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Black Static

New Horror Fiction BLACK STATIC ISSUE 70 OUT NOW!

Current Issue

BLACK STATC #70 (JUL-AUG 2019)

2nd Jul, 2019

Cover

Item image: Black Static 70

The cover art is 'Stheno' by Jim Burns

 

Fiction

I Write Your Name by Ralph Robert Moore
illustrated by Ben Baldwin 

Item image: I Write Your Name

When Roger was a little boy, a long, long time ago, he went to a birthday party thrown by a rich kid’s parents. He had to shake both parents’ hands at the front door in order to get inside, which made him uncomfortable, but he did each handshake, learning early on how you often had to do something someone more powerful than you wants you to do. The family lived in a very large house with very large rooms. The birthday boy had been taking piano lessons at his rich parents’ insistence (he told his friends at school he enjoyed them, but it was clear from the look on his face above his blue school tie when he’d talk about the lessons that he didn’t really, he was just trying to please his parents, like any good child does).

 

A Crown of Leaves by Kristi DeMeester 

Item image: A Crown of Leaves

Maribel has the radio cranked all the way up when we finally turn off the interstate and onto the road that will carry us back to the house where we grew up. Some blues and folk channel filled with low voices and the mournful wails of harmonicas. It’s fitting. All of that melancholy wrapped up in melody for this drive back to the place we haven’t seen in so many years.

 

Pendulum by Steven J. Dines
illustrated by Vincent Sammy 

Item image: Pendulum

Swing, says the pendulum.

This was supposed to be my life story. Instead it’s a tale unfinished, like a son stuck forever in a tilted uterus or some shy performer cowering in the wings with eternal stage fright. But my son arrived – to die, aged nine – following an arduous thirty hour labour that came to nothing. In the end: ventouse. They sucked him right out of my aforementioned tilt with a bruised shoulder and a head like a football or an alien or an alien football, misshapen as the thoughts that would come to form inside it, that never did get the chance to become shapen, like your thoughts or…like your thoughts.

 

Glass Eyes in Porcelain Faces by Jack Westlake
illustrated by Richard Wagner 

Item image: Glass Eyes in Porcelain Faces

Imagine waking up each morning and wondering who will have changed. Imagine that being the first thing you think of as you wake. As you get out of bed. As you shower, dress, eat breakfast. As you walk out the door and head to work. Imagine what it’s like to get on the tube, scanning the packed carriage for a too-perfect face, for a pair of eyes more vacant than all the others. Imagine seeing such a face on the head of someone whose name you don’t know, but who you recognise from your commute at the start of each day. Someone you always nod to, and who always nods back as you both sway and jolt with the movement of the carriage, acknowledgment that never develops into conversation. Imagine seeing them one morning – this morning – like usual. Now imagine that their face has changed, apparently overnight. It’s a doll’s face. Near-white porcelain, with wide blue eyes made of glass. Imagine how it feels, knowing that only you can see this. Imagine they look at you. Imagine how it feels when, despite the change, despite them not being them anymore, they nod at you like usual.

This is what my life has become.

 

Massaging the Monster by Cody Goodfellow
illustrated by Sebastian Mazuera 

Item image: Massaging the Monster

Jocasta probably would not have recognized the monster and none of this would have happened at all, if not for the crosses.

She watched him coming out of the sauna in a fluffy white terrycloth robe with the hotel’s monogram on it, on his way to her massage room. Two blank white gunmen followed him with their hands in their tailored black jackets, looking her over as if she presented a threat.

 

The Touch of Her by Steven Sheil

Item image: The Touch of Her

He pretended to be on the phone while he watched Hannah through the window as she took the cappuccino over to where The Toad sat, the same corner table which Mark himself had occupied almost daily for three months, right up until three weeks ago, when The Bad Thing had happened. She leant down as she placed the coffee cup in front of The Toad, and as she did so, a corkscrew of black hair slipped and curled across her cheek, falling almost to her lips until she reached up her spare hand and deftly stroked it back behind her ear. He saw The Toad’s eyes follow the movement of her hand, saw his mouth move as he made some remark, saw Hannah smile politely before turning away again and walking back to the counter. He saw The Toad watch her over the lip of the cup as he sipped at his coffee, his heavy-lidded, reptilian eyes never leaving her body. Mark had never loathed him more.

 

The Summer Is Ended and We Are Not Saved by Natalia Theodoridou

It’s the end of summer, the evenings only just starting to turn cold. He doesn’t join me for tea again today, so I spend my time beading by the window, stringing bead after bead after bead, my eyes straining against the failing light, the tips of my fingers raw. Cook finishes her chores and joins me. She sorts my beads by colour into tiny cups. She says nothing of the bruise that has bloomed around my lips, and I am grateful.

 

Columns

Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker

NOT A LOTTERY

By the time you’re reading this, the 2018 Shirley Jackson awards should have been announced. This year, I had the honour of being a juror for this award. I thought it might be interesting for readers of this column who haven’t been on juries (which I assume is most people) to get some insight into what this is like. Every award has a different set of processes for arriving at a shortlist and a final list of nominees, but I would guess that ultimately the juror’s experience is somewhat similar.

 

Into the Woods by Ralph Robert Moore

I'LL BE WATCHING YOU

All we know is what we see. But we have no idea what sees us. Windows let us look outside. But they also allow others to see inside.

 

Reviews

Case Notes: Book Reviews

Mike O'Driscoll: Sefira & Other Betrayals by John Langan • Andrew Hook: Jutland by Lucie McKnight Hardy; Broad Moor by Alison Moore • Daniel Carpenter: Pharricide by Vincent De Swarte (translated by Nicholas Royle) • Georgina Bruce: The Girl in Red by Christina Henry; Sealed by Naomi Booth; Wounds by Nathan Ballingrud • Nicholas Royle interviewed by Andrew Hook & Daniel Carpenter • Nathan Ballingrud interviewed by Georgina Bruce

 

Blood Spectrum: Film Reviews by Gary Couzens

The Andromeda Strain • Def-Con 4 • I Am Mother • The Rain • Bloom • Don't Look Now • The Sender • Demonlover • Who? • November • Donbass • American Horror Project Volume 2 • When A Stranger Calls • Double Face • The Woman in the Window • The Perfection • Mega Time Squad • Beyond the Sky • Escape Room • Killer Party • Heretiks

 

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 71 is out in September. 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
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

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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