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Editorial

Editorial: September 2022

Now that summer is slowly wrapping up, I’m looking forward to the return of the rainy season . . . with one exception. You see, I live with a very small, very fuzzy dog who has to go outside on a regular basis, even when it’s damp out and there are slugs in the grass. Somehow, slugs are irresistibly attracted to my dog’s hairy little undercarriage. She can be outside for a mere minute and still return with a gray slimeball glued to her arm or her belly. And let me tell you, there is nothing more unpleasant than rolling over in the night to snuggle your doggie and feeling something cold and gluey pressed against your cheek. I try to live harmoniously with all the Earth’s creatures, but I do draw the line at sharing my bed with slugs!

This issue is devoted to the feeling of discovering a slug in one’s bed, or stepping barefooted on a small tarantula, or emptying the cereal box only to discover a pantry moth larva creeping over the last bran flake. It’s the “Unpleasant Discoveries” issue, and every story has something nasty in store for you.

Take Clara Madrigano’s lovely “The Gold Coin.” You’d think finding a gold coin on the floor of your best friend’s house would be a real treat, wouldn’t you? Luckily for us, this story finds a way to make it awful. Kiera Lesley’s epistolary story “Concerning the Upstairs Bathroom” strips the joy out of a new home purchase, and our flash piece, “A Girl of Nails and Teeth,” by Hannah Yang, makes parenting particularly unpleasant. I won’t go into detail about how a trip to the lake can be spoiled, but the beautiful language of Corey Niles’s poem “much to be mourned” can’t obscure an extremely gross and melancholy experience.

If you’re ready to be horrified, revolted, and generally miserable, our writers have you covered. But our nonfiction team is a bit cheerier. Adam-Troy Castro has shared an excellent film and a good book for you to enjoy, and our author spotlight team has explored the more human motives of our short fiction authors. Author and screenwriter Brian McAuley has also tapped into the nicer side of life in his essay for The H Word column, which discusses the way we horror fans love to share our favorite works.

I think the entire issue is delightful, but then again, I’ve been known to call a hagfish “cute.” Unless it’s trying to share my pillow. After all, you’ve got to maintain some boundaries!

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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.