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Black Static Four – February 2008
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: David Gentry
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press  ISBN/ITEM#: 17530709
Date: 28 May 2008

Links: Publisher's Webpage / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Black Static #4 is here with new stories by Tyler Keevil, Cody Goodfellow, Conrad Williams, Nicholas Royle, Steve Nagy and Barry Fishler, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static seems to be on a pretty regular schedule and #4 is the best yet. I loved the articles and all but one of the stories got a Very Good from me.

"Cleaning the Western Kittiwake" by Tyler Keevil starts the issue. The narrator of this story has the grim task of cleaning out the Western Kittiwake, a fishing vessel that capsized, killing a fisherman's wife and children. While doing this he feels someone, or more than one someone, calling out to him. He cannot help them. Who can?

Cody Goodfellow's "Atwater" accesses our fears of being lost. Howell takes a wrong turn off the freeway and winds up in the ruined town of Atwater. He is suddenly confronted by strange people and unbelievable sights. He escapes, but his nightmare does not end. "Zombie" by Conrad Williams is one of those stream-of-consciousness stories that feature our narrator ruminating on his present and his past with not much going on. This was a story not to my taste.

Nicholas Royle contributes "Salt," a short tale about a creative writing student whose teacher had published just one novel called "Salt." She needs some special instruction and gets something more than she had bargained for. Steve Nagy's "Ye Shall Eat in Haste" is a sequel to Dracula. Years after the events described in the novel, Jack Seward is mourning the death of his wife and must see the body of his beloved Lucy. When he gets to her tomb, her body is missing. He finds that his old friends Professor Van Helsing and Arthur Holmwood are continuing their interest in vampires, but with something else in mind. Nagy has written a chilling little story here.

Last of all, there's "This Much I Remember" by Barry Fishler. Carl is an old man who, once a year, goes up to his attic, opens a trunk and stares at a picture of himself with his wife and son. Years ago, she killed herself and their son. He tries to understand why but there is more to the story than that. This was a truly haunting, sad story.

The rest of the issue more than makes up for that one minor disappointment. This magazine is worth getting.

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