Review : Black Static Issue 30

It’s always a great day when the latest issue of this excellent magazine drops through my letter box.  This is the perfect antidote to all those high street magazines, that in my opinion give Horror and particularly horror fiction the cold shoulder.

As always, my first port of call with this magazine are the articles by the esteemed partnership of Stephen  Volk and Christopher Fowler.  Both of these writers have been a long time favourite of mine and their articles here never fail to both entertain and educate me.  In Stephen’s article he gives a fascinating insight in to some of the background of his brilliant Ghostwatch.  

Christopher Fowler, delivers an excellent article on the Death of The Filmed Fairytale, in which he discusses why the classic fairy tale will probably never make for a good film and why expressing an opinion is now deemed to be unacceptable to the unwashed masses.  In the second half of his article he goes on to discuss the return of the scary house story, and why Hollywood needs to find its cojones  if this genre is ever to succeed.

I then always turn to the back for what is probably the best set of genre reviews to see print.  The amount and quality of the reviews that Peter Tennant, Tony Lee and Mike O’Driscoll produce beggars belief.  They are always insightful, balanced and well written.  I will admit that it is the fiction reviews of Peter Tennant, that are of the most interest to, and I do get a big sense of validation when someone, whose reviews I respect so much, feels the same way as I do about a book.  I just wish he would tell me the secret to finding so much time for reading and reviewing.

As you all know, Black Static, is also a first class outlet for short stories, and this issue is no exception.  From the harrowing The Pig Farm  by James Cooper, which is so wonderfully told that the sights, smells, and sounds of a damp and muddy farm ooze from the page into your subconscious.

To Ray Cluley’s All Change, which is a tale that like its title changes track midway through, I won’t spoil the surprise, but lets just say that after reading this, you will be asking Mr Cluley to go and write a prequel to this highly entertaining story.  I think this is the third of Ray’s stories that I have read, and he is fast becoming one of those authors whose whole catalogue I need to track down.

Carole Johnstone’s Sometimes I get a Good Feeling, will send a shiver down your spine, and have you looking down into that small space underneath your floorboards with a inquisitive and worried feeling.

Rounding off this issue are further three excellent stories by Susan Kim, Daniel Mills, and David Kotok.

A special mention must also be made of the excellent artists whose work also feature in this book, Ben Baldwin, Rich Sampson, Vincent Sammy, Dave Senecal, and and Rik Rawling’s artwork really does complement each of these stories.  I particularly like Ben Baldwin’s  cover as the fellow on it is the spitting image of my neighbour.

I really don’t know how they manage to consistently produce a magazine of this exceptional quality,  in terms of content and production values for such a low £3.95 is a bargain, especially when you consider that unlike many other magazines, Black Static is not chock full of adverts.

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