As ever, this excellent magazine from TTA press is the product of keen editorial eyes.
The selection of book/film reviews and genre articles are tight and informed. Amongst other things, Christopher Fowler talks about B-movies, Stephen Volk discusses Amicus films and the state of modern horror, and there’s a Q&A with Thomas Ligotti. Oh, and congratulations to Allyson Bird for a positive review of her brilliant collection “Bull Running For Girls”
The fiction selected for Black Static is always impressive. Christopher Fowler starts with a jazz-infused tale of voodoo set in post-katrina New Orleans. The traditional tropes of such a story are given such colour that they intrude from the page in a blaze of seamless storytelling.
“The Chair” by Gary McMahon is a short, open-ended tale about a troubled young boy, his disturbed mother and missing father. It bears all the trademarks of the author’s work I have grown to love; a bleak atmosphere, pathos and prose to savour.
“Washer Woman” by Scott Lambridis is a vivid tale of war in which a miserable group of soldiers encounter a village peasant woman who appears to be some kind of assistant of death. The sense of place is impressive and ultimately rather depressing, but it rescued me from losing any sense of enjoyment by the traditional supernatural.
Maura McHugh’s “Vic” concerns a sickly young boy confined to his room and the nightmares that normalcy might conceal. The tragic humanity and immediate empathy makes the tale strong, something that most of Black Static’s stories achieve.
“Beacuse Your Blood Is Darker Than Mine” by James Cooper is a very dark ride, so vivid is the POV of a young girl we follow through a traumatic series of events populated by the chilling, almost carnivalesque members of her family.
The last story, “Eastlick” by Shannon Page, finishes the fiction very nicely: an adolescent coming of age story with a sting in the tail.
The writing is slick and faultless throughout, and while the stories may be less concrete and conclusive than some tastes may prefer, they have sharp narrative voice, genuine feeling and a nightmarish quality that is seldom captured so well.