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blacklight by T.K. Jarrah

a matter of light and death 

So here’s the deal.

My name’s Kihri Vyas, and I’m dead. That’s not really important, it happened ages ago, but it’s good to have the context. Anyway, me and my sister Zarah (the only person who can see or hear me) have basically been on our own since I carked it, surviving on the streets of Kaila, and sort of just being miserable and bored and tired a lot. I mean, I haven’t, cause I’m dead, but she has. It sucks, but that’s business as usual for us.

What isn’t B-A-U is that a bunch of other homeless folks have been disappearing in the last few months, and some of them have been turning up with anatomically-improbable, but extraordinary fatal, injuries. Cops don’t give a shit, of course, and my sister’s a boneheaded bleeding heart, so we’ve been investigating them ourselves. And, well, we’ve found a bunch of weird shit. Stuff made of solid light, ghost attack dogs, people glowing black, somehow, some kind of living robot . . . 

Actually, you know what?

It’s probably easier if you see for yourself.


blacklight is a modern fantasy serial. Updates are not complete chapters.

Note: blacklight contains some graphic violence and harsh language.


A serialized novel, updating twice weekly

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Listed: Jan 8, 2019

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Chromatic Conspiracies Chasing Children (also people getting mulched)

By ElliottThomasStaude, author of Mourners, Abednego, Persistence

Jun 14, 2019: Blacklight is an odd duck. Total honesty: at first, it seemed like it was a superhero work doing everything in its power to disguise that fact – nothing against superhero fiction, but it carries certain expectations. Instead . . . it’s not exactly clear into what bucket Blacklight should get shoved. First, the setting’s an Earth-like locale with countries that have certain obvious parallels to present day but nothing so transparent as simply renaming France to Nonexistentia or some such. It’s not something that falls under “alternate history,” though I suppose you might run into something like the world described therein if the Romans had gotten their phalanxes handed to them by one of their many historically subjugated foes. There’s a bit of mystery, in that there’s an urban fantasy vibe which the majority of people just don’t understand or acknowledge (dead siblings coming back as ghosts and such). A pinch of political bug-ranching here and there. In the final calculus, though, imagine Pokemon where the Pokemon are different exotic matter substances, there are far fewer Pokemon in existence, the act of winning a Pokemon battle is achieved when the other person stops breathing, and you’re a homeless person who never asked to be inducted into an illegal sort-of-sorcerous back-alley cage match fighting lifestyle and who just wants some confidence in getting your next meal. It’s like pogs but with murder, and murder’s about the only way to believably escalate the pogs model in any case.

So far, Blacklight’s marshaling forces to become the best supernatural THING it can be. The cast is a bit odd; main character’s a vagrant youth exclusively haunted by her dead sister, trying to go along and get along in a country where she has difficulty speaking the language, let alone being evenly treated in light of her ethnicity. The one has massive personal issues from her sister and the fact that she’s being dragged feet first into stuff she doesn’t understand, and the other one has massive personal issues on account of being dead. They’re a dynamic duo, sure enough, and it’s interesting how much common ground you can have with someone talking to a floating person that relentlessly teases her and who regularly has to go days without food fit for human consumption. It’s a surprisingly thematically sturdy work; there’s elements of coping with racial ostracism, but it also dives into matters of where one’s planting their roots constitutes “home.” It asks questions touching on the nature of abandonment. When you look into Blacklight, you’re looking into something quixotic in the best way possible; on the one hand, the more traditional sense of lone-understanding where the principal cast has an understanding of a secret world. On the other hand, it asks where one falls when strong conviction rams up against everything our peers say can possibly be true.

So far, Blacklight has thrown a hundred questions into the air and provided very very few answers. As things go forward, hopefully resolution will pick up momentum, but that fifty two pickup of information dump may put some readers off its progression. I find it endearing, but being a weird person on every level that may not hold for everybody. Other than that, though, the tiny snippets of story dispersal might strike a bit of a sour note. There’s obviously the intent to keep people updated on the goings-on of the incredible necromancer sister and her sibling’s antics. However, the decision to make more frequent publishings of smaller quantity gives it a bit much of a start-stop air. Perhaps twice the length of an episode put out half as often will improve other peoples’ enjoyment as well by letting them stay in the action longer. It’s something worth following, but as a binge-inclined individual I prefer my medicine to come in slightly larger doses.

Urban fantasy with kind-of-historical fiction and character driven storytelling is a jam that many will appreciate. Solid grasp of cerebral philosophy. There’s something worthwhile to be had here for a lot of consumers, if they’re willing to supply the patient attention. Weird? Several kinds of weird. And weird will always have a place setting at THIS table.

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