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About Sean Patrick Hazlett
Sean Patrick Hazlett is a technologist, finance professional, and science fiction, fantasy, horror, and non-fiction author and editor working in Silicon Valley. He has published over a hundred research reports on clean energy, semiconductors, and enterprise software including Wall Street's first comprehensive market analysis of opportunities in the smart grid, which was cited twice in The Economist (See "Making Every Drop Count" and "Smart Grids: Wiser Wires"). He is a winner of the Writers of the Future Contest and his fiction has appeared in publications such as Terraform, Vastarien, Writers of the Future, Grimdark Magazine, Galaxy's Edge, Abyss & Apex, Fictionvale Magazine, Plasma Frequency Magazine, Kasma SF, The Colored Lens, NewMyths.com, and Mad Scientist Journal, among others.
Before working in finance and technology, Sean was a research associate at the Harvard-Stanford Preventive Defense Project where he worked on energy security issues that included the United States-India Strategic Partnership and policy options for confronting Iran's nuclear program. He won the 2006 Policy Analysis Exercise Award at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for his work on policy solutions to Iran's nuclear weapons program. Sean also spent time at Booz Allen Hamilton as an intelligence analyst focusing on strategic war games and simulations for the Pentagon. Before graduate school, Sean was a cavalry officer in the United States Army where he trained American forces for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan at the National Training Center.
Sean holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and bachelor's degrees in History and Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
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What if the United States had gone to war with the Soviet Union? What if these rival superpowers had fought on land, sea, air, and the astral plane? What if the Soviets and Americans had struggled for dominion across parallel dimensions or on the surface of the moon? How would the world have changed? What wonders would have been unveiled? What terrors would have haunted mankind from those dark and dismal dimensions? Come closer, peer through a glass darkly, and discover the horrifying alternative visions of World War III from some of today’s greatest minds in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Includes new stories by David Drake, Brad R. Torgersen, Mike Resnick, Sarah A. Hoyt, and many more!
About the Contributors:
“Drake couldn’t write a bad action scene at gunpoint.”—Booklist on David Drake
"He's one of the most talented authors I've ever read."—Larry Correia on Brad R. Torgersen
“[A] tour de force: logical, built from assumptions with no contradictions . . . gripping.”—Jerry Pournelle on Sarah A. Hoyt
"Lostetter remains at the forefront of innovation in hard science fiction.”—Publishers Weekly on Marina J. Lostetter
Brad R. Torgersen
Kevin Andrew Murphy
Dr. Xander Lostetter and Marina J. Lostetter
Martin L. Shoemaker
Sarah A. Hoyt
Deborah A. Wolf
Peter J. Wacks and Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Eric James Stone
Sean Patrick Hazlett is an Army veteran, speculative fiction writer and editor, and finance executive in the San Francisco Bay area. He holds an AB in history and BS in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and a master's degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. As a cavalry officer serving in the elite 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, he trained various Army and Marine Corps units for war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sean is a 2017 winner of the Writers of the Future Contest. More than forty of his short stories have appeared in publications such as The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Terraform, Galaxy’s Edge, Writers of the Future, Grimdark Magazine, Vastarien, and Abyss & Apex, among others. He is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and Codex Writers’ Group. This anthology is his first.
2020 was a reality horror show. And like most obnoxious entertainment reality shows, this one had its own idiosyncratic rules and penalties. Call it The Big Lockdown. We were forced to go to ground, to hide in our holes. Some went underground and never came back. Uncertainty ruled because the rules kept changing. Were we following the science or the mad scientists? Was the light at the end of the tunnel the fiery mouth of hell? We couldn’t say for sure, so we ventured out for food, booze and sundries like scavengers in a slow-motion apocalypse, keeping our distance from fellow human beings because you never knew who might be carrying that heavy viral load.
And everywhere we went, we went behind the mask. So, it became obvious: The theme of our offering of extreme horror tales from 2020 had to be Masquerade.
Our masquerading storytellers nevertheless did what they do best. They went deep into the belly of the beast and sent up fictions reflective of these “trying” times. Their stories peel away the masks (or in some cases, the skin) to reveal the inner workings of darkest hearts and minds and deeper fears.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Nipples In Dad’s Tool Box - Ronald Kelly
Going Green - Christine Morgan
Whiskey To The Wound - Rachel Nussbaum
/thestrangethingwebecome - Eric LaRocca
Hey Valentine - Amanda Cecelia Lang
In Subspace, No One Can Hear You Scream - Hailey Piper
The Pogonip Fog - Sean Patrick Hazlett
Gunfire And Brimstone - Alicia Hilton
The Happiest Man In The World - Matthew Brockmeyer
Synaesthete - Melanie Harding-Shaw
Full Moon Shindig - Patrick C. Harrison Iii
The Drinking-Horn - Christine Morgan
Otto Hahn Speaks To The Dead - Octavia Cade
All The Stars In Her Eyes - Deborah Sheldon
The Village - Matias F. Travieso-Diaz
The Smell Of Night In The Basement - Wendy N. Wagner
The Saint - Alessandro Manzetti
Her Wounded Eyes - Robert Guffey
2019. The year certainly made its mark on the world—and more than its share of scars. It also made for a bounty of good horror stories of the extreme kind, the best of which the tales herein serve to illustrate.
