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Black Static



1st May, 2019


Item image: Black Static 69

The cover art is 'Dead End' by Joachim Luetke



Where it Ends, Where it Begins by Erinn L. Kemper
illustrated by Vincent Sammy 

Item image: Where it Ends, Where it Begins

Voices and the hollow thud of feet on the shop’s plank floor carried into the back room where Mac secured his latest salvage. He closed the freezer and listened. A man and a woman. Pleasure boaters cruising the outer shores of Vancouver Island. Likely drawn to his storm-beaten shack on the wharf head by the antique anchors, barnacle-crusted traps, and faded orange fenders strung up outside. He’d off-load a few lures, make it his last sale of the season.


Beach People by Joanna Parypinski
illustrated by Richard Wagner 

Item image: Beach People

For one, it was a driving trip, meaning their options were limited to an immediate six-hour radius, ruling out a flight to California or Mexico or even Florida. For another, it was still the gray-cold of early spring, hardly beach weather, or at least the kind of beach weather that lent itself to sun-darkened and bikinied co-eds drinking Mai Tais beside the sunflecked water – not that Camilla knew what a Mai Tai tasted like, but it sounded tropical and more exotic than whatever she would be drinking this week, probably diet coke – and what sixteen-year-old still went on family vacations, anyway?


Hunting by the River by Daniel Carpenter

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It was her eighteenth birthday and since she was his sister, he thought he’d head home and surprise her. He grabbed a bunch of flowers from a store in Manchester Piccadilly station, and walked across the city. It was early still, and he shared the streets with bleary eyed tourists, dawn commuters and the sleeping homeless. He’d forgotten how the air felt in the city he grew up in: grey and wet, even on the sunniest of days. He’d missed that.


Pomegranate Pomegranate by Jack Westlake
illustrated by Martin Hanford 

Item image: Pomegranate Pomegranate

This is what she knows:

Do not immediately repeat a word.

Do not immediately repeat a word spoken by someone else, and do not allow someone to repeat a word you’ve just said.

Do not allow yourself to hear your own echo.

These rules will keep you alive.

Words cannot be trusted. Give them a chance and they will kill you.


When You Decided to Call by Daniel Bennett 

Item image: When You Decided to Call

When I was very young, my father told me stories of a cycling holiday he had taken in the Netherlands during his early twenties. One spring, a little after my thirtieth birthday, I took two weeks off work to follow his journey. I spent the days cycling almost without rest, the nights sleeping by the roadside. Windmills on the horizon, the flat plains sliced by canals, the avenues of stiff, plumed pines: it was a bare country, isolating and strange. Expressive as it was of a world before I was born, the landscape seemed an occult place to me, simultaneously fascinating and forbidding, like the realm of death.


Messages from Weirdland by Simon Avery
illustrated by Vince Haig

Item image: Messages from Weirdland


It was snowing when they arrived in New York for the appointment with Elspeth’s specialist. A week before Thanksgiving. Earlier that morning there had been a gas explosion on Fifth Avenue, and it seemed like every ambulance and emergency vehicle in five boroughs was stationed in the surrounding area. Cops in black raincoats were still pushing the crowds back behind yellow security tapes. The cab had dropped Elspeth and Franklyn at Madison, and they’d walked the rest of the way. The specialist’s office was all but hidden beneath a cluster of scaffold, between a Brooks Brothers and a crowded deli. They sat in the waiting room holding hands like they had when they were young. Franklyn was more anxious than she was; Elspeth had come to terms with the certainty and nearness of her mortality. You couldn’t live forever, as much as you might want to. She’d had a good life with Franklyn. They hadn’t had children, but they’d wanted for nothing. They’d built a good home and had good friends, thrown fabulous parties. She and Franklyn doted on Luna, their sweet-tempered rescue dog. She was resolved.



Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker


I’ve spent more than one column here – including the last one – lamenting the limited audience that is drawn to the rich genre of horror, wondering how we could expand its reach to people who would like some of the depth and richness contained within those books if they only gave them a chance. Over the last several years, there certainly seems to have been a resurgence of horror in mainstream film, but sadly, it seems that horror readers tend to watch films far more than horror film lovers tend to pick up horror fiction.


Into the Woods by Ralph Robert Moore


When I was a boy, growing taller and taller in the Fifties, cowlick when I combed my hair, ankles stretching below the bottoms of my pant legs, wrists pushing past the cuffs of my shirts, higher and higher pencil notches against the doorway leading into our dining room, I thought that at some point in my life I’d be living on another planet. It was in all the newspapers, and some black and white TV shows, and later in colorized cartoons. I figured instead of a planet with mostly craters I’d choose a planet with lush jungles, because likely there’d be more opportunities to gather food. Even as a kid, I was smart.



Case Notes: Book Reviews

Gary Couzens: Les Vampires by Tim Major; Spirits of the Dead by Tim Lucas; Horror Express by John Connolly • David Surface: What Nature Abhors by Mark Morris • Daniel Carpenter: This House of Wounds by Georgina Bruce • Georgina Bruce: Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy • Laura Mauro: The Hunger by Alma Katsu • Ross Warren: Adornments of the Storm By Paul Meloy


Blood Spectrum: Film Reviews by Gary Couzens

The Ring Collection • The Rage: Carrie 2 • Cujo • Swamp Thing • The Marsupials: The Howling III • Death Warmed Up • The Devil Hunter • Cannibal Terror • Green Inferno • The White Reindeer • Lifechanger • The Devil’s Doorway • The Miracle • World on a Wire • The Silence • Await Further Instructions • Anna and the Apocalypse • Assassination Nation • The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot • Slaughterhouse Rulez


Where To Buy Black Static

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, Barnes & Noble etc.

The best thing though is to click on Shop above or the link below 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. No postage charge is added to UK orders, and overseas shipping is just £1 per item.


Please Spread the Word

If you enjoy Black Static please blog about it, review it, or simply recommend it to your friends.


Coming Soon

Black Static 70 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 the new TTA Shop or subscribe to four novellas for just £24 (10% off during September with the SEP10 code).

"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

Available from the TTA Shop for just £10 is the new edition of Crimewave. 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.

“One of the very best anthologies I have ever read, in any genre. An absolute gem” Tim Lees

“Crimewave 13 explores a broadly common theme — the utter blurring of the traditional boundaries between the criminal and the victim, with the trajectories and locations of each of the stories quite distinct from each other and the clever use of partial perspectives confounding the reader throughout” Morning Star


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