We here at Nightmare are very much looking forward to celebrating our 100th issue in January 2021, and we hope you are too; it’s hard to imagine we’ve been publishing the magazine for that long! While that big milestone looms large, that’s got your humble editor thinking about the future… and change—and thinking about how maybe it’s time for some.
Don’t worry—Nightmare’s not going anywhere. You’ll still be able to get your weekly and/or monthly scares on the same schedule you’ve come to expect. It’s just that soon yours truly will be passing the editorial torch. Neither is that a reason for worry, because although she will be newly minted in title, the editor has a name and face you already know: Our long-time managing/senior editor, Wendy N. Wagner.
If you’re a diligent Nightmare reader, you’re already familiar with her editorial contributions: She was the guest editor for our Queers Destroy Horror! special issue back in 2015. But in truth if you’ve read any issue since 2014 you’ve seen Wendy’s input; she’s been my stalwart advisor and lieutenant for more than six years. I know that I’m leaving the magazine in the best possible hands.
I won’t be going far, however. I’ll still be publisher of Nightmare, and I’ll still be editor (and publisher) of Nightmare’s sister-magazine Lightspeed. So whenever you’re missing me, you’ll know where to find me. Plus, I’ll keep editing anthologies, serving as series editor of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, and running my novel imprint for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. So, you know, I’ll be keeping busy.
Issue 100 will be my last issue as editor of Nightmare, but despair not, friends, for I honestly can’t think of a better person to take the reins . . . and I for one can’t wait to see where Wendy leads us next.
I do a lot of things at Lightspeed and Nightmare, but my favorite job over the years has been running our “The H Word” column, where writers get to dig into the cogs and wheels of the horror genre and see just what makes it tick. I’ve seen writers ask big questions like: Does horror need to be scary? What do happy endings mean in a horror story? How does horror help us cope with the terrible things that happen in real life? And listening to our writers ask these questions has taught me an incredible amount about the meaning and value of our dark art.
Horror and dark fantasy fiction gives readers the chance to look at the most difficult aspects of the human condition and reframe our responses to them. Our genre is a genre that spins the worst of life into something new. And whether that “something new” gives you a jolt of energizing adrenaline, a long moment of despair, or even just an overwhelming urge to vomit, we hope the fiction we publish leaves an impression on you.
I’m so excited to lead Nightmare in our search for potent and powerful new work in the horror and dark fantasy genres. All eras are challenging, but right now, across the globe, we are facing tremendous uncertainty and incredibly dangerous situations. Climate change threatens our air, land, and oceans. The gap between the rich and poor widens every day while governments and corporations encroach on our rights. We are lonelier and more isolated than at any time in human history, while social media allows us to livestream every wrenching new tragedy into the palms of our hands.
I don’t think we’ve ever needed great horror fiction so badly.
Nightmare turns eight years old this October, and in January 2021, we’ll celebrate our 100th issue with a special issue packed with delightful bonuses. It will be JJA’s last issue as our editor-in-chief, and I know I will miss him desperately. For the past ten years—on and off—I have been privileged and honored to work with him in both a writing and an editorial capacity. As just a fledgling writer, his painstaking edits taught me to think about story in new ways. More importantly, working with him has taught me to how to be a story’s best advocate, how to take care of our writers, and how to love editing.
While the name on the cover might be changing, most things at Nightmare will stay the same. We’ll still be running our terrific nonfiction columns. We’ll still be looking for fiction driven by interesting characters and powerful prose. We’ll still be our stories’ biggest and best fans. We’ll still be sharing the leaders of genre writing, but hopefully lots of new voices, too.
To find some of those voices, I plan to open Nightmare to submissions for a week in September—the first time in over a year! If you know any horror or dark fantasy writers, let them know. I’ll be looking for stories that, just like “The H Word” column, dig into the guts of horror to see what makes it work. That means, yes, experimental and Weird stories. Yes, stories that push into the boundaries of literary, noir, prose poetry, and even creative nonfiction genres. Yes, magic and spells and dark wonder! But there’s also plenty of room for zombies, tentacles, vampires, cannibals, serial killers, and gross-out body horror.
It’s a big, horrible world out there. We’re here to help you enjoy the Nightmare.
Spread the word!