The Best of Nightmare Magazine Podcast 2017-2018

written by David Steffen

Nightmare Magazine is the horror sister magazine of Lightspeed Magazine, published/edited by John Joseph Adams, with Wendy Wagner as senior editor, and their podcast produced by the excellent Skyboat Media.  The podcast publishes about half of the stories they publish in text.  They didn’t publish enough stories in 2017 for a list, so this list covers both 2017 and 2018.  They published 47 stories between the two years.

The stories eligible for the upcoming Hugo and Nebula award seasons are marked with an asterisk (*).

The List

1.“Dead Air” by Nino Cipri**
Particularly good narration on this one, presented as a series of recordings from a project where a woman records interviews with people she’s slept with.

2.“The Island of Beasts” by Carrie Vaughn*
What happens when werewolves are captured and confined to an island together.

3.“Kylie Land” by Caspian Gray*
An awkward kid befriends a kid with powers.

4.“House of Small Spiders” by Weston Ochse**
It takes a particular set of events for a house to have a soul.

5.“The Ten Things She Said While Dying: An Annotation” by Adam-Troy Castro*
A pedantic retelling of a gruesome death as told by the demon who caused it by entering our dimension.

Honorable Mentions

“Promises of Spring” by Caspian Gray

“A Mother’s Love Never Ends” by Halli Villegas

The Best of Pseudopod 2017

written by David Steffen

Pseudopod is the weekly horror podcast edited by Shawn Garrett and Alex Hofelich. 2016 marked some major moments in the podcast’s history.  2017 marked a major landmark for them when they were added to the SFWA list of professional short fiction publications, after raising their flash fiction pay rates to be in line with their pay rates for longer fiction, which means that all four of the Escape Artists podcasts are on the list–Escape Pod, Podcastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders.

After running a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016 for their 10th anniversary to fun an anthology, that anthology went live in 2017, Of Mortal Things Unsung which included many Pseudopod favorites as well as some brand new original fiction.  (My story “What Makes You Tick” that had previously appeared on Pseudopod was reprinted in the anthology.)

In February Pseudopod once again participated in the Artemis Rising theme across the Escape Artists podcasts, publishing horror stories by women (including some originals picked out from a special slushpile just for this purpose).

Pseudopod publishes episodes weekly, with occasional Flash on the Borderlands episodes that collect 3 similar-themed flash stories for a single episode, for a total of 66 stories published in 2017, by my count.

Stories that are eligible for this year’s Hugo and Nebula Awards are marked with an asterisk (*), all of which would be credited to Pseudopod as the original publisher.

The List

1.  “Under the Rubble” by John Wiswell*
This story as told by survivors in a collapsed grocery store, which collapsed for reasons unknown.

2. “The Hole at the Top of the World” by Benjamin Blattberg*
What is at the top of Mount Everest?  What will happen when the summit is reached?

3. “Granite Requires” by T.J. Berry*
Each kind of stone requires its own sacrifices, some much more extreme than others, to everyone who lives in this small town.  Granite is among the most demanding.

4. “The Corpse Child” by Chris Kuriata*
It is believed that there is a cure of a sick child that involves placing the corpse of a child underneath their bed for the night.  Does it really work?

5. “Passover” by Caspian Gray*
In a concentration camp, a worker finds a body that won’t burn.

6. “An Unsent Letter From an Unnamed Student” by Aaron Fox-Lerner*
Who decided who is the monster?  What if both sides think that they’re haunted?

7. “Indiscretions” by Hillary Dodge*
All the little details in Mary’s day tell her something is wrong.  But what is it?


Honorable Mentions

“Four Hours of a Revolution” by Premee Mohamed*

“A Howling Dog” by Nick Mamatas*

“When First He Laid Eyes” by Rachael K. Jones




The Best of Nightmare Magazine Podcast 2015-2016

written by David Steffen

Nightmare Magazine is the horror sister magazine of Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, and their podcast produced by the excellent Skyboat Media.  The podcast publishes about half of the stories they publish in text.  They didn’t publish enough stories in 2015 for a list, so this list covers both 2015 and 2016.  They published 46 stories between the two years.

2015 marked the publication of their Queers Destroy Horror special issue (guest edited by Wendy N. Wagner).  2016 marked the publication of their People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror (guest edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia).

The stories eligible for the upcoming Hugo and Nebula award seasons are marked with an asterisk (*).

The List

1. “The Modern Ladies’ Letter-Writer” by Sandra McDonald*
Written as a writing etiquette guide.  It gets weird.

2. “Golden Hair, Red Lips” by Matthew Bright
One of the stories in the Queers Destroy Horror special issue, this one is a modern take on the story of Dorian Gray during the breakout of the AIDS epidemic.

3.  “The Cellar Dweller” by Maria Dahvana Headley
“Buildings were built, in the beginning, everyone knows, to hold the dead down.”

4. “Where It Lives” by Nathaniel Lee
When your mental state has the ability to transform you physically, where does that lead?

5. “Bringing Out the Demons” by John Skipp*
For those haunted by demons, they can either learn to control them or to give in their power.  And who better to help someone whose demons are not under control, than others who know what they’re going through?

Honorable Mentions

“An Army of Angels” by Caspian Gray

“Vulcanization” by Nisi Shawl*


The Best of Nightmare Podcast

written by David Steffen

Nightmare Magazine is the sister magazine of Hugo-winning Lightspeed Magazine, launched by editor/publisher John Joseph Adams just in time for Halloween 2012. If you don’t know who John Joseph Adams is, you haven’t been paying much attention to short SF in recent years. Besides Lightspeed, he’s probably best known for his themed anthologies.

Nightmare publishes four stories a month–two original stories and two reprints. Half of those stories are published on the podcast. My list here is only taken from the podcast, so if you like what you hear, there’s twice as many stories as I made this list from in text on the website or in ebook format.

Nightmare ran a Women Destroy Horror Month in October 2014, featuring all women staff and all women authors–this was a stretch goal of the supremely popular fundraiser Women Destroy Science Fiction project.

Like its sister magazine, Nightmare is produced by Skyboat Media Company Inc which is spearheaded by the superb voice actors Gabrielle de Cuir and Stefan Ridnicki


The List

1. “Centipede Heartbeat” by Caspian Gray
Woman is certain her wife’s insides are crawling with invading centipedes. But what to do about it?

2. “We Now Pause for Station Identification” by Gary A. Braunbeck
A broadcast from a station after the end of the world, sending out just a little bit of civilization to… probably nobody. One of those episodes where the voice acting turns it from a good story to really incredible, voicework by Stefan Ridnicki.

3. “Spores” by Seanan McGuire
This one could bring out the OCD in anyone.

4. “The Black Window” by Lane Robins
Mysterious opaque attic portal. Nuff said.

5. “Property Condemned” by Jonathan Maberry
Haunted house story linking childhood to adulthood–format kind of familiar, but well done.

6. “It Was Never the Fire” by Martin Cahill
Another one with great voice acting.



Honorable Mentions

“Bones” by Bones
There are some self-referential in-jokes in this one that you might only get if you’re a submitting writer or at least know some submitting writers–it probably wouldn’t be on my list if I weren’t one.

“10/31: Bloody Mary” by Norman Partridge

“Blackbirds” by Norman Partridge