Black Static 16 Reviewed, Plus Comments

The Saturday review at Suite101 this week is Black Static 16, but before you click on the link –or not– I want to add a coda.

I mentioned that it’s the first full colour Black Static, but Suite’s policies preclude me from saying that the whole magazine is jaw-droppingly fucking gorgeous.  I had my doubts about a full colour edition, simply because  it’s a magazine of dark fiction, which just goes to show that

a. sometimes bright colours can enhance the darkness

b. I know nothing, absolutely nada, about artwork. Except what I like.

Oddly, the Lynda E. Rucker artwork, which is among the strongest in the issue, seems to be uncredited.

On another point, space precluded me commenting in more detail on Stephen Volk’s ‘Electric Darkness,’ which was like a shot in the arm. This is how it starts:

There’s this story. This guy went to live in the wilderness with grizzly bears… He admired their grace and ever since he was a kid he adored them. He thought, if I treat them well, they’ll have no reason…to attack me.  On the contrary, they’ll love me like I love them and we’ll all live happily in the forest together. Well, one day the fucking grizzlies turned on him and ate him.

I know the feeling.

Volk recounts the series of setbacks and the periodic depression that plagues him (and sometimes the two are linked, and sometimes they’re not) — and wonders why he bothers.

It touched a chord because I’m slightly melancholic by nature, and also lately because I’ve begun to note the switchback nature of writing for a living.

Possibly every beginning writer dreaming of the first sale thinks that after they’ve made the breakthrough, it’s happily ever after. In fact, given long enough a writer’s career seems increasingly to me to be like a game of Snakes ‘n’ Ladders. Volk’s article nails it absolutely, and in the process outlines how he copes. Anyone who suffers from depression, or whose career is going through a rough patch should read it.

Black Static is a great magazine, and 16 is an exemplary issue, but in any case this month’s Electric Darkness alone is worth the cover price.

One Response to “Black Static 16 Reviewed, Plus Comments”

  1. Stepven Volk says:

    Colin, thanks for your thoughtful response to my article in BS #16. I was worried about exposing myself with that kind of honesty, but the reaction of people so far has been amazing. I took on the writing of that column only to be rigorously honest about horror writing as I see it, so it is enormously gratifying that my words struck a chord. Thank you for saying so. And all the best with your own work.

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• April 24th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 1