We have original short fiction from Alex Saint-Widow (“The Last of the Juggalos”) and Lavie Tidhar (“Dr. Wasp and Hornet Holmes”). Our Horror Lab originals include a flash story (“There Are No Monsters on Rancho Buenavista”) from Isabel Cañas and a poem (“warming”) from Maria Zoccola. We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, and a book review from Adam-Troy Castro.
Jun. 2022 (Issue 117)
The last few summers here in Oregon have been pretty lousy. We’ve had wildfires, riots, threats against our governor’s life, and of course, a nightmarish heat dome that killed seventy people here in Portland. For those of us who once enjoyed summer for outdoor adventures, berry-picking, and Vitamin D production, summer has been transformed into a horror villain.
My grandfather was a clown prophet. I mean he was a clown. A literal clown. He wore clown makeup. And he foretold the end. Accurately. John, the Puranas, Snorri Sturluson, Nostradamus, any of those apocalypse writers—they didn’t know shit. The guy who really knew the magic, the guy who really knew about how the end of the world would come, was my grandfather.
In Folktales of Mexico, compiled by Américo Paredes (one of the founding fathers of Chicano studies in the U.S.), I read a story about a man who discovered that his wife was a monster. Any night the man was away, the wife stripped away her skin and flew through the air as a skeleton, terrorizing the people of the town and stealing infants to eat.
If the devil is real, he is neither skulking in dark corners nor leering at the unwary nor hatching plots of unimaginable evil. If the devil is real, he is laughing. He is proffering a juicy secret and waiting, not to see if you’re tempted, but how much. He is waiting to see whether this is the temptation that, at last, proves irresistible. Whatever it takes for you to give in, whatever marks the tipping point—whatever that is, that’s the devil.
Dr. Wasp and Hornet Holmes were gathering nectar one day when Holmes made a startling observation. “The Queen has been behaving rather oddly in recent days,” she said. Dr. Wasp pulled her proboscis from the flower and regarded Holmes with surprise. “However do you mean?” she said. “Do you ever feel that not all is as it seems?” Holmes said. “That what we see is illusory, that dark forces move unseen behind the bright façade of the world?”
Arctic temperatures are at a record high. Next year they will be even higher, and then even higher than that. Oh, friends, we shouldn’t panic; we can’t give in to despair, not when there’s work to be done. But sometimes we need to feel it. We need to shine a light into the hole and see how far down the bottom really is.
It’s Alive! by Julian David Stone is not a horror novel. It is indeed being published in the historical fiction category, appropriate enough because it does involve actual people and actual events. So why does Adam-Troy Castro think our readers will want to read it? Check out his review to find out!