This is a bit of an odd confession to make about a fiction magazine, but I read Black Static mainly for the non-fiction articles. This is not a criticism of the fiction in the magazine, but an observation about my own preference. While I do read a fair bit of genre fiction, my tastes lean more towards SF than horror and when it comes to fantasy, I tend to prefer the epic variety to the dark.
That said, like its TTA Press stalemate, Interzone, Black Static does manage to regularly publish a consistently high standard of fiction and issue 16 is no exception. High points for me include The Overseer by Tim Casson, which is both dark and disturbing, and the shockingly powerful Extreme Latitude by M.G. Preston. This tale of isolation and insanity really does get under your skin in all sorts of uncomfortable ways.
At the start of last year I found myself having to recognise that various changes in my life had left me subscribing to significantly more magazines than I had time to read. Consequently, I started allowing most of my subscriptions lapse. One of the subscriptions I did renew, however, was Black Static and I renewed it not for the fiction, but for the non-fiction articles.
While columnists Christopher Fowler, Stephen Volk and Mike O’Driscoll all write about distinct areas of genre fiction, what all three columnists have in common is the quality of their insight. What all three writers have to say is well-informed, interesting and provides an genuinely fascinating look at where genre fiction is going and what it is capable of.
The reviews and author interviews, on the other hand, always leave me with a reason to increase the height of my ever-growing pile of unread books. This time around book reviewer. Peter Tennant provides an in-depth look at Sarah Pinborough as well as an interview with the author. Sarah Pinborough is someone whose name I have seen mentioned several times but have never read. So now I shall head over to Amazon to rectify this.