BLACK STATIC 51
The cover art is by 'Jack in the Box' by Martin Hanford
Birdfather by Stephen Graham Jones
illustrated by Richard Wagner
It was Benny who started it. We know that now. It was Mom really, but if you start saying it was Mom then you have to go back farther and say that, technically, it was Dad who started it, and then you’re pushing over a line of dominoes that goes back forever, because if Dad was the one who started it, then he started it just by taking exit 307 instead of 308.
Full Up by Mark Morris
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
The house is different to how it was when she lived here with Norman, and Shirley feels obscurely resentful of that fact. She knows she has no reason to be. Everyone has their different tastes, and it would have been odd if Mike and Bess, whose combined ages, Shirley guesses, must barely equal her own, had not updated the décor and modernised the amenities.
Necropolis Beach by Gary McMahon
illustrated by Jim Burns
As far as I know it was one of the first incursions, those initial incidents that we now realise were merely glimpses of what was soon to come. Back then, of course, we had no idea what it meant. Nobody did. This was before the mass panic, the media blackouts, the riots, and the unstoppable rising of the sea levels. Before things whose names were horror itself started to break through for real and disassemble our world, piece by screaming piece.
This was before all of that; the intimate before the epic.
Spring Forward by Caren Gussoff
I finally talked Gomez into buying the setting, since he wouldn’t take the stone. I pried back the soft gold prongs with my fingernail to loosen the diamond; he crossed himself.
He weighed the metal as I held the stone to the light. The fluorescents looked beautiful, all faceted fire and spark. “You sure it isn’t real?” I asked.
“It’s real.” Gomez winced and swallowed, like taking a pill dry. “But it’s made from a person.” Then he crossed himself again.
Listen, Listen by Stephen Hargadon
illustrated by Vince Haig
Richard Haig, known to long-standing business acquaintances and certain family members as old Haig, died five weeks ago. On hearing the unhappy news, his eldest son and heir, Robert Haig, had returned from Peterborough where he had been working on his memoirs (two hundred and forty-one pages of rhyming couplets) to attend the funeral, a grand, sombre masque of white blooms and black veils. The whole town came out to smirk. Robert softened himself on gin and swapped polite words with various unremarkable cousins, nephews and simpering admirers of the dearly departed. Resisting the call of Peterborough (where his latest muse, Emily, was waiting for him in a flat above a fish and chip shop), Robert decided to stay on at Haig Heights, an ugly Tudorish pile perched on a hill at the northern end of town. Its timbers creaked and moaned in the cold winds that blew in from Russia. The home, if it can be called a home, had all the charm of a dusty and infrequently visited provincial museum, a certain dull menace, and was efficiently run by a robust housekeeper called Mrs Furnivall. No one knew if this woman was married, or had been married, or wished to be married; it seemed unlikely that she would tolerate something as frivolous in her life as a husband. On the other hand, no one could quite imagine that she had ever been a little Miss, all ribbons and plaits and moonlit intrigues. It was as though Mrs Furnivall had turned Mrs into an entirely new category of being, the mysteries of which were known only to her. While at the Heights, young Haig did his best not to interfere with Mrs Furnivall’s endless round of cleaning and arranging. He retreated to the leathery gloom of the library and set about putting old Haig’s estate in order. But young Haig wasn’t so young anymore and he wasn’t very good at putting things in order. Quite often he abandoned the library for the Cock and Badger, where he found strong ale and a serviceable muse.
The Future of Literary Criticism by Norman Prentiss
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Lowell Jacobs would have preferred dinner in the city – his favorite restaurant Des Artistes, or the steak house Weller raved about last summer. The hotel dining room offered more convenience, however, and with so many interviews scheduled this conference weekend, Lowell couldn’t afford to stray from home base. As an added benefit, the dining room and its accompanying bar allowed more opportunity to make quick contact with other attending scholars.
Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE
News from the Western Front (i.e. Shepherd’s Bush) last summer declared that the BBC was announcing 1,000 job cuts, while George Osborne made no secret of wanting to force the “imperial” organisation to pick up the cost of free license fees for the elderly – effectively eviscerating a fifth of its annual budget. The writing was on the wall, the death knell chimed…but who at the BBC was listening? Nobody, as far as I could tell.
Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker
THE ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE: HORROR EDITION
It’s a phrase that’s been on my mind lately when it comes to the horror field, inspired by but otherwise not particularly about the book of the same title by the American literary critic Harold Bloom beyond the basic premise that writers – in Bloom’s case, poets – are made anxious by their predecessors. And because I see metaphor everywhere and the horror field is particularly potent for metaphor, I found myself thinking of three separate but related anxieties in terms of horror tropes.
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
Relic of Death by David Bernstein, Bloodeye by Craig Saunders, Oasis of the Damned by Greg F. Gifune
STAY OUT OF THE WATER
Terror Tales of the Ocean edited by Paul Finch, Sharkpunk edited by Jonathan Green
ASSORTED NIGHTMARES AND FANTASIES
The Female Factory by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter, Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter
THE WEIRD WEST AND THE PICARESQUE: MOLLY TANZER
Vermilion, The Pleasure Merchant, plus extensive interview
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Gary Couzens
What Have You Done to Solange?, The Visit, Nekromantik 2, Thundercrack!, Crimson Peak, Five Dolls For an August Moon, Navy Seals vs. Zombies, The Carrier, Clinger, Nina Forever, Mark of the Witch, Lost After Dark, The Vatican Tapes, The Weather Station, Last Shift, Deathgasm, Midwinter of the Spirit, Aaaaaaaah!, The House on Pine Street, Among the Living, Arrowhead, and others
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Black Static 52 is out in May, with a breathtaking new novelette by Carole Johnstone called 'Wetwork', illustrated by Ben Baldwin, plus new stories by Damien Angelica Walters, Robert Levy, and Ralph Robert Moore. Subscribe now!
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