Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Jan. 2015 (Issue 28)

We have original fiction from Kat Howard (“Returned”) and Christopher Barzak (“The Trampling”), along with reprints by Norman Partridge (“The Hollow Man”) and Lucy Taylor (“Blessed Be the Bound”). Over at “The H Word,” the Stoker award-winning writer Lisa Morton explores the state of female protagonists in horror. We also have an interview with legendary filmmaker (and now novelist) David Cronenberg. Plus, of course, we have author spotlights with our authors and a showcase on our cover artist, Tran Nguyen.

In This Issue: Jan. 2015 (Issue 28)

Editorial

Editorial, January 2015

Read the Editorial for all our news, updates, and a run-down of this month’s content.

Fiction

Returned

The shadows press on your skin, prickled velvet that shouldn’t have weight, shouldn’t have texture, shouldn’t feel like you are wearing sandpaper and poison, but they do. You are almost used to it, this new way that things that shouldn’t happen do, but you do not like it. Here is one of the things that shouldn’t have happened: You are awake, and you do not want to be.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kat Howard

I’m generally fascinated with stories that involve a trip to the Underworld, and one of the things that happens fairly often in those stories is that someone goes to the Underworld to rescue someone else. And we all think, “Yes, great! A Get Out of Hell Free card!” And we don’t often think, “hmm, I wonder if the person in the Underworld maybe wanted to stay there.” So I wanted to write a story where that seemingly great rescue was twisted all the way around.

Fiction

The Hollow Man

Four. Yes, that’s how many there were. Come to my home. Come to my home in the hills. Come in the middle of feast, when the skin had been peeled back and I was ready to sup. Interrupting, disrupting. Stealing the comfortable bloat of a full belly, the black scent of clean bones burning dry on glowing embers. Four.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Norman Partridge

I’ve always believed in tossing the reader into the water and making them swim. Sometimes the water is deep. Besides, explanations are overrated. I find as a reader that authorial explanations by their very nature often take me out of a story. Too much opportunity to stop and consider, and all of a sudden I’ll start asking questions that expose cracks in the setup. So I do try to operate with authority, and I keep things moving.

Nonfiction

The H Word: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby –The Female Protagonist in Horror

Fortunately, horror fiction in the twenty-first century has expanded past those traditional roles (remember when the catch-phrase “You’ve come a long way, baby” referred to a cigarette targeted at women?). Along the way, the most interesting horror fiction has reflected society’s changing views . . . and in a few cases (see below), may even have helped push those changes.

Fiction

The Trampling

It starts with a small child — a girl of no more than eight or nine, with stringy blond hair and grease caked under her ragged fingernails — trotting down a street in a not so fashionable district of London. It’s 1886. It’s nearly three in the morning, the night shrouded in fog. She’s barefoot and hungry, and back in the rooms she left just ten minutes ago, her parents have begun making up from the row they’ve just ended.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Christopher Barzak

When we accept the exploitation of various classes and minorities (like children in Victorian England) for the profit of the powerful, that we tend to see “the world” as inherently unjust and cruel, when it’s actually a particular group of people creating and enforcing that world. If you think, for instance, about some of the most resonant horror stories, you can see this too.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Tran Nguyen

Tran Nguyen is a Georgia-based gallery artist and freelance illustrator. Born in Vietnam and raised in the States, she is fascinated with creating visuals that can be used as a psycho-therapeutic support vehicle, exploring the mind’s landscape. Her paintings are created with a soft, delicate quality using colored pencil and acrylic on paper. Nguyen has worked for clients such as Playboy, Tor, McDonald’s, Chateau St. Michelle Winery, and has showcased with galleries in California, New York, Spain, and Italy.

Fiction

Blessed Be the Bound

The Binding takes place tomorrow at the Sisters of Solace Hospital outside Charlottesville, Virginia. From my bed, I can just see the peaks of the October hills, dappled maroon and scarlet. If I could lift my head, I’d be able to glimpse the wing of what was once a dormitory at the University of Virginia and now serves as a Confinement Center for the most violent prisoners/inmates, but gel compression restraints, deemed more humane by hospital staff than electro-loops, ensnare my wrists and ankles.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lucy Taylor

My number one terror is of captivity, so much so that when I was a teenager I made a promise to myself that if it ever became apparent I was about to be imprisoned, incarcerated, or taken hostage by crazies claiming to have my best interest at heart, I would kill myself before allowing that to happen. The protagonist in the story is already imprisoned and helpless and facing terrible mutilation, the price she is paying for committing what is considered sexual deviancy in her world.

Nonfiction

Interview: David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg is a Canadian filmmaker whose career has spanned more than four decades. Cronenberg’s many films include STEREO, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, FAST COMPANY, THE BROOD, THE DEAD ZONE, THE FLY, NAKED LUNCH, M. BUTTERFLY, CRASH, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, A DANGEROUS METHOD, and COSMOPOLIS. His most recent film is MAPS TO THE STARS. In 2006 he was awarded the Cannes Film Festival’s lifetime achievement award, the Carrosse d’Or. His debut novel, CONSUMED, was published by Scribner in 2014.