Black static #60 is once again filled with some of the best writers that dark fiction has to offer, excellent illustrations alongside the usual book and movie reviews and non-fiction. This particular issue has a couple of real gems inside.
I often find the introductory non-fiction pieces by Lynda E. Rucker and Ralph Robert Moore to be thoughtful and interesting, and this month is no different. Rucker talks about the horror genre and also about the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. What is true horror? And, how can we avoid becoming monsters ourselves? The second piece is by Ralph Robert Moore. I’d love to read an autobiography by Moore, his stories are often personal recollections from his past and provide thoughtful and interesting reading, I’m Someone Else is no different.
Onto the fiction, and for me personally I struggled a little to connect with Carole Johnstone’s Skyshine. There is no denying the quality of the writing, and whilst it is a thoughtful story I wasn’t really enthralled with it. The same cannot be said for The Shuttered Child, which itself is a story within a story and a damn creepy one at that. Sometimes what is seen cannot be unseen. The body count is high in this one and it is very good indeed. The Swans by Ray Cluley is a real joy to read. It is a stunningly moody, creepy piece about a mother and child enjoying a trip along the canal. There is a very claustrophobic feel to this story, almost as if the mother and son are trapped on this barge. And, as for the swans…oh, the swans…beautiful, yet terrifying at the same time in this story. There is some really excellent writing here and a terrific, moody, grim atmosphere. It is a must-read. For me, the real jewel in the crown in issue #60 is Langwell Sorrow by Stephen Hargadon. Quite simply, this is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. It centres around a mans encounter with a patron at a pub that leads him on the trail of a local football team that few have heard of. The team is/was called Langwell Sorrow. Why is there no history online of Langwell Sorrow? Where is the ground they played at? Why have only a few heard of them? Why are they spoken about in hushed voices? These are all questions that need answering as our narrator seeks to piece together the truth of their existence, and perhaps his own. This is a beautifully melancholic story. I simply adored it. Many of the places mentioned are close to where I grew up and I believe this is one of the reasons I became so drawn into this story. Hargadon perfectly captures the feel of being a football supporter with his wonderful writing along with honing in on the camaraderie that exists between followers of the sport. The narrator is full of hope and sorrow at the same time, a wonderfully realistic character. The ending to the story is simply perfect. I enjoyed it so much I read the story again, twice! it is just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, nothing else to say.
The usual movie and book reviews follow. Each one is on-point. I’ve found the reviews to be pretty accurate though people’s tastes are different of course.
This is a fabulous issue of Black Static magazine. The two stories in particular by Ray Cluley and Stephen Hargadon will live long in my memory and if you haven’t sampled the works of these authors then I encourage you to do so, and soon. This magazine really is in a class of its own.
5/5 cold shivers from the Grim Reader.
Pick up a copy from here.