Black Static Seven – Oct/Nov 2008
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: David Gentry
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 20 November 2008
Links: Black Static Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Black Static #7 is here and continues to be horror with a difference. I loved the articles and most of the stories, but even the occasional failure from them is something different.
The fiction kicks off with an elegantly nasty little short-short from Bruce Holland Rogers. "The Reason for the Season" plays off a slogan for one holiday by using it for another as a sullen teenager shows kids the real meaning of trick-or-treat. This is followed by a story unusually traditional for the magazine. I don't mean that as a bad thing. "The Hodag" by Trent Hergenrader is told from the viewpoint of an old man, looking back on a childhood in a small-town in Wisconsin. Something is killing animals that is out-of-the ordinary. Our narrator's father and friends confront it in an exciting battle. Hergenrader fleshes out the tale with interesting characters in my favorite in this issue. This was followed by a very nontraditional tale from Eric Gregory. "Blood God Blood" features a man who becomes involved with a cult led by a woman who is supposedly the "blood god's daughter". He becomes involved with her, too, but the story just does not come together for me. Still, it has some haunting images.
In "The Talent Girl", Daniel Karsen gives us Anna, a young girl with a special power to feel the fear of the dead. But to gain this power, she must go through a horrible trauma, herself. She is not sure if she wants to use the power or ignore it. She finds out more about her life and power and decides her destiny in this fascinating tale.
The narrator of Tony Richards' "Pages from a Broken Book" is Rob, whose girlfriend of many years has left him. He goes looking on the Internet and finds a beautiful woman named Lara. From the very introduction, you know something's amiss and you are not disappointed in the way this haunting tale plays out.
Next comes "The Deep Walker" by Alison J. Littlewood. A man is on a vacation with his girlfriend in Cuba and finds a strange stretch of beach. That's really about it and this is another of those stories that never really piqued my interest.
The issue ends with a fine piece from David Sakmyster. In "Bait", Trent and Jack are deep-sea divers who bring up a dead body at the request of the sheriff. Trent notices something unusual and unexplainable about it and he and Jack investigate. What they find is one of the most disturbing images I've encountered this year or any other. It is stories like these that are the reason I always look forward to the next issue of Black Static.
Like its sister magazine, Interzone, I like Black Static for its stories and articles, which tell me much of what is going on across the Atlantic. I am still grateful for them introducing me to Christopher Fowler, whose books I've been devouring. For a different outlook and some quality writing, you should be subscribing.