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Black Static Eighteen - August/September 2010
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Ben Baldwin's
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 30 August 2010

Links: Black Static / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Black Static #18 is here with new stories by Nina Allan, Carole Johnstone, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Nicholas Royle, and Mercurio D. Rivera along with ten more very short stories as part of The Campaign for Real Fear (selected by Chris Fowler & Maura McHugh and featuring stories by M.M. De Voe, Eileen Chao, Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, Lorraine Slater, James Carroll, John Fagan, Paul Synott, Anna Rogala, Sam Fleming and Christine Koh), together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static is here with #18 with more good stories and part two of the results of The Campaign for Real Fear

The stories in this issue begin with 10 more stories of 500 words or less chosen by Chris Fowler and Maureen McHugh as part of The Campaign for Real Fear. As previously, stories this short are not really served well by summarizing. I'll just say that they were all quite good and list the titles: "See You Later" by M.M. De Voe, "The Exchange" by Eileen Chao, "Under the Microscope" by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, "Cuckoo" by Lorraine Slater, "Showtime" by James Carroll, "Infected with Death" by John Fagan, "Give Me More Eyes For Nakedness" by Paul Synott, "Dreadless" by Anna Rogala, "Big Brother, Little Sister" by Sam Fleming and "Hounded" by Christine Koh.

There are five regular stories in the issue, too. "Orinoco" by Nina Allan is the kind of story that starts out quietly. Marie lives with her brother and is recovering from the loss of her lover in a terrorist attack. She meets someone new and they bond over angel fish, something they are both interested in. Marie develops other interests too and we begin to sense something amiss. This one had a real good twist at the end.

In "Between a Rock and Hard Place" by Carole Johnstone, Janis is walking home in the rain from a bad double date and realizes someone is walking behind her. This sets up one of those nerve-wracking "don't look behind you" stories that are a staple of the genre and this one is handled pretty well.

"A Man of Ice and Sorrow" by Simon Kurt Unsworth is the story of Mains, a man who has not recovered from the death of his son. He has been so devastated, he has driven his wife away. On one of his walks in the deep snow of winter, he discovers a perfectly built snowman that his son would have loved. As the days go by, more snow figures join it. With no pun intended, this one just builds to a truly chilling end.

"The Obscure Bird" by Nicholas Royle is a brief but effective story about a woman named Gwen who is concerned with the increasingly odd behavior of her husband. Making things worse is the unspecified problems with the health of their baby. This one was truly bizarre and really builds quite nicely.

Finally, we have "Tu Sufrimiento Shall Protect Us" by Mercurio D. Rivera. Set in some future in which "proxy wars" have left some small counties uninhabitable, Edgar is a refugee from the Dominican Republic who worries about increasing terrorist attacks in the United States. He is grateful to be living in a run-down apartment building but something odd is happening in the basement. Edgar finds out and must make a decision on how to deal with it in another very effective story.

Again, I say, “Subscribe to Black Static!”

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