So it's time for another Black Static review. It's hard to review this magazine, for the simple fact that fact that it never fails to be anything other than fantastic. It continues to be the benchmark that I compare all other magazines to. The perfect mix of opinion, reviews and fiction never fails to make me do a little happy dance when the magazine drops through my letterbox. Such is the high standard of Black Static, it actually makes it difficult to come up with new ways to praise it.
Stephen Volk's column is always an educational joy to read, this a man who knows his stuff, knows how to write and knows how to put together a well thought out intelligent and incendiary article. This time Stephen points out just how low script writers are thought off in the industry. It's a hard piece of writing that hammers home the hardships of scriptwriters. After reading this column I was left feeling angry, with an over riding urge to give the man a big hug and tell him that I do appreciate what he does.
Lynda E. Rucker's column this month focuses on the portrayal of madness and women in the horror genre. This is another well informed and intelligent piece from Lynda, it's a refreshing change to read a comment piece from a female perspective. It has only been a few issues since Lynda debuted in Black Static, and she has already cemented her place in my must read list.
Where many genre magazines fail is in the review section, not so with Black Static, Peter Tennant and Tony Lee continue to produce a vast array of excellent and comprehensive reviews. As a reviewer it's always great to see such reviewers agree with my opinions on books and films. In general I normally agree with their opinion, however, this is the first time I totally disagree with one of Peter's reviews . But Hey Ho folks it's only an opinion. He loved it, I hated it.
Which brings us to the fiction, as usual the fiction on offered here is fantastic, in this issue of Black Static, we are gifted with stories from the likes of Ray Cluely, Ralph Robert Moore, Laura Mauro, DeAnna Knippling, Priya Sharma, and Steven J. Dines. All of these stories are excellent, however my personal favourites are
Laura Mauro's When Charlie Sleeps, this creepy and unsettling tale of three woman who must care for a monster in a bath tub, that seems to be an integral part of London. When he sleeps and is happy London is happy, but when he is angry or disturbed London suffers riots crashes and social unrest. A wonderfully creepy and intimate tale with whose ending sent a shiver down my spine. Who is Charlie and where does he come from, these things are never really answered, but that doesn't matter.
DeAnna Knippling's The Strongest Thing About Me is dark, dark and bitter letter from a woman to her brother which recounts a childhood tragedy. Telling the story in the form of a letter between the two siblings is a stroke of genius as it adds an extra layer of reality the story. I particularly liked how the story used score outs to make it look as though the letter was real. As for the story, it keeps the reader on the wrong foot as it details this tragedy that has been left to rot and eat away at the writer for many many years.
Steven J. Dines The Sound Of Constant Thunder is more along the length of a novelette rather than a short story, and Dines does not squander the longer length. This is a blunt and bleak post apocalyptic tale full of dead babies, hungry psychotic cannibales and a protagonist trying to deal with the torment of his dead father. Dines paints a rich and detailed landscape on which he pins this deeply depressing and shocking story of isolation and desperation.
If I have one criticism of this issue it would be the absence of an indepth writer feature and interview. I always really enjoyed these features. Hopefully the next issue will see the return of it.
If you are a fan of horror or dark fiction then Black Static is a must buy. So click here and get yourselves a copy.
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