The July/August issue of Black Static features the usual excellent reviews/interviews and non-fiction from regular contributors, but it’s the stories I always like to focus on. It’s a rarity that this particular issue didn’t resonate with me as strongly as previous ones. The stories weren’t bad, I simply found a couple of them meandered and failed to really go anywhere that excited me.
Case in point was Out of the Blue by Seán Padraic Birnie in which a recently deceased father shows up at the house of the narrator. The stage is set for what could be an unsettling perhaps even moving story and yet it seems to lack direction and plods along rather aimlessly with very little happening. Perhaps I’m not a smart enough reader and I missed the subtleties of it, or perhaps I misunderstood it all together? Who knows? It left me feeling neither moved nor scared.
Sadly Tim Cooke’s Asylum is another tale that failed to strike a chord with me, in fact, by the end of it, I really had no idea what was going on. There are some nice scenery descriptions as a man wanders aimlessly around the woods of what was once an old asylum (hence the title, I guess). I think the story is about coming to terms with grief, though I’m not entirely sure.
The Blockage by Jack Westlake is a good yarn. It’s a fairly straightforward horror story, one featuring a rather odd neighbour, missings cats and a blocked drain. To tell you more would be a disservice. Read it. It has just the right amount of weird and it’s damn unsettling to boot.
I was blown away by The Teardrop Method by Simon Avery when I read it earlier this year. The novelette, Why We Don’t Go Back is a grizzly slice of urban horror featuring a protagonist trying to do the right thing by helping out an abused mother and daughter. If I’m honest, It’s not my favourite of Avery’s works, but it isn’t a bad story either. A solid tale.
There is always much more contained within Black Static. This particular issue, whilst not my favourite, still contains some good stuff and I recommend you check it out.
3/5 blockages from the Grim Reader
Pick up a copy from here.