Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Jennifer Giesbrecht

I got caught in a Wikipedia spiral one night that began at “sixteenth-century Spanish Royalty” and ended at “Tzitzimitl.” Tzitzimitl are female Gods from Aztec mythology who are associated with change, said to eat the sun, and attack human beings during the eclipse. Despite their frightening qualities, however, Tzitzimitl are only considered demonic in postcolonial western interpretations.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Robert McCammon

I wanted to do something that I thought was very Twilight Zone-ish, which would bring a number of people together in a confined space, facing a danger from outside. Then I think the idea of the veteran who was afraid to sleep and who knew his dreams would come to life just “happened.” You know, I always say writing is kind of a mystic experience because sometimes you don’t know where you’re going when you start out, but the story always leads you somewhere.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Matthew Cheney

Age is certainly something that produces fear and disgust. It’s fear of mortality, but perhaps even more than that a fear of breaking down. I have a lot of friends who are considerably older than me, and I see it in them and even in myself—our bodies betray us, no matter how well we treat them. Our lives become something other than what we planned, for better or worse. We disappoint ourselves and others.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ramsey Campbell

Hints and suggestions—I always found those a powerful way of conveying horror, especially once I encountered the tales of M. R. James in quantity—Machen and Lovecraft too. I think Stone is reliable enough, except perhaps in not understanding what’s happening to him, but few of us might in those circumstances.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Anaea Lay

This [story] is still my favorite, and is probably going to be hard to displace. It does everything I really want my fiction to do—the prose is pretty, the characters are unquestionably “bad guys,” and I get away with presenting something brutal and depressing as if it’s a happy ending. I hope that in the future when they’re writing papers about obscure 21st century spec fic writers, this is the kind of story I’m known for.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Maria Dahvana Headley

In my mind, this story looks like the original Evil Dead poster as painted by William Blake. It came out of my ongoing volcano obsession, which led me to the notion of observatories in reverse: essentially looking down into the center of the earth through a volcano.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Brit Mandelo

There’s a lot of overlap between different forms of trauma, physical or psychological or both, and how they destabilize a person’s identity and self-concept.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Carrie Vaughn

The story owes pretty much its entire existence to the Stuart Gordon film Dagon. While watching it, I felt like I finally got what Lovecraftian fiction was all about, a feeling I hadn’t gotten from any other story, or even any of Gordon’s other Lovecraft-inspired films. It really is horrifying, it never quite crosses that line into gross or silly, and the resulting madness the main characters fall into feels genuine rather than contrived. I just loved it. But of course, given my own quirks, I wasn’t interested in the main characters’ story, I was interested in the villagers, and how they got to where they are from what they had been before.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Joe R. Lansdale

You can choose to ride the train, and once on it seems impossible to get off, or you can turn away from the depot. But the God also represents the darker desires of humanity, a kind of built in self-destruct. From what I can tell, we don’t learn much from history, or at least we seldom learn.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Laird Barron

In a horror story, there’s always the choice to reveal the monster, or monstrous, or leave it to the imagination. I chose the latter as one’s imagination will often supply a far more dire vision than a cold description on paper. If nothing else, whatever is under the tarp signifies the narrator’s connection, and obeisance, to a dread and awful power.