BLACK STATIC 55
The cover art is 'Catharsis' by Martin Hanford
McMara's Rock by Stephen Hargadon
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
Out on the forlorn, green, western edge of Europe there’s a curious rock. The guidebooks and maps call it the rock of O’hEagra or Caoimhin’s boulder. We just call it McMara’s rock. You’ll find it in a gently sloping field, McMara’s field, among mushrooms and nettles, and the odd lost sheep, facing the great swell and sweep of the Atlantic, which ends or begins here, on Drumsheedy strand, in a flurry of mucky foam.
A Home in the Sky by Lisa Tuttle
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Cara longed for her own home as once she had wished for a lover.
It annoyed her, how much time and energy she had wasted in her twenties and early thirties, as dreamy and thoughtless as if she had all the time in the world. She had spent too much on clothes and holidays, money she should have saved and invested. Even if she found the love of her life and they married, he might not be rich. Fate was not her fairy godmother.
Pigskin by David Hartley
Pig was reborn with his skin made of bacon. He sizzles in the summer heat as farmyard noses follow scent trails, all the way to his sty. Saliva drips, puddles on hoofs.
“Give us a nibble,” says Cow.
“Yeah, come on,” says Horse.
And Pig sulks in his hide until the sun goes away and takes the animals with it.
Something Deadly, Something Dark by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
On the second day of our tour through the land of the dead, we stayed the night at our singer’s cousin’s house. Our singer’s cousin wasn’t really her cousin; they had one of those familial relationships that took too long to explain, full of removals and marriage and half-blood, etc. “Cousin” was the easiest way for Grace to refer to Taj, who asked us to call her by first name, though our drummer Owen proceeded to call her Ms Taj. When we asked him later why he insisted on enhancing her name, he gave us some bullshit answer – “Enhancement is a drummer’s lot” – whatever the fuck that means.
A Very Lonely Revolution by Simon Avery
illustrated by George C. Cotronis
Julian was dead, but Tom continued to call his house every night. It was habitual, and part of him refused to accept he was gone from there, from that house, that life. Now he was somewhere between the mortuary and the funeral home. Tom imagined the phone ringing in those cold and uninhabited rooms, shattering the silence, ringing for no one. He supposed that continuing to make the call that he’d made for the better part of his adult life would stave off the realisation that another piece of it had gone. His parents: gone; his wife and child: gone; and now his best friend: gone. He wasn’t yet ready to acknowledge that there was so little left. It was being chipped away from him gradually; a subtle test of his resolve against the odds, and he was almost certain that he might not survive this final exam.
Vaseline Footprints by Jeff Bowles
I keep dead women in my closet. Three of them, in fact. Marsha, Stacy, and the little one I have taken to calling Carrielle. I do not know if I am a smart man. I do not know if I am a man at all. But I love the dead women in my closet and they love me and they have told me they love me on many separate occasions.
Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
Steve's 60th and final column for Black Static
WHERE WAS I?
I think every writer should assess where they are from time to time. Not career-wise, but creatively. Are they moving forward, improving in their art and craft, or standing still? Tough questions. Easier to plough on with what you know you can do easily. But as Ed Catmull, president of Pixar, says in his wonderfully eye-opening book Creativity Inc., the goal is not making the job easy, it’s achieving excellence. (He also writes: “For greatness to emerge there must be phases of not-so-greatness” – spot on.)
Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker
THE KIDS AREN'T ALL RIGHT
The more intimately you know any genre of literature, the more difficult it becomes to generalise about that genre, but I feel as though I am on fairly safe ground making the statement that horror stories are stories of intrusion. The form those intrusions take and the effects they have on the characters vary, but horror stories have a particular preoccupation with corruption of the innocent. Perhaps this is why, in stories of possession, it is so often children who are the focus of a demon.
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
FEDOGAN & BREMER
Reviews of five recent(ish) titles from this American publisher: Ana Kai Tangata by Scott Nicolay, Searchers After Horror edited by S. T. Joshi, Awaiting Strange Gods by Darrell Schweitzer, Darkness, My Old Friend by John Pelan, and The Madness of Dr. Caligari edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
A SENSE OF UNEASE: V.H. LESLIE
In-depth reviews of the short story collection Skein and Bone and the novel Bodies of Water, plus an interview with author V.H. Leslie
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Gary Couzens
32 DVD/BD/VOD reviews including Psychomania, The Hills Have Eyes, Cat People (1942), Burnt Offerings, Darling, Slugs, The Burning, The Man from Hong Kong, Dead-End Drive-In, The Purge: Election Year, The Neon Demon, Green Room, Dark Water, The Conjuring 2, Observance, Wolf Creek (TV Series), When Marnie Was There, Cosmos, The Neighbour, Holidays, Tales of Halloween, Road Games, Friend Request, Games of Thrones, The Windmill Massacre, Shelley, Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, Bite, The Evil in US, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, Viral
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