Horror & Dark Fantasy

COSMIC POWERS

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Mar. 2015 (Issue 30)

We have original fiction from Chesya Burke (“Please, Momma”) and Caspian Gray (“An Army of Angels”), along with reprints by Robert Shearman (“Featherweight”) and Lynda E. Rucker (“The Burned House”). For nonfiction, author S. G. Browne talks about the new flavor of zombies in the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word.” We’ve also got author spotlights on this month’s authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview with up-and-coming author Helen Marshall — conducted by acclaimed author Kelly Link! Our issue this month is sponsored by our friends at Nightscape Press. Check out the excerpt of THE PATCHWORK HOUSE in our ebook edition this month, and visit nightscapepress.com to learn more.

In This Issue: Mar. 2015 (Issue 30)

Editorial

Editorial, March 2015

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

Fiction

Please, Momma

Cars never bounce around the way they make them appear in the movies. No, instead they glide, more like the lull of a boat on stale waters. And they’re just as loud as the boat’s engine, even with the windows rolled up there are always loud swooshing noises assaulting the senses. The sounds should be calming, like the ocean, but they never are. They are annoying and invading.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Chesya Burke

While the twins are the focus of my story, motherhood is the central theme for me. Mothers often love too much, and sacrifice their own health and well-being for their children. Mothers will die for their children, but sometimes it’s too much. So for the story, I just thought about the way motherhood can be both the most pure and corrupted form of love.

Fiction

Featherweight

He thought at first that she was dead. And that was terrible, of course — but what shocked him most was how dispassionate that made him feel. There was no anguish, no horror, he should be crying but clearly no tears were fighting to get out — and instead all there was was this almost sick fascination. He’d never seen a corpse before. His mother had asked if he’d wanted to see his grandfather, all laid out for the funeral, and he was only twelve, and he really really didn’t.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Robert Shearman

Sometimes the idea for a story comes out of nothing much more complex than wanting to evoke a feeling. I had been writing lots of rather wild, rather expansive things — big “what if” stories, in which you come up with an absurd take on the world, and then see how far it can be explored. And I remember feeling the urge to write something in contrast that was much more claustrophobic.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Zombies–They’re Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Twentieth century zombies, who branched off from their Haitian voodoo brethren in 1968 with George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, spent thirty-five years terrorizing audiences with their relentless pursuit of human flesh. If you think of them as a breakfast food, they were kind of like oatmeal. Or pancakes. Or scrambled eggs. Nothing fancy. No surprises. Just a basic monster with a single-minded purpose, so you always knew what you were going to get when you sat down to enjoy them.

Fiction

An Army of Angels

“I have something I want to show you,” said Nancy. She stared at Jazmine from Jazmine’s front porch, wet and bedraggled. Nancy was a petite white woman with long hair the way teenage boys had long hair: tangled and perpetually in need of a good shampoo. Jazmine sighed and reached out to rest her hand on Nancy’s shoulder, then pulled back.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caspian Gray

I’ve always liked the sad and weird and unsettling, although my favorite things manage to be all of that and funny, too. My first memory of being a creep comes from the age of eight or so, when our family canary died and my dad buried it in the garden. I dug it up three days later, just to see. The canary’s head came off in my hand, and it didn’t have eyes anymore. Shit like that makes me a good writer, but an awkward party guest.

Artist Showcase

ARTIST SHOWCASE: Robert Emerson

Robert Emerson is a self-taught artist. Born in 1959, he worked in the traditional mediums of oils, water colors, pastels, pencils, pens and inks, until a broken blood vein in his brain left him without the use of his right arm. Having lost the precision of his dominant hand, he discovered photo compositing as an alternate means of artistic expression. Through trial and error, reading, and watching countless Youtube “how to” videos, Robert slowly began to learn the art of photo manipulation.

Fiction

The Burned House

The burned house stood at the back of a scrubby lot. If a house could be said to glower, then glower it did: rising from the ashes which were all that was left of its south face, sitting back on its haunches, its wooden front porch inexplicably wrapped in chicken wire (to keep out trespassers? to keep something in?), its second floor rearing up and threatening to topple. The For Sale sign had been there forever.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lynda E. Rucker

I think it’s really important that a story is allowed to go out in the world and breathe. It should have the ability to belong to its readers, and sometimes that might even mean readers changing the meaning from my original intention. Of course, there is a limited range of interpretations for every story, but I don’t like to be too rigid. I once spoke to a college class that had read a couple of my stories and I loved hearing some of the interpretations.

Nonfiction

Feature Interview: Helen Marshall

There’s a kind of magic to short stories. I love them, I really, genuinely love them. They’re these beautiful, compact worlds that you can explode without consequences. You can just do things in short stories, you can make anything happen and you only have to convince the reader that it’s real for about thirty pages. That’s tremendously liberating.