Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Author Spotlights

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.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Norman Partridge

As a writer I don’t always like to answer all the questions a story presents, or every question readers might have. Of course, I want the logic of the story to operate . . . but I want to leave room for a few mysteries, too. To me, that’s a key element to much of the horror fiction I enjoy—the questions that keep readers coming back to a piece, especially the ones that might make them see it a little differently the next time they read it.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ted Kosmatka

The premise was drawn, as you might expect, from my experiences trying to deal with a toddler in church. When you are getting glared at by a hundred old people, your mind begins searching for any escape, and somehow this story kind of appeared in my head during the course of one very traumatizing baptism.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Margo Lanagan

What drew me to “Hansel and Gretel” was a Yiddish word, “gunsel,” that I happened upon in the dictionary. One of its several definitions went something like, “a youth, particularly a homosexual one, kept by a tramp.” So there’d been a time and place in which tramps commonly kept boys for sexual purposes—so commonly that there was a word for it? I immediately wanted to set a story there, and to tell it from the point of view of a gunsel.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sarah Langan

I find that I want to be good at everything I do, but it’s impossible. Every day, I fail someone I love, on some level, and that includes failing at my own career ambitions. But that’s life. I can’t be good at half the jobs I have.