2019 was the year Year's Best Hardcore Horror went global. Not by design but because the stories inside just happened to have been written by authors hailing from various parts of the globe. From Australia by way of South Africa, to Italy, Scotland, Norway, Taiwan, North America and India--the common denominator being that their tales come from darkest regions of imagination.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GOING GLOBAL: INTRODUCTION by Randy Chandler & Cheryl Mullenax
FEAST FOR SMALL PIECES by Hailey Piper
GODDESS OF GALLOWS by Kristopher Triana
LATE NIGHT INCIDENT AT THE WHITE TRASH MOTEL by Duane Bradley
A NEW MOTHER’S GUIDE TO RAISING AN ABOMINATION by Gwendolyn Kiste
UPPER CRUST by Michael Paul Gonzalez
REDLESS by Annie Neugebauer
A TOUCH OF MADNESS by Tim Waggoner
PARADISUM VOLUPTATIS by Joanna Koch
RADIX MALORUM by Sean Patrick Hazlett
LACKERS by Leo X. Roberson
WHY DO BIRDS SUDDENLY APPEAR? by Rajiv Moté
DARJEELING by Syon Das
MRSA ME by Alicia Hilton
WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE CHILDREN? by David L Tamarin
HAVE A HEART by Matthew V. Brockmeyer
SWINGS AND SUSPENSIONS by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
KIRTI by Alessandro Manzetti
THE TEA AND SUGAR TRAIN by DEBORAH SHELDON
SCREAMS FOR STARGIRL by Ben Pienaar
QUEER WEATHER by Scáth Beorh
First up is “Vigil” by Chad Lutzke. Chad takes us into a neighborhood where a steady stream of decayed corpses are exhumed from a neighbor’s cellar. Extreme olfactory horror at its best.
Deborah Sheldon went under the knife for the inspiration of “Hair And Teeth,” and the result is a tale of gynaecological body horror likely to terrify women and make most men squeamish.
With “Rut Seasons” Brian Hodge makes a return to Year’s-Best pages in a tale as chilling as it is heart-wrenching, inspired by a thousand-mile drive littered with roadkill and some personal tragedies.
“Control” by Jeff Parsons introduces us to a meth addict stalking potential victims in Central Park to get money for the next score.
Annie Neugebauer is back with “Cilantro,” a Neugebauerian yarn of culinary chaos sure to turn stomachs and cause nightmares.
Tim Waggoner likewise returns this year with “Voices Like Barbwire,” an exploratory dig into old wounds and painful memories.
Rebecca Rowland’s “Bent” wins the Most Cringe-worthy Story honor with her twisted tale of extreme body horror. Her well-drawn characters seem to come off the page but God forbid they do. Their idea of a pretzel party is truly twisted.
Scath Beorh takes Lovecraftian cosmic horror to its next level with “Lord of the Mesa.”
Sean Patrick Hazlett’s story “The Godhead Grimoire” possesses dangerous religious overtones and a forbidden bloodthirsty book.
“Carnal Bodies” by R.E. Hellinger is a shocking story of baroque horror and demonic necrophilia from Two Dead Queers Present: Guillozine. You’ll have to read this one to believe it.
In “Crossroads of Opportunity” Ed Kurtz and doungjai gam take you on a-deal-with-the-devil-at-the-crossroads trip with a son driving his dead mother to an uncertain destination. Trouble is, his mother is a bit of a backseat driver and she just won’t shut up.
Seras Nikita’s “Dad’s Famous Preserves” won’t do much for your appetite but it will show you a recipe for disaster when a jungle missionary’s foot infection blossoms into a stomach-churning nightmare.
“The Bearded Woman,” brought all the way from Rome, Italy, by the inimitable Alessandro Manzetti. His dystopian future tale takes us for a ride in the Bearded Woman’s circus trailer as she and her dwarf husband bring their marriage to a bloody end.
Sara Tantlinger’s “The Devil’s Dreamland” takes us inside the Murder Castle of the infamous H.H. Holmes with her brilliant narrative poem of macabre beauty.
