Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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May 2013 (Issue 8)

This month, we have original fiction from Caspian Gray (“Centipede Heartbeat”) and Tanith Lee (“Doll Re Me”), along with reprints by Caitlín R. Kiernan (“Houses Under the Sea”) and Neil Gaiman (“Feminine Endings”). 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 acclaimed comics writer Steve Niles.

In This Issue: May 2013 (Issue 8)

Editorial

Editorial, May 2013

This month, we have original fiction from Caspian Gray (“Centipede Heartbeat”) and Tanith Lee (“Doll Re Me”), along with reprints by Caitlín R. Kiernan (“Houses Under the Sea”) and Neil Gaiman (“Feminine Endings”). 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 acclaimed comics writer Steve Niles.

Fiction

Centipede Heartbeat

Each time Lisa rested her head against Joette’s breasts, she heard the centipedes. In between heartbeats there was the tiny sound of hundreds of chitinous footsteps against bone, of miniature mandibles tearing at organs. Joette refused to admit to it, or maybe she didn’t know.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caspian Gray

I was briefly involved with a man who worked at an entomology lab, and one day when I went to meet him for lunch he was feeding pinkies to their Amazonian giant centipedes. Even though centipedes don’t have the brain capacity for cruelty, the way they fed looked cruel. The centipedes would attack, inject their prey with venom, and then withdraw while the pinkies convulsed. This would be repeated two or three times before the centipedes finally started eating. This is a perfectly viable feeding strategy if what you’re trying to kill can fight back, but with helpless infants it looked like these centipedes were deliberately drawing out the process, and then stepping back to admire their prey’s agony. I suppose centipedes have stuck with me as rather menacing little creatures ever since.

Fiction

Houses Under The Sea

When I close my eyes, I see Jacova Angevine. I close my eyes, and there she is, standing alone at the end of the breakwater, standing with the foghorn as the choppy sea shatters itself to foam against a jumble of gray boulders. The October wind is making something wild of her hair, and her back’s turned to me. The boats are coming in.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caitlín R. Kiernan

Steinbeck was actually a tremendous formative influence. I began reading him in high school, and he was one of those eye-opening authors for me. He’s one of the writers who taught me invaluable lessons about characterization; that stories, novels, are not about events. They’re about people. When they stop being about people, you’re writing shit.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Domestic Horror

But there was one story that disturbed me in the more complicated way I would only later come to realize as a hallmark of the true genius of horror fiction. While the other stories left me with a kind of moonlit Halloween glow, this one put a spade into my settled earth and overturned it. I felt weirdly sick after reading it. I felt injured in some obscure way, as though it had betrayed a trust. The story was “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacobs.

Fiction

Doll Re Mi

Folscyvio saw the Thing in a small cramped shop off the Via Silvia. In fact, he almost passed it by. He had just come from the Laguna, climbed the forty mildewy, green-velveted steps to the Ponte Louro, and crossed over to the elevated arcades of the Nuova. Then he glanced down, and spotted Giavetti, who owed him money, creeping by below through the ancient alleys.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tanith Lee

Q: Do you see “Doll Re Me” as a story about punishment for hubris? A: No, I see it as the punishment for wasteful cruelty, which the main character so lavishly displays towards both people and things.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Benjamin König

Born in 1976, Benjamin König has been enamored with drawing and painting since his earliest years, when countless beautifully and creepily illustrated children’s books led a trail of breadcrumbs to his passion. Despite attempting several other professions (audio engineer, conservator, etc.), Benjamin always returned to his first love: drawing. He is now a freelance illustrator in Upper Bavaria, near Munich.

Fiction

Feminine Endings

Let us begin this letter, this prelude to an encounter, formally, as a declaration, in the old-fashioned way: I love you. You do not know me (although you have seen me, smiled at me, placed coins in the palm of my hand). I know you (although not so well as I would like. I want to be there when your eyes flutter open in the morning, and you see me, and you smile. Surely this would be paradise enough?). So I do declare myself to you now, with pen set to paper. I declare it again: I love you.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Neil Gaiman

In [the] story, the moment of horror, people just sort of chug along with the story, and then the first moment they become uncomfortable is the moment that they realize that the observation has gone beyond simply the observation of somebody standing and having an unrequited love. The moment they realize that the person talking has been in your room, has been looking on your computer, the moment in that letter where the narrator, the letter writer starts talking about “Your password is . . .” and people realize Oh my god, you’ve read all their emails.

Nonfiction

Interview: Steve Niles

Q: You once said, “There’s a true innocence about monsters.” Is there something innocent about the monsters (vampires) in 30 Days of Night? A: In a way, I suppose. They are very pure and honorable among their own kind. They have about as much respect for us as we do cows, so killing humans doesn’t make them any less innocent than us for eating cows and chickens. I think animals and children under two years old are the only innocents left in this world. Monsters are often treated like animals, so . . .