Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Usman T. Malik

The word “ishq” means “passionate love.” However, in Urdu, Arabic, and Farsi at least, it has mystical connotations. In Sufi circles, some writers in the Naqshbandi tradition have written that the word is derived from “ashiqa,” which is a creeping vine. When the vine of Ishq takes root in the heart of a lover, all other-than-God is effaced. The epitome of Love is when the Lover is annihilated unto the Beloved and the drop returns to the Ocean. That pain and longing for one’s beloved, whether human or divine, is part of its meaning.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Desirina Boskovich

I remembered what it felt like to be four or five or six years old, when everything about the world is as garbled and surreal and strange as it will ever be. Historic events unfold around you and feel mundane, while mundane events take on historic proportions. Adults argue in hushed tones above your head or explode into screaming fights you can’t understand. Everything is insane and magical and terrifying.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lynda E. Rucker

I think it’s really important that a story is allowed to go out in the world and breathe. It should have the ability to belong to its readers, and sometimes that might even mean readers changing the meaning from my original intention. Of course, there is a limited range of interpretations for every story, but I don’t like to be too rigid. I once spoke to a college class that had read a couple of my stories and I loved hearing some of the interpretations.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caspian Gray

I’ve always liked the sad and weird and unsettling, although my favorite things manage to be all of that and funny, too. My first memory of being a creep comes from the age of eight or so, when our family canary died and my dad buried it in the garden. I dug it up three days later, just to see. The canary’s head came off in my hand, and it didn’t have eyes anymore. Shit like that makes me a good writer, but an awkward party guest.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Robert Shearman

Sometimes the idea for a story comes out of nothing much more complex than wanting to evoke a feeling. I had been writing lots of rather wild, rather expansive things — big “what if” stories, in which you come up with an absurd take on the world, and then see how far it can be explored. And I remember feeling the urge to write something in contrast that was much more claustrophobic.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Chesya Burke

While the twins are the focus of my story, motherhood is the central theme for me. Mothers often love too much, and sacrifice their own health and well-being for their children. Mothers will die for their children, but sometimes it’s too much. So for the story, I just thought about the way motherhood can be both the most pure and corrupted form of love.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Brian Evenson

A friend of mine told me about getting a call from an ex-girlfriend asking if he could come get her from a cult, simply because she didn’t have anyone else to ask. He did, it was a little weird but in the end that was it: he was asked to give someone a ride and he did. Then I started thinking about how differently that might have turned out if both of them had been different sorts of people, how odd it might in fact go, and that led to the story.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Carmen Maria Machado

I was in middle school when Columbine happened, and I remember very clearly how terror gripped my school and my community. It felt like the news was just saturated with coverage — videos of the kids crawling out of those windows, parents sobbing, the grainy footage from the cafeteria. Then after that was the speculation about the shooters, their parents, the role Marilyn Manson and video games played in their violence, and so on. It felt like it never ended.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Halli Villegas

I never write a story with a political or social agenda in mind. The elements come out of my own experiences, what is going on around me (in the media, on the subway, things I overhear) and what has happened to me in the past. However I do think that racism of the type practiced in Grand Beach, so prevalent in “genteel” communities, is the most insidious type of all. How can you protest or cry out against someone politely dismissing you?

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Karen Munro

South Korea has a reputation for being a fairly conformist, law-abiding place, and I loved the idea of a very non-traditional Korean woman, popping pills and driving a renegade scooter through traffic. And then poor Darlene is at loose ends in a foreign place, and more or less just tagging along. They seemed like a pretty interesting pair to me, with good potential to get into trouble.