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Black Static



3rd May, 2018

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Item image: Black Static 63

The cover art is by Richard Wagner



Item image: Black Static 63 Contents



The Harder it Gets the Softer We Sing by Steven J. Dines (novella)
illustrated by Vincent Sammy 

Item image: The Harder it Gets the Softer We Sing


On our second night in our new home I have the dream again. I am sitting in a bar in Los Angeles, which in every sense is as far as you can get from Salisbury, England without leaving the planet. The place is empty except for me, Ray Bradbury sitting on the stool to my left, and Charles Bukowski on the stool to my right. Bradbury cradles a half-full glass of iced water between his hands as he raptly gazes at the abundance of tube lighting behind the bar. A myriad of neon hues reflect in his black-rimmed glasses. Bukowski drags on a cigarette between long pulls on his beer, the smoke cloud around him seeming to exude from his hulking, stooped frame. Both men have typewriters in front of them, old Royals, a sheet of blank paper rolled around the platen and carriages pushed to the right, ready. I have an empty stretch of bar and a warm Coors, both of which are clustered with black mould where my hands have touched them.


Raining Street by J.S. Breukelaar

Item image: Raining Street

Our neighbor, Marie, waves me down with those square hands of hers, flapping like fleshy wings. I consider pretending I haven’t seen her, turning blindly up the path to our own front door. But she would know I’m lying. Marie’s eyebrows are bushy, metallic – a sign, she assures me, that she is really much better now. She winds a long strand of silver hair around her fingers, gives it a tug, her eyes nailing me to the spot. Mesmerized, I watch it pull away from the scalp, leaving a bald patch flecked with blood. She opens her fingers, letting the autumn breeze snatch the hair away to get snagged on the clothesline. She grins wickedly, eyes disappearing behind tidal folds of flesh.


Bones of Flightless Birds by Matt Thompson
illustrated by Richard Wagner 

Item image: Bones of Flightless Birds

They buried the first victim at the southern tip of the island, out on the promontory that looked over to the mainland. As the prisoner detail lowered the body into the shallow pit Sandvik noticed that the man’s shoulder blades had twisted since his demise, causing his neck to pivot to one side as if in quizzical reflection on his fate. His death had not been quick. An older prisoner by the name of Johann Solberg, he had spent his final days in the infirmary contorted in agony, gasping for air as his lungs buckled beneath his malformed ribcage. Sandvik had done what he could, but it seemed as if Solberg’s skeleton was trying to escape the confines of his body, his bones almost spearing through his flesh at impossible angles.


Pyralidae by Kristi DeMeester

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Josephine Burke’s father had been in the dirt for a little under two weeks when she came back to the orchard and pushed her fingers deep into fallow earth. The air lay heavy across her tongue. A damp, worming thing that she drew deep inside of her lungs and held there until everything around her seemed to go still and quiet in a way it hadn’t been in a long, long while.


The Fire and the Stag by Nicholas Kaufmann
illustrated by Ben Baldwin

Item image: The Fire and the Stag

I have always believed in God, even from a young age. Maybe not the commonly imagined old man with a long white beard sitting among the clouds, not Yahweh or Christ or Buddha, but I’ve always sensed there was something – some infinite mystery – at the heart of the cosmos. Is it benevolent? Is it kind? Does it love us, watch over us, protect us?

I don’t think so.



Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker


The oldest stories left to us are anonymous ones. Would it help us to know the authorship of Gilgamesh or Beowulf? Would it enrich our reading of The Illiad and The Odyssey if we knew what kind of a person Homer was, what his position was on the issues of his day, whether or not he was actually a she? I’m not asking these questions rhetorically – I really do wonder.


Into the Woods by Ralph Robert Moore


I love stories about the end of the world. They are all stories about Heaven. Even if they don’t want to be. A hard Heaven. But nonetheless, a Heaven where we are truly free.



Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant

All the Fabulous Beasts plus in-depth author interview

Dead Shift
The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror
Made for the Dark

Human Pieces

Find Me by J.S. Monroe
The Black Sheep by Sophie McKenzie
Final Girls by Riley Sager


Blood Spectrum: Film Reviews by Gary Couzens

Night of the Living Dead, Hammer Volume Two: Criminal Intent, Annihilation, Requiem, Govan Ghost Story, Imitation Girl, Fashionista, Images, Cure, Legend of the Mountain, Pyewacket, Keep Watching, Terrifier


Where To Buy Black Static and How To Get This Issue FREE

Black Static is available in good shops in the UK and many other countries, including the USA where it can be found in Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and elsewhere. If your local store (in any country) doesn't stock it they should easily be able to order it in for you so please don't hesitate to ask them. You can also buy the magazine from a variety of online retailers, or a version for e-readers from places like Weightless Books, Amazon, Apple, Smashwords, etc.

The best thing though is to follow any of the Shop/Buy Now/Subscribe links on this website and buy the new issue, or better still take out a subscription, direct with us. You'll receive issues much cheaper and much quicker, and the magazine will receive a much higher percentage of the revenue.

