Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Nov. 2013 (Issue 14)

This month, we have original fiction from Brooke Bolander (“The Beasts of the Earth, the Madness of Men”) and Alison Littlewood (“Waiting for the Light”), along with reprints by Dale Bailey (“Hunger: A Confession”) and Melanie Tem (“Dhost”). 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 bestselling author Dan Simmons.

In This Issue: Nov. 2013 (Issue 14)

Editorial

Editorial, November 2013

This month, we have original fiction from Brooke Bolander (“The Beasts of the Earth, the Madness of Men”) and Alison Littlewood (“Waiting for the Light”), along with reprints by Dale Bailey (“Hunger: A Confession”) and Melanie Tem (“Dhost”). 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 bestselling author Dan Simmons.

Fiction

The Beasts of the Earth, the Madness of Men

The crew is drowned, the ship is flayed to ribbons and splinters, and her own arms are a-rotted down to yellowed bone and salt-cured jerky not even the gulls will touch. Cross-legged on her chunk of life-raft, staring at that familiar line of decaying blubber through the spyglass, all Captain Perth can think, over and over again, is: just a little further. Just a little further and things will right themselves, if only I am strong.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Brooke Bolander

I generally find it more difficult to write flash pieces, because the amount of information you have to pack into such a small space is obviously going to be extremely limited. That said, I’m also terrible at writing anything over 7,000 or 8,000 words, which is why my novel-in-progress generally gets to around 10,000 words on any given draft and then dies twitching on the table. This has been going on for five years and counting. Regimes have risen and fallen. Children have been born and learned to walk, dress themselves, and throw horrific tantrums over gadgets that didn’t exist when I started working on the very first draft. Feral cat genealogies across the same timeline run into the tens of millions.

Fiction

Hunger: A Confession

Me, I was never afraid of the dark. It was Jeremy who bothered me—Jeremy with his black rubber spiders in my lunchbox, Jeremy with his guttural demon whisper (I’m coming to get you, Simon) just as I was drifting off to sleep, Jeremy with his stupid Vincent Price laugh (Mwha-ha-ha-ha-ha), like some cheesy mad scientist, when he figured the joke had gone far enough. By the time I was walking, I was already shell-shocked, flinching every time I came around a corner.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Dale Bailey

We’re at our most vulnerable when we’re sleeping. Any hidden space—an open door into the hall, a closet door standing just ajar—can serve to terrify us. The bed is worse because you’re right over that hidden space, in the eye of the abyss.

Nonfiction

The H Word: And Then the Zombie Killed the Vampire

Horror fans may have hammered the final stake! The general consensus is: zombies are in, vampires out. Whether or not that is true, zombies have definitely surged to the fore while vampires have seemingly faded into the mist. Which begs the question—Why?

Fiction

Dhost

The disembodied little voice on the phone made Gail’s breath catch, so sweet it was, so complete and so vulnerable. “Guess what, Grandma?” “What, Corry?” Corazon. Heart. My heart. “Guess what I’m gonna be for Halloween?” “What, Corry?” “I’m gonna be a DHOST!”

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Melanie Tem

Often I know the genre of a story before I start writing, just as I know whether it will be a short piece or a novel or a play. Often, too, I consider taking stories in any of a number of directions. When I teach writing, I invite students to try writing a story in several genres and see how it morphs when written as a science fiction story, a romance, a crime story. Part of the germination process for “Dhost” was determining which “side of the line” would best serve the story.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Chris B. Murray

Chris B. Murray had a hunger for art from his earliest years, growing up in a small town in upstate New York. Having ambitiously exhausted his autodidactic options, he then majored in illustration at Rochester Institute of Technology. He now practices in Philadelphia, where he lives with his girlfriend, Emily, and their dog, Chunk. His work has been awarded or recognized by the likes of The Society of Illustrators, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, and Illustration Age, among many others. He has done editorial and promotional illustration for many high-profile publications such as The New Yorker, Boys’ Life, and XXL. Recently, his Adirondacks-exploration series “ADKS” showed at Chicago’s Rotofugi Gallery. His work can be found at chrisbmurray.com and facebook.com/CBMArtworks.

Fiction

Waiting for the Light

It had taken three days before the supervisor—“call me Marty”—asked Finn for the favour. He knew by the looks on the faces of the other staff—the little upturning of their heads that meant they were listening, but weren’t going to show it—that it wasn’t going to be a good favour.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Alison Littlewood

So often in life, there are no explanations. We encounter people every day and have no idea of their background or where they’re headed or why. Things can’t always be wrapped up with a neat little bow.

Nonfiction

Interview: Dan Simmons

You can go on certain websites and see the more than 200 bodies that litter all the routes up Mount Everest today. They don’t remove the bodies. Anybody who pays their fifty or sixty thousand dollars—or more now—to be guided up Everest, essentially you’re using a Jumar—a mechanical ascender on a fixed rope—while your guide helps you get up the hill. They go by dozens of bodies, and the damage to the human body from a high fall is comparable to what my character, Richard Davis Deacons, saw in World War I when artillery shells landed right among men. Just blows people to pieces.