We have original short fiction from Adam-Troy Castro (“Glimpses in Amber”) and Julianna Baggott (“Inkmorphia”). Our Horror Lab originals include a poem (“Crossroads”) from Tiffany Morris and a flash story (“Murder Tongue”) from Jayaprakash Satyamurthy. We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, and a feature interview with horror scholars Lisa Kroger and Melanie Anderson.
In This Issue: Nov. 2021 (Issue 110)
Welcome to Nightmare’s 110th issue! To live in human society is to wrestle with secrets and to learn to live with lies. Because the bulk of human existence is predicated on fitting in with others, we patrol ourselves and our behaviors, making rules to help us better live together. But we all slip up. Even […]
My visitor gazes at our family bookshelves. I perceive right away that this is less the helpless bibliophile’s habit of scanning the titles of any shelf encountered in the wild, than an exercise in measuring me, of finding the best means of approach. We are in the family living room, a welcoming space with, among other things, three double bookcases. It is not an extraordinary book collection to find in the home of people who read.
This poem was inspired by folklore about devils and stories I’ve heard about The Devil visiting various communities. I used mistranslations of different cryptid lore and paired it with English and Mi’kmaw language—as Mi’kmaq is a verb-based language, it’s interesting to me to bring it into a genre where objects and subjects are alive and, sometimes, supernaturally alive.
Horror fiction explores human identity by utilizing monstrosity to envision disconcerting, resilient, and metamorphic aspects of human potential within an unknown universe. Knowledge in horror sometimes focuses on practical and apotropaic matters of survival and defense. Stay out of the fruit cellar. Keep holy water and a wooden stake handy. Don’t pick up cursed dolls.
For my eighteenth birthday, I get a tattoo. A small red heart on my shoulder, Loot inked across it in black cursive. Loot was my brother’s nickname. He was twelve years old when he disappeared. I was seven. The next morning, I peel off the bandage to take a look. A vine with thorns where there was no vine with thorns. It wraps around the heart, above and below Loot’s name.
The question “what’s your mother tongue” is forever being asked in India. In a country divided into linguistic territories, it’s a deeply significant question. The answer places you, signals your fundamental origins, wherever in India you now live. I started thinking about how much we take for granted being multilingual, yet tied to that basic mother tongue identity.
In the fall of 2019, a remarkable book called Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction was published by Quirk Books. What was so remarkable about it? It was the first overview of the importance of women to the horror genre that was not aimed at academics . . . despite the fact that the book’s authors, Lisa Kröger (Ph.D. in Gothic Literature) and Melanie R. Anderson (assistant professor of English at Delta State University), were both largely academic writers.