Black Static, Issue 60 - Sep/Oct 2017
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: The King in Yellow by Ben Baldwin
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine (print/digital) ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 28 September 2017
Links: Black Static / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Black Static #60 is here and it's a great one!
The fiction begins with the novella "Skyshine (or Death by Scotland)" by Carole Johnstone. -+- Roshni suffers from Asperger's, an anxiety disorder, OCD, and depression. She has been in a National Health Service clinic for more than five years. She is given a new drug called Ethalectin that she calls Skyshine. It changes her outlook. What she does not know is that it's just a placebo cooked up by unethical bureaucrats. She is released out into the world and seems to be doing okay until a curious encounter shows that something else is going on with her. Great character study and some good satire on modern society.
"The Shuttered Child" by Tim Lees -+- Our narrator tells us about going to Paris with his friend, Geoff, in 1968 and being caught in a riot. Trying to look inconspicuous, they met an old Englishman in a bar and he tells them about his visit to France with his friends years ago, where they witnessed a horrible ritual that involved sewing up all the open areas of a little girl (eyes, ears, genitals, mouth, nose) to keep the evil in. They report it and the ritual is stopped. It was 1913 and the next year was World War I. The story has a profound effect on Geoff and there's the real horror. A seriously disturbing story. Perfectly told.
"The Swans" by Ray Cluley -+- Helen and her son, Charlie, are boating on a canal. Charlie is feeding the swans but Helen is disturbed when she sees one that had obviously been killed. As they continue down the canal, Helen gets more uneasy and things get very disturbing. Another nicely unsettling tale.
The fiction concludes with the novelette "Langwell Sorrow" by Stephen Hargadon. -+- Our narrator drinks a lot in a pub and doesn't have much more in his life. One night, a man he sees all the time started talking about all the football clubs he hated, which seemed to be all of them. What club did he support? Langwell Sorrow. Team colors were maroon and green. Our narrator is intrigued but can't find out much more from the man, only that it was associated with a church called Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. He starts to look around and finally found where they play. Nicely chilling ending.