Black Static #35

Andy Cox et al.

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Cover:

Item image: Black Static 35 Cover

The connected front and back images are by Richard Wagner.

 

Fiction:

Isaac’s Room by Daniel Mills
illustrated by Richard Sampson

Item image: Isaac's Room

Falmouth, Vermont. In my memories, it is always dark there, always winter. The campus of Falmouth College, where I spent my freshman year, appears to me cloaked in the haze of snow and night, lit by sodium lamps and the flash of headlights on drifting powder. The cloud cover is unbroken, gray on black and veined with snowfall, as it was in 2004, when I used to stand on the river bridge at dawn and watch the light seep into the east.

 

Men Playing Ghosts, Playing God by Steven J. Dines
illustrated by Richard Wagner

Item image: Men Playing Ghosts, Playing God

Let me tell you about the time four old ghosts held death captive in a basement. Let me tell you what that power can do to a man and the sacrifice he will make for the gift of time. But first, let me tell you how we became ghosts in the first place.

 

The Monster Makers by Steve Rasnic Tem
illustrated by Vincent Sammy

Item image: The Monster Makers

This is all I can bear of love.

Robert is calling the children in, practically screaming it, how we all need to go, now. But I’m too busy gazing at the couple as they talk to the park ranger, the way their ears melt, noses droop, elongating into something else as their hair warps and shifts color, their spines bend and expand, arms and legs crooked impossibly, and their eye sockets migrating across their faces so rapidly they threaten to evict the eyeballs.

 

Arches and Pillars by Michael Griffin
illustrated by Dave Senecal

Item image: Arches and Pillars

I only remember ever feeling at peace in the museum’s Great Hall, drifting through the Rothko exhibit where the orange sun of evening spins through skylights and scatters across polished stone. Only here my mind settles, among vivid color fields. Stepping soundless on the marble floor, I’m alone, unheard, unseen. Nothing to prevent me circling forever.

 

Summer Girls by Caspian Gray
illustrated by Richard Wagner

Item image: Summer Girls

Dan squinted to make out Kayla’s signs in the dusk.

Take your clothes off, she repeated.

“No way,” said Dan. She narrowed her eyes at him. The light from the beach houses behind the dunes felt as distant as the stars. Their strip of shore was lit only by the moon, and Dan gave up expecting her to read his lips.

He shook his head.

Why not? Kayla signed. Just us.

 

What Would You Say If I Asked You To Love Me? by Jason Gould

Item image: What Would You Say If I Asked You To Love Me?

“Tell us about the war,” she says. “Tell us how it began. The very first day.”

“You don’t want to hear that,” he says. “Not on a night like this.”

“Tell us. How did it come?”

“You’ve heard it before. It’s an old – ”

“Tell us again.”

“Very well. Put more fuel on the fire. Come closer. The night it happened it happened like this…”

 

If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close by Carole Johnstone
illustrated by Geoffrey Grisso

Item image: If You Can Read This, You're Too Close

“I dare you.”

It’s been going on for a while now: the I dare yous and the sniggers, but now they’re getting louder, closer. Bolder. I hunch down in my seat, watching the reds and whites of blurred traffic through the bus’s big windscreen and its struggling wipers. I’m sitting up front, holding onto the red-painted luggage dump. I always sit up front. Behind me, the I dare yous grow capitals, and when I start to hear scuffling and shuffling, I hunch lower in my seat, eyeing the big mirror above the driver’s cab. He’s not looking, but I don’t know him anyway.

 

Comment:

Coffinmaker’s Blues by Stephen Volk

“Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun,” says American cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz. “I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science…but an interpretive one in search of meaning.” But interpretation is, by definition, subjective, right? Take Dennis Potter’s Brimstone and Treacle, banned by the BBC in 1976 for being “nauseating”, according to then-Director of Programmes Alasdair Milne, who pulled it ignominiously before its scheduled transmission. I (equally subjectively) consider it the acclaimed TV writer’s masterwork. What’s more, having watched the movie version again recently, I think it has a few things to teach us about horror.

 

Blood Pudding by Lynda E. Rucker

The idea for this issue’s topic (and, as it turns out, next issue’s as well) has been on my mind for some time, since long before I was ever asked to begin writing a regular column for Black Static. And yet I couldn’t puzzle out just how to approach it. The extreme was mean-spirited and polemical; softening my point too much, however, seemed mealy-mouthed and pointless.

 

Reviews:

Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant

GHOSTS: THE ANTHOLOGIES: The 13 Ghosts of Christmas; Dark World: Ghost Stories; Hauntings • GHOSTS: THE NOVELS: This House is Haunted; The White Devil • GHOSTS: THE COLLECTIONS: A Haunting of Ghosts; In a Season of Dead Weather • GHOSTS: THE NON-FICTION: A Natural History of Ghosts • TWO MORE ANTHOLOGIES: Darker Minds; Shadows Edge • NANCY KILPATRICK – EDITOR/WRITER: Danse Macabre; Vampyric Variations • THE BOOK(S) OF THE FILM: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; The Descent • CHAPBOOKS: Roadkill; Touch Me With Your Cold, Hard Fingers; The Jungle; An Antique Land • FIVE COLLECTIONS: Everything is Always Wrong; Little Red Transistor Radio From Trieste; Girls & Monsters; Soul Screams; Busy Blood • SELFMADEHERO: The Shadow Out Of Time; The Castle

 

Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Tony Lee

Curandero: Dawn of the Demon; In Their Skin; Texas Chainsaw; Apartment 1303; Beautiful Creatures; Mama; Warm Bodies; Maniac; Stoker; Black Sabbath; The Brood; Kuroneko; The Legend of Hell House; The Man Who Haunted Himself; Motel Hell; Spider Baby; The Incident; Kill For Me; Death Game; Static

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