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Black Static Forty-Seven Jul/Aug 2015
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Richard Wagner
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 27 July 2015

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

Black Static #47 is here with stories by James Van Pelt, Kate Jonez, John Connolly, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Ray Cluley, and Eric J. Guignard, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static #47 is here and it's got a good mix of different tales.

The fiction begins with "On the Road with the American Dead" by James Van Pelt -+- Our narrator is on the road a lot, delivering copier supplies. One day, he passes a roadside memorial and the ghost, a young woman, appears in his car and talks to him. That one almost causes him to crash. She disappears but others, dead at least as far back as the Civil War, appear. Why? One of them gives him an answer and it's a pretty good one. So is this story.

"All the Day You'll Have Good Luck" by Kate Jonez -+- Our narrator is a young girl who travels around with her mother and younger sisters, living a less-than-honest existence. They are currently living with the sheriff, of all people, in the small town of Frederick, Oklahoma. In a crowd at a carnival, she picks some pockets. The sheriff's estranged son sees her but doesn't turn her in. She deals with him in a surprising way. Another nice little story with a good sense of locale.

"Razorshins" by John Connolly -+- Our narrator talks about his grandfather who worked for gangsters during Prohibition smuggling booze into Maine from Canada. A sudden snowstorm forces them to stop and stay with a farmer. He advises leaving a bottle out for Razorshins. A nasty, suspicious man from one of the grandfather's bosses refuses. Bad idea! Great sense of time and place here. We also get a very visible beastie. Great piece from one of the masters of the genre.

"The Devil's Hands" by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam -+- Cocoa is at a low point in her life. Her lover, Anne, has left her. She can't quite work up any enthusiasm for Vincent. And a monster is living in her bathroom. Does she find a way? Effective little tale.

"When the Devil's Driving" by Ray Cluley -+- Lucy is a goth girl who likes to hang out at the swampy Devil's Basin. No one else goes there and she thinks about ways to get back at the kids in school who torment her. A girl just a bit younger than her shows up and Lucy tells her to go away. She comes back on another day and her and Lucy have some more conversation. I do not want to spoil what comes next, but this becomes a very dark tale, indeed. Chilling, which you'll know is an odd word if you read this story.

The fiction concludes with "A Case Study in Natural Selection" by Eric J. Guignard -+- Global warming has hit with a vengeance. Governments have collapsed. Water has dried up. People head north to escape the heat. Kenny and his father live in a camp in Stockton where there is some sort of order. Lately, people have been spontaneously combusting for no discernible reason. Kenny considers himself weak. Liz, a girl he is in love with, can beat him in arm wrestling. He has much the angst any teenager would. Things get worse as his friends die. But Kenny is stronger than he knows. Great story!

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