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Black Static #53 - July/Aug 2016
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Transition by Tara Bush
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 28 July 2016

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

Black Static #53 is here with stories by Priya Sharma, Steve Rasnic Tem, Harmony Neal, Kristi De Meester, Danny Rhodes, and Charles Wilkinson, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static #53 is here and it's just a perfect issue.

The fiction begins with the novelette, "Inheritance, or the Ruby Tear" by Priya Sharma. -+- In Victorian England, Lord Mansell's wife, Anna, and daughter, Christina, disappeared fourteen years ago. Now, his ward, Edward, has returned to his estate, Asterfields, after finding a young woman who he is convinced is Christina. Edward is in love with her and even Mansell finds himself attracted to her if she is not his daughter. Her behavior is odd and for a while there seems to be something wrong with her. When she finally remembers where she had been kept, an inspector and Mansell lead an army against what turns out to be an ancient evil. But there is more evil than that. Chilling, atmospheric tale.

"Breathing" by Steve Rasnic Tem -+- No discussion of plot: this is just the story of Charlie, missing his wife who has died. It is written with real heart by one of the best in the business: a man who writes what he knows.

"Dare" by Harmony Neal -+- High school girls Alexia, Rebecca, and Francesca are drinking Cherry Noir Grey Goose and decide to play Truth or Dare. It gets distinctly out of hand. Very creepy.

"The Rim of the World" by Kristi De Meester -+- Laurel and Jacob return to the small town that they came from after her grandmother dies. She tells him about her grandmother taking her to a place called the sand pile. Jacob remembers when he was a kid and his older sister, Josie, used to come his room and talk about things that came out of the sand and got inside her. He had found Laurie in a closet sometime later, dead with foam around her mouth. Laurel tells him a story about her grandmother's sister that was similar. Laurel insists they go out for a walk to the sand pile. Another one of those stories that make you more and more unsettled as you go along.

"Tohoku" by Danny Rhodes -+- Akio lost his wife, Mizuki, in the Japanese tsunami. Her body was never found. Like others, he goes out to a buoy and dives every day, looking for something. He brings up objects he finds and leaves at a shrine. Things take a strange turn when he awakes one morning to find the other side of the bed damp and a puddle of water beside it. Haunting.

"Mittens" by Stephen Hargadon -+- Impresario Peter Scollop is found in a room in the Foxbridge Hotel in Boston, naked except for a pair of pink knitted mittens, with blood on them, and the dead body of a woman in the cupboard: strangled, her chest cut open and knitting needles in her major organs. Scollop denied everything even his name and that the woman was dead. We get a wonderfully imaginative story with descriptions of the incredibly bizarre acts that he presented to the public. One of the best was Neil Niall O'Neill, the remarkable knitter. He could knit at a remarkable speed. But he went into a rough patch and went out with his most unbelievable act of knitting. But was that his last creation? Imaginative, entertaining and very unsettling.

The fiction concludes with "In the Frame" by Charles Wilkinson. -+- Luke has arrived in a town with an art gallery recommended by his friend Callum. He is glad Callum does not hold him responsible for the suicide of his sister, Luke's former lover who had thrown herself on the tracks of the London Underground. He has some trouble finding the place and even visits another gallery. He finally finds Callum, who seems taller all of a sudden. Callum leads him through a bowling alley to what seems like a train tunnel. Great growing sense of unease and a really unique ending.

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