Black Static Thirteen - October/November 2009
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: David Gentry
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 21 November 2009
Links: TTA Press - Black Static / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Black Static is here with #13 and it has the usual quality stories.
The fiction in this issue begins with "Cuckoos" by Tim Lees. Our narrator meets a woman in a bar and hears her story. She had been a social worker in Canada and encountered a town which suddenly had dozens of kids, who all needed to be fed. Their power to get what they needed was absolute. She was later taken off the case and left Canada but tells him of the legend of a woodland spirit that you can't refuse. The story says with the narrator for a very unsettling ending. This was a good start to the issue.
In "The Shadow-Keeper", Kim Lakin-Smith tells us a story through the eyes of an idealistic schoolteacher in 1871 named William Ward, whose family takes in a deformed giant of a girl named Kitty Brooke who suffers from acromegaly. He tries to educate her but it becomes apparent there is more that is wrong with her than her deformity. This was a poignant and touching tale.
Carole Johnstone's "Dead Loss" is a sea tale featuring a young fisherman named Lachlan, newly hired as a hand on the Relict which does deep-sea cod fishing in the North Sea. The captain is a hard man and will not believe that the strange creatures in their net are sea scorpions. But things start to go seriously wrong in this terrifying piece.
"Some of Them Fall" by Joel Lane features an unnamed narrator who first tells us of something that happened when he and his friends went out to the hills near a place named Rednal at the end of their fifth year of school. Smoking hash and drinking wine, they participate in a ritual when one of them, a pale boy named Adrian is seemingly attacked by moths who disappear suddenly. The night is ended when they discover the bodies of three boys who had been sniffing glue. Years later, the narrator reunites with Adrian and they are, briefly, lovers. But there is some unfinished business with Adrian. All this makes for a haunting, unsettling story.
The last of the fiction is "My Secret Children" by James Cooper. Teddy is a young boy whose mother has died. His father drinks too much but Teddy observes and hears many things in the world around him. He is obsessed with the children in the neighborhood that have gone missing and keeps effigies of them made from photographs and action figures. This all makes for a quietly disturbing tale.
Black Static continues to publish quality horror fiction and I urge you all to subscribe.