Black Shoes


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Starwater Strains

"...Black Shoes was a little different. I met Brian Hopkins at a World Horror Convention at which we were guests, and when it had been over for a while he told me he'd been asked to edit an anthology of stories by past WHC guests. I said sure -- and then I couldn't think up an idea. Dean Swift wrote his meditation on a broomstick to prove that a writer could write about any subject, and I reminded myself of that one evening as I was getting dressed to go out to dinner. When I looked down at the objects I was holding, I knew what I was going to write about, but I still didn't know whether I could make my idea work. A wonderful audience at Windycon loved it, and I've liked it ever since."


An uncaught murderer has a frightening encounter with mer-people which leaves him with a terror of removing his black oxford shoes.


  • The man narrating the frame story has a hellish experience of his own that he never tells us. He ends by saying "...he will live in Hell as long as he lives. It is worse here than anything any judge could ever do. You can trust me on that. I know."
  • Possibly because he's the real murderer, not the narrator. They went to the same university and maybe he was the guy who brought Jo Ann to the party. It's also possible that he feels guilty about bringing her to the party where she died without actually killing her himself.

Unresolved Questions

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