Tag Archives: Nightmare Magazine

What to Read and Watch While Leaves Are Falling

Sure, I already published a fall reading list that should keep me very busy until 2017, but this is my favorite time of year. I just had a birthday (Thirty-four, eek!), the leaves are changing, the nights are getting slightly chilly (at least here in southwest Ohio), and I’m in the mood for comfort reading and watching some fall favorites. For me, that mostly means witches, obviously, though there are a few other things on here that are just more generally fall-feeling.

What are you reading and watching as the weather changes?

Stories to Pair With Pumpkin Spice Everything (Don’t Judge Me):

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell
I read this little gem when it came out last September, and I fell in love with it. It’s a nice, seasonally appropriate read, and Cornell has a sequel–the more wintry The Lost Child of Lychford–coming out November 1 from Tor.com. If you haven’t read Witches, now is a perfect time to enjoy it. If you have read it, it’s a perfect time to refamiliarize yourself with it ahead of its sequel.

Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter
This is another of the 2015 Tor.com novellas; it’s another witch story; and it’s another great read. While you’re at it, check out her recent short story at Tor.com, “Finnegan’s Field,” which is a good, creepy changeling tale. I haven’t gotten around to reading Slatter’s couple of short story collections, yet, but her 2016 novel, Vigil, is definitely on my to-read list.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
This is a book that I also read last September and really wished that I’d saved it for another month or so. It’s dark and funny and just a little scary, a great book if you’re like me and don’t usually like straight up horror but still want to get into the spirit of Halloween.

Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales from Shakespeare’s Fantasy World by Jonathan Barnes, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Emma Newman, Kate Heartfield, and Foz Meadows
It’s still the year of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and this collection of novellas is a perfect way to celebrate. Foz Meadows’ Coral Bones is probably my favorite, and it can be read alone, but I enjoyed reading all five tales together. Highly recommended for reading outdoors with a cup of tea on a crisp fall evening.

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
Hogarth has been celebrating Shakespeare differently–by having well-known authors re-envision the Bard’s plays in novel form. Obviously, you should read everything by Margaret Atwood, always, but her retelling of The Tempest is a really exceptional examination of its themes of prison, grief, vengeance, and the transformative value of literature.

Nightmare Magazine‘s Destroy Horror! Special Issues
This year we’ve got People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror! which is well worth checking out. If you only read one story in the issue, make sure it’s Terence Taylor’s “Wet Pain.” It’s also not too late to pick up last year’s Queers Destroy Horror! and 2014’s Women Destroy Horror! This project just gets better and better, you guys.

The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
This book is brand new (literally–it’s got a 10/18 pub date), but it might be my most anticipated anthology of the year. It’s got an absolutely to-die-for table of contents–with stories by ton of my favorite authors–and a gorgeous cover. I almost never get hardcover books unless I find them at the used bookstore, but this one is a must-have for my shelf.

The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo
Sometimes, reality is even better than fiction, and this 2013 examination of the genesis of Frankenstein is well-researched and highly readable. Even if you haven’t read the novel, The Lady and Her Monsters offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of Mary Shelley and how she came to write a classic of horrific science fiction.

Films and Television to Watch While Curled Up Under a Blanket:

Practical Magic (1998)
I cannot go a single October without watching Practical Magic at least once. I just watched it the other night with my thirteen-year-old daughter (her first time), and was struck again by how much I love it. It’s by no means a very good movie–there’s nothing like a critical watching of it to make one aware of every absurdity and plot hole–but I will always want to watch movies about women saving each other.

Hocus Pocus (1993)
Hocus Pocus is a Halloween classic that I’ve been watching for over twenty years now, and I can’t imagine stopping anytime soon.

Sleepy Hollow (1999), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Corpse Bride (2005)
This trio of Tim Burton flicks are seasonal must-watches.

Ghostbusters (2016)
loved the new Ghostbusters, and I cannot wait to rewatch it in the lead-up to Halloween. I remember enjoying the original movies as a kid, but this reboot is more fun that those ever were.

Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015-now)
This show is definitely a problematic fave, but if you like artfully splattered gore, Bruce Campbell, and Lucy Lawless, Ash vs. Evil Dead is a ton of fun.

Lost Girl (2010-2016)
This show is basically Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s more diverse, sexier, more Canadian descendant. It definitely starts to fall apart a bit in later seasons, but the first three or four seasons are pretty solid.

Gilmore Girls (2000-2007, 2016)
With a Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls coming out on Thanksgiving, now is the perfect time to binge watch the show in preparation.

Magazine Review: Nightmare Magazine, October 2015, Queers Destroy Horror! Special Issue

While I’m not a regular reader of magazines, I have become absolutely hooked on the various Destroy SF projects of the last couple of years. October’s Nightmare Magazine special issue, Queers Destroy Horror was another great entry into the series.

The surprise for me in reading this issue, though, was that I found myself less enchanted with the fiction this time around and much more interested in non-fiction pieces, most of which were excellent.  Sigrid Ellis’s powerful piece about her complicated relationship with the works of Stephen King, “The Language of Hate” is worth the $2.99 I paid for the issue all by itself. The same could be said for Lucy A. Snyder’s “The H Word: A Good Story” and Michael Matheson’s “Effecting Change and Subversion Through Slush Pile Politics.”

The roundtable discussion and the author spotlights as well were particularly excellent in this issue, although I do find it a little disingenuous how often some version of the phrase ‘I don’t think of myself as a [identity] author” appeared. I know that identity issues are complicated (I’ve got my own, thanks), but still. I just find it a little cliché, this coyness about how one’s identity informs one’s work, and I sometimes think that it gets in the way of more useful insights. That said, there are still plenty of interesting things being said here.

While the non-fiction sections of this issue were superb, that’s not to say there was no good fiction, either. Matthew Bright’s Dorian Gray tale, “Golden Hair, Red Lips,” was a great way to kick off the issue, and I loved Alyssa Wong’s story, “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers.” My favorite of the short stories, though, was “Dispatches from a Hole in the World” by Sunny Moraine. It’s a wonderfully dark and atmospheric story, as well as a delightfully inventive and timely piece whose specific subject matter works perfectly to place it in a particular time and space and address a particular community. I loved it, although I expect that those less interested in or connected to the goings on of the internet may not quite “get it.”

While most other entries in the Destroy SF catalog include flash fiction, Queers Destroy Horror opted for poetry instead. Unfortunately, I’m not terribly into poetry as a general rule, but I did enjoy Lisa M. Bradley’s “The Skin Walker’s Wife” and Amal El-Mohtar’s Snow White-inspired poem, “No Poisoned Comb.” When I do like poetry, I usually prefer these sort of narrative pieces, and these two really hit the spot.

As always, I highly recommend checking out all of the Destroy SF material. I don’t know that I’d say there’s something for everyone, but it’s a great project that consistently turns out high quality collections of work that puts a spotlight on ordinarily marginalized voices in genre literature. It’s great stuff, and it’s not too late to buy this issue.