Welcome to Issue #126 of Nightmare Magazine! It’s been a pretty great winter for us here at the bad dream factory, with L. Marie Wood’s “The Horror of Hair” (from the July issue) being nominated for a Stoker award and four poems (“Bitch Moon” by Sarah Grey ; “warming” by Maria Zoccola; “Field Notes from the Anthropocene” by Priya Chand; and “For You Were Strangers in Egypt” by Elizabeth R. McClellan) making the Rhysling Award long list.
That said, one of the season’s biggest trials was that I got a new laptop and had to find updated versions of all my favorite pieces of software. I had no idea the software landscape had changed so dramatically in ten years! Everything’s based on the subscription model these days, and even basic programs have bells and whistles my Luddite brain can’t fathom. When your first computer experience involved five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disks, you sometimes find yourself greatly suspicious of programs eager to check your grammar and word choice (you will pry the swear words out of my writing only after I am dead, Microsoft Word).
And don’t get me started on the terms of service agreements that come with every single program. No, seriously—there’s no reason for me to tell you how scary these things are, because Dominica Phetteplace has written a terrifying flash story, “Terms of Service,” that spells it out better than I ever could.
Kristina Ten also has a tale of computer-related terror: “The Dizzy Room.” If you ever played an educational video game in your elementary school years, you will nod along very sympathetically at the beginning of this story. Alas, this educational journey will end almost as unhappily as The Oregon Trail—although it’s up to you to decide if the ending is more terrifying than dysentery.
Wen-yi Lee’s story “Laura Lau Will Drain You Dry” uses a tinier technological misery, the cell phone, to torment its characters. Its bloody scenarios could have happened back in the days of passing notes in the school corridors, but the role of texting makes this story feel all too current. And in his work “Alternate Rooms,” poet Nwuguru Chidiebere Sullivan uses language to echo the feeling of photography and video, while of course bringing his own creepy flair to the experience.
If you’re a fan of film and a member of the Horror Writers Association, you’ll be familiar with our “The H Word” essayist this month: Jonathan Lees, who has helped organize StokerCon’s Final Frame short film festival. Adam-Troy Castro returns to discuss the film The Menu, and of course we have spotlight interviews with our short fiction writers.
It’s another terrific issue, and a great one to usher in the spring. Thanks so much for reading!
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