Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

Advertisement

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caitlín R. Kiernan

Steinbeck was actually a tremendous formative influence. I began reading him in high school, and he was one of those eye-opening authors for me. He’s one of the writers who taught me invaluable lessons about characterization; that stories, novels, are not about events. They’re about people. When they stop being about people, you’re writing shit.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caspian Gray

I was briefly involved with a man who worked at an entomology lab, and one day when I went to meet him for lunch he was feeding pinkies to their Amazonian giant centipedes. Even though centipedes don’t have the brain capacity for cruelty, the way they fed looked cruel. The centipedes would attack, inject their prey with venom, and then withdraw while the pinkies convulsed. This would be repeated two or three times before the centipedes finally started eating. This is a perfectly viable feeding strategy if what you’re trying to kill can fight back, but with helpless infants it looked like these centipedes were deliberately drawing out the process, and then stepping back to admire their prey’s agony. I suppose centipedes have stuck with me as rather menacing little creatures ever since.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Weston Ochse

I intentionally named the antagonist after Lamont Cranston [the pulp hero, The Shadow]. One reason is that he has been a shadow to the protagonist’s existence throughout his life. He’s always been there and often was able to change the course of events. He also represents humanity. So while the protagonist struggles between two worlds, it is Cranston who resides firmly in the inexorable.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Hand

I wrote “The Bacchae” heavily under the influence of J.G. Ballard, I think in particular his novel High Rise, which I’d just read. I’ve always been aware of how close our world is to the precipice, but I’d always projected the tipping point to be at some indeterminate moment in the future. With High Rise, I saw how the tipping point was right now. So I played with that notion, of the world devolving into a rather effete savagery.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Marc Laidlaw

I was listening to the local live hip hop show one Sunday night on the car radio, and a guy came on talking about how he had been inspired to write a tune about going to the beach and hanging out by a bonfire and kicking around a ball . . . I thought, “That’s not very punk!” They were talking about this song as if it was edgy and “street” or whatever, and I became increasingly annoyed, because I couldn’t think of anything less relevant as a topic for music I associate with social commentary and attitude.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Angela Slatter

The time period is a kind of fugue—when I created this world (for the Sourdough and Other Stories collection) I had a mix of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and Victorian era, all jammed together, bringing the ideas and superstitions of their own times into the one place. When I wrote “The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter,” I was using the Sourdough world, but this story had a much more Victorian feel to it. As with all my writing, I’m a bower bird, picking over superstitions from a range of places and remaking them into something new.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Jeff VanderMeer

The story came to me in the form of the first paragraph, and then the realization that of course it would be one of those rare short stories from multiple points of view. So then it was just a matter of following the threads of that idea, combined with the thought that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong. And that sometimes after something has gone terribly wrong, it’s not so easy as picking up the pieces and starting over . . . not if something irrevocable has occurred.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Livia Llewellyn

The first part of the story came to me in early 1999, when I was working at Tor, in the Flatiron Building. From the window of my little work area, I could look across the street and see this massive apartment building, all the windows and lights flicking on and off all day as people went about their lives. There was one window with curtains that moved back and forth behind the glass, which always struck me as odd, since the rest of the windows had flat shades and blinds that never moved.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: David Tallerman

I began with the idea of a horror story set during a mountaineering expedition and all the detail, Kanchenjunga, its five peaks, Crowley, all of that came out of the research. I just kept discovering these weird facts and coincidences and everything slotted into place. It felt like I’d stumbled onto a story that wanted to be told, which has never happened before or since.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Molly Tanzer

I found myself contemplating what it might mean to combine the picaresque with necromancy. I find necromancy an entertaining profession, I love eighteenth century-style narratives, and I adore shady heroes, so it seemed a natural combination.