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BLACK STATIC #35

My gestalt real-time review continued from HERE.

TTA Press

My previous Black Static reviews are linked from HERE.

The fiction in this issue is written by Daniel Mills, Steven J. Dines, Steve Rasnic Tem, Michael Griffin, Caspian Gray, Jason Gould, Carole Johnstone.

The continuation of my review will appear in the ‘comment’ stream below as and when I read each story:

3 responses to “*

  1. Summer Girls – Caspian Gray
    “I mean talk talk. Without any worries about misunderstandings.”
    This entrancing story seems to ‘resonate’ with Rothko’s black static or white noise, or with the quote that I happened fortuitously to choose above from the Dines story (“…and I breathed again, not an ocean from my lungs but mist on the windowpane.”) whereby here that ‘mist’ becomes auditory. Indeed, this Caspian sea story presents communication as obliquely hand-signalled between a sexually-awakening pair of teenagers who often naively cavort together in the ocean – with the girl being profoundly deaf and resistant to the promise of an ‘implant’ cure for such deafness. The ocean being inhabited by a brilliantly described floating ‘dead girl’ (an embodily recurring legend made of real human flesh or seaweed or both) makes this story extremely haunting and meaningfully oblique like the pair’s own communication together (this communication also being a symbol of the often intangible nature of the art of fiction’s communication itself generally with any particular reader?) – and, meanwhile, judging by this story’s title, it makes me think of the common saying: ‘There are more fish in the sea.’ A sign that life is ever on the brink of new choices, new chances. But this story, perhaps, also deals with that earlier unspoken dimension, the one of guilt and legacy, with the ocean here being not just a human communication system like the ‘worldwide web’ but a limitless universe of moving creatures in vast chambers that retains your autonomously enduring will to continue living after death, even if you originally tried to cause your own death in an attempt to prevent your consciousness from ever having existed in the first place. And, in this, you are faced by the instinctive currents of eternity, its deafening tidal surges with seaweedy-like hand signals around your body. An ocean that never lets you go.

  2. What Would You Say If I Asked You To Love Me? – Jason Gould
    “‘When is it coming? I can’t hear it.’ As if the coming of war was the coming of some great locomotive aboard which he and his mother would be swept or else narrowly avoid direct collision yet still be destined to live life blowing about inside its roaring slipstream and its chaos.”
    This is a highly charged poetic texture of a story of alternating archetypes whereby the viewpoint now becomes, by vivid contrast to the stories so far, not us looking through our unspoken dimensions of crystal balls or chat rooms of communication at our own surrogate or alien existences but those surrogate or alien existences who look at us similarly through their own such dimensions.
    Here, these detached beings chat about a vision represented by a stunning metaphor of our Second World War air raid shelters (rock hewn chat rooms or oubliettes) and about one man in particular who whiles away those frightening hours underground with a book from which he gets a paper cut, a real book that floods the fractured ancient rock with the resultant blood. Alongside there is a potential coda with a compensatory sense of the ‘belonging’ kind… Or kind belonging? A perspective to sort love from hate in the Jungian ocean of consciousness, a linked consciousness both alien and home-spun?

  3. If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close – Carole Johnstone
    “The last time you don’t take, you give.”
    This is a striking evocation of a house that you often see on TV programmes about extreme hoarding, as seen here through the eyes of a pretend disabled-retard, male or female, the son or daughter of the mother who did the hoarding. I haven’t been back to check the gender of the narrator but I’m left with the impression that it’s left undefined by that very narrator who despite coming up so close to you, so very close, you not only forget things but you also wonder if you’re in the story and the narrator is the reader, a dilemma that echoes the two viewpoints in the previous story…. The Jungian chatroom emptiness of this set of fiction’s unspoken dimension is now filled to the ceiling of every one of those rooms, stacks of scrumble between Rothko’s arches and pillars, like a tissue crammed into a matchbox, over-valued like all obsessions, plus old people on buses soon to be institutionalised, I guess, as a destination that never ceased to be a destination even if you never get there, like the ocean for the earlier ‘dead girl’ who can never die and here related to a “submarine” and Tem’s preexistent grief and Gould’s paper cut that here becomes a rat-trap injury. And then there are those on the top deck of the bus who threaten the narrator, that’s you and me, us pretend Mongs, because we could have stopped them simply by changing the words we read, but never to escape the words that vanish as soon as you type them on the screen, unless there is someone out there to read them which there probably isn’t. Just ghostly hits.

    A great set of stories. And there is much else in ‘Black Static’ to interest the Horror Genre enthusiast.

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