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Black Static Twelve - August/September 2009
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: David Gentry
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 24 September 2009

Links: TTA Press / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Black Static #12 is here with new stories by Nina Allen, T.F. Davenport, Sarah Totton, Tim Casson, Steve Rasnic Tem, and Kim Lakin-Smith, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static is here with #12 and a great issue it is: all very good stories with one special gem.

The fiction in this issue begins with "My Brother's Keeper" by Nina Allen. Martin is a young boy whose brother, Stephen, died before he was born. Nonetheless, he is visited by his brother on a regular basis. Henry's father is nowhere to be seen and he has only his mother, her brother, his Uncle Henry, and a lesbian couple, Judith Greening and Myra Dillon, who he thinks of as aunts. On his fourteenth birthday, his "aunts" give him a very special watch and he treasures it. He discovers more about his life, much from his ghost brother in this beautifully haunting tale.

"Bryson Feeds Families (Six Interviews)" by T.F. Davenport starts out mundanely enough with a worker describing the conditions at the Bryson Foods plant but as we learn more, the story takes a dark turn. To say more would be to spoil it. The horror is revealed elegantly in two pages to make a fine story.

The "Flatrock Sunners" in the story by Sarah Totton are strange people who hang out near a river by which our narrator lives. He is a young boy named Danny whose father is ill but he makes friends with one of them, named Imago, but the others mean him no good. Totton gives us a very original tale that is hard to forget.

"Stone Whispers" by Tim Casson is set on a remote island on which Celia lives with her husband, George. They are caretakers for the owners of the island and Celia is so lonely she allows some travelers to stay for a while. This leads to trouble and a very unsettling ending.

I'll skip the next story and go to the last one, "Unearthed" by Kim Lakin-Smith. Ben works in a bar in Nottingham and is surprised when three old friends show up. They share a secret about the disappearance of a boy who was always annoying them when they were young. The friends convince him to exorcise his ghosts in this truly atmospheric piece.

I have been reading the stories of Steve Rasnic Tem for decades and he is one of my favorite writers. His story in this issue "Charles" was the best in the issue. It begins with a woman visiting her grown son, Charles, on the night before his wedding. She has not visited him before and there is an estrangement between them. I won't reveal what it is but it's something truly startling. The story become more and more strange and ends in a very eerie way. While the story may be a bit too supernatural to qualify for a Hugo, I'm just going to consider it a fantasy and put it on my Hugo Short List anyway. It's that good. In the note accompanying the story, we are told that the author is going to be publishing a collection of stories, In Concert, that he wrote with his wife, the equally talented, Melanie Tem. I hope they send me a copy to review!

I continue to be impressed by Black Static and urge you all to subscribe!!

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