BLACK STATIC 43
The wraparound cover art is by Ben Baldwin
Drown Town by Ralph Robert Moore
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
At the bottom of the valley she drove through the business district, eyeglasses turning left, right, taking in the small shops, the sidewalk cafes. Two story library at the end of one block, American flag flying atop a white pole. Small school across the street, kids running in circles, screaming.
Ishq by Usman T. Malik
illustrated by Tara Bush
They whispered: Parveen is in love with the shakarkandi vendor.
Figures, said the shocked neighborhood women.
Fitting that the girl with polio, this seventeen-year-old with the face of an angel and the leg of a hobbled horse, who stood at her window every night staring into the ghostly depth of Narrow Alley, would steal glances at the bright-eyed boy with muscles sharp and confident in his back and a perpetual smile on his face.
Night Templar by Simon Bestwick
“Imran! Salaam alaikum!”
“Wa alaikum salaam.”
Imran – thirtyish, big and portly, shalwar kameez flapping round him like a badly-tethered tent – walks down along the taxi rank outside the bus station and shakes young Ali’s hand.
It’s a quiet summer evening as they chat – about cabbages and kings, ships and sealing wax, as Imran once heard an old white man put it. They talk of Ali’s wedding, coming up next month, of Imran’s wife, now expecting their fourth child, and the other children’s progress at school. How business is worse and prices up; the same old same old.
And then Imran sees the woman bearing down the pavement towards his cab, and it’s time to cut the conversation short and get back to work.
Hide by Annie Neugebauer
When I met Cecilia I’d only been dead for twenty years and she’d only been alive for about as many. She was all golden-brown skin and mahogany eyes and legs that stretched longer than the last week of summer, and I was cold – so cold
Black Lung by Andrew Hook
illustrated by Dave Senecal
For three out of the past seven nights I have dreamt that I live over the bridge.
There’s a fairytale quality to that existence, a brushed memory of a fly caught by a careless hand, a smudge of dark beauty. Melancholia infuses my waking head which shower jets won’t dispel. Instead wind batters my face on my morning cycle journey, until I arrive at my destination with the sensation of displacement eradicated.
Many-Eyed Monsters by Aliya Whiteley
When the first one emerged from my mouth it interrupted one of the rare luxurious moments of my life. I was indulging in a bit of pampering, in the textbook fashion; the kind that would make other women jealous. A deep bubble bath. White wine, the condensation forming on the slippery curve of the glass. Candle flames swaying to mood music, and the rise and fall of my breasts as I breathed in the steam. It was meant to be a perfect example of luxurious relaxation, and yet I could see clearly the valley of wrinkles, that crisscross of aging skin, between those shining globes of mine. No amount of white wine was going to take away the persistent thought that I really needed to moisturise more often.
Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
There’s a massive myth about writer’s block, and it’s this – that is doesn’t exist. Those who’ve never had it cannot contemplate what it feels like, and laugh at those who claim to have experienced it – rather like sceptical investigators in a paranormal movie. You know, the assholes who always turn out to be wrong.
Blood Pudding by Lynda E. Rucker
One of the debates currently raging in genre circles concerns the suitability of Gahan Wilson’s rendering of H.P. Lovecraft continuing on as the World Fantasy Award statuette. This, too, will pass, as these conflicts inevitably must, culminating in either a replacement of the statuette or not, but more compelling than the sides taken in this specific argument are the wider questions it is asking, the underpinnings of the disagreement.
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
CHARACTERS IN TURMOIL: JAMES COOPER: Dark Father, Strange Fruit, author interview • TIM CURRAN: Worm, Nightcrawlers, Deadlock • ALISON LITTLEWOOD: The Unquiet House (guest review by Stephen Theaker) • RICHARD FARREN BARBER: The Power of Nothing, The Sleeping Dead • PENDRAGON PRESS: The Derelict by Neil Williams, Drive by Mark West • TIM LEBBON: APOCALYPSE X2: Still Life, Shifting of Veils • SKILLUTE REVISITED: S.P. MISKOWSKI: Astoria, In the Light • TELOS PUBLISHING: The Darkness Within + Kat on a Hot Tin Airship + What's Dead Pussykat by Sam Stone, Absinthe & Arsenic by Raven Dane, The Fall by Simon Clark, The Immortalists by Andrew Hook
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray/Download Reviews by Tony Lee
Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection, The Island of Dr Moreau (1977), The Walking Dead Season 4, Devil's Knot, The Hour of the Lynx, Leprechaun Origins, Dark Touch, Found, WolfCop, Cold in July, Grand Piano, Oculus, All Cheeleaders Die, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Graduation Day, See No Evil 2, Devil's Tower, Nailbiter, Afflicted, Reaper, Kidnapped, Open Grave, Treehouse, Bad Milo!, Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort, Dark Tourist, Blood Shot
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