Horror & Dark Fantasy

COSMIC POWERS

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Aug. 2015 (Issue 35)

We have original fiction from Nathaniel Lee (“Where It Lives”) and Megan Arkenberg (“And This is the Song it Sings”), along with reprints by Steve Rasnic Tem (“The Men and Women of Rivendale”) and Molly Tanzer (“Qi Sport”). In our latest installment of our monthly column, “The H Word,” award-winning author Seanan McGuire gets serious about the Black Plague. We’ve also got an interview with horror legend Clive Barker, and of course, author spotlights with our authors, and a showcase on our cover artist.

In This Issue: Aug. 2015 (Issue 35)

Editorial

Editorial, August 2015

Be sure to read the Editorial for updates, news, and a run-down of this month’s content.

Fiction

Where It Lives

Outside was too big. Eric felt like an ant crawling on the surface of a volleyball, as if the big white cotton dome of the sky was surrounded by giant faces peering down at him and sniggering. He wished it was raining; heʼd have an umbrella then, at least. Tilly was waiting at the bus stop already. Her hair needed cutting. “Hi,” she said, eyeing him warily. He hadnʼt been at school for a week.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Nathaniel Lee

Years and years ago, I read one of Roger Zelazny’s essays on writing in which he categorized his stories as generally coming from a strong character, a striking image, or a necessary plot, and that sometimes one-third would hang around waiting for at least one of the other two to show up. I’ve found that to be fairly accurate for me as well. “Where It Lives” started with the image from the final scene, of the house crammed full of swollen, cancerous flesh, paired with the phrase “It grows to fill where it lives.”

Fiction

The Men and Women of Rivendale

The thing he would remember most about his days, his weeks at the Rivendale resort — had it really been weeks? — was not the enormous lobby and dining room, nor the elaborately carved mahogany woodwork framing the library, nor even the men and women of Rivendale themselves, with their bright eyes and pale, almost hairless heads and hands. The thing he would remember most was the room he and Cathy stayed in, the way she looked when she curled up in bed, her bald head rising weakly over her shoulders.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Steve Rasnic Tem

I think a focus on detail just naturally works for a horror writer in several different ways. During periods of high emotion or trauma (in this case the end of a marriage, possibly the end of a life) we tend to either lose the details of our environment to an overall fuzziness, or we feel them much more acutely. It’s like the conspiracy theorist who obsesses over every little detail of a tragedy looking for causality.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Following the Symptoms

Have you heard of the Black Death? I’d be willing to wager that you have, since it’s taught as a major part of European history, and European history is one of those subjects that’s virtually impossible to avoid (although the Black Death did enormous amounts of damage in Asia and the Middle East as well as in Europe; this was not a disease which respected borders). Most people know it as another name for the bubonic plague, that flea-borne disease that still haunts the West Coast of the United States.

Fiction

And This is the Song It Sings

I don’t read much, out here on the highway, but I remember everything I’ve read. And here’s something I remember, a stray scrap of poetry, cribbed from a water-stained paperback that someone left on a bench in front of a Valero. I left the book where I found it, but I kept the words: “The living are wrong to believe in the too-sharp distinctions which they themselves have created.” That’s Rilke, sister. Keep it in mind.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Megan Arkenberg

I don’t think that I, personally, am very susceptible to haunting. I love mysteries — I’ll devour any online article titled “Five Weird Unsolved Mysteries!” or “Ten Events Science Can’t Explain!” — but while that kind of thing creeps the hell out of me in the moment, it doesn’t stick with me for long. Having said that, the two “real-life ghost stories” that I have are both included in “And This is the Song it Sings.” I’ll leave it to readers to guess which they are.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Carlos Villa

Carlos Fabián Villa is a professional artist living in Mexico. His work can be found at antiherobrush.com and zano.deviantart.com. First off I’d like to ask you a question in the spirit of Nightmare: What scares you the most? My biggest nightmare — and the most boring answer I can give you — is of course waking up […]

Fiction

Qi Sport

Boy howdy, had the match proven an ugly one. The fight’s underdog had her entire arm ripped off at the shoulder during the first five minutes in the ring, but then she dropped into a deep stance and swept her opponent’s legs out from under him, knocking him to the floor in what the audience clearly considered a thrilling reversal of fortune. When she stomped his neck, hard, and used her remaining hand to pluck out the other geung si’s left eye, the crowd went crazy.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Molly Tanzer

“Qi Sport” is set in the same world as my novel VERMILION, and shares a character — Lou Merriwether. Lou’s a professional psychopomp, which is rather like being a Ghost Buster, in that she escorts, or compels in some cases, lingering undead to leave our world and move into the afterlife. She deals with ghosts and shades, and also geung si, which are a Chinese monster sort of somewhere in between a vampire and a zombie.

Nonfiction

Interview: Clive Barker

Most people never expected me to go back to Pinhead in literary form; the expectation was that I would go back to him in a movie. That never felt right to me. Pinhead is a rather literary figure. He speaks with a Shakespearean cadence, so I wanted to make sure that was in the performance, if you will, of his farewell, and I couldn’t do that on a movie screen.