Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Mar. 2017 (Issue 54)

We have original fiction from Nate Southard (“Things Crumble, Things Break”) and Kathleen Kayembe (“You Will Always Have Family: A Triptych”), along with reprints by Nadia Bulkin (“Seven Minutes in Heaven”) and Robert Shearman (“Alice Through the Plastic Sheet”). We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, and a feature interview with Norman Prentiss.

In This Issue: Mar. 2017 (Issue 54)

Editorial

Editorial, March 2017

Be sure to check out the Editorial for all our latest news and updates, as well as a rundown of this month’s nightmarish content.

Fiction

Things Crumble, Things Break

Sitting at the minefield’s edge, I held Dana’s hand and tried hard not to break it as we waited for the sunrise. Despite the barbed wire crossing back and forth in front of us, we kept a good view of the horizon. Another five, maybe ten minutes, the sky would turn purple and then red and then orange before gold washed over the trees and grass. Dana wrapped a hand around my bicep, squeezing as much as she dared, and rested her head on my shoulder. “Thanks for meeting me.”

Author Spotlight

Fiction

Alice through the Plastic Sheet

Alan and Alice liked Barbara and Eric. Barbara and Eric were good neighbours. Barbara and Eric were quiet. Barbara and Eric never threw parties—or, at least, not proper parties, not the sort of parties with music and loud noise; they’d had a dinner party once, and Alan and Alice knew that because they’d been invited beforehand, inviting them had been such a good neighbourly thing for Barbara and Eric to do. And Alan and Alice had thanked Barbara and Eric, and said that it was a very nice gesture, but they wouldn’t accept, all the same.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

The H Word: Sadako, Mitsuko, and Sleep Paralysis

I have trouble falling asleep almost every night. Two nights ago, my brain was overactive, and I knew sleep paralysis was creeping into the pores of my skin. I’m used to it at this point. The numbness. The helplessness when it first starts. After years of experiencing it, I know how to get myself out of it. I know the fear is temporary. I know to scream at the shadow hands gripping my throat or imprinting themselves into my shoulders and belly. The world during sleep paralysis is in black and white. The environment is static and quiet. I open my eyes into a gray dimension and I know something is watching me, waiting to get ahold of my body.

Fiction

You Will Always Have Family: A Triptych

Uncle says there’s a pit bull in Mbuyi’s old room, but he’s lying, and his eyes are scared. Dogs aren’t pets in Congo, they’re for guarding—it’s why Dad never got us one, and how I first knew Uncle had no pet dog. I tried to learn what he was hiding, but the more I asked questions, the worse his lies got, until I finally asked if I could just see the dog, and Uncle snapped. His fear and frustration exploded into an angry lecture about respecting my elders; and how I’m too much like spoiled American kids; and that I’d better be careful.

Author Spotlight

Fiction

Seven Minutes in Heaven

A ghost town lived down the road from us. Its bones peeked out from over the tree line when we rattled down Highway 51 in our cherry red pick-up. I could see a steeple, a water tower, a dome for a town hall. It was our shadow. It was a ghost town because there was an accident, a long time ago, that turned it into a graveyard. I used to wonder: what kind of accident kills a whole town? Was it washed away in a storm? Did God decide, “Away with you sinners,” with a wave of His hand—did He shake our sleeping Mt. Halberk into life?

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Norman Prentiss

In 2010, a story called “In the Porches of My Ears” (originally published in Postscripts 18), won the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction, appeared in two “Year’s Best” anthologies, and marked the arrival of a significant new voice in horror fiction: Norman Prentiss. In the seven years since, Norman has continued to produce acclaimed fiction, poetry, novellas (Invisible Fences), and collections (Four Legs in the Morning). In 2016, he submitted his cross-genre novel Odd Adventures with Your Other Father, to Amazon’s Kindle Scout program and won publication.