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Black Static Twenty-One - February-March 2011
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Ben Baldwin
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 27 March 2011

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

Black Static #21 is here with new stories by V.H.Leslie, Ray Chuley, Maura McHugh, Dan Grabianowski, and James Cooper, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static is here with #21.and it one of the best issues of this great magazine.

The fiction begins with "Ulterior Design" by V.H. Leslie. Daniel is refurbishing his new country house and has asked Robyn who is carrying his child, to move in with him. He let her pick the wallpaper for the nursery and he is repulsed by it. It's a thicket of leaves, flowers, insects, and one particular bird. We see an obsession develop to a horrifying conclusion. This is Victoria Leslie's first work of fiction and it's an impressive debut.

James is fixated on "Pins and Needles" in the story by Ray Chuley. He sticks them into places where they'll prick people. We get a look at his childhood and get some clue as why he is the way he is. He meets Angela who is attracted to him but he can't satisfy her sexually. In one last try, he tries some thing new. Chuley shows us a chilling look at a different kind of madness.

"Water" by Maura McHugh is just a half page long but conjures up some real chills as Mark notices something wrong with his parents one night as they sit down to dinner.

In "Extraneous Invokat" by Dan Grabianowski, our narrator and is wife Laura are packing up their apartment in preparation to move to a nicer place. He suddenly has a vision of her looking differently, somehow decayed. The visions increase and he hears new reports of a nasty murder. This build to a particularly horrifying climax, but not what you're expecting. This was another first publication and Dan Grabianowski is another promising new author to watch.

The stories conclude with "Cushing" by James Cooper. Our narrator is telling us about his childhood. His father had committed suicide for some unknown reason. His mother is fascinated by the face of Peter Cushing and his older brother David has been affected by that. She constantly draws him with Peter Cushing's face and David likes that. This issue seemed to have a theme of obsession and this last one was the most unsettling of all.

This was an absolutely perfect issue and you really must subscribe to Black Static!

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