Nightmare Magazine




Editorial, February 2023

Welcome to Issue #125 of Nightmare Magazine! And welcome once again to February, a month I’ve always had a lot of mixed feelings about. Here in Portland, February traditionally brings the Worst Day of the Year Run (or Ride—take your pick, the weather is going to be terrible no matter your method of transportation) and the Winter Light Festival, because at this point in the season, a Portlander will do just about anything to take their mind off the endless damp and cold. On the plus side, February also holds Valentine’s Day and its beautiful morning-after sibling, Cheap Chocolate Day. But is chocolate enough to save you from cabin fever? At this stage in the game, even a cheerful person starts to feel a little sympathy for Jack Torrance.

Needless to say, I like to think of this issue as a bit of first aid for the cabin-fevered soul. We’re pulling out all the stops on ultraviolence and creepiness for . . . The Killer Issue.

In related news, we are also test-driving the addition of content warnings for all of our stories! While a content warning can feel like a bit of a spoiler, I’ve had requests from staff members to start adding them to our submissions process. I also know that even the most hardcore horror lover can still have topics they need to protect themselves from. If we’re going to help all kinds of readers find their horror groove, then we need to do a better job making sure our readers feel welcomed and safe! So check out the notes at the beginning of every story and poem to see if that piece is the right read for you.

We’re starting the month with “Who the Final Girl Becomes,” a story from Dominique Dickey that begins where most stories end: in the middle of a bloodbath. But where the Final Girl takes herself will probably surprise you. The mayhem continues in Erik Grove’s skin-crawling short story of obsession and stealth, “Home.”

If you love language, Ruth Joffre’s flash story “A Girl Defines Herself” will satisfy your etymological appetites. We also have an unsettling poem (“When At Last He Was Empty”) from Rob E. Boley.

Our nonfiction includes interviews with Dominique Dickey and Erik Grove, as well as a full-length interview with author and award-winning editor Eric J. Guignard. In the H Word column, Rena Mason discusses the dark-haired ghost haunting Asian cinema.

I hope this month’s creepy offerings help make your February a little more enjoyable—or at least give you the chills while you snuggle up reading them.

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Wendy N. Wagner

Wendy N. Wagner is the author of The Creek Girl, forthcoming 2025 from Tor Nightfire, as well as the horror novel The Deer Kings and the gothic novella The Secret Skin. Previous work includes the SF thriller An Oath of Dogs and two novels for the Pathfinder Tales series, and her short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in more than sixty venues. She also serves as the managing/senior editor of Lightspeed Magazine, and previously served as the guest editor of our Queers Destroy Horror! special issue. She lives in Oregon with her very understanding family, two large cats, and a Muppet disguised as a dog.