Thursday, January 19, 2023

Nightmare #124 (2023)

Nightmare, ed. Wendy Wagner. Issue 124 (January 2023). Online at

Reviewed by Christina De La Rocha

The 124th issue of Nightmare is, for this online magazine of horror and dark fantasy, typically compact, consisting of three short stories, one poem, one essay, one book review, and some author interviews. Freshly freed from holiday hell with the people who are the reason you are in therapy, you might not welcome the news that the issue’s central thread is family. But you might concede that horror has an endless furrow to plow through this topic. None of the stories in this issue of Nightmare go with the obvious. There are no wicked stepmothers here, nor evil children, nor men making Stepford Wives or mummifying their overbearing mothers before moving on to murder women who incite their desires. Instead, the works of fiction mine other dark corners of family life.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Karl, Exogeny (2022)

Nathan Karl, Exogeny. Self-published, 2022. Pp. 101. ISBN 978-1-0880-5771-1. $6.99.

Reviewed by Jason Kahler

I’ve been reading DC’s current Poison Ivy mini-series, which is excellent. The main thrust of the story is that Ivy, to one degree or another, is becoming a plant monster and is making other people into plant monsters or moss or mulch or trees or what have you. I also read a lot of Jeff VanderMeer; his stories often have strange new hybrids of plants and animals folded into people. The bottom line is—I’m not sure if we’re in a particular stage of sci-fi/horror that’s focused on this vegetable type of body transformation, or if it’s just my current reading predilections. An argument could be made that we’re seeing a response to both the pandemic and the climate crisis; nature is taking things back. That’s not new, but the stories I’m seeing are just much gooier than their predecessors. Microscopic becomes macro in a bulge of puss and spittle. Good stuff.