruising on pristine European roads, the flat, rural countryside silent in the December stillness.


His Artist Wife by John Grant
illustrated by Vincent Sammy

Item image: His Artist Wife

You’re far more likely to have heard of my artist wife Lucille Hrade than of me. Her paintings have a way of communicating directly to people. They’re realistic – you can see the subjects of her portraits breathe, feel the heat of her sun-baked landscapes – but at the same time, like Andrew Wyeth’s work, they have just enough of what I call the askew in them to make you think you’re daringly enjoying experimental art. They’re ideal for feeding the pseudo intellectual pretensions of the readers of color magazines, too, which is the main reason you’d be bound to recognize her work, even if her name doesn’t immediately mean anything to you.



Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk

Diversify, screenwriters, into something even more risky and financially unviable! Jeopardise your family’s wellbeing by working well below the minimum wage! You know it will be creatively rewarding! 

Like a snake eating itself, the book trade is going to the wall, bitch-slapped by superstores or maddeningly unable to get to grips with the scary blur of technology. So are self-published e-books, once smacking entirely of vanity, a brave new world where we writers can become “content providers” and masters of our own destiny, rather than seeing others reap the profit from our toil and talent? “Embrace change!” cry some scribes of my acquaintance with their eyes on the sunlit horizon. But what exactly is that change, and how do I give it a big old man-hug?


Blood Pudding by Lynda E. Rucker

At the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton last November, I was chatting with a pleasant woman when the subject of what I write came up. When I said “Horror,” she all but visibly recoiled – and said something along the lines of “Oh, I hate that slasher and gore stuff.” I said “No, no, that’s not what I write,” and when I used the word “supernatural,” her face notably changed.

“Oh, I like that! If you write about ghosts and things, I like stories like that, but I don’t like horror.”



Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant

Books by Gary Fry (plus in-depth interview), N.A. Sulway, Anne-Sylvie Salzman, David Britton, David Britton & John Coulthart, Ian R. MacLeod, Randall Silvis, Paul Meloy, Cate Gardner, William Meikle, Toby Tate, Mary SanGiovanni, Alan Ryker


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

The Conjuring, Insidious Chapter 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, You're Next, Blood Glacier, Bounty Killer, The Complex, Kiss of the Damned, Odd Thomas, John Dies at the End, Big Ass Spider, The Colony, Prisoners, Frost


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