Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Feb. 2016 (Issue 41)

We have original fiction from Rose Hartley (“No Other Men in Mitchell”) and Dennis Etchison (“Princess”), along with reprints by Seanan McGuire (“Inspirations”) and Adam L. G. Nevill (“Where Angels Come In”). 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 an interview with award-winning author David Mitchell. And for our ebook readers, we have an excerpt from the novel BLEEDING EARTH, by Kaitlin Ward.

In This Issue: Feb. 2016 (Issue 41)

Editorial

Editorial, February 2016

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

Fiction

No Other Men in Mitchell

If I’m gonna tell this story, I’m gonna have to start with the men. In Queensland—right in the middle of it, bum-fuck-nowhere is the word—there’s a town called Mitchell. It has two pubs and a mechanic who services the road trains that pass through, and its only claim to fame is birthing Australia’s shortest-serving Prime Minister ever. I got to know Mitchell’s mechanic while I was driving road trains over the Warrego Highway between South Australia and Queensland.

Author Spotlight

Fiction

Inspirations

She counts the days by the cuts on her arms. Her captors tell her the year when she asks them—one of the few questions they ever answer for her—but the numbers mean nothing. She remembers the birth of the Industrial Age, remembers men flying like Icarus flew (and falling, falling, so many of them falling, so many melting waxen wings) . . . but oh, even then, the numbers meant nothing. Who measures years by thousands? No empire stands two thousand years; no man measures such a span. Not even scars endure that long.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

The H Word: Fairy Tales: The Original Horror Stories?

In many ways, fairy tales could be seen as the first horror stories, full of terrors such as the death of a parent, being eaten alive or of being abandoned. In Hansel and Gretel, the children are left to their fate in the forest because there isn’t enough for the family to eat. The parents in Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin trade away their babies. Bluebeard tests his wives’ obedience and murders them when they fail. There is enough betrayal, jealousy, murder, cannibalism and cruelty in the stories to satisfy any horror fan.

Fiction

Princess

When the woman flips the visor down, a weak glow flickers on around the mirror. She reaches above her head for the dome light. “Turn it off,” the driver tells her. “I have to check my makeup.” “Off.” He squints at the road and the taillights smearing past like wet blood cells in the fog. “Can’t see where I’m going with that thing on.” “Walter, please . . .” The driver lifts one fist from the steering wheel and finds the switch in the headliner. Behind him, tiny electronic voices chirp in the dark.

Author Spotlight

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Steven Stahlberg

Steven Stahlberg was born in 1959 in Australia but grew up in Sweden. He started working with commercial art in the ’80s, went digital in the late ’90s, and began working in games in 2000. He’s also lived in Hong Kong, the USA, and Malaysia. He now lives in Kuala Lumpur, working for Streamline Studios.

Fiction

Where Angels Come In

One side of my body is full of toothache. Right in the middle of the bones. While the skin and muscles have a chilly pins-and-needles tingle that won’t ever turn back into the warmth of a healthy arm and leg. Which is why Nanna Alice is here; sitting on the chair at the foot of my bed, her crumpled face in shadow. But the milky light that comes through the net curtains finds a sparkle in her quick eyes and gleams on the yellowish grin that hasn’t changed since my Mother let her into the house.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: David Mitchell

David Mitchell is the best-selling author of the 2004 novel Cloud Atlas, which was adapted by the Wachowskis into a feature film starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. All of Mitchell’s novels are set in the same universe with characters from one book appearing in or being referenced in the others. Those books include Ghost Written, Number Nine Dream, Black Swan Green, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Mitchell’s most recent books are The Bone Clocks, about a secret war between two factions of immortal occultists, and Slade House, a decade-spanning haunted house novel.