Black Static #52
TTA Press (May 2016)
164 pages; $5.99 print; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by David Simms
Black Static is more than a British magazine of horror and dark fantasy. It IS the best magazine of dark fiction that is produced on a regular basis. While many have compared it to Cemetery Dance, including this reviewer, it transcends anything currently in production. Bimonthly, readers are treated to stories that are not of the norm in the genre and often evoke a cross between the Borderlands anthologies and Dangerous Visions. Yes, it’s that solid—and consistent.
Published by Andy Cox, the digest-sized issues are filled with wondrous art, rivaling CD on the glossy covers and black-and-white interior pieces. Cox has a sharp eye for new talent, often giving slots to those whose stories have yet to be discovered. On the other hand, he has spotlighted unique tales by such talents recently as John Connelly, Steve Rasnic Tem, Stephen Graham Jones, and Mark Morris.
What makes Black Static special? Besides the consistency of the high quality fiction, each issue opens with two thought-provoking columns. Stephen Volk’s “Coffinmaker Blues” and Lynda E. Rucker’s “Notes from the Borderland” often discuss the world of writing, film, television, or just the state of horror in the world today. In the several years that this reviewer has been reading the mag, never has there been a dull entry. Peter Tennant takes on books and authors each issue in “Case Notes,” where reviews are only the beginning. He interviews the writer, often one who is not a household name (yet) and leads us into their world. Beyond that are reviews of the author’s previous works, small press reviews, and non-fiction in “Fractured Reality,” “Little Monsters,” and “The Silver Scream.”
Finally, “Blood Spectrum” by Gary Couzens closes out each issue with DVD reviews. Often harsh, Couzens skewers current offerings in many cases and when he does praise a film, the reader knows it to be a choice viewing pleasure.
Issue #52 features stories by Carol Johnstone, Damien Angelica Walters, Robert Levy, Michelle Ann King, and Ralph Robert Moore—all strong efforts.
Black Static can be found in many bookstores but for $40, a six issue subscription can be had.
Well worth the cash and highly, highly recommended.