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Black Static

New Horror Fiction BLACK STATIC 82/83 OUT NOW

2015: The Year in Reviewing

12th Jan, 2016

Author: Peter Tennant

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As in the five previous years, it's time for me to take a look back at what happened in the year just gone from a Case Notes review perspective.

In the six issues of Black Static that appeared in 2015 we ran reviews of a grand total of 86 titles, which is a considerable drop from the total of 112 published in 2014, though I'm not sure why that's happened - longer reviews, less pages for Case Notes, running an interview every issue, some combination of all those things.

Breaking it down we get:-

  • Novels - 12 (19 in 2014)
  • Short Story Collections - 18 (25)
  • Novellas - 24 (44)
  • Anthologies - 18 (12)
  • Chapbooks - 5 (3)
  • Non-fiction - 2 (5)
  • Graphic/Illustrated work - 7 (4)

Looking at the list, it seems that the biggest 'winner' is the anthology category, with a 50% increase in the number of titles reviewed, and as these generally have a higher word count than other reviews (or at least they do how I write them) this may have been a contributory factor in the overall drop. I appear to have succeeded in my intention, stated here last year, of reviewing fewer novellas, but failed dismally to increase the number of novels reviewed. There's little significance in the changes in the other categories.

During 2015 I listed a total of 263 titles received for review, which was 2 up on the previous year, and means that overall only 33% of the books sent to us got reviewed.

Of the 86 titles reviewed in Black Static itself, 22 were either written or edited by women (approximately 26% of the total), while 58 and 1/6 of the titles received were by women (approximately 22%). The corresponding figures in 2013 were 29% and 20%.

We reviewed titles from a total of 41 different publishers, of which the following have been reviewed the most often:-

  • PS Publishing - 9
  • DarkFuse -7
  • Swan River Press - 6
  • Spectral Press - 6
  • Tartarus - 4
  • Gray Friar Press - 4
  • Titan Books - 4
  • CZP - 4
  • Short, Scary Tales Publications - 4

Telos, Dark Regions Press, Omnium Gatherum Media, Samhain Publishing, Earthling Publications, and NewCon Press all had 2 titles reviewed.

In total I reviewed titles by 61 different writers and editors (the actual tally for writers is much higher, as for anthologies I am only counting the editor), with those who were reviewed the most frequently:-

7 titles - H. P. Lovecraft

5 titles - Tim Waggoner

3 titles - Gary McMahon, Ray Cluley, Tanith Lee, Stephen Jones, Ellen Datlow

2 titles - John Llewellyn Probert, Joe R. Lansdale, Helen Marshall, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Sarah Pinborough, Mark Morris, Nicole Cushing, Paul Finch

1 ½ - Brian J. Showers

I also reviewed, via graphic novels, the work of a number of artists, but I'm not going to include any of them unless, as in the case of Glenn Chadbourne, they were also the writer of the book, as it will all get a bit too complicated.

At this time last year I stated:-

When I originally started Case Notes, the intention was that no book would get reviewed once it had been out in the wild for nine months, and I'd like to get back to that, and perhaps even six months, but we'll see. I've never managed to keep a New Year resolution yet.

And looking at the figures now, it seems the second sentence there was prescient. Not only is the backlog of books awaiting review still substantial, but there are also now a lot of books which I've read but haven't as yet reviewed. Over the course of the coming year I hope, time and personal circumstances allowing, to take steps to deal with the backlog, which may include posting extra reviews to the blog, dropping the interview feature for one or possibly two issues to make more room for reviews, and unloading the older titles with a bit more alacrity. But...

I've never managed to keep a New Year resolution yet.



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