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  • Writer's pictureMike O'Driscoll

Black Static #80/81

The winter double issue of the new digest sized Black Static is out now, and it contains my new novella, Pervert Blood. Before I speak about the story, I want to say a few things about Black Static and TTA Press.

The magazine has long been acknowledged as Britain's premier medium for horror and dark fantasy, beginning with its initial incarnation as The Third Alternative way back in 1994. I'm proud to have been one of the authors published in that very first issue, and since then many of my stories have appeared in both TTA, which ran for 42 issues, and Black Static since 2007, at which time Andy Cox, TTA Press publisher and editor, took on the award winning UK SF magazine, Interzone, inheriting the editor's role from David Pringle.

Among the non-fiction published in The Third Alternative was a series on Slipstream Cinema, focusing on the work of film-makers whose work was located on the margins of genre cinema. Among the directors to feature as the subjects of the series, were Alejandro Jodorowsky, Guy Maddin, Peter Weir, The Coen Brothers, Andrei Tarkovsky, The Brothers Quay, Michael Powell, Jan Svankmajer. I wrote two essays for the series, one on the films of David Lynch, the other on David Croneberg.

For a time in the 1990s, Andy published The Fix, a quarterly magazine devoted to reviews of genre short fiction. This was an invaluable resource for readers, writers and small press publishers. It took the small press seriously, and alerted both readers and professional editors to the diverse range of material from relatively unknown writers appearing in the pages of journals like Back Brain Recluse, Peeping Tom, Works and countless others whose names I can't recall. It also signposted new writers to possible venues for their work, and it was where I first began to review books.

In 1999, TTA Press debuted Crime Wave, a digest magzine devoted to crime fiction. Although published irregularly, the latest issue of Crime Wave, issue 13, Bad Light, appeared in 2018 and featured my novella Medication.

My column Night's Plutonian Shore, on horror in all its cultural and real life manifestations, ran initially in Interzone, from 2004, before transferring to Black Static for the magazine's first issue in 2007.

That column later morphed into Silver Bullets, focusing primarily on horror and fantasy on television, covering shows as diverse as Six Feet Under, Being Human, Game of Thrones, and Hinterland.

TTA Press also began publishing a series of stand alone novellas, the first of which was my story Eyepennies, which appeared in 2012, and of which the most recent were Georgina Bruce's stunning Honey Bones, and Malcolm Devlin's unsettling Engines Beneath Us, both of which were published in 2020.

To have reached 80 issues (over 120 if you include The 3rd Alternative), is an incredible achievement. I'm just one of many writers to have had the pleasure of seeing my work appear in Black Static and other TTA publications, alongside such names as Nathan Ballingrud, Jeff Vandermeer, Stephen Volk, Carole Johnstone, Nicholas Royle, Lucius Shepard, Daniel Mills, Joe Hill, Nina Allan, Ralph Robert Moore, S. P. Miskowski, Michael Marshall Smith, Simon Avery, Lynda E Rucker, Christopher Fowler, V.H. Leslie, Graham Joyce, Steve Rasnic Tem, Joel Lane, Stephen J Dines, Conrad Williams, Christopher Priest, Paul Finch, Paul Meloy, and Justina Robson to name just a few.

Andy announced last year that he would be winding down TTA Press over the next few years, changing Black Static to its double issue digest format and no longer taking subscriptions. He does, however, intend to continue publishing until all current paid subs are fulfilled, and I understand he's committed to keeping Interzone going until he can find a new publisher for Britain's longest running SF magazine.

I suspect I'm not the only reader and writer who hopes there are a few more issues of both Black Static and Interzone to come from TTA Press. We shall miss when it's gone.

In the meantime, you can continue to support TTA by buying single issues of their publications here.

As mentioned at the top of the page, my novella Pervert Blood, appears in the latest issue.

The story draws it's inspiration from a song of the same name by American band Ohtis, that appears on their debut album, Curve of Earth, released in 2019. To get you in the mood for the story, here a link to a live version of Pervert Blood.


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