Nightmares by Subscription – A Review of Nightmare Magazine Issue 44

Nightmare Magazine is one of the better things you can infect your Kindle with every month.

This month was no exception.

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In the current issue of Nightmare Magazine, there are four stories; two reprints and two originals.

The originals are The Old Horror Writer by Adam-Troy Castro and Sawing by Lisa Goldstein.

The reprints are Twittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s sone, for those who are here for the trivia) and The Lost by Sarah Langan.

The Old Horror Writer

The Old Horror Writer is interesting and well written and while I had no problem with the story as such (it is well written), I don’t think there’s all that much for us to chew on.

A “something” is seeking out horror writers and, we learn, killing them. It has tracked down an obscure writer and is paying him a visit.

He’s harder to find than most. I have the basis for comparison because I’ve gotten to all of them sooner or later, from the big names to the obscurities. There are some who give up so thoroughly, and disappear so completely, that it’s as if they never existed at all. This guy’s far from the worst.

The story is perhaps more intended for writers of horror than for the general reader so if you are a writer, I recommend it but am a little reluctant in doing so for the more general reader (not that you would dislike it, just that you wouldn’t, you know, love it).

The Old Horror Writer is available to read for free on Nightmare Magazine’s website, now.

Twitter and a Circus of Zombies

The second story, Joe Hill’s Twittering from the Circus of the Dead, was a surprise. It is told as a series of tweets by a teenage girl who is on a road trip with her family. She, being a teenager, would rather be doing most anything other than taking a road trip with her family.

We get to know her and the family through the tweets which were annoying at first, to the point that I was about to skip the story entirely. I would have missed out.

The story turns creepy and then goes into true horror territory. The tweets, annoying at first, turn the story into beats (insert analogy of heart rate to reading speed here) that come faster as the story turns from family vacation into full dread.

I would tell you more about the story, about what happens next but I want you to read it for yourself.

I kid you not; this is the most intense reading I’ve done in a long while. If you are a fan of horror, you should take the time to read this story.

Twittering from the Circus of the Dead will be available on the 11th of May on Nightmare’s website but you should just go ahead and buy yourself a copy, now.

Do it.

The Lost

This is a character study more than a horror story but it is a good one at that. It deals with self-destructive behavior on the part of a woman who recently lost her father. She drinks and neglects her own well being. She then starts to literally disappear.

As her fingers turn to skeletal digits and her limbs disappear, she hides herself more instead of seeking help. While this may not sound like the most entertaining of stories, it really is worth your time.

It even reminded me of my own First, Bite Just a Finger.

The Sawing

My least favorite of this month’s stories, The Sawing is about a traveling performance group run by an unpleasant man. The main character, by virtue of being small-statured, gets a job as the woman-in-the-box routine, the one where a woman is sawed in half in front of a crowd.

She takes the job, happy for the extra money but wonders what happened to the one who had the job before her.

It gets stranger but never felt like a horror story to me.

Verdict

This month’s issue of Nightmare is, like most issues, full of goodness. And I haven’t even mentioned the interviews or the artist showcase. It is amazing what just $2.99 will get you (seriously, buy yourself a copy).

$2.99. That’s a dollar less than what a Big Mac costs!

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