Horror & Dark Fantasy

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The H Word: Hardboiled Horror

It’s likely you already know the scenarios by heart. Anyone who’s even remotely familiar with James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, or Raymond Chandler would. A cynical, world-weary private eye is visited by a mysterious client (female, more often than not) and winds up taking a case that finally shakes up his life enough to make him feel something—only to inevitably remind him why he always felt safer not feeling anything at all.

Author Spotlight: Nancy Etchemendy

I left Nevada in 1976 and I’ve lived in a number of other places since then, but none have affected my writing more powerfully. I think it’s pretty common for writers to feel an emotional attachment to settings where they spent big chunks of time as children or young adults. But I don’t just have an emotional attachment to Nevada; I’m in love with it.

Editorial, April 2014

We have original fiction from Dale Bailey (“Sleep Paralysis”) and Martin Cahill (“It Was Never the Fire”), along with reprints by Nancy Etchemendy (“Nimitseahpah”) and Lucy A. Snyder (“Magdala Amygdala”). 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 Darren Shan.

Author Spotlight: Dale Bailey

Virtually all my stories are written intuitively. I don’t really choose narrative strategies consciously—I just see where the story takes me. This makes for lots of interesting course corrections along the way, alas, and more than a few abandoned fragments. (Maybe I should outline.) But I will say that I don’t like stories that over-explain themselves.

Author Spotlight: Bones

For the most part, my time beneath the priory was a void, the rats merely there to keep my bones free from cobwebs and other detritus of the usual sort one finds in limestone abysses. But after the initial disturbance in 1923 and the ensuing explosion, in those decades during which I lay exposed to the merciless sun, there was an albino rat whose ministrations I recall with fondness.

Interview: Jeff Strand

Jeff Strand may sometimes be called “the clown prince of horror,” but in truth he’s a multi-talented author whose work spans styles and genres. He started writing screenplays while still in college, but by the late 1990s he was regularly selling his comedic short horror stories. His novels run from the demented slapstick horror/comedy of BENJAMIN’S PARASITE to the more traditional werewolf tale WOLF HUNT to the intense psychological thriller PRESSURE.

Author Spotlight: Nathan Ballingrud

I was very much thinking of the Dracula paradigm. I even wanted to include the mist and the turning into a bat. Of course there wasn’t a place for that, and that’s probably a good thing. But I was committed to the idea of a vampire being a merciless predator which relied on seduction to capture prey. The challenge was to do that in a way I hadn’t seen done before.

Artist Showcase: Dave Palumbo

Dave Palumbo is a freelance illustrator and oil painter based in Philadelphia. Widely published, he has done editorial, concept, and promotional illustrations for publications ranging from SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN and THE NEW YORKER to Lucasfilm, Heavy Metal, and Marvel. Palumbo’s work has been shown in galleries from New York to Paris and has earned him a Chesley award and three Spectrum medals

Author Spotlight: Genevieve Valentine

For me, sin eating is particularly interesting as a perceived supernatural ability exactly because of the balance of revulsion and power involved—the actual ability is both incredibly powerful and completely terrifying. And that’s one of the questions the story poses; if you’re born into an expectation of that magnitude, with such compulsion for doing it and such consequences for refusing, what does it mean to refuse?

The H Word: Being in the Presence of the Dead

When it comes to people, most of us know the dead only as waxy, foreign looking shells on display in coffins at the occasional funeral. Our world today has largely divorced us from experiencing the many strange and conflicting feelings that come with being in the presence of the dead. We don’t know that horror as much anymore, no matter how many times we see it on TV, and so I wanted to talk about that today.