Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Nonfiction

Author Spotlight: David J. Schow

The detail with which you describe the setting in “A Home in the Dark” is awesome. Did you base it on a real-world home?

It’s actually the Hollywood Hills, not far from my house. Some details real in a look-out-the-window sense; some made up. Hence, fiction.

The narrator explores his work and life in California during the story, but we never find out exactly what he does for a living. What was his job?

He says he, “writes and proofs online manuals for Javascript” . . . vague code for “between actual jobs” in the way that screenwriters “between projects” are classified as “unemployed.”

In “A Home in the Dark,” the horror seems to be more about the stifling and destructive lifestyle of the narrator than the creature in the canyon. Was that your intent?

It is an interior story about an exterior event, which casts the reliability of the narrator into deep doubt. This follows a more vintage horror form—a detailed rendering of a single event leading to what Poe called the “effect” (the essence of horror), which may be a fever dream or hallucination.

You described the creature as a massive, ophidian dweller of the deep. If the narrator could have seen it, what would he have seen?

I’m not a Lovecraftian per se, but was deep in that Ourobouros groove at the time. Think gigantic, toothy worm-serpenty thing.

What, if any, was the significance of the creature regurgitating the partially digested remains of the photographer at the feet of the narrator?

It’s a solidarity gesture referencing what the narrator called the “deal” with the local critters, like coyotes, whom he feeds. By not rejecting the wildlife—the residents—he, too, has become a local, enough so that the guardian spirit of the whole mountain abides by the “deal,” embracing instead of rejecting his presence, and serving as protector.

What else do you have in the works we could share with our readers?

 There’s a new novel (and half another one) out there in the limbo-land of marketing, a few short stories coming up in various anthologies like The Mammoth Book of Psychomania, a new story collection from Subterranean Press in 2014, and a deluxe edition of my only horror novel to date, The Shaft, coming soon from Jerad Walters and Centipede Press—technically, the very first US edition of the book. 2012 saw the first four digital editions from my backlist; expect more downloadables in 2013. Plus the usual work in the script mines, best left undescribed.

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Sean Patrick Kelley

Seamus BayneNightmare editorial assistant Sean Patrick Kelley  is  the co-founder of the Paradise Lost writing retreat held annually in Texas. You can learn more about him, and his writing at his home on the web, Mythlife. He tweets as @Endiron