Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Nonfiction

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Benjamin König

Born in 1976, Benjamin König has been enamored with drawing and painting since his earliest years, when countless beautifully and creepily illustrated children’s books led a trail of breadcrumbs to his passion. Despite attempting several other professions (audio engineer, conservator, etc.), Benjamin always returned to his first love: drawing. He is now a freelance illustrator in Upper Bavaria, near Munich.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tanith Lee

Q: Do you see “Doll Re Me” as a story about punishment for hubris? A: No, I see it as the punishment for wasteful cruelty, which the main character so lavishly displays towards both people and things.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Domestic Horror

But there was one story that disturbed me in the more complicated way I would only later come to realize as a hallmark of the true genius of horror fiction. While the other stories left me with a kind of moonlit Halloween glow, this one put a spade into my settled earth and overturned it. I felt weirdly sick after reading it. I felt injured in some obscure way, as though it had betrayed a trust. The story was “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacobs.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caitlín R. Kiernan

Steinbeck was actually a tremendous formative influence. I began reading him in high school, and he was one of those eye-opening authors for me. He’s one of the writers who taught me invaluable lessons about characterization; that stories, novels, are not about events. They’re about people. When they stop being about people, you’re writing shit.

Editorial

Editorial, May 2013

This month, we have original fiction from Caspian Gray (“Centipede Heartbeat”) and Tanith Lee (“Doll Re Me”), along with reprints by Caitlín R. Kiernan (“Houses Under the Sea”) and Neil Gaiman (“Feminine Endings”). 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 acclaimed comics writer Steve Niles.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caspian Gray

I was briefly involved with a man who worked at an entomology lab, and one day when I went to meet him for lunch he was feeding pinkies to their Amazonian giant centipedes. Even though centipedes don’t have the brain capacity for cruelty, the way they fed looked cruel. The centipedes would attack, inject their prey with venom, and then withdraw while the pinkies convulsed. This would be repeated two or three times before the centipedes finally started eating. This is a perfectly viable feeding strategy if what you’re trying to kill can fight back, but with helpless infants it looked like these centipedes were deliberately drawing out the process, and then stepping back to admire their prey’s agony. I suppose centipedes have stuck with me as rather menacing little creatures ever since.

Nonfiction

Interview: Sarah Langan

Buildings, and lives, are shaped by their authors. I love the idea of an architect creating a building without Euclidian geometry, where balls always roll into odd places, and floors creak, and when you look at the structure from outside, you have no idea how it stands. A Gaudi without the beauty or respect for nature. For me, that’s a metaphor for a life shaped by uncertainty, like our hero, Audrey Lucas’ life. She’s drawn to The Breviary because it’s familiar. Once inside, she’s shaped by it. Like a plant inside a small, glass cage where light comes from only one direction, she grows crooked.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Weston Ochse

I intentionally named the antagonist after Lamont Cranston [the pulp hero, The Shadow]. One reason is that he has been a shadow to the protagonist’s existence throughout his life. He’s always been there and often was able to change the course of events. He also represents humanity. So while the protagonist struggles between two worlds, it is Cranston who resides firmly in the inexorable.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Steven Meyer-Rassow

Most of my work is quite conceptual in the way that I usually have a pretty good idea of what the final image should look like before shooting relevant elements. While shooting my elements, I do always keep processing options in the back of my mind, so realistically photography and manipulation/processing are not only of equal importance to me, but definitely help define one another.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Hand

I wrote “The Bacchae” heavily under the influence of J.G. Ballard, I think in particular his novel High Rise, which I’d just read. I’ve always been aware of how close our world is to the precipice, but I’d always projected the tipping point to be at some indeterminate moment in the future. With High Rise, I saw how the tipping point was right now. So I played with that notion, of the world devolving into a rather effete savagery.