Horror & Dark Fantasy

COSMIC POWERS

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Sep. 2014 (Issue 24)

We have original fiction from Sunny Moraine (“Singing with All My Skin and Bone”) and Daniel José Older (“Animal”). For reprints, we have work from Charles Grant (“Old Friends”) and Lisa Tuttle (“The Man in the Ditch”).
In the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” Lesley Bannatyne will be examining the history of horror and horror’s favorite holiday, Halloween. We’ve also got author spotlights with our authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview with Welcome to Night Vale’s Cecil Baldwin.

In This Issue: Sep. 2014 (Issue 24)

Editorial

Editorial, September 2014

Check out the editorial for a run-down of everything we’ve got for you this month, as well as news and updates.

Fiction

Singing With All My Skin and Bone

I’m telling you this so you know: I don’t remember when I started eating myself. You should remember something like that. It should be a moment, one of those that you carry around forever, a line that you cut across your life to mark before, when everything was one way, and after, when everything was different. I don’t remember discovering it like a secret formula or an equation that explained the universe.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sunny Moraine

The core of it is a decision I came to around this past New Year’s, which was to finally get brave enough to dig down into the core of what makes me frightened and angry and sad and drag it out and make words out of it. One of my favorite books on writing is Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD, and one of the points she stresses is the importance of doing that, that those painful, shameful things are where a lot of your most honest and powerful work can come from.

Fiction

Old Friends

David told himself there was nothing to be afraid of, nothing at all. It was, of course, only the delicious sense of anticipation he was feeling and not the fear that he could be mistaken. No. After all these years, all that pain, all that twisting of what he thought he knew . . . mistaken.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Charles L. Grant

What strikes me in re-reading “Old Friends” for the first time in many years is how perfectly it encapsulates his approach and style. The first story I read of his in that Arbor House collection was the oft-reprinted classic “If Damon Comes,” which has stylistic and thematic elements that are similar to “Old Friends.” I remember pressing it on friends (we’re talking 8th graders here) who just didn’t get it, and couldn’t dial in to the emotional unease and elliptical style of the story.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Horror and Halloween

Steve Schlozman, a psychiatry professor (known as “the zombie doc” for his ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES: SECRET NOTEBOOKS FROM THE APOCALYPSE), did an experiment to try to understand exactly why people enjoy horror, neurologically. He showed them a picture of a puppy. Then he showed them the image with cat’s eyes Photoshopped onto the puppy. t changed everything.

Fiction

Animal

Here’s everything that happened just before the thud in the basement: Kendra took a snort of blow off the counter and said: “Did you guys know that pet store workers have the highest rate of drug use in the retail industry?” “That’s such a load of horseshit,” Telly said.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Daniel José Older

The origin of the story is the line in the first paragraph—the bit about how high rates of drug abuse are for pet store workers. A friend of mine that worked at a pet store told me about that in high school and it always stayed with me for some reason—the idea of all these cynical, high teenagers taking care of small animals and being friendly to customers, or not, just demanded a story

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Sam Guay

Sam Guay is a freelance illustrator working and wandering in New England. Dreams, folktales, and bits of her woodland haunts weave themselves into the visuals and narratives of her watercolors. Between paintings she can be found fortune-telling, voraciously reading, and having tea parties with her corvid kin, the local flora, and her beloved feline companion. You can find her work at samguay.com.

Fiction

The Man in the Ditch

There was nothing to look at once they were away from the town, only a long road stretching ahead, bare fields on either side, beneath a lowering gray sky. It was very flat and empty out here on the edge of the fens, and dull winter light leeched all colour from the uninspiring landscape. Occasionally there was a ruined windmill in the distance, a knackered old horse gazing sadly over a fence, a few recumbent cows, a dead man in a ditch—

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Lisa Tuttle

The original inspiration was the photograph of one of the “bog bodies”—ancient, mummified corpses found in a Danish peat-bog. I don’t know much about them, although there have been books written about them, but my memory of it is that there were different theories about how they came to be there—some thought they were ritual sacrifices, others that they’d been executed for some crime and then dumped in the bog, where the effect of minerals in the soil kept them in an amazing state of preservation for centuries.

Nonfiction

Interview: Cecil Baldwin

Actor Cecil Baldwin is the voice of the wildly popular podcast WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE, written by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor. Cecil plays Cecil Palmer, a radio host who reports on the strange goings-on in Night Vale, a desert community where monsters and conspiracies are just daily occurrences.