We have original fiction from Silvia Moreno-Garcia (“Jade, Blood”) and Ashok K. Banker (“No One Prays to the Goddess”), along with reprints by Chesya Burke (“He Who Takes Away the Pain”) and John Skipp (“Art is the Devil”). We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors and a fresh new review from Adam-Troy Castro.
In This Issue: Sep 2017 (Issue 60)
Be sure to read the Editorial for a run-down of this month’s nightmarish content, as well as all our news and updates.
Yellowed bones tangle with jade necklaces and gold bracelets in the depths of the cenote, where blind fish and crayfish swim. She stands near the edge of the waterhole, observing its beautiful depths, her hands clutching her long skirt. At her feet there is a burlap sack. A pig squirms and squeals inside. She ignores its protests. She is a novice at a convent near a small town baked by the harsh sun, a town south of Mérida; a town where all buildings are painted yellow and white.
“Get back in that bed, girl. You go on to sleep.” Mama said, clinging tightly to her apron. Hattie Mae let the curtain fall back into place and ran to bed with her tiny ebony feet patting on the hardwood floor as she went. She scooted in next to her sister, Betsy, and snuggled under the tattered covers, awaiting Mama’s kiss. And of course Mama didn’t fail her. Her lips were soft and moist despite the worn, tired look on her face. She sighed as she stood back up, holding her back. Evidence of a long hard life, Mama always said.
Why ghosts? My primary interest as a writer is to ask and keep asking what it means to be human in a world indifferent to humanity. To my mind, a ghost, proceeding as it does immediately and directly from the individual after death, expresses many of our most intimate concerns—fear of mortality, loss of identity, loss of agency—while retaining at least a vague semblance of what was once physically, entirely human. A ghost is not a bizarre transformation initiated by an outside force. It may be seen, instead, as a last attempt at holding onto life and selfhood.
He took a wrong turn on P.M. Road and found himself face to face with it. “Devi,” he said, touching his forehead in the Hindu genuflectory gesture similar to crossing oneself. And took a step back. Then another. It was a small temple. A shrine, really. Perhaps seven feet high and five feet broad. Built, like most temples in India, at the base of a tree. Two tiny marble arches framed the front portal. An elaborately carved bunting ran around the top of the roughly squareish structure.
It was Charlie Sheen night at the Hyaena Art Gallery. One actor’s implosion was every other man’s meat. And Kristy had to admit she wished she’d been in on it, despite her automatic sell-out reservations. This was one hilarious, legitimately badass show. In retrospect, she was kicking herself for not having even tried. Art was supposed to be provocative and fun. Otherwise, what was the fucking point? Excite the eye, and you excite the soul. Everything else was pretense.
This month, Adam-Troy Castro reviews Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction, a new work of nonfiction by Grady Hendrix.