Welcome to Nightmare’s 117th issue!
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—something to be dreaded like a monster with a ninety-day lifespan.
It seems appropriate, then, that this month’s theme is monsters. Not just any kind of monsters, but Unexpected Monsters.
Each of our offerings in this issue features a villain or antagonistic force that is a little . . . odd. Alex Saint-Widow has written a post-apocalyptic short story called “The Last of the Juggalos” which includes a rapping carny set on tormenting the narrator. In his story “Dr. Wasp and Hornet Holmes,” Lavie Tidhar has moved 221 B Baker Street into a wasp’s nest, where biology has created an unpleasant antagonist for the world’s foremost consulting detective. Even our Horror Lab micro-pieces have gotten in on the action—they’re both about re-envisioning what makes a monster. Isabel Cañas’s new flash story (“There Are No Monsters on Rancho Buenavista”) reframes a classic Mexican folktale, and Maria Zoccola’s poem “warming” is about the nasty creatures currently threatening the future of our planet (and making our summers so miserable).
The monsters don’t even stop in our nonfiction offerings! Adam-Troy Castro returns to review a novel about filming Frankenstein’s monster, and Daniel David Froid discusses devils in his essay for The H Word. Luckily, we also have spotlight interviews with our fiction writers, who are most decidedly not monsters, not even unexpected ones.
I hope you all enjoy this month of monsters. Maybe you’ll consider letting your own inner monster out for a little play time this month. After all, it deserves some time in the sun—as long as it’s wearing sunscreen.
Spread the word!