Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Jul. 2016 (Issue 46)

This month, we have original fiction from Gavin Pate (“Red House”) and writing team Rachel Swirsky and An Owomoyela (“Whose Drowned Face Sleeps”), along with reprints by Nick Mamatas (“Der Kommissar’s in Town”) and Seanan McGuire (“Anthony’s Vampire”). We also have Tananarive Due writing the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, and a panel discussion about demon possession with Stoker Award-winner Paul Tremblay, Horrorstör author Grady Hendrix, and editor Jordan Hamessley London.

In This Issue: Jul. 2016 (Issue 46)

Editorial

Editorial, July 2016

Check out the Editorial for our exciting news and a rundown of this month’s content.

Fiction

Red House

This is the story you remember. The girl lost in the woods. How they find her after eight days, the mud smeared on her arms and legs, clumped in her hair and under her nails. Through the rain she sees the policeman running, lifting her up in his thick brown jacket, driving her back down the jagged lumber road towards the highway in his truck. She won’t answer his questions, won’t untangle her thin ten-year-old limbs. She runs her tongue along her broken tooth and the cop hits the sirens to run the stoplights, the world flying by in a haze of streets and rain.

Author Spotlight

Fiction

Der Kommissar’s In Town

Charlotte did not materialize in the middle of the encampment, though to Mickey it seemed like she had. Six feet tall, not counting the afro, long limbs, wide shoulders, the confident stride of someone who knows she’s untouchable, she just somehow passed through the border from Ptown to what the maps called Franklin Plaza, and the protestors called the Paris Commune. Charlotte had weaved through the all-hours drum circle; right past the power station of stationary bicycles, solar cells, and car batteries.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

The H Word: On Writing Horror

The first time I realized writing could save my life, I was fourteen and a devastating verdict came on the news after a dozen police officers were on trial for the beating death of black motorcyclist Arthur McDuffie. He eluded them after a police chase, and they beat him so badly after he stopped that he died. They intentionally damaged the motorcycle to cover up the crime and make it appear he had crashed—all documented. The verdict from an all-white jury was not guilty.

Fiction

Whose Drowned Face Sleeps

When she comes into the loft, she glares at me with the bright-eyed, serpentine resentment of the dead. In the dry attic, water drips from her hair and pools at her feet. Her lips pull back. I’d forgotten that I used to grimace like that—teeth bared like an animal’s. I’m not her and she isn’t me. When I say “I,” I might mean either one of us, but that’s not precise. I have no past, so I took her memories. I have no name, so I took her name. I had no body, but I have hers now.

Author Spotlight

Fiction

Anthony’s Vampire

Anthony was nine years old the first time he saw the vampire. She was clinging to one of the top branches of the tree outside his window—that was what got his attention in the first place, since seeing a girl in a long black dress suddenly appear in the tree was a lot more interesting than his comic book. She scrambled for a better grip every time the wind shook the branches, shooting terrified glances at the ground. Fascinated, Anthony moved to the window, pushed it open, and leaned out onto the windowsill. “Are you going to fall?” he asked, not bothering to hide his curiosity.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Panel Discussion: Demonic Possession

My opinions of The Exorcist changed as I got older. It was one of those movies where I was told you’re not allowed to see it as a kid because it will horrify you so much that you’ll never sleep again, and so I waited like a good little teenager until I was seventeen to see it, and I watched the director’s cut that came out in like 2003 or so. I was just like, “Oh, this isn’t that bad. This is totally fine. I don’t get what the big deal is.” And now, I am no longer seventeen and invincible, and it’s much more upsetting.