Black Static #75

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TTA PRESS May-June 2020

My previous reviews of this publisher: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tta-press-interzone-black-static/

Stories by Simon Avery, Daniel Carpenter, Kristina Ten, Cody Goodfellow, Danny Rhodes.

When I read these stories, Covfefe permitting, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

6 thoughts on “Black Static #75

  1. The ‘Dream Sickness’ made tangible…

    5507AF30-F4F0-43D8-BAFD-5E6FA67EAD1FTHE BLACK PAINTINGS by Simon Avery

    “I’m a cancer, not a fucking heathen.”

    An artist — caught between thinking his own Tate Modern installations ‘bullshit’ and a talkative cancer diagnosed and now self-untreated inside his body and, later, outside it — has an accompanied Pilgrim’s-Progress, as it were, from Beethoven chamber music to a cancer’s concupiscence to the eponymous Goya. The epiphany of having given birth to those who walk the world today. This story is sheer black disturbance in the darkest chasms of literature, I opine. Indeed, as impossibly black as ‘vantablack’ (see my recent review HERE where I first encountered that word: amid much ‘bullshit’ modern poetic em-dashed prose made into greatness from word installations.)
    “, blushes of colour obscured by an all-encompassing blackness.”
    I like accessible, and somehow this story is limpidly accessible, too

    My previous reviews of Simon Avery: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/simon-avery/

  2. THE STONEMASON by Danny Rhodes

    “Just a cough.”

    This is a M.R. Jamesian Cathedral story gradually morphing into an archetypal Black Static story, as if its pages and its side-images are equally and thickly narrowing and black-cloying it towards the cancer in the first story, not a talkative one, but one he is being paid to sculpt for hoisting on to the cathedral, but instead of creating the visualised image by chipping off lumps of stone it’s more like cleaning a monstrously feminine gargoyle that had always existed or, even more tantalisingly likely, the original cancerous lump his small daughter over whose treatment he and his wife have been agonising over. And both he and his wife are seen to become distanced, even in their bed, by the presence; in fact he even feels distanced from the other staff in the cathedral; he sees black shapes, not people. As perhaps we all do today. Even those together in current closeness. A widening cathedral close?

    “And this thing, he knew now, had never known sunlight or warmth, had never known touch or intimacy or love.”

    My previous reviews of Danny Rhodes: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/danny-rhodes/

  3. ASLEEP IN THE DEEP END by Cody Goodfellow

    “Certainly it wasn’t what it looked like . . .”

    This novelette both fascinated and repelled me. It was as if I was hypnotised and couldn’t stop reading it, taken into its world of suburban middle-class American poolside abodes, where the pool grows uglier than the characters. Sixty something retirees desperate to assuage their boredom and anger. And now to assuage their chemical poolcide’s burgeoning sexuality. It was as if the cancerous concupiscence in the Avery has here become extrapolated beyond imaginable measure. The “green Eden they’d dreamed of” become a VanderMeer garden sadly grown prehensile with monstrousness, a Ralph Robert Moore work and this one mutually and gratuitously synergised in some hyper-imaginative real-time gestalt. Real-time, yes, but without any social distancing at all. The work’s language as a text’s appearance, its semantics and phonetics, too, is fulsomely and unstintingly Hellish, in a good or Goodfellow way. A chip off the old block. All Roads lead to Hell, never Heaven, leading even beyond both as blended by Blake. We are all asleep in the deep end.

    My reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/cody-goodfellow/

  4. ROOTS by Daniel Carpenter

    Does cigar tobacco have roots? No? Well, teeth certainly do. A bush of them as one of Avery’s art installations?
    And people have roots, too, but people may try to disguise them but never lose them. Natives always of where they were born. A story of a naive and ageing workman on city building sites, post traumatic syndrome from finding a baby’s hand when digging, and such a syndrome often magnifies thereafter, as also do the fake news and stories about what he actually found at source.
    Churchill smoked cigars. This Goodfellow’s ‘green Eden they’d dreamed of’, their planted seedlings become the roots of nightmare.
    Disturbing and provoking.

    My reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/daniel-carpenter/

  5. EXCEPT FOR THE DOWN BELOW by Kristina Ten

    “They shared no common theme, were not good or bad but simply strange.”

    As a chronic seeker of gestalts from unlikely connections, I am now frustrated by the chance that there is nothing I can do to connect such things of ‘no common theme’. But perhaps, as I now realise, that it may be good for my soul to realise that I am not immune from the inability to connect and synchronise certain things, even with my fearless faith in fiction and the art of the preternatural!
    Here, this is a consuming story about an equivalent connector as a pub quiz know-it-all, eventually working in a university where others appear not to appreciate this socially inept man’s know-it-allness, his determination not to be “outknown.” His ‘known’ things are listed here and make a delightful quirkiness of real knownness. You must read them for yourself. I only share knowledge of one of these known topics, i.e. “lesser known composers’, but I relish the thought of all the other topics. Give or take the arguable need for Occam’s Razor. Anyway, this is basically an inadvertent follow up to the previous story of a digger, and there it was a naive, possibly know-nothing workman, reaching towards another one you may have called ‘baby’ (here in Ten: “‘No, baby’, she answered…”) And also, here in Ten, to inadvertently reflect Avery above, there is the seemingly gratuitous accumulation of Duchamp ready-mades or art installations (again you must read these delightful descriptions for yourself) that somehow appear in his garden, a phenomenon that seems to prove his inability to connect or ‘know’ such gratuities. As if from Lenders not Borrowers, as hinted at by a TA who befriends him. TA? Some partial version of TTA that has served to make this phenomenon ‘known’ in its publication? And what our know-it-all finds from his digging approaches the “down below” deep end of horror prehensility in or from Goodfellow’s pool! Perhaps sadly, but hopefully edifyingly as a fabulous moral, an ‘intruder who should have become shrewder’, towards when “the static came closer in.”

    There is much else in Black Static in addition to its fiction.

    end

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