Staff Picks: Back to the Features

Staff Picks: Back to the Features

By Dark Matter Staff

For the final issue of Dark Matter Magazine, staff members were asked to pick a few of their favorite stories, issues, and art features from the magazine’s three years in print. For easy accessibility, every story and art feature from every issue of Dark Matter Magazine will soon be available for free to read and view right here on our website. And, of course, every issue will continue to be for sale in print and digital formats.

Art Feature: Shape of the Future Reading Staff Picks: Back to the Features 7 minutes Next Decay Gospel

Anna Madden

Acquisitions Editor, Dark Matter INK

Favorite Stories

“Scintillae” by Ariel Marken Jack (Issue 008, March–April 2022)

“Your Augmented Home is Now Ready” by Erich Alan Werner (Issue 002, March–April 2021)

“Memory Simulation for a Grandmother” by Vikram Ramakrishnan (Issue 005, September–October 2021)

“Narrowing down to three favorite stories was no easy task. Looking back, I traced out impressions left in time. One of those impressions is “Scintillae” by Ariel Marken Jack, with its earthy imagery and beautiful prose and its commentary on how we try to appear versus what we are. I often think back to “Your Augmented Home is Now Ready,” by Erich Alan Werner, for the reminder that even those seemingly closest and dearest to us are living in their own version of reality. And then there is “Memory Simulation for a Grandmother” by Vikram Ramakrishnan, with its cyberpunk vibes and its addiction to memories.” —Anna

Favorite Art Features

“Virtual Boyz 21” featuring art by Rob Shields (Issue 007, January–February 2022)

“Into the Mystic” featuring art by Jennifer Sikora (Issue 012, November–December 2022)

“Technicolor Dream Coats” featuring art by Carly A-F (Issue 002, March–April 2021)

“For my favorite art features, I first thought of the cover art for Issue 007, “Virtual Boyz 21” by Rob Shields. The augmented reality (AR) feels like magic, with its fusion of art and tech. Secondly, I adore “Into the Mystic,” from Issue 012, with Jennifer Sikora’s illustrations and their bright roots in Ukrainian folklore. And lastly, there is “Technicolor Dream Coats” from Issue 002, with art from Carly A-F, with divine elemental qualities that mesmerize.” —Anna

Favorite Issue

Issue 004, July–August 2021

“My favorite issue has to be Issue 004. It includes my own story, ‘Wildflower,’ my first pro-rated publication. Seeing it in print is a reminder of that milestone, and it was what opened the door for me into this world of editing and the warm embrace of this Dark Matter family.” —Anna

Marie Croke

Acquisitions Editor, Dark Matter INK

Favorite Stories

“The Three Breeds of Lie” by T. M. Hurree (Issue 002, January–February 2021)

“Recycle of Violence” by Andrew Leon Hudson (Issue 003, May–June 2021)

“Of the Sea-Born and the Brine-Hearted” by Christine Lucas (Issue 010, July–August 2022)

Favorite Art Features

“Die Chromatic” featuring art by Meljen Art (Halloween Special Issue 001, October 2021)

“Electrogenesis” featuring art by Katerina Belikova, aka Ninja Jo (Issue 004, July–August 2021)

“Dream Machines” featuring art by Marischa Becker (Issue 014, March–April 2023)

Favorite Issues

Issue 007, January–February 2022

Issue 009, May–June 2022

Issue 010, July–August 2022

Favorite Issue Cover Art

“Ice Cream Robot” by Katerina Belikova, aka Ninja Jo (Issue 004, July–August 2021)

“Mysterious and Spooky” by Sean Keeton (Halloween Special Issue 002, October 2022)

“Wandering Pete” by Sean Andrew Murray (Issue 012, November–December 2022)

Marissa van Uden

Freelance Editor

Favorite Stories

“Drifting From Her Lunar Ruin” by Sloane Leong (Issue 002, March–April 2021)

