Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Apr. 2014 (Issue 19)

This month we have original fiction from Dale Bailey (“Sleep Paralysis”) and Martin Cahill (“It Was Never the Fire”), along with reprints by Nancy Etchemendy (“Nimitseahpah”) and Lucy A. Snyder (“Magdala Amygdala”). We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview with bestselling author Darren Shan.

In This Issue: Apr. 2014 (Issue 19)

Editorial

Editorial, April 2014

We have original fiction from Dale Bailey (“Sleep Paralysis”) and Martin Cahill (“It Was Never the Fire”), along with reprints by Nancy Etchemendy (“Nimitseahpah”) and Lucy A. Snyder (“Magdala Amygdala”). We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview with bestselling author Darren Shan.

Fiction

Bones

There is nothing more absurdly incongruous—ironic perhaps—than the burning fear found in the hearts of all men: the fear of death. Ironic, I say, for it is only those who have known death’s euphoric touch who find their eyes opened to the truer horror of waking life.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Bones

For the most part, my time beneath the priory was a void, the rats merely there to keep my bones free from cobwebs and other detritus of the usual sort one finds in limestone abysses. But after the initial disturbance in 1923 and the ensuing explosion, in those decades during which I lay exposed to the merciless sun, there was an albino rat whose ministrations I recall with fondness.

Fiction

Sleep Paralysis

I am subject to dreams, especially one of a curious type in which I wake on my back, unable to move, my arms pinned to my side, my legs straight. My paralysis is complete, and a thick darkness pervades my bedchamber, a darkness of an almost viscous weight, so that I can feel it pressing upon my face and bearing down against the bedclothes. And there is something else, as well: a sense of obscure doom falls upon me.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Dale Bailey

Virtually all my stories are written intuitively. I don’t really choose narrative strategies consciously—I just see where the story takes me. This makes for lots of interesting course corrections along the way, alas, and more than a few abandoned fragments. (Maybe I should outline.) But I will say that I don’t like stories that over-explain themselves.

Fiction

Nimitseahpah

If you ask me for a story on a night like this, when the wind howls through the canyons like a live thing, there’s only one I can tell. I know well that when I’ve gone up to bed, some of you will whisper that I’m just an old and crazy widow who should, by rights, be dead by now. How well I understand that there are truths too frightening to believe. But truths these are.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Nancy Etchemendy

I left Nevada in 1976 and I’ve lived in a number of other places since then, but none have affected my writing more powerfully. I think it’s pretty common for writers to feel an emotional attachment to settings where they spent big chunks of time as children or young adults. But I don’t just have an emotional attachment to Nevada; I’m in love with it.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Hardboiled Horror

It’s likely you already know the scenarios by heart. Anyone who’s even remotely familiar with James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, or Raymond Chandler would. A cynical, world-weary private eye is visited by a mysterious client (female, more often than not) and winds up taking a case that finally shakes up his life enough to make him feel something—only to inevitably remind him why he always felt safer not feeling anything at all.

Fiction

It Was Never the Fire

He was the kid who looked at the sun too long. He hunted for lighters like sharks hunted for blood. Christ intrigued him for all the wrong reasons. He only ate smoke.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Martin Cahill

“It Was Never the Fire” started off with an image of a boy eating smoke. I knew in my gut that that was all he ate, and if he ever ate anything else, he wasn’t going to show me. I knew he had secrets, and I knew he wasn’t going to tell just anyone, probably not even me. In fact, he wasn’t telling me much at all. You know how characters can be.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Federico Bebber

Federico Bebber, born in 1974 in Udine, Italy, and now based in Venice, has been practicing art since 1998, creating surreal and sensual digital portraits through photo manipulation. His work showed at a Curioos exhibit at SoHo Arthouse in New York City, January 2014, with signed prints available through Curioos.

Fiction

Magdala Amygdala

“So how are you feeling?” Dr. Shapiro’s pencil hovers over the CDC risk evaluation form clamped to her clipboard. “Pretty good.” When I talk, I make sure my tongue stays tucked out of sight. I smile at her in a way that I hope looks friendly, and not like I’m baring my teeth.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lucy A. Snyder

But in fiction, it’s harder for me to intentionally scare people. I can make a story creepy or disturbing or gory, but scary? That’s deeply personal, and subjective; what one person finds viscerally terrifying another will find utterly mundane. Humor is subjective, too, but most people will groan in response to a well-done pun.

Nonfiction

Interview: Darren Shan

With more than twenty-five million books sold in thirty-one different languages around the globe, it’s safe to call Darren Shan one of the world’s most popular authors of young adult horror fiction. Although Shan—whose real name is Darren O’Shaughnessy, and whose fans call him “The Master of Horror”—started his fiction career with a trilogy for adults, it wasn’t until he wrote the first volume in his Cirque du Freak series in 2000 that he became a publishing phenomenon.