Okay so I am way behind on reviews. I am almost done with exams so I’ll try to review pretty quickly most of the things I read this month. I’ll try to do a ‘flash review’ everyday until I managed to catch-up because the amount of things to review is stressing me out.
So for my first round of Catch-Up Review of the month, I’m going to talk about the two issues of Nightmare I read this month pretty briefly. April was a short fiction heavy month for me, I think that I must have read about forty or fifty of them, at this point, I don’t even know anymore… Why is that? Well, when you are in a huge exam period, squeezing two or three stories a day is a good way to relax and it doesn’t much time. Because of that, I discovered some new great magazines of short fiction and the first one of those is Nightmare Magazine.
I never thought of myself as a horror fan because I tend to be scared very easily but still, I discovered that I actually like to be creeped out a little.
At the beginning of the month, I bought Nightmare’s Queers Destroy Horror special issue which came out in October of last year because earlier this year, I really liked Alyssa Wong’s Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers and I really wanted to read other stories in this issue to see what I’ll think about them.
I won’t talk about all of them because, to be honest, I don’t remember all of them that well so I’ll just mentionned my favorites.
Golden Lips, Red Lips by Matthew Bright is retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray and I really enjoyed it because it’s set in San Franscisco during the beginnig of the AIDS epidemic. Overall, it was extremely interesting and I really enjoyed both the pacing and the writing style. It also helped that Wilde’s book is one of my favorite book of all time. (4*)
Alien Jane by Kelly Eskridge was just wonderful, it was pretty creepy but at the same time heartwarming towards the end and I was really amazed by this story. It’s set in a mental hospital but it has none of the horror tropes that we can associate with it and I was extremely grateful for that. (4.5*)
The Lord of Corrosion by Lee Thomas was again an amazing story. This one was extremely creepy, I read this before going to sleep because I am a dummy and I have to say that it wasn’t the best decision of my life. It follows a gay main character who has to raise his adoptive daughter on his own after the death of his partner and he slowly realized that his daughter’s imaginary friend may not be as imaginary as that. (5*)
Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong was as amazing as a reread as I thought it would be. Now I think that I love this story even more! It follows Jenny, a woman with a strange appetite, she eats thoughts and she especially love dark ones. However one day, she eats the thoughts of a murderer, something that her mother always forbidden her to do. Indeed, now that she has tasted a murderer, she wants more of it which leads her in quest where she’s trying to find worst and worst people to eat it up. This story has been nominated in a couple of awards like the Nebulas and I really hope that it’ll end up in the Hugo shortlist. (4.5*)
This issue being a special issue, it had more stories than usual, I liked them all overall but not enough to talk about all of them in details. I have to quickly mention Dispatches from A Hole in The World by Sunny Moraine that was about the Suicide Year where basically a ton of people ages from 10 to 25 killed themselves on social media. This story was so horrifying it left me completely nauseated however the ending felt completely flat for me. (2.5*)
This issue also had really interesting non fiction essay on the difficulties of being queer in a genre where being gay, lesbian, bisexual etc… is usually an aspect that was (and sometimes still is) used to describe “bad people” in stories if not complete monsters and how having main characters in stories being queers can be an obstacle to publication.
Also, this issue had an interestting poetry section, I am not the biggest fan of poetry, at least it’s very rare for me to enjoy poetry written in English (or basically any other language that French) because if it’s hard to understand metaphors in your mother tongue, it’s even more complicated in another one! 😛 However, I found a good majority of the poems good so that’s a plus!
Rating of this issue :
So because I really enjoyed issue 37, I decided to buy this month issue (which also has a gorgeous cover). I liked issue 43 but it wasn’t as good issue 37 in my opinion. I really enjoyed the first story, the second I liked but the thrid and fourth weren’t for me at all.
Reaper’s Rose – Ian Whates – 4*
Easily my favorite story of the issue, it started of interesting but nothing mindblowing however, the last sentence of the story was just incredibly powerful and I felt like it totally redeemed some of the story’s flaws. It’s a story about an odor that a character smells everytime someone is going to die tragically around him.
I will definitely be looking forward for more Whates stuff in the future!
Deaths Door’s Cafe – Kaaron Warren – 3.5*
It’s about a guy who has cancer in a terminal stage and who’s trying for another chance at life. It was a very solid story, I liked the pacing, the writing and the atmosphere. I wouldn’t mind reading a longer work set in the Deaths Door Café. It was the kind of creepy I like in horror stories which means that it wasn’t scary but it still made me feel uncomfortable. I especially liked the part about the bats.
The Girl Who Escaped From Hell – Rahul Kanakia – 1*
The title is pretty self-explanatory. I didn’t like this story at all, the writing wasn’t particularly good, the story was pretty boring and completely underwhelming and it felt flat at the end. Just not for me at all.
The Grave – P.D. Cacek – 2*
This one was okay, it’s about a woman who finds a grave in the woods close to where she lives and basically the consequences of that. This story started off great, the first few paragraphs were amazing however, it soon became too repetitive which annoyed me a lot because I felt like Cacek was trying to hard to make her point. This is too bad really because the ending was intriguing and but at this point I felt to disconnected to care…
Rating of this issue :
Okay, so what was supposed to be a quick review turned into a 1200+ words. I am very bad at the whole “stop rambling” thing. Will I be reading more Nightmare in the future? Yes definitely, I don’t think that I’ll be reading every issue but I think that it is a solid horror/dark fantasy and if you’re intrigued, I would definitely recommend! (You can also read the stories the story for free on the Nightmare magazine website if you don’t want to buy the issues).