Black Static #36

BLACK STATIC #36 (Sep-Oct 2013)

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TTA Press

My GRTR of the fiction in this magazine that I received as a result of my subscription to TTA Press.

My previous Black Static reviews are linked from HERE.

The fiction in this issue is written by Jacob A. Boyd, Stephen Bacon, Tim Waggoner, Christopher Fowler, V.H. Leslie, Ray Cluley.

My review will appear in the ‘comment’ stream below as and when I read each story:

6 thoughts on “Black Static #36

  1. No Kill, No Pay – Jacob A. Boyd
    “The gray square on its white pelage.”
    Extrapolated from a Ligottian Corporate Horror fiction-claustrophobia (but not from Ligotti’s Anti-Natalism philosophy or his dark puppet-mannequin fiction), this Boyd story takes the Firm’s employee — along with such constricting business-grabbing nepotism and its tight circles of the boardroom cartel — into an open-country hunt for wolves as some test of his worth for promotion. It is very intriguingly done, as he grapples with his stomach ulcer and the self-made proverbs popping out in his mind, and as the plot reaches some sort of feral tontine … all with the underlay of a major horror genre trope that serves to accentuate the story’s undidactic moral. The language skilfully seems to bolster the wild hunt and its unfriendly terrain and the tough ironic emotions that emerge and the surprising choice he ends up making.
    Gives a whole new meaning to a Team Building weekend!

  2. Apports – Stephen Bacon
    “Ahead, his destination loomed like a beacon for the destitute.”
    I have long had a rapport with the fiction of Stephen Bacon – and here, I simply knew I would come away from this story tantalised – even while being creeped out by the stock urban seediness and then the suspenseful imminence of something, all of which was narratively workmanlike and enjoyable enough, but as (similar to Boyd’s story’s ‘feel’ for the gun) I begun to feel as if I could handle the gun here, too, regarding a boy’s story that I hear about. Later, I imagine the retribution about to be wrought following the boy’s story told through the potential gunman’s mind and the resulting dilemma or weakness does not end up just simply tantalising me but literally radiating out in untold directions of further tantalisation.
    And the story itself seemed to become, for me, a set of bound apports paging me…

  3. Day 12 – Tim Waggoner
    “It’s worth the pain to have something to smile about, even if only for a moment.”
    …like one of the proverbs in Boyd’s story… And here this Waggoner one is a startlingly and compellingly original story (to me, at least) of an aeroplane flight where the plane becomes a sort of Flying Dutchman ship, with symbiosis between it and the passengers, as it takes, in vague echo of the Boyd story, an explicit “feral” tontine for the protagonist passenger who tries sabotage, as the plane plans to attack a smaller plane, a “puddle-jumper” so-called, and again I am reminded of the Boyd story, with, in that story, the little plane that acts as a weathervane on a static pillar!
    Here the plane is the ‘gun’: now echoing Bacon’s protagonist’s dilemma or weakness, a gun *within* which the gunman and victims actually exist… themselves the bullets? That smiling moment?

  4. The Scent of Roses – Christopher Fowler
    “Our paths through life are set as rigidly as roads, but we alone have control of the vehicles in which our lives are run.”
    …which takes on an even more intriguing slant in the light of the previous story where the plane itself had plans. And indeed the Fowler story takes this set of fiction’s tantalisation to charming extremes, not so much a Chaos Theory or Butterfly Effect, but what I, and perhaps I only, shall ever think of as an Attar Attack, even if the story has itself set off concertina repercussions of its own, carrying its own potential perception of righteous or just murder as in the Bacon story as well as here in the Balkan one. Indeed, in Boyd’s fatal tontine, too.
    I said ‘charming’ above, and indeed the historical references (just before the Great War) and relationships over social gaps and the starting history of automobiles and the idle conversation of travellers on their own road of fickle or feckless Fate are indeed charmingly conveyed, thus accentuating, by contrast, the awful implications of what has happened in the past, the madness of individuals individually and en masse, and now what has just happened again.
    (Those who enjoy the many Ex Occidente Press books such as Secret Europe will also enjoy this story, and vice versa.)

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