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Editorial, January 2023

Welcome to 2023, and welcome to Issue #124! I know a lot of people make New Year’s resolutions—they aim to lose ten pounds or get more sleep or completely reinvent themselves. Not me. The only thing I’m resolved to do in 2023 is hunt down more delightful stories about the darker side of life and offer them up to you, our fantastic readers.

In January, a lot of magazines focus on getting out of the house and doing more. Apparently after all the family-centered holidays in November and December, most people are sick of their families and ready to hang out with strangers. That’s not how we’re rolling here. After all that time stuck inside with our relatives, I know a lot of us need to decompress before we can be expected to function properly again. So I’ve collected a handful of works about family—not the families we choose, but the families we’re stuck with—to ease us back into ourselves. If you follow it up with a chaser of Hereditary or maybe Mommy Dearest, you ought to be feeling just fine for February.

Speaking of mommies, we’re opening the issue with “To Cheer as They Leave You Behind,” a story from James L. Sutter about the ultimate helicopter mom. And when I say “helicopter,” you should picture an Apache chopper bristling with missiles. This is not a story to read near Mother’s Day!

Katherine Quevedo brings us another short story (“Until It Has Your Reflection”) from the perspective of a mother, but this mama is of a much kinder variety. She’s simply been confronted by a horror spreading through her family like a winter cold. Alyza Taguilaso continues the emphasis on mothers in her eerie poem “Fruit,” and Gordon B. White returns with a flash story (“Last Night at the Sideshow”) about every kid’s dream of joining the ultimate found family: the circus.

We do have one big change this year at Nightmare. After over five years of reviewing books for us, Terence Taylor is stepping down. But he’s delivered one last book review to help launch “de•crypt•ed,” our new column on classic horror reads and the roles they’ve played in the lives of horror creators. We’re so sad to be saying farewell to Terence’s insights on literature, but we’re beyond excited about the new project!

Of course we have author spotlight interviews with Katherine Quevedo and James L. Sutter, and The H Word returns with an essay from James Chambers, who asks himself (and us) whether zombies still hold any kind of relevance in the horror genre.

It’s another great issue, and we hope you enjoy it while you ease into another page of the calendar.

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Wendy N. Wagner

Wendy N. Wagner is the author of 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 fifty 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.