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Black Static #58 - May/Jun 2017
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: At the Drug's Core by Joachim Luetke
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 30 May 2017

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

Black Static #58 is here with stories by Mark Morris, Tim Casson, Joe Pitkin, Helen Marshall, and Gwendolyn Kiste, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static #58 is here and it is a pretty good one.

The fiction begins with a novelette, "Holiday Romance" by Mark Morris. -+- Estranged from his wife, Skelton returns to a bed and breakfast that his parents took him to when he was 14. He had met a girl there whose name he cannot remember. He is out walking and is stopped by a police detective who tells him that body parts have been found that match his DNA. But a test confirms that he matches his DNA. He also meets a woman named Belinda who says her husband is wasting away. She seems like the girl from when he was 14. More mystery follows to a really unsettling ending.

"The Process of Chuddar" by Tim Casson is another novelette. -+- Our narrator is the credited discoverer of a food product called Chuddar but he is in trouble. An artist known as Miya (previously referenced in a story called "Bug Skin" in issue #50) is exhibiting art that seems to refer to the real way Chuddar was made. He is also the target of a corporate takeover. We get the real story of Chuddar which involves the curse of a notorious family named Garvey. Things do not look good for our narrator. Quite horrific and not the subtle kind.

"Nonesuch" by Joe Pitkin -+- On a whim, Jack buys a farm in the middle of nowhere which has an apple orchard. He encounters a curious old man named Ephraim and his people. As time goes by, it seems to go backward and so does Jack. Nicely done, eerie tale.

"Survival Strategies" by Helen Marshall is a third novelette. -+- Our narrator is a Londoner who has gone to New York City to do research on an aging horror writer named Barron St. John who is a not-very-thinly-disguised Stephen King. She talks to his first editor. She is worried about her partner Luca although why is not clear. The America that she is in seems to be have gone bad because of Donald Trump which does not add much to the story. Something bad may have happened by the end but mostly the story doesn't really come together.

The fiction concludes with "Songs to Help You Cope When Your Mom Won't Stop Haunting You and Your Friends" by Gwendolyn Kiste. -+- Seventeen-year-old Leigh's mother dies but comes back to haunt her and her friends but not her father and sister. The story is told over five months with references to songs of the 70s (in which the story seems to be taking place) by David Bowie. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, The Carpenters (for her sister), Iggy Pop, and Bowie again. Leigh finally learns how to deal with her grief. A poignant and beautiful story.

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