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Black Static

New Horror Fiction BLACK STATIC ISSUE 71 OUT NOW!

BLACK STATIC #71 (SEP-OCT 2019)

2nd Sep, 2019

Cover

Item image: Black Static 71

The cover art is 'Charles Dexter Ward' by Jochim Luetke

 

Fiction

Dixon Parade by Stephen Hargadon
illustrated by Jim Burns 

Item image: Dixon Parade

“Twelve quid,” said the shopkeeper, looking over his spectacles. “That’s the best I can do.”

“I’ll take it,” I said, relieved that there was no more bartering to be done.

We shook hands and the painting was mine. The fellow wrap­ped it carefully, emitting small, harassed sighs and using what seemed an inordinate amount of tape and newspaper while I half-heartedly examined the contents of a cabinet by the till – a brass Buddha, a vase patterned with dragons and tigers, a collection of sparkling enamelled snuffboxes. None of it took my fancy. I was eager to be off, not through any dislike for my surroundings (quite the opposite, I’d thoroughly enjoyed browsing the chaotic snugs and alcoves, the cluttered dead ends) but because I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. At last he presented me with my purchase. A bell tinkled as I left the shop. The man said something that sounded jovial but I was already out on the street before I’d even thought of replying. I was relieved to be on my own. I crossed the cobbled square to the Ferryman, a grand looking pub with pretty hanging baskets and a pillared entrance. (I still have no idea why it is called the Ferryman: it’s miles from any significant body of water. I asked the landlord once, many years ago. I can’t remember what he said.) I ordered a pint. The pub was dark and warm, with lacquered beams the same colour as my stout.

 

Diamond Saw by Sarah Read
illustrated by Warwick Fraser-Coombe 

Item image: Diamond Saw

I don’t know what the thing growing inside me is, but it speaks with Dad’s voice.

I also don’t know who put it there; which eager customer, or source of information, provided more than intel over the course of our illicit encounter. I had been careful. But careful isn’t always enough, and now my dead dad is bossing me around again, speaking through his new pulse in the wormy clump of cells rooted to my middle.

 

Residue by Steven Sheil 

Item image: Residue

The key wouldn’t work. She’d had the same trouble before and, having the same trouble, had the same thought – how had David managed it? She drew the key from the lock, spat on it, rubbed the glob of spittle along the notches and inserted it again. This time she leaned into the door, pushing it back in the frame, hoping that this would do the trick. She turned the key, felt the resistance, pushed harder. Something yielded, the key clicked home, the door shuddered open and she half-stepped, half-fell inside.

 

A Pressed Red Flower in the Abandoned Archive by Daniel Bennett 

Item image: A Pressed Red Flower in the Abandoned Archive

After returning from Indonesia, I found a short term research job with the Unit of Disaster Management, an obscure research unit located in offices outside of Waterloo. On a nine month contract, my duties were low level and banal, but gradually, as my work became appreciated and deadlines loomed, I moved onto more important projects. Proofreading and editing reports on anything from Islamist terrorist cells to coastal erosion in East Anglia, I was required to sign the official secrets act, a bond which, although I’m not sure how, I may now be breaking.

 

Other Houses by Seán Padraic Birnie
illustrated by Richard Wagner 

Item image: Other Houses

There are some memories so exact in their detail you would bet your life on their being true. For example: the time I pushed my sister into the pond in Queens Park, one autumn morning out with our father after the rain had stopped. That October it had been hard to imagine it ever ceasing to fall. It’s the kind of memory that’s a bodily thing: my feet remember, my eyes remember; my arms recall the ripple of goosebumps in the autumn air. Closing my eyes, I can see the dew still ablaze in the grass, and the path we followed, curving round the pond, a plate of dark water in the stillness. I remember the glare of the light and the haze, and the tears in my eyes, and my sister shivering, sodden and in shock, and my father comforting her. I remember how far removed I felt from them in that moment, as if, standing not ten feet away, the execution of that sudden act of cruelty had placed them beyond some impenetrable screen. I must have been ten years old, Rebecca six. I remember my hand on her shoulder and the soaking filth of her hooded top, and the guilt tingling in my palm as the dampness passed from the fabric to my fingertips. I remember the excitement and shame of the shove, of its sudden and unpremeditated violence. I can still feel it in my fingertips, like the tactile memory of an electric shock. Years later, to my bewilderment, they told me Rebecca had slipped: it had nothing to do with me – I was a way back down the path. Perhaps I had wanted to push her. Maybe I had fantasised about doing so. Either way, for years I had tended an ever-burning shame. I could place it out of mind for as long as I liked, but at some point I would always turn around and find it there, burning still. I had felt the redness of it in my face and ears and the rise of acid sickness in my throat, and I had never questioned my guilt: it was a fact in the world, as inarguable as a building or a photograph, and when I brought it up, the first time I can remember ever bringing it up, Rebecca shook her head, half frowning, seeming to grimace at the memory, and then our father agreed, looking at me momentarily, irritated, from the newspaper open across his lap. It shakes your sense of things, this sort of abrupt revision of your life.

 

Columns

Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker

SOFT RAINS

Is it just me, or does the world seem to be getting more cosmically horrifying than usual? Even though we, the humans, are the drivers of the current rate of climate change, something about the melting glaciers, the heat waves, the forest fires, the flooding, the super storms, all have the effect of reminding me just how insignificant we are, not just to the universe or the solar system at large but to the very planet we call home. It feels almost – almost – as though we’ve awakened the Old Ones, and they’re coming to boot our parasitic assess into extinction and reclaim what’s rightfully theirs.

 

Into the Woods by Ralph Robert Moore

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE DENTIST

I love going to the dentist. The night before a dentist appointment, to me, is like…Christmas Eve. Except of course it isn’t. Nobody likes going to the dentist.

 

Reviews

Case Notes: Book Reviews

Daniel Carpenter: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc • David Surface: One Good Story: The Good Husband by Nathan Ballingrud • Andrew Hook: Sing Your Sadness Deep by Laura Mauro • Laura Mauro: Growing Things by Paul Tremblay • Paul Tremblay Interviewed by Laura Mauro • Georgina Bruce: New Music For Old Rituals by Tracy Fahey

 

Blood Spectrum: Film Reviews by Gary Couzens

Bloody Terror: The Shocking Cinema of Norman J. Warren 1976–1987 • The House That Dripped Blood • Asylum • Lust for a Vampire • The Legacy • Cruising • Memory • Us • Under the Silver Lake • Dragged Across Concrete • Blood of a Poet • The Testament of Orpheus • The Chill Factor • Pet Sematary • The Hole in the Ground • Border • Lords of Chaos • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile • Batman: Hush • The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead

 

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 72 is out in November. Magazines like this cannot survive without subscriptions, so thank you for your support.

 

The Teardrop Method by Simon Avery

Item image: The Teardrop Method

2018 WORLD FANTASY AWARD FINALIST
NOT MANY COPIES LEFT • NOW ONLY £5 

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

NOT MANY COPIES LEFT

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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