Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Nonfiction

Editorial, December 2015

Welcome to issue thirty-nine of Nightmare!

Big news this month, friends: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publishers of my Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy (and the rest of the Best American series), have offered me the opportunity to edit a science fiction/fantasy (and horror) novel line for them—and naturally I agreed!

The line will be called John Joseph Adams Books (their idea, not mine!), and will be a tightly-curated list of 7-10 titles per year. We’ll be pre-launching the line in early 2016 with new editions of three Hugh Howey novels: Beacon 23, Shift, and Dust—making them available via traditional publishing for the first time, and then the line will kick things off in earnest in early 2017 with our first batch of never-before-published works.

If you’re a regular reader of my magazines and/or anthologies, then you should already have a good idea what to expect—and if you like my work as a short fiction editor, then I suspect you’ll like the novels I publish as well. The John Joseph Adams Books website is still under development, but if you bookmark johnjosephadamsbooks.com, that’ll take you to it when it’s ready.

And never fear, dear readers—I’ll still be here, working to bring you your monthly dose of nightmares, and I’ll still be editing Lightspeed and anthologies as well. How (?!), you may ask. Good question—I’m not entirely sure! I will probably have to get much better at delegating! But the good news is, I had to consider about three hundred novels this year as a judge for the National Book Award (Young People’s Literature category), so if I was able to do that without all of the wheels coming off the bus, then I’m confident I’ll also be able to figuring out a way to fit acquiring and editing 7-10 novels into my schedule. That, or I’ll just give up optional extracurricular activities, like sleep.

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In awards news: The World Fantasy Awards were presented at the World Fantasy Convention, held this year in Saratoga Springs, NY, in early November. Your humble editor was nominated once again in the “Special Award: Professional” category, and, alas, I lost once again—this time to the folks who run the wonderful press ChiZine Publications. Congratulations to them, and to all of the other winners and nominees. You can see a full list of the nominees and winners at worldfantasy.org/awards.

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ICYMI, October saw the debut of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. In it, guest editor Joe Hill and I present the top twenty stories of 2014 (ten science fiction, ten fantasy), by the following: Nathan Ballingrud, T.C. Boyle, Adam-Troy Castro, Neil Gaiman, Theodora Goss, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, Seanan McGuire, Sam J. Miller, Susan Palwick, Cat Rambo, Jess Row, Karen Russell, A. Merc Rustad, Sofia Samatar (two stories!), Kelly Sandoval, Jo Walton, and Daniel H. Wilson. Learn more at johnjosephadams.com/best-american.

Also recently released was Loosed Upon the World (Saga Press, Sep. 2015), the definitive collection of climate fiction. These provocative stories explore our present and speculate about all of our tomorrows through terrifying struggle and hope. Join bestselling authors Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Nancy Kress, Kim Stanley Robinson, Jim Shepard, and over twenty others as they presciently explore the greatest threat to our future. To learn more, visit johnjosephadams.com/loosed.

And back in August, I published a new anthology co-edited with Daniel H. Wilson called Press Start to Play. It includes twenty-six works of fiction that put video games—and the people who play them—in the spotlight. Whether these authors are tackling the humble pixelated coin-op arcade games of the ’70s and ’80s, or the vivid, immersive form of entertainment that abounds today, you’ll never look at phrases like “save point,” “first-person shooter,” “dungeon crawl,” “pwned,” or “kill screen” in quite the same way again. With a foreword from Ernest Cline, bestselling author of Ready Player OnePress Start to Play includes work from: Daniel H. Wilson, Charles Yu, Hiroshi Sakurazaka, S.R. Mastrantone, Charlie Jane Anders, Holly Black, Seanan McGuire, Django Wexler, Nicole Feldringer, Chris Avellone, David Barr Kirtley, T.C. Boyle, Marc Laidlaw, Robin Wasserman, Micky Neilson, Cory Doctorow, Jessica Barber, Chris Kluwe, Marguerite K. Bennett, Rhianna Pratchett, Austin Grossman, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Catherynne M. Valente, Andy Weir, and Hugh Howey. Visit johnjosephadams.com/press-start to learn more.

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With the announcements out of the way, here’s what we have on tap this month:

We have original fiction from Damien Angelica Walters (“The Judas Child”) and Caspian Gray (“The King of Ashland County”), along with reprints by Tim Lebbon (“Reconstructing Amy”) and Nancy Etchemendy (“Honey in the Wound”).

Over on our column on horror, “The H Word,” we’re exploring holiday horror, and of course we’ll have author spotlights with our authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview with author Kim Liggett.

It’s another great month for nightmares, so thanks for reading!

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John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams (Photo courtesy of University of Central Florida/Jeffrey San Juan)

John Joseph Adams, in addition to serving as publisher and editor-in-chief of Nightmare, is the editor of John Joseph Adams Books, a new SF/Fantasy imprint from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is also the series editor of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, as well as the bestselling editor of many other anthologies, including The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World DominationRobot Uprisings, Dead Man’s Hand, Armored, Brave New Worlds, Wastelands, and The Living Dead. Recent and forthcoming projects include: Cosmic Powers, What the #@&% Is That?, Operation Arcana, Loosed Upon the World, Wastelands 2, Press Start to Play, and The Apocalypse Triptych: The End is Nigh, The End is Now, and The End Has Come. Called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble, John is a two-time winner of the Hugo Award (for which he has been a finalist ten times) and is a seven-time World Fantasy Award finalist. John is also the editor and publisher of Lightspeed Magazine and is a producer for Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. Find him on Twitter @johnjosephadams.