Black Static Twenty-Eight – Apr/May 2012
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Warwick Fraser-Coombe
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 29 May 2012
Links: Black Static / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Black Static #28 is here and has its usual good stories..
The fiction begins with "The Pest House" by Carole Johnstone. Gregor's grandmother has died and he and his wife, Mary, have taken the long drive from London to the wilds of Scotland to claim the estate. Mary is not happy to be there. The estate itself is on a fetid bog and includes a building that had once housed people dying of the bubonic plague. When May develops a cold sore, you know things are going to end badly. Johnstone creates a truly unsettling atmosphere and a good buildup to the horrific ending.
In "Cracks" by Jon Ingold, Millicent and our narrator return home from their honeymoon to find their cat acting strangely. They think it's fleas until they find bites on themselves. Bedbugs? Not exactly, according to an exterminator named Alan. They are 'lynch bugs' and their bite can cause forgetfulness. Things build nicely as we learn a bit more about Alan and our narrator seems to be having odd memories. Another good little horror for this issue.
"The Ballad of Boomtown" by Priya Sharma feaures Grainne Kenendy, a writer and folklorist. She lives in a village called Boomtown which is anything else but. It was once a place where many houses were being built but economic hard times have put a stop to that. Grainne bought one of the houses from a married man with whom she had an affair. That ended very badly. The people of the town do not regard her well. This one made good horror out of ancient folklore and modern decline.
Next up is "Pale Limbs" by Daniel Kaysen. Our narrator is taken home form the hospital after a car accident, one in which he tried to kill himself. His doctor thinks he is suffering from jamais vu, not remembering something he should, At his house, he is shown evidence of his grown son, a soldier who committed suicide. He does not believe he had such a son but sees his ghost, along with those of others who have committed suicide. As his mind goes more and more awry, we wonder. Is he insane or having visions? This haunting tale leaves that for you to decide.
The fiction concludes with "The Messenger" by Joel Lane. This one is a two-pager told by a young woman named Lucy. She talks about her life and the town she grew up in: the disappearance of her brother, the death of her mother, the closed factory that has a toxic waste dump, the visions she has. All of these are linked to Mercury: the name of her brother's band, the god, her temperament, the element. Another great mood piece to end this issue.
There is still nothing to beat Black Static, as "the premiere horror magazine on the market". Great stories! Great features, too! Subscribe!