Frank Oreto’s “All God’s Creatures Got Reasons” reveals that there are real monsters walking among us, monsters with a savage appetite for young flesh, but they are so skilled at covering their tracks, we never even know they’re there.
“The Ugly” by J.R. Park introduces us to a couple of sweet little kids who may have a good reason for torturing and eating cats. It’s a way to keep the Ugly at bay. Or is it?
Doug Ford’s “I Have a Confession” takes a coldblooded plunge into sex with a ghost.
It was a killer year for horror fiction of the harder kind. Authors, editors and publishers presented readers with some startling works of horrific imagination, stories graphic in the extreme yet with subtleties suggesting larger meanings, tales that explore humanity by plumbing depths of soulless inhumanity and, in some cases, outright depravity. The stories here represent the best of them, disturbing tales that dig deep and take you into the dark heart of horror itself, unrelenting and unapologetic.
“So Sings The Siren” by Annie Neugebauer takes us onto a Dark Fantasy stage for a one-night-only performance of mythological torture. Then Ryan Harding’s “Junk” gets right to the hardcore stuff with the ultimate dick-pic horror tale. Robert Levy’s “The Cenacle” is a literary cemetery feast you may have a hard time stomaching (Tums won’t save you).
Nathan Ballingrud’s “The Maw” treads surefootedly on Sci-Fi ground, right up to the edge of the Maw itself in a tale of stunning originality. Luciano Marano made his first pro sell when he sold “Burnt” to DOA III, certainly one of the year’s best anthologies, and the tale has it own fiery fetishistic twist.
“The Better Part of Drowning” by Octavia Cade treads waters of both science fiction and fantasy but it’s pure horror at its biting depths. Tim Waggoner’s “Til Death” is Lovecraftian Post-Apocalypse horror at its absolute best.
“Letter From Hell” comes with that special delivery you only get from Matt Shaw. Dani Brown gets down and very dirty in her “Theatrum Mortuum,” which may be the most extreme thing you read all year.
Glenn Gray’s “Break” is a hard-to-take anatomy lesson given to a man weary of doing hard time. In “Bernadette” Ramiro Perez de Pereda gets medieval in his tale of a djinn summoned by a desperate priest.
Brian Hodge takes you on a trip to Mexico you will never forget in “West of Matamoros, North of Hell.” This story is a masterpiece of suspense, a grueling experience that may well leave you exhausted by the end. You might even feel like a vacation afterward, but we’re betting it won’t be to Matamoros.
Bracken MacLeod’s “Reprising Her Role” takes us behind the scenes of a porno snuff film for a gut-wrenching reprisal and unexpected bonus footage.
A real-life death threat inspired Doug Ford’s “The Watcher” and we think it shows. “Scratching From The Outer Darkness” showcases Tim Curran’s descriptive prowess and gives you a tale of hardcore Cthulhu Mythos.
Brace yourself when Adam Howe’s “Foreign Bodies” takes you deep into the bowels of a nasty abyss—which might make a good echo chamber for the laughter Adam’s patented black humor is likely to elicit.
Sean Patrick Hazlett introduces us to “Adramelech,” an ancient demon with a taste for broiled children. Daniel Marc Chant’s “ULTRA” jacks into a popular VR game called Slut Slayer. But what if it’s more than a game?
Nathan Robinson takes us into the trees with a group of militant environmentalists who will discover a tree hugger of the deadly sort, entirely alien to their experience.
Scott Smith (A Simple Plan and The Ruins) wraps up this year’s fat package of the hard stuff in a big bloody bow with “The Dogs.
For the first time, two years of fiction from Grimdark Magazine are printed on dead trees and bound together like captive slaves to be read or reread and proudly placed among your favourite tomes on your bookshelf.
Knee-Deep in Grit features short stories by authors including Mark Lawrence, Aliette de Bodard, Adrian Tchaikovsky, R. Scott Bakker, Kelly Sandoval, James A. Moore, and Victor Milan.
Against the Encroaching Darkness by Aliette de Bodard, a Dominion of the Fallen short story.
First They Came for the Pigs by Chadwick Ginther.
Boomer Hunter by Sean Patrick Hazlett
The Right Hand of Decay by David Annandale
Lessons of Necessity by T.C. Powell
Who is the Grimdark Hero by C.T. Phipps
The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence (review by Tom Smith)
The Mechanical by Ian Tregellis (review by Malrubius)
The Witcher 3 (review by C.T. Phipps)
An interview with James A. Moore
An interview with Peter Orullian
Excerpt: The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan (Chapter 1)
Through these pages roam werewolves, serial killers, a handful of ghosts, plenty of zombies, Cthulhu cultists, mad scientists, and a pair of conjoined twins.
