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Editorial: September 2021

Welcome to Nightmare’s 108th issue!

I spend a good chunk of time every day outside alone or with only my dog, and I like it a lot. When I’m in the garden or taking a run, I feel completely absorbed in the world, connected to the creatures I see and the plants I’m near. I never feel lonely when I’m out in nature.

The same cannot be said for the time I spend with other people. There are times when a person can be surrounded by friends and still feel deeply, deeply lonely. Part of that’s me and part of that is the simple fact that being with other humans is a challenge. Understanding each other takes real work. Connections require care and feeding. Relationships are sometimes just hard.

That’s what this issue is all about: the challenge of relating to others, and the thousand different ways people can hurt each other. But more importantly, it’s about finding beauty in those moments, no matter how painful, bloody, or terrifying they become.

Our first “unhappily ever after” is the short story “Chanson D’Amour,” a meditation on film, love, and violence from Orrin Grey. Our other full-length short is a vampire tale by Gillian Daniels: “Frost Bloom.” Both tales feature love stories with unexpected twists and turns, so we hope you enjoy following along. In the Horror Lab, poet Franklin Ard gives us a heart-breaking account of depression and addiction in “Ode to My Brother’s Sadness.” Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas examines the fraught relationship between art and viewer in her flash story “Still Life with Vial of Blood.”

On the nonfiction side of the issue, we have spotlight interviews with our story writers and a book review from Adam-Troy Castro. The H Word column was penned by Cynthia Pelayo, who discusses the appeal of true crime fiction. For our ebook readers, we also have an excerpt from Cassandra Khaw’s new novel, The All-Consuming World.

It’s another unsettling and horrific issue—but would you want it any other way? Have fun reading, and enjoy the nightmares!

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.