Review: Nightmare Magazine, April 2015

Nightmare_31_April_2015_550A horribly delayed review, for which I unreservedly apologise to John Joseph Adams and the editorial crew (hey, you know I love you guys!). In my defence, I had a backlog, made my return from seven years in Bulgaria back to my homeland, Scotland, got a new job, etc., etc….

Nevertheless, regardless, as they say, this magazine is absolutely horrific. In a good way. A great mix of stories and articles, of the high quality we’ve come to expect from the original Lightspeed stable – Nightmare is now a separate entity, both as a magazine and a podcast, but with Mr. Adams as publisher and editor-in-chief.

The April issue kicks off with Desirina Boskovich’s strange but arresting tale, The Island. A surreal melange of Lord of the Flies with In Search of the Castaways (yes, there is a family Robinson who make an appearance, unfortunately for them). The story brilliantly captures the otherworldly quality of children’s inner and outer lives. Coolly horrific and bizarre in equal measure.

The thing in the ice has been done before (notably in the film The Thing), although Charles Payseur does something quite different with the material in Spring Thaw. The story of a research expedition in the wake of a potentially disastrous freeze, is as much about relationship as it is the accoutrements of an unsettling story that holds the reader firmly in its chill grip and leaves us with an ambiguous ending.

I loved Usman Malik’s Arabian-nights-esque tales within the tale, Ishq. Its meditation on love, disability, perception, cultural attitudes and ghosts, is rich, resonant and utterly memorable.

The reprint story this time is Nancy Kilpatrick’s brilliant Age of Sorrow. A post-apocalyptic zombie story of sorts, it takes as its central metaphor the menopause, which speaks of change, the end of a life stage and, at its best, a doorway into a new kind of freedom which the narrator embraces in a way which is both sad and empowering.

Darius Zawadzki, “The Aviator”

Seanan McGuire’s fine essay, The ‘H’ Word: Dropping the Vial is all about viruses, starting with the medieval plague and ending in Disneyland in the wake of the recent outbreak.  A fascinating science article which at one stage, made me laugh out loud – I tweeted this quotation, having enjoyed it so much:

“Let’s look at the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland. Two of my favorite things, together at last: infectious disease and a large theme park.”

Great magazine – go ahead, buy yourself a subscription!

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  1. Cool review, John. That’s exciting news to hear you’re back in your homeland and have a job already.

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