In November 2018, fire broke out on Camp Creek Road and raced through Butte County, California. By the time the fire was extinguished, the town of Paradise had been scoured from the map. Nearly 100 people died. Damage ran to an estimated $16 billion. The disaster has been named the Camp Fire, in memory of its place of origin. The horror writers of Northern California rallied to raise money for the survivors.
Tales for the Camp Fire ranges from fairytale to science fiction, from psychological terror to magical realism, from splatterpunk to black humor, all rounded out by a messed-up post-apocalyptic cookbook. All profits from the sale of this anthology will be donated to Camp Fire relief and recovery efforts.
"[A] brilliant collection of truly creepy tales by horror's hottest voices! Dark, funny, heartbreaking, and bizarre. Highly recommended!"
--Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Glimpse
Contributors include: Clark Ashton Smith, Loren Rhoads, Erika Mailman, Ross E. Lockhart, Roh Morgon, Clifford Brooks, Chad Schimke, Sumiko Saulson, Dana Fredsti, Crystal M. Romero, G. O. Clark, Anthony DeRouen, Eric Esser, Nancy Etchemendy, Gerry Griffiths, Sean Patrick Hazlett, Ken Hueler, L.S. Johnson, Ben Monroe, Gene O'Neill, Jeff Seeman, John Claude Smith, John McCallum Swain, and E.M. Markoff. Published by Tomes & Coffee Press.
“Hot new talent.” —Locus
Get to know tomorrow’s brightest creative talents chosen by some of today’s bestselling authors and celebrated artists including Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card, Larry Elmore, and Brandon Sanderson.
Explore 12 diverse new universes of possibility through a variety of creative and fresh new ideas—all in one anthology. From dragons to mythical death dealers, from murder on the moon to deep space mystery, these stories bring you the hot new talent in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Discover the writers who push the boundaries—and break beyond them . . . the illustrators who envision the impossible—and render it real . . . the stories that challenge the way we see ourselves—and see the world in a new way.
You’ll love this anthology because of the diversity of stories, unexpected twists and turns, and 16 full color illustrations that bring the stories to vivid life.
Get it now.
Bonus short stories by L. Ron Hubbard, Todd McCaffrey, and Robert J. Sawyer
Art and writing tips by Anne McCaffrey, L. Ron Hubbard, and Larry Elmore
“This fine collection will appeal to both fans of science fiction and fantasy short stories and aspiring writers looking for ways to improve their craft.” —Booklist
About the Stories:
When Gwen’s husband is found murdered, she’s the only suspect. After all, they were the only two people on the moon.—Moonlight One
Flora’s father is a mech-soldier of the Slayer Class, but how much of him is really left inside the machine?—The Armor Embrace
When an alien with godly intelligence is discovered watching the earth, one man must try to learn if its motives are pure.—Envoy in the Ice
If you were stranded in an open boat and the only hope for rescue came from a ghost ship, would dare to ride?—The Devil’s Rescue
Some gifts come with heavy price tags, and the giver must rise to the occasion.—Tears for Shülna
What if an alien asks for your help with a question, and the answer affects the future of the whole human race?—The Drake Equation
Barlow has a talent for finding the dead. Or do they find him.—Acquisition
When Varga sets out to explore the ancient stronghold of a long- dead wizard, she discovers that the ruins aren’t as deserted as she thought.—Obsidian Spire
If only that reptile in the sewer were something as predictable as an alligator.—Gator
On a distant world among the cloud peaks, the light-hawks promise a rich reward for those daring enough to harvest one.—A Glowing Heart
In a world where memories can be stripped, Bill discovers that he has a family he has never known.—The Long Dizzy Down
Not all spirits have the best of intentions, and they must be dealt with.—The Woodcutters’ Deity
You can put an end to something wondrous, but only at a cost.
ISSUE 48: January 2021
Lezli Robyn, Editor
Martin Shoemaker, Assistant Editor
Taylor Morris, Copyeditor
Shahid Mahmud, Publisher
Stories by Kai Wolden, Michael Swanwick, Elise Stephens. Sean Patrick Hazlett, Nancy Kress, Dantzel Cherry
Serialization: Over the Wine Dark Sea by Harry Turtledove
Columns by: Gregory Benford, L. Penelope
Recommended Books: Richard Chwedyk
Galaxy’s Edge is a bi-monthly magazine published by Phoenix Pick, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Arc Manor, an award winning independent press based in Maryland. Each issue of the magazine has a mix of new and old stories, a serialization of a novel, columns by L. Penelope and Gregory Benford, and book recommendations by Richard Chwydyk.