On this page, you’ll find summaries and links to every Issue 2.1 story. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll be able to access everything here. If you’re not ready to commit to a subscription, purchase this issue. You’ll get the print and epub versions, plus the cover art (created by the talented Katrina Belikova, aka Ninja Jo) as downloadable desktop and phone backgrounds!

From the Editors

Welcome to Issue 2.1 of The Dread Machine!

This quarter, our team gravitated to active, chaotic stories like Punk’s Not Dead by Andrew Giffin, Pricking of My Thumb by Cory Daignault, and Camera’s Up! Action On! by H.L. Fullerton. These tales didn’t seem to notice our presence as readers, let alone care if we knew what the hell was going on. Each of these writers thrust us into a vivid new reality and pulled us through outright mayhem, leaving us dizzy, breathless, and eager to share their stories with others.

We also enjoyed slipping into some more dreamlike pieces—Silence by Melinda Brasher, Riding Dark by Marisca Pichette, Dōngzhì by Celine Low, and Palliative Dehiscence by Jason P. Burnham. Each are haunting and beautifully written, containing unforgettable imagery.

You’ll find some stories about lovers separated by space (Nothing Separates You by James Parenti) and time (Observer Effect by Geoffrey W. Cole), and a few about things that go missing (a child, in The Other Me by Alex Sobel, and a dangerous biosynthetic salamander in Goodly Creatures by Austin Shirey).

This issue will lead off with Alamogordo by C.M. Fields, an important and timely reminder that far too many people hold the keys to the world’s destruction—but don’t worry, we picked up a heart-warmer: Bree Wernicke’s lovely piece, For Sale: Cursèd Object, Never Cleaned. Ai Jiang contributed two surreal and emotional pieces this quarter: Lost and What We Look For at the Night Market. We also acquired a fun alternative Beatles reprint from Patrick Barb titled When I’m #64 that will make you seriously consider whether immortality is a gift or a curse.

Avra Margariti’s poem, Soft Eternity, will remind you that even the strongest people need support, and Tianna Ebnet’s story, To Invoke the Muse, will show you how artistic inspiration (and obsessive love) can destroy a person. Andrew Kozma’s story, Today’s Face, brings readers to a shopping mall full of people trying to look like a popular terrorist. In Mermaid’s Purse by Timothy Mudie, you’ll meet a grieving scientist and an aquatic creature with disturbing powers.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed creating it! Please be sure to leave us a review and share this title with your friends. Every bit of exposure helps indies thrive!

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On our first anniversary, we decided to make our content available for free the quarter after it’s published, but we’re a paying market with dreams of being able to pay our writers pro rates ($0.08/word). Unfortunately, Alin’s freelance income can’t reliably support that, so we’re hoping our readers can help bridge the gap. Consider becoming a subscriberbuying access to this issue, purchasing some merch from our store, or sending us a small donation. Every single penny of Alin’s income (and the publication’s revenue) is reinvested back into The Dread Machine’s contributors.

Why should you subscribe to a free magazine? Subscribers gain a number of benefits, including access to stories as soon as they’re published (everyone else has to wait three months). Only subscribers can visit secret areas of the site and our Discord community. They receive 10% off all purchases and have the ability to influence the direction of our projects by participating in polls and project-related discussions. Any downloadable games or interactive stories we produce (which generally sell for $7-20 each) are gifted to active subscribers for free. For Digital Devotees, magazine issues are delivered in several formats each quarter: ebook (epub, mobi, and PDF) and virtual (what you’re looking at here), in files containing all downloadable content. Print Propagandists receive issues in print, ebook, and virtual, plus all other benefits.

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