Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Jonathan Maberry

Small towns often hold big secrets. Because there are fewer people in a small town, people tend to know—or want to know—each other’s secrets, and that tends to instill in some of the population a strong desire for privacy. Or secrecy. Secrets are often dangerous things. Like cancers, hidden things tend to grow in the dark. That’s the vibe I had in mind when I sat down to begin plotting out the Pine Deep novels.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tim Pratt

Revenge is appealing in theory, toxic in practice. I love stories about revenge […] and tales of escalating responses and counter-responses are great in fiction. Personally, though? I think living well is the best revenge. Let your enemies gnaw their guts in misery while you shine, shine, shine; be content in knowing they think about you often, seething with resentment, letting their minds be poisoned by your presence there, while you scarcely spare them a thought at all, because you have better things to do.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lucy Taylor

It was also during [a] trip [to Scotland] that I first heard of the medieval practice of walling up a sacrificial victim at the end of a construction project to ensure good luck for the building and its occupants. Whether or not this was actually practiced in Scotland, I don’t know for sure, but references to the immurement of people and animals appear in folk tales and legends in many parts of Europe.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Adam Howe

The real Bunny Gibbons was quoted as saying, “People want to see this kind of thing.” And you only have to look at today’s thriving, serial killer cottage industry to see that the guy was way ahead of his time. Murderabilia is a big business, and I shudder to think what Ed’s car would be worth today.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: David J. Schow

Q: In “A Home in the Dark,” the horror seems to be more about the stifling and destructive lifestyle of the narrator than the creature in the canyon. Was that your intent? A: It is an interior story about an exterior event, which casts the reliability of the narrator into deep doubt. This follows a more vintage horror form—a detailed rendering of a single event leading to what Poe called the “effect” (the essence of horror), which may be a fever dream or hallucination.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Conrad Williams

In 2002, my wife and I bought a crumbling, old (but very beautiful) farmhouse in southwest France, near Cognac. The first time we were shown around the place by the estate agent, we found a dead owl in the attic. Owls lived in a number of the outbuildings and you could hear them at night when they went out hunting. We’d done a lot of driving around in search of the perfect property, and on some of the roads were these “fantômes,” black, person-sized cut-outs that stood at the edge of the tarmac, signifying a death by road traffic accident. Pretty sobering. Some of them had jagged red fractures in their heads. The story came out of those two elements.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Connie Willis

I’ve been in love with the sinking of the Titanic since I read Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember when I was fifteen. It has everything—horror, pathos, redemption, courage, appalling decisions, irony. Or as the Onion said in one of its great historical deadlines: WORLD’S LARGEST METAPHOR SINKS. It also has calls for help that aren’t heard, rescue that comes too late, drowning children, self-sacrifice—all the elements of a ghost story. I guess you could call “Distress Call” sort of a first attempt at capturing something of the feeling that the Titanic gave me. When I wrote it, I had no intention of returning to the theme and certainly not of writing a whole novel on the subject, but the Titanic and its meaning continued to nag at me through the years, and eventually resulted in Passage.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sam J. Miller

As a reader and a writer, I approach unconventional structures with extreme caution, and perhaps a bit of prejudice. A formal conceit really needs to be earned, and I often find that quirky structures are there partially to distract from a story’s other deficits. But then I’ll find an amazing story that really could not be told any other way, and I’ll happily ditch my bias. My Clarion classmate, Carmen Maria Machado, used a similarly unconventional structure for her brilliant story “Inventory,” published in Strange Horizons, and it reminded me that you can use that kind of format to highlight what’s structured out of the story—in the case of “57 Reasons,” the way the narrator’s selfish and single-minded pursuit of revenge blinds him to the reality of the situation, and his own guilt and responsibility.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Alison Littlewood

So often in life, there are no explanations. We encounter people every day and have no idea of their background or where they’re headed or why. Things can’t always be wrapped up with a neat little bow.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Melanie Tem

Often I know the genre of a story before I start writing, just as I know whether it will be a short piece or a novel or a play. Often, too, I consider taking stories in any of a number of directions. When I teach writing, I invite students to try writing a story in several genres and see how it morphs when written as a science fiction story, a romance, a crime story. Part of the germination process for “Dhost” was determining which “side of the line” would best serve the story.