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Black Static


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27th Feb, 2018

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Item image: Black Static 62

The cover art is by Jim Burns, for 'Sanguinary Scar'



Item image: BS62 Contents



Sanguinary Scar by E. Catherine Tobler
illustrated by Jim Burns 

Item image: Sanguinary Scar

Arden masturbates eyes-closed in the broom closet of the sanguinary, cheek pressed into the work-worn handle of a broom that was once used to beat her. She doesn’t think of anyone; there is no shadow lover that moves against her amid the mops and brooms. She doesn’t even think of the way the broom once cut across her knees. There is only her hand rough from her work, but warm and sure; only the flush of heat and stutter of breath when she comes. She’s so quiet, praying that none passing the door will hear. Her left knee buckles, but her legs hold her well enough, strong from years of climbing the sanguinary’s steps, though she lingers against the brooms for a heartbeat longer, until her breath steadies, until she can open her eyes and focus on the small metal sink where she washes her hands, drying them on her bloodstained apron and skirts as she steps from the closet and into the dim hallway.


Bury Me with Broken Light Bulbs, Bury Me in Shattered Glass by Jack Westlake

Item image: Bury Me with Broken Light Bulbs, Bury Me in Shattered Glass

The first time I meet Dwight, he says I’m just like him.

The first time I meet Dwight, I’m putting myself through my daily test, and I am sweating. That’s how he knows, he says. Because he’s in the middle of his own test.


Things Behind the Sun by David Martin
illustrated by Ben Baldwin 

Item image: Things Behind the Sun

Lisa is in the passenger seat and we are somehow, inevitably, on our way to Leyford. She stabs the stop button on the tape deck, grinds her cigarette into my pristine ashtray and lets rip as the London streets become motorway. “What is it about music by dead guys? Why do we obsess about people who left a good-looking corpse? Ending up as a poster on some bloody student’s wall. Is it because theyre never going to get fat and bald, never sell out? You dont see kids putting pictures on their wall of Hendrix with a mouthful of puke, or Kurt with half his face shot off.”


Your Clothes a Sepulcher, Your Body a Grave by Kay Chronister

Item image: Your Clothes a Sepulcher, Your Body a Grave

We should have lived that summer in reverse. If not that summer, at least that afternoon. The carousel’s glistening brass, all the wooden horses open-mouthed with their blood-colored tongues showing. The boardwalk sun-bleached. And us, standing underneath, eating our spun sugar ankle-deep in seawater, listening to the many feet pass above. There will never be another day like this one, you said. I know, I know, I was saying; I hated the sound of those words from your mouth. The spun sugar cobwebbing in my throat, drying me out. You threw your stick into the shallows and I said, some seagull is going to eat that, and you said, I don’t care, let it die, I don’t care. And I knew you didn’t. The sun was setting too early. In the brasseries, the chansons were mounting the patios to sing about heartbreak. The clink of wine glasses reached us, the hum of guitars being tuned, and I knew night was close, and I knew that in every way that mattered, you were already gone for me.

Caring for a Stray Dog (Metaphors) by Michael Wehunt
illustrated by Richard Wagner

Item image: Caring for a Stray Dog (Metaphors)


Once Kent opened himself up to metaphors, they were everywhere.

The dog, stopping for the dog in the first place, was such an obvious one, he told himself that night as he washed her in a motel bathtub. He was already thinking of what he might call her, names Lissa would have asked for, his fingers scavenging for ticks under the dog’s thick white fur, where it was easier to spot them, and under the brown fur, where it was not.



Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker


What is the responsibility of the writer, the artist? What, if anything, does an artist owe an audience, or society at large?


Into the Woods by Ralph Robert Moore


Everyone loves having a great story to tell.



Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant


Seven Strange Stories by Rebecca Lloyd; Holidays from Hell by Reggie Oliver


Pseudotooth by Verity Holloway; Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant


Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem edited by Eric J. Guignard; The Ghost Club by William Meikle


The Finest Ass in the Universe; Smoke Paper Mirrors; in-depth interview


Blood Spectrum: Film Reviews by Gary Couzens

Twin Peaks; Carrie; Thelma; When the Wind Blows; Witchhammer; The Witch Who Came from the Sea; Malatesta's Carnival of Blood; The Premonition; Mother!; A Ghost Story; The Ritual; Atomic Blonde; Annabelle: Creation; House (Hausu); Kills on Wheels; The Housemaid; Game of Thrones; Hounds of Love; and more


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Coming Soon

Black Static 63 is out in May. 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


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