Nightmare Magazine, Issue 93 (June 2020) edited by John Joseph Adams
[Nightmare Issue 93 June 2020 cover art by Grandfailure / Fotolia with character in full face mask and red digital eyes, surrounded by haze and pixelated rectangles of various colors. Text: Nightmare Horror & Dark Fantasy, list of included authors G.V. Anderson, Laird Barron, Ashley Deng, and Robert Shearman, Issue 93 | June 2020, Edited by John Joseph Adams]
I really love every story in this issue. Everything had the right amount of tension, chills, and ambiguity. There’s an image of attendees at a party after the party is over in “Girls Without Their Faces On” by Laird Barron that will haunt me forever. As will the Dorset Ooser from “We, the Folk” by G.V. Anderson, which you can find on Wikipedia and elsewhere. It’s real. AHHH!
The tone and content of “Dégustation” by Ashley Deng reminds me a little of “The Beauty” by Aliya Whiteley, but the fungal beauty of both works lead to their own unique themes and ends. The second-person POV works really well in this story.
The characters are so fascinating and complex to me in “That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love” by Robert Shearman. The story embeds itself within its era, so much so that there are derogatory references to others that shocked me but seem to represent the casual bigotry of the characters, rather than the author’s. This is a lush, frightening, and also darkly humorous story where dark perversions are hinted at everywhere.
Also, does anyone else LOVE how you can read a good story and, at least for the original stories in an issue, immediately jump to a quick interview with the author? It makes the reading experience so ridiculously pleasurable, in my opinion. The interviews with Anderson and Deng are great, and I also enjoyed reading “Weird Fiction Writers on What Scared Them as Kids” in the latest “The H Word” column, while Terence Taylor makes the case for the “good usage of the malignant feminine” in The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones and The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell, a book already on my wish list and a book I’m adding to my wish list, respectively.