Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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May 2015 (Issue 32)

We have original fiction from Kealan Patrick Burke (“The Red Light Is Blinking”) and Sandra McDonald (“Rules for Ordinary Heroes”), along with reprints by Kaaron Warren (“Mountain”) and Stephen Graham Jones (“Raphael”). 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 Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement winner William F. Nolan.

In This Issue: May 2015 (Issue 32)

Editorial

Editorial, May 2015

Don’t forget to check out the Editorial for a rundown of this month’s great content and all the latest updates.

Fiction

The Red Light is Blinking

Nukeboxxx sat back from the keyboard and ran his hands through his long sweaty hair. He was trembling from the caffeine and the familiar electric thrum that jolted his stomach every time his barbs elicited a response from another troll. And yes, he considered himself a troll. Keyboard warriors believed no more in solipsism than they did empathy. They couldn’t. For there to be any degree of satisfaction in this game, one depended on psychological REACTION and the full awareness of the hurt his words were likely to cause.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kealan Patrick Burke

The story was inspired by a number of things, primarily the fact that it seems every Internet comment section, no matter what the article, observation, video, post, or meme, attracts people who seem dedicated to offending, insulting, or bullying others. How such things sometimes graduate to real-life violence is something that interested me, particularly in light of perennial news stories which detail how young people are often driven to suicide by troll attacks.

Fiction

Mountain

When writing a recipe, you have to be linear. This, then that, then this. You can’t jump ahead of yourself; you have to follow the logical progression from ingredient, to action, to end result. Meanwhile you keep things on the boil and prepare for the next step. I sometimes feel Temptation Tor wrote my recipe template, everything leading to this moment; an episode of my cooking show, in the place where the idea for Motorbike Munchies was born.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kaaron Warren

Like most of my stories, “Mountain” came from a few different inspirations. It is set geographically close to where I live, and we travel over the mountain I describe, The Clyde, every couple of months or so. This mountain is very windy. It’s beautiful by day, but by night, or in the mist, it becomes quite a scary place. There really was an accident where a truck carrying cat food lost its load, and people really did steal it all. At the time I was struck be the greed of this and wondered if the mountain played a role in the temptation.

Nonfiction

The H Word: The Dirty South

The South IS haunted. Haunted by Christ; haunted by ghosts; haunted by its sins, real and imagined ones. My own Southern childhood was profoundly haunted. I dreamed of witches and devils in the woods surrounding my house and imagined ghosts lurking on the ceiling outside my bedroom where the wood fire roared in the living room of the cabin I grew up in. Summers, when school was out, I spent most nights up reading until two or three in the morning, only partly because it was too hot to sleep and because I had a hard time putting down my books.

Fiction

Rules for Ordinary Heroes

You’ve been here before, but not day after day after day in some karmic trap set by an unseen screenwriter who wants you to achieve inner growth and redemption. You’re here because you always fly American and the nearest hub to your house is Miami. The hub and spoke system of airline travel sucks. Only the rich fly direct. The rest of us shuffle endlessly toward our connections, zombie passengers lost amid acres of gleaming glass, soulless architecture, uncomfortable chairs, synthetic plants, incessant television, and expansive views of horizons we’ll never reach.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sandra McDonald

Everyone in the industry knows Robert McKee’s book about story and plot. One of my bosses at CBS Television (he later went on to produce Desperate Housewives) had taken McKee’s intensive boot camp class and carried his book around like a bible. William Goldman and Joseph Campbell were popular as well, especially in my screenwriting classes at Ithaca College. I won a Rod Serling writing scholarship there as an undergraduate, and his work has been a huge inspiration.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Vitaly Alexius

Vitaly Alexius was born in 1984, in Novokuznetsk, Siberian Russia. On April 11, 1997, fate threw him an unexpected twist by means of aerial transportation; he relocated approximately 5,555 miles to Toronto, Canada. Since 2000, he’s been tutoring students in drawing and painting, and in 2002 he learned Photoshop and has been using it ever since. He currently works as an Art Director, creating weekly episodes for the “Romantically Apocalyptic” graphic novel and traveling way too much.

Fiction

Raphael

By the time we were twelve, the four of us were already ghosts, invisible in the back of our homerooms, at the cafeteria, at the pep-rallies where the girls all wore spirit ribbons the boys were supposed to buy. There was Alex in his cousin’s handed-down clothes — his cousin in the sixth grade with us — Rodge, who insisted that d was actually in his name; Melanie, hiding behind the hair her mother wouldn’t let her cut; and me with my laminated list of allergies and the inhaler my mother had written my phone number on in black marker.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Stephen Graham Jones

I think kids don’t necessarily have the shame involved with being afraid that we’ve all been conditioned to have. I mean, we’re supposed to be all rational and adult, we’re supposed to be able to leave the monsters in playland. For kids, though, the whole world’s playland. So being afraid of monsters, it’s just the rational response, as far they’re concerned. And it’s not at all bad to believe in monsters, either. Because cracking that door open, it doesn’t just spill monsters. It can spill some beautiful stuff into the world too.

Nonfiction

Interview: William F. Nolan

William F. Nolan may be best known to readers as the co-author (with George Clayton Johnson) of the science fiction classic Logan’s Run, but Nolan is also a prolific mystery novelist, biographer, screenwriter, and poet whose horror work just earned him the 2015 World Horror Convention’s Grand Master Award. In addition to dozens of short stories, Nolan’s horror credits also include screenplays and teleplays for such films as Trilogy of Terror and Burnt Offerings. At eighty-seven, Nolan is still active and excited about the future, and we sat down to talk at the annual Vintage Paperback Show in Glendale, California, which he’d driven down from Oregon to attend.