Horror & Dark Fantasy

COSMIC POWERS

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Aug. 2014 (Issue 23)

We have original fiction from Desirina Boskovich (“Dear Owner of This 1972 Ford Crew Cab Pickup”) and Ben Peek (“Upon the Body”), along with reprints by Tia V. Travis (“The Kiss”) and Simon Strantzas (“Out of Touch”).
We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” written this month by Lucy A. Snyder, plus author spotlights with our authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview. And for our ebook readers, we’ve got an excerpt from the novel PROUD PARENTS, by Kristopher Rufty.

In This Issue: Aug. 2014 (Issue 23)

Editorial

Editorial, August 2014

Welcome to issue 23! Check out the editorial for a rundown of what appears in this issue and for news and notes.

Fiction

Dear Owner of This 1972 Ford Crew Cab Pickup

It’s me again. Remember me? In the beginning I left a note stuck to your windshield. You are parked outside my bedroom window, it said. Please stop revving your truck at 3 a.m., or find somewhere else to park.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Desirina Boskovich

“Dear Owner” was in fact inspired by real life, as I personally spent several months being rudely awakened at 4:30 a.m. by an inconsiderate engine-revver parked outside my bedroom window. (As I later discovered from some neighbors, said engine-revver was not just disturbing me, but everyone in my twelve-unit building. Like you said: daily horrors.) I’m typically an extremely even-tempered person. But rouse me from a peaceful slumber and I’m instantaneously filled with murderous rage.

Fiction

The Kiss

The angel’s heart was torn from its chest. The stained-glass box that once held it was smashed; ruby tears scattered around the fountain. The ruins of the valentine lay amidst splinters of red glass and oak leaves mottled with rot

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tia V. Travis

But there’s a poetry in music much like the poetry in writing. You can develop an ear for it if you slow down and listen. “The spaces between the notes,” as a band mate of mine used to refer to them, is something I’m much more conscious of now than I used to be. That is, it’s not simply the words themselves that have significance, but the meaning and emotion that lie between those words.

Nonfiction

The H Word: The Intersection of Science Fiction and Horror

Science fiction and horror share many of the same genre roots; science fictional motifs wind through horror like strands of DNA, and horror’s tentacles have slithered into many works that are otherwise squarely science fiction. If science fiction is the literature of ideas, and horror is the literature of fear, there’s plenty of room for the two to blend.

Fiction

Upon the Body

The sin-eater arrived in Zonia Province two days before the death of the great gun fighter, Arryo Salazar. He was a small man, the sin-eater, thin and wiry, a rusting coil. At sixty-four, he had left the tautness of youth behind, and his skin, wrinkled, but importantly still unmarked, sagged and folded when he spoke.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ben Peek

Traditionally, a sin-eater had two functions. First, he/she existed to free a family of shame, and secondly, he/she existed to ensure that the soul of the recently dead did not wander the world in purgatory, or some such thing. As for modern day desires to wash away the sins of the dead, I suspect it is a complex issue, arising from a mix of the original reasons sin-eaters existed, to politeness, and empowerment, and legacy.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Reiko Murakami

I’m interested in capturing a character’s internal struggle. Over the course of the years I found it feels more appropriate to let my characters free from regular human bodies. I don’t necessarily try to make their bodies look scary. The design is a result of my attempt to capture their emotions.

Fiction

Out of Touch

I grew up in the suburbs, in a small bungalow house identical to every other bungalow house on my block. Row after row of these houses, all in straight lines, filled the streets as far as my bicycle would take me. That was why the house across from my own never struck me as strange or out-of-the-ordinary, not in all the years I shared the street with it.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Simon Strantzas

I often write stories about characters who are ignorant or oblivious to the truths that surround them. The unreliable narrator is a favourite tool of mine and particularly effective in the horror genre for creating a sense of dread and uncertainly about how the narrative will play out. I suspect there are very few of us who, when confronted with the sort of peculiar situations most horror story protagonists find themselves in, would be aware of what’s going on and why.

Nonfiction

Interview: Daniel Knauf

For two seasons, Carnivàle followed a Depression-era carnival across a bleak American landscape, but was really about the eternal battle between light and darkness, as represented respectively by Ben, a farm boy with healing powers (played by Nick Stahl) and a preacher, Brother Justin (Clancy Brown), who is accessing far more sinister abilities. As unusual as Carnivàle was, the story behind the story was equally rare in Hollywood: the series was created and produced by a first-timer in his forties.