Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Charles L. Grant

What strikes me in re-reading “Old Friends” for the first time in many years is how perfectly it encapsulates his approach and style. The first story I read of his in that Arbor House collection was the oft-reprinted classic “If Damon Comes,” which has stylistic and thematic elements that are similar to “Old Friends.” I remember pressing it on friends (we’re talking 8th graders here) who just didn’t get it, and couldn’t dial in to the emotional unease and elliptical style of the story.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sunny Moraine

The core of it is a decision I came to around this past New Year’s, which was to finally get brave enough to dig down into the core of what makes me frightened and angry and sad and drag it out and make words out of it. One of my favorite books on writing is Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD, and one of the points she stresses is the importance of doing that, that those painful, shameful things are where a lot of your most honest and powerful work can come from.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Simon Strantzas

I often write stories about characters who are ignorant or oblivious to the truths that surround them. The unreliable narrator is a favourite tool of mine and particularly effective in the horror genre for creating a sense of dread and uncertainly about how the narrative will play out. I suspect there are very few of us who, when confronted with the sort of peculiar situations most horror story protagonists find themselves in, would be aware of what’s going on and why.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ben Peek

Traditionally, a sin-eater had two functions. First, he/she existed to free a family of shame, and secondly, he/she existed to ensure that the soul of the recently dead did not wander the world in purgatory, or some such thing. As for modern day desires to wash away the sins of the dead, I suspect it is a complex issue, arising from a mix of the original reasons sin-eaters existed, to politeness, and empowerment, and legacy.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tia V. Travis

But there’s a poetry in music much like the poetry in writing. You can develop an ear for it if you slow down and listen. “The spaces between the notes,” as a band mate of mine used to refer to them, is something I’m much more conscious of now than I used to be. That is, it’s not simply the words themselves that have significance, but the meaning and emotion that lie between those words.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Desirina Boskovich

“Dear Owner” was in fact inspired by real life, as I personally spent several months being rudely awakened at 4:30 a.m. by an inconsiderate engine-revver parked outside my bedroom window. (As I later discovered from some neighbors, said engine-revver was not just disturbing me, but everyone in my twelve-unit building. Like you said: daily horrors.) I’m typically an extremely even-tempered person. But rouse me from a peaceful slumber and I’m instantaneously filled with murderous rage.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tom Piccirilli

Ray Bradbury said that he wrote with thick drapes over his windows because he didn’t want to see when it was sunny outside because he had to stay in and write. I feel the same way. You need to prioritize writing at the head of your “things to do” list. So write, write some more, and then even more.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Mari Ness

But the inspiration from those films tends to show up in my other work—the dark fantasy, retold fairy tales, and science fiction. Horror is different. When I write horror, like this piece, and I don’t do this often, it is almost invariably in response to some mundane horror, some minor hell that I feel I can’t get out of. It’s the mundane horrors of real life that brings forth the monsters.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Dennis Etchison

My original title was “The Sources of the Nile.” My aunt and uncle once owned an ice cream shop called the Blue-and-White, the colors of Stockton High School across the street, which also happen to be the parts of the Nile River in Egypt that intersect at a place called Gezira, the fictional town in this story. I also remembered a certain editor in our field who used to make cross-country car trips specifically to visit fans who had written letters to his magazine.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lane Robins

Windows are great for isolation. Letting you look at other people, other worlds, and still be separate. They’re a barrier that teases. And of course, like a door, they have the potential of opening when you least want them to.