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Black Static Forty-Six May/Jun 2015
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Undead by Ben Baldwin
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine / eMag  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 29 May 2015

Links: Black Static / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Black Static #46 is here with stories by Steven J. Dines, Neil Williamson, Damien Angelica Walters, Gary McMahon, Sarah Read, and Ralph Robert Moore, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static #46 is here and this one is a pretty good issue.

The fiction begins with "So Many Heartbeats, So Many Words" by Steven J. Dines, a novelette. -+- Our narrator is an author who has not been able to support his family with his writing. His wife toils at a regular job to support the family. Their son, Alfie, has developmental problems. But their big problem is the mold in their apartment that is causing them all health problems, with Alfie the most affected. His marriage is not great because he won't talk to his wife. Now she is pregnant. What to do? I won't spoil anything but will say that this was an interesting look at a family in crisis.

"The Secret Language of Stamps" by Neil Williamson -+- Hilda Geddes is a Navy widow, shortly after the end of World War II, running a boarding house to help make ends meet. Her sole boarder at the time is Ernest Harma who informs her just before Christmas that he will be leaving on an extended business trip. Before he leaves, however, they spend a wonderful afternoon together. The next morning, he has left her a book called The Secret Language of Stamps which tells what messages may be hidden depending on unusual positioning of the stamps. Letters from various places abroad come from him with affectionate messages in the stamps. Then, he is reported lost at seas. But pieces of paper with stamps on them continue to arrive. Nicely chilling.

"Falling Under, Through the Dark" by Damien Angelica Walters -+- Kara is constantly having visions of being plunged into water and drowning. The reason for this is that her three-year-old son died in their swimming pool. She blames her estranged husband for not latching the gate. A return to the scene of the drowning finally provides her with answers. A bit obvious but a fairly effective story.

"My Boy Builds Coffins" by Gary McMahon -+- Susan is cleaning her son's room when she discovers a small box in the shape of a coffin with a small layer of dirt inside. When she asks him about it, he innocently says he built it "for Dad". She and her husband are a bit concerned but become even more so when another little coffin appears marked "Mummy" and it has her wedding ring in it. He still seems all innocent when she asks him. He tells her that he got the soil from a "magic hole" which is next to where they buried his rabbit Mr. Jump, last year. The unease continues when her husband and her investigate this magic hole and there is real horror in what they find. Well told.

"Magnifying Glass" by Sarah Head -+- A woman is on the run with her son. Why is not explained. They are holed up in a house whose owner has died. How they are living there is also not explained. Strange things start happening. Story never really comes together.

"Men Wearing Makeup" by Ralph Robert Moore -+- Chris is hiking in the woods with his abusive boss Charles when they get lost. Charles blames him. Chris thinks he knows the way out and doesn't care if Charles follows him, Chris continues to stay lost until he meets...a circus clown in full outfit and makeup who calls himself Noisy Lips. The only help he offers is to lead Chris to a camp of clowns by the river. But Chris must make believe he is a clown. Noisy Lips makes him up and gives him the clown name Mouse Eyes. Things do not get better. Great use of a series of perils leads to a nice sting at the end.

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