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Black Static, Issue 19, October-November 2010

Black Static, Issue 19, October-November 2010
Black Static
Black Static is the new title for The Third Alternative, which was founded in 1994. With the arrival of Interzone in 2005, it was no longer necessary to publish science fiction and fantasy in The Third Alternative, so TTA Press took the opportunity to focus on its darker side and give the magazine a new title to emphasise the slight shift, and give potential readers a clearer idea of what the magazine was all about.

Black Static

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

As well as the usual array of short stories, and information on where to get new novels in this month's issue of Black Static, Peter Tennant's Case Notes has some reviews on the latest books out there and an interview of Stephen Jones, "Home is Where the Horror Is." This time out, Tennant reviews the latest anthologies in horror such as The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror: A Twenty Year Celebration edited by Stephen Jones, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 21 also edited by Stephen Jones, and Zombie Apocalypse!, created by Stephen Jones. In the first anthology, the cover is unnerving and creepy enough to send chills through the bone, the stories themselves have the same creepy quality to them such as "No Sharks in the Med" by Brian Lumley, "The Same in Any Language" by Ramsey Campbell and "The Break" by Terry Lamsley. In the second anthology, Stephen King and Joe Hill, Brian Lumley, Michael Shea and Ramsey Campbell all feature but the weirdness factor is replaced by pure, unadulterated horror in one form or another. The third anthology is more of a novel pieced together by different writers in the form of emails, letters etc. It is believed to be one of the more interesting anthologies there. In this section, Peter Tennant's reviews are concise, and honest enough to let the reader know he is trusted to give the right information as to whether the novels are good or bad.

In Black Static, Issue 19 the emphasis certainly seems to be on short stories and story anthologies in books. The Bitten Word is a novel with seventeen tales all with a vampiric theme to fans of those long in the tooth will enjoy.

Interference, an article by Christopher Fowler has him discussing the newest movies around, starting with the latest horror offerings. With the news that the Scream movies are being remade under new horror rules, Fowler makes a few of his own using his original sense of humour, having a comical poke at the current and sometimes over done horror around.

Night's Plutonian Shore, an article by Mike O'Driscoll goes over the Raoul Moat case in the UK, and the media's response to what happened, and whether they made the situation worse by highlighting the drama behind it. Readers will find interest in the meaning behind what O'Driscoll says in his article on what triggers men such as Moat and Bird to become violent and lose all reason. He uses references to movies, Joel Schumacher's Falling Down being a memorable one of one man's revolting against society.

Electric Darkness, a column by Stephen Volk goes along similar lines as the previous article, this time in movie style where Volk discusses the movie Psycho based on Robert Bloch's novel. The rest of the article is about David Thomson's new book entitled How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder. He discusses the classic movie, and the director, his witticisms, dark humour and interesting life.

"Chain Reaction," by Steve Rasnic Tem is a short story comprised of several occurrences between different cars at different times arranged in a diary style between Friday and Saturday. This story is an unusual and original way of telling events at similar times of the day and night, and is effective enough at grasping the reader and keeping them there right up until the end.

"Beach Combing," by Ray Cluley has Tommy tells of a young boy who constantly strolls along the shore of a seaside town in search of something, anything new and interesting in the sand. He finds things, both new and old, bottles, bags, even key rings, but all he touches tends to give him memories of the last person who owned the articles. Every day he sees the same old man near him on the shore looking out to sea, but being young, he doesn't go and talk to him. Cluley's writing style sets this tale off even though it is touching and has a rather sad ending, it is well told.

"The Sleep Mask," by Joel Lane tells the story of Dennis, a man who can't sleep properly. Nights spent awake in the arms of his lover take their toll as she can't get to sleep either from his snoring and tossing and turning. To combat this problem, he sees a specialist who gives him a face mask that could help his breathing, and hopefully aid his restful sleep. After wearing it a while he does sleep, but discovers nothing more than nightmarish imagery that sticks in his mind when he wakes. This sleep mask can be a solution, but can he cope with the nightmares? Lane has the amazing ability to throw the reader right into the thick of what the protagonist is actually feeling -- wonderful.

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes enjoys many pastimes, painting, drawing, writing short stories and when she's busy as hell she writes for Active Anime, Quailbell magazine, The Chronicle and Love Romance Passion to name a few.

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