Black Cat 115

Every time I read an issue of BC, I think, “almost – it’s almost there.” These stories and poems all seem to be about abandoning the hope of ever having control over anything. More often than not the narrator is a bitter, unhappy victim in a cruel and violent world. But that’s okay. Hell, we’re all victims, and there’s nothing better than reading a good rant about someone who’s worse off than me. The problem is the writers of these stories seem unable to distinguish themselves from their narrators. One of the great satisfactions of writing a fiction is that you finally get to have control. But like their narrators, lost and battered in a cold and heartless world, these writers seem lost and battered within their own narratives. This is why BC seems always on the verge of succeeding. We aren’t getting bashed over the head by some control freak writer telling us everything we should be thinking and seeing. But this relinquishing of control by the writer is also why the pieces in BC rarely feel satisfying. There’s a story in this issue, “Another Weekend Shot Through the Head” by Grant Shipway, that throws all this hopelessness into relief. The great success of Shipway’s story makes it clear where the others fall short. His narrator is as much a victim as the rest; he gets banged and tossed around by forces outside his control. The difference is, it feels as though Shipway is in control of the narrative, and he makes his narrator revel in his sorry, pitiful existence. There are some other pieces in this issue that are good, mostly short pieces that dances around the edges of traditional narrative without ever giving in completely. Giovanni Malito does one of his wonderful moments-completely- outside-any-context things. Hal Niedzviecki takes you places only Hal can take you. And Jason Copple breaks your heart with a piece called “The Road”. Anyway, the mag that was always almost there is never going to get there, because this is the last issue. Goodbye BC 115. (KS)

litzine / vol. 1, #7, 52 pages / publisher: Black Bile Press / main creator: Matthew Firth (editor) / $3 / 1315 Niagara St., #4, Windsor, ON, N9A 3V8

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