“One of my favorite stories of all time. I love the use of second-person POV and the specific alien voice., and I love the theme—the horror of humanity’s cruel and mindless exploitation of other sentient life, and what it means to have empathy for that life. It breaks my heart every time I read it.” —Marissa

“The Long Sleeper” by Andrew Jackson (Issue 010, July–August 2022)

“I still remember finding this in the slush pile and just feeling shook. It’s so unsettling and disturbing, which are two of my favorite
things to feel when reading. From the opening line to the last paragraph, it’s horror all the way through. The
dialogue, “Buddy buddy?” will remain creepy to me forever.” —Marissa

“Citymouth” by Erin Strubbe (Issue 014, March–April 2023)

“I love New Weird worlds like this, where the environment becomes a character, and where issues from modern life are reflected in a surreal setting. The character relationships at the heart of this piece are heartbreaking and well drawn, and the voice works perfectly.” —Marissa

Favorite Art Feature

“Purgatorium” featuring art by Anthony Christopher (Issue 005, September–October 2021)

“I see something new every time I look at Anthony’s work—a new face, a new horror, a new anxiety. His piece “Tenant” is fascinating. It reminds me of all the strange little dolls and figures my Oma and Opa kept at their house when I was growing up. I would peer at their strange faces on the shelves and imagine they had moved while I was away. Anthony’s grotesque little faces and out-of-place animals give me a comforting feeling of childhood nostalgia.” —Marissa

Favorite Issue

Issue 014, March–April 2023

“This issue contains multiple stories I could have chosen as part of my favorites. I love the mood of the issue and the thoughtfulness of the stories. Just banger after banger.” —Marissa

Alli Nova

Audio Director, Dark Matter Audiolab

Favorite Stories

“Set For Life” by Warren Benedetto (Issue 004, July–August 2021)

“Dream Dealers” by Heather Santo (Issue 008, March–April 2022)

“Her Tongue Was Weighted With Salt” by Alexandra Seidel (Issue 002, March–April 2021)

Favorite Art Feature

“Life Aquatic” featuring art by Aylin Sophia, aka Pevvit (Issue 004, July–August 2021)

Favorite Issue Cover Art

“Mysterious and Spooky” by Sean Keeton (Halloween Special Issue 002, October 2022)

Rob Carroll

Editor-in-Chief, Creative Director, Dark Matter Magazine / INK

“At the end of 2022, I chose a number of my favorite stories from the first two years of Dark Matter Magazine for the anthology Zero Dark Thirty: The 30 Darkest Stories from Dark Matter Magazine, 2021–’22 (Dark Matter INK, 2023). So, for this feature, I’m going to choose three of my favorite stories from the third and final year of the magazine (2023). These three stories just stuck with me after I read them. I might not always remember the details, but I’ll forever remember specific scenes and how they had me in awe.” —Rob

Favorite Stories

“Payment Unkind” by Andrew Leon Hudson (Issue 016, July–August 2023)

“What You Want” by Michael A. Clark (Issue 016, July–August 2023)

“My Other Half” by Belicia Rhea (Issue 017, September–October 2023)

Favorite Art Features

“The Hellfire Club” featuring art by Olly Jeavons (Issue 005, September–October 2021)

“Picking my favorite art feature from the more than fifty artists we published during the magazine’s three-year run is impossible, so I chose the most special. ‘The Hellfire Club’ from Issue 005 introduced me to Olly Jeavons, who would go on to become a valuable part of the Dark Matter team. He is currently the staff artist for Dark Matter Magazine and Dark Matter INK.” —Rob

Favorite Issue Cover Art

“F.E.A.R” by Olly Jeavons (Issue 011, September–October 2022)

“To me, the cover art for Issue 011 of Dark Matter Magazine perfectly summarizes the Dark Matter brand. It’s everything I love about genre fiction, and more.” —Rob

Favorite Issue

Issue 001, January–February 2021

“Every issue is my favorite, but Issue 001 is where it all started. Easy choice.” —Rob

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