Black Static Fifteen - February/March 2010
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: David Gentry
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-709
Date: 23 February 2010
Links: TTA Press / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The fiction in this issue begins with "Eight Small Men" by James Cooper. Victor Farnsworth goes back to the town in which he was raised. He hasn't been back there for 25 years. A man named Aubrey, who had taken care of Vic and his brother Franklyn after their parents died is dying. Aubrey is a good man but his wife, who they call Matron had been abusive to them. They also had problems with Aubrey and Matron's son, who they called Roach. As the story unfolds, we find out why the brothers hadn't come back and the very end gives us a real chill.
There are no names given in "The Knitted Child" by Simon Kurt Unsworth. We are just told about an old woman's granddaughter, who has just suffered a miscarriage. The old woman knits her a cloth doll to act as a surrogate for the lost baby. But the rest of the family worries that the granddaughter is becoming too obsessed with the doll. This, story, too, has a very good ending but this one is sad rather than horrifying.
Unsworth delivers a very effective story here in just two pages. Alan Scott Laney's "Maximum Darkness" starts out quiet, with a man looking for an old book in his parent's attic. It gradually builds to a horrific crescendo. This is Laney's first published story and I think, he will be one to watch.
Daniel Kaysen gives us another very good story in "Babylon's Burning". Daniel's brother invites him to his company's party on the promise that there will be beautiful girls there. Daniel distrusts this company, Bell, Chase, Herr as it is an International Security firm which, for the government, does "unspeakable things at home and abroad". What can Daniel, a translator of Chrétien de Troyes offer them? At the party, he meets a beautiful woman, Evelyn Chase, daughter of one of the company's founders and Vice-President of Forecasting. He finds out what that means and more.
The issue ends with "Death by Water" by Sarah Singleton. Ian Massey is in deep mourning for his wife, Jeanette, who drowned a year before. As he visits three mediums to contact her spirit, we get his story. It is with the third medium, a mysterious man named Spark, that we understand the full story. Singleton leads up to a bittersweet conclusion in a very well-written tale.
Black Static continues to be the best publisher of horror and, once again, I urge you all to subscribe.