Black Static #65

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TTA PRESS 2018

Stories by Ian Muneshwar, E. Catherine Tobler, Timothy Mudie, Kailee Pederson, Matt Thompson, Cody Goodfellow, Carole Hohnstone & Chris Kelso.

When I read this fiction, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

10 thoughts on “Black Static #65

  1. IMPOSTOR/IMPOSTOR by Ian Muneshwar

    “Édgar knows that when Lyle says we he always means you.”

    I am an impostor reading this story. Hester boiled water for her oolong. I noted that and the phallic accent where it does not belong, and her own absurd accent she uses when saying his name. Hester is Lyle’s Mother harbouring a backstory about Lyle’s wayward, or, rather, wayback, father. She, a food writer, is staying with Lyle and Édgar. Lyle is a secretive sculptor keeping his art locked away in his studio and his residues of wax fall into the carpet for Édgar — Édgar, his lover and partner, a martyr to household chores, a composer manqué seeking the optimum classical line — to pick out laboriously when he should be composing. Someone else wrote this summary playing out like a player-piano the haunting plot of this story, having loved reading it, and who thinks that revealing plot spoilers is like walking on eggshells or on bits of broken sculpture. The INTÉGRALES of Edgard Varèse, notwithstanding.

    “But now whenever Édgar touches a key, he only feels the burden of Fischer’s dexterous fingers and Bach’s impossibly heavy ghost waking under the lid.”

    (As an aside, a few days ago I attended a live piano recital with sinister not dexterous fingers: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/09/23/scriabin-bach-rachmaninov-frank-bridge-with-the-left-hand/)

  2. THE END OF THE TOUR by Timothy Mudie

    “The night before the cold first spoke to me we had ramen for dinner.”

    A rock group story, where the lead guitarist needs to leave the stage for certain procedures while the founder of the group does his long drum solo. If Bach — in the quote I happened to choose above for the previous story and whose music I accidentally happen to be listening to on the radio as I write this — represents, as that quote suggests, the “cold” in Mudie’s short proud riff of story, then it all makes synergous sense to me. A story of the guitarist’s brain tumour and the nature of its cure allowing a “cold” to create blackouts in more than just him, if via him. Think, initially, city big! And other cities wiped out in our historic past? But the fact the story is told at all?

    “The only thing that eased the pain was music.”

  3. MARROW by E. Catherine Tobler

    “Hollow hurts like nothing else, but hollow could be made to stop. ‘Marrow,’ Eatr says.
    ‘Not tomorrow.’”

    Fallowness and not-food, and the letter e being eaten out of some words, this is a hallucinating, sometimes infuriating, experience of a post-apocalypse where hungr has become forevr a mutuality between food and not-food in a human residue of humanity’s debris. A symbiotic mutuality like the city blackouts as side effects of Mudie’s ‘cold’ in synergy with human disease. EATR, here, also, I see as another literary version of Theodore Sturgeon’s IT (pronounced Eat?) – a similar monster-self of narrative phenomenon.

    My previous reviews of E. Catherine Tobler: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/e-catherine-tobler/

  4. IN THE GALLERY OF SILENT SCREAMS
    by Carole Johnstone & Chris Kelso

    “A foot is not a person.”

    A work that is extremely powerful, potentially noteworthy and original in hindsight. Mark my words. It also seems to tie much together in what I have been reading recently in the latest editions of Black Static and Interzone. A bodily gestalt in reverse. An amorphous mass of guilt and victimhood. An Eater or an Eaten, catalytic tumours, God into our DNA and back again, and more. Art from God’s mistakes. This is where literary cross-references get tangled and become a singularity of sinews and birth ducts and fodder fished for. On the surface, this story is about Ong, a girl armed with a copy of the Funhouse by Dean Koontz, a girl who attends, as a gestalt reviewer, an exhibition of avant garde or conceptual art, where she interviews the artist. Until he, the artist, becomes more aware of how their fates entwine, with the nature of their own birth backstories, and entwine with the mutated foetuses as art objects, each with a Horror fiction book as metaphor or, arguably, allegory. Murder by childbirth. Or cannibalisation. But in which direction? He accuses her of being a critic trying to make a name for herself by finding secret meanings…

    My previous reviews of Carole Johnstone: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/carole-johnstone/

  5. C9336221-8D0B-4E52-A200-B8C1D9A0DCE6
    THE PURSUER by Kailee Pederson

    “(‘Eliot Quill and THE PURSUER: Can the Art Community Rehabilitate Monstrous White Men?’)”

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    This is another extremely powerful work – alongside the previous story, in too many connective ways to break faith with by describing them here – is about pseudonymous Quill and his daughter after his newsworthy death amid perceived abject cruelty and the complexities of her relationship with her now late father’s arguably horror-dysfunction paintings (addressing issues or art and the artist, a family’s inheritance of a forebear’s horror art and whether they are ashamed or proud), and the effect on this daughter’s own wife and their eventual child together. A work about guilt transcended by exploring that area between being in denial and being openly around such denial. This work is also steeped in how past art infects or inspires new art, openly or clandestinely. It is also a work for our times of both sexual transgresssion and sexual liberation, perhaps two things that have come paradoxically together? This arguable paradox is resulting in a necessary awareness that will make it a positive synergy, I suggest.
    G.M.Crespi, Geburt des Adonis - G. M. Crespi / Birth of Adonis -

  6. THE GRAMOPHONE MAN by Matt Thompson

    I am afraid I found rather unengaging and hard to understand the plot surrounding the history of China’s Nanjing Massacre. My fault.
    Meanwhile, the central eponymous image of the Gramophone Man, is one you will never forget. For me, worth reading for this alone. It also seems the perfect accompaniment to Mudie’s music that is associated with a bodily tumour. Here the tumour is the gramophone itself.
    Also I must observe a synchronicity between this story and another in similarity of venue and title. I confirm that there is no similarity between their respective plots, nor one between the natures of their central eponymous images. The other story is ‘The Human Phonograph’ and takes place in China (reviewed here).
    As an aside, my reviews have always invoked the due diligence of such perceived synchronicities and to point them out so that they can be followed up by the readers as further recommended reading by means of mutual cross-reference; in fact, I often depend on such synchronicities as part of my gestalt reviews’ philosophy.

    My previous review of Matt Thompson: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/matt-thompson/

  7. SQUATTERS’ RIGHTS by Cody Goodfellow

    “, banana-hammocks and T-shirts advertising blood drives and forgotten local bands.”

    A madcap coda to this set of fictions, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. White mold, black mold, menstruating wall sockets, cannibal squirrels, and too much else to list here, we are all squatters, I feel, in this mad head that this author wears. He may try to rid us from our endless loops of existence between the ductwork of his cavity, we family of creatures that live there, put out to grass one day merely to read this, then we get picked to go back in and start something rolling again. Something we do during drum solos. Hung in avant garde galleries. “…forced to concede that eating yourself is still, technically, vegan.” But we always come out good from the other end, I guess.

    My previous reviews of Cody Goodfellow: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/cody-goodfellow/

    end

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