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Black Static Sixty-One - Nov/Dec 2017
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: Lucretia by Tara Bush
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Magazine (print/digital)  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 28 November 2017

Links: Black Static / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Black Static #61 is here with stories by Ruth EJ Booth, Ralph Robert Moore, Georgina Bruce, Andrew Humphrey, Carly Holmes, and Mel Kassel, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static #61 is here and it's just a perfect issue.

The fiction begins with "The Anniversary" by Ruth EJ Booth. -+- A husband gives his wife a teardrop pearl every year for their anniversary. He wants her to give him one of her beautiful smiles. But there is something darker going on. This story is less than 200 words but says everything it needs to say elegantly. Nicely chilling.

"For Whom the Dogs Bark" by Ralph Robert Moore -+- Hans Zitter is 83 years old and half-blind. He has had a lonely, terrible life. Now, there are men outside his house, barking and pretending to be dogs. There are also dogs, making campfires and cooking food. Will he be able to keep them out? This one just gets more and more unsettling and the conclusion is the stuff of nightmares.

"The Book of Dreems" by Georgina Bruce -+- Kate has been in some sort of accident and remembers a dog which her husband, Fraser, says wasn't there. She has odd visions that her apartment has changed. She is bothered by Dreemy People who seem to be some sort of robot that Fraser works on and frustrates him with its glitches. He leaves to take a trip to the moon which is a tourist destination in this near future. Fraser warns her against "dreeming" which she can't stop. What can she do? Unsettling, strange tale.

"Do Not Google" by Andrew Humphrey -+- Ben works as a middle manager in insurance and has a bit of a drug problem. He has a loving wife named Naomi and a mistress named Becky who he is attracted to but doesn't care about him. Vince, a friend, has a piece of paper with a jumble of letters on it. Supposedly if you enter them into Google, someone you care about will die. Once you have the paper, you have a compunction to enter it in. Ben takes the paper. When his life goes wrong, he gets on the internet. Great story. Ben is a total creep but that works.

"A Small Life" by Carly Holmes -+- Our narrator moves to a small town along a river and joins a rowing club there. He finds fulfillment in it. But when, Jess, the sister of the club's leader shows up one night, he is upset. At the halfway point, he sees some sort of creature and injures Jess trying to protect her. No one else sees it. He returns home to go on a two-week bender. He returns to the club and is okay for a while until Jess shows up again. You won't like this guy but the story is another that builds well to its conclusion.

The fiction concludes with "Tancho" by Mel Kassel. -+- Jameson drowns Laurie, an elderly neighbor undergoing dialysis, in his koi pond. He takes her body out and puts it in his upstairs bathroom in ice to preserve it. Meanwhile, her ghost remains in the pond. Jameson uses some sort of magic to keep her there and tells her what he wants. Her ghost can affect the koi and aid in the breeding of tancho, a white koi with a red spot treasured by collectors. This works for a while, but Laurie learns she can do more. An imaginative idea with a story executed to perfection.

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