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Coming Soon

Black Static 64 is out in July. Magazines like this cannot survive without subscriptions, so thank you for your support.


The Teardrop Method by Simon Avery

Item image: The Teardrop Method

Black Static readers will be interested to know that TTA Novella 4, The Teardrop Method by popular contributor Simon Avery, is out now as a B-Format paperback of 160 pages with wraparound cover art by Richard Wagner and a bonus connected short story. You can buy it now from this website's shop.

"The Teardrop Method is a story about stories; a beautiful novella about love and loss and the connections people make and then sometimes break. It's quiet, haunting, and ultimately moving" Gary McMahon

"Nightmare plotting infused with an aching mitteleuropäische sadness, Simon Avery’s tale of music and mortality could be the novelisation of a lost Argento movie" Nicholas Royle

"Without any prep or background, I started reading the novella The Teardrop Method by British author Simon Avery, and was immediately engaged by the moodiness, the bleakness, the desperation and creaky, world-weariness of the setting and characters. These appealing elements perfectly coalesced into a tragic and fervent eulogy to the creative process - to Art with a capital A - as a means of salvation and transcendence and doom, and to love itself in all its complex iterations, exploring the concept of loving, dying, and even killing, in order to achieve the proper reception code from the eternal Muse while the roaring Danube drowns out the rest of the world. This is a very European story, in all its faded baroque finery and cafe claustrophobia. The snow is heavier here, the dawn ever more surprising. The supernatural and the natural are not so far removed in places like this. The old and the new forever caught in a twirling waltz. I highly recommend this novella, and cannot wait to see what melody Mr Avery pens next. I'll be listening" T.E. Grau

"A monumentally haunting novella" Des Lewis

“Simon Avery’s descriptions of Krysztina’s music makes me want to hear it. It’s a subtle and beautifully told tale with echoes of European film-makers like Haneke and Kieslowski, as well as their predecessors like Franju and Polanski. It conjures a powerful sense of foreboding that reminds me of Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, and shares with that film a sense of being haunted. It has moments of profound sadness and yet still managed to surprise me with its uplifting ending. One of the novellas of the year” Mike O'Driscoll

“Majestic and compelling throughout, The Teardrop Method is an exemplary specimen of a standout novella. It’s beautifully written, excellently produced, and a sign of publisher TTA Press at the top of their game” Gareth Jones, Dread Central

"I can honestly say that Simon Avery's The Teardrop Method is one of the finest and most fascinating novellas I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I highly recommend this novella to speculative fiction readers, because it's a beautiful and subtly complex exploration of death, love, loss and how to recover from a tragedy. Its darkly beautiful atmosphere and delicate story will captivate everyone who appreciates quiet horror" Rising Shadow

"The Teardrop Method is a complex, intricately structured piece of dark fiction, or perhaps quite horror. It is a story about the weaving of stories, about the transmutation of the darkest personal grief into art, and about the coming to terms with the inevitability of death. As a key line puts it – Art leads you back to the person you were after the world took you away from yourself" Gary Dalkin, Amazing Stories

"Simon Avery’s prose is spare and masterly, and certainly the equal of any Booker Prize nominee I’ve ever read. As much goes on between the lines as on them. The interstitial dark spaces are filled with horrors and a creeping unease that drags the reader in and won’t let go. The characterisation and storytelling, too, are brilliant" John Dodds, Amazing Stories

"This highly original piece is written with the sad, chilly atmosphere of much central European fiction but it has a very British rejection of miserabilism for its own sake. The desire for even the most fantastical stories to make sense and to make progress keeps breaking through and the result is a charming, and charmingly odd, novella which stays in the mind like an overheard song" Mat Coward, Morning Star

"Avery's story is a dark and tense thriller, set against a cold Hungarian back drop. The reconnection between father and daughter gives The Teardrop Method melancholy in light of the father's declining health, and the handling of the supernatural element is done so latently it feels authentic and hence, genuinely spooky. The prose here is compulsively readable and even the stranger members of the cast pop off the page" Nick Cato, The Horror Fiction Review

Crimewave 13: Bad Light

Item image: Crimewave 13

Black Static readers might also like to know that a new volume of Crimewave is out now. This 240-page American Royal paperback contains groundbreaking and often genre-bending new stories by Simon Bestwick, Gerri Brightwell, Georgina Bruce, Ray Cluley, Mat Coward, Catherine Donnelly, Stephen Hargadon, Andrew Hook, Linda Mannheim, Ralph Robert Moore, Mike O'Driscoll, Steve Rasnic Tem and others, with wraparound cover art by Ben Baldwin. It's only £10 and available from the Shop now.

"Crimewave goes further, and the quality is higher" The Times

"It just keeps on getting better, maintaining its capacity to both please and surprise" Crime Time

"A must-have collection of the hottest crime stories around" Ian Rankin


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