I’ve been excited to see the recent proliferation of horror/dark/weird fiction magazines and anthologies appearing everywhere. When I started writing in earnest in 2008 (crap, is it that long ago…?) horror markets were either rare, subsumed into fantasy, or just poor quality. I admit I was still green when it came to submitting stories, and there were certainly the likes of Black Static just kicking off, along with a few others.
Now there are many new ventures setting sail across the wide wide internet, and many of them are high profile. Weird fiction is becoming a byword for literary, experimental horror/fantasy (although that is a rather generalised definition of it) and at the time of writing you still have 11 hours left to contribute to the Indiegogo fundraiser for The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, edited by Laird Barron and published by Michael Kelly’s Undertow Books. An anthology I can’t wait to get my hands on. Undertow is also responsible for the rather excellent Shadows and Tall Trees – a classy journal of literary horror containing many writers in common with Black Static, but having its own unique aesthetic and sensibilities. From next year it is changing to a yearly trade paperback, hopefully with more stories (and I must get my arse in gear and submit something).
Other zines I’ve been noticing gaining in profile are John Joseph Adams’ Nightmare Magazine. From the stable that produces Lightspeed, it contains a mixture of new and reprinted horror stories and has a nicely eclectic range of fiction.
Lamplight is a smaller, perhaps lesser-known, zine that has been going for over a year now, but is publishing some interesting names and is building a following.
Launching this autumn is The Dark, published by Jack Fisher, and the first issue contains some very impressive names. I’m glad to see they are seeking more interesting, experimental unique fiction, but still on the darker side of things.
Horror fiction went through a particular period in the 80s when it was so fashionable, with its lurid black and red book covers. And the the bottom fell out of it thanks to the market becoming over-saturated. Now there appears to be a new fashion with genre fiction and perhaps publishers are still a little reticent to call it horror. Hard to shake the negative connotations that the 80s plastered over that word. In its place has come this intelligent, literary fiction of the weird and the dark, and the horrific. It seems to be rising again, and I for one am dedicated to following this particular fashion.