Maybe making “shock” the theme of this issue is a bit like asking someone if they want to hear a funny story—it sets high expectations that have a good chance of being disappointed. So before you cross your arms and offer the challenge, “it takes a lot to shock me,” let us add a qualifier. These pieces will do more than shock. They’ll unsettle, confuse, entertain, and definitely surprise.

From Todd Grimson’s slow-burning dread, to Rachel Kaufman’ breezy bits of odd trivia, to the disturbing imagery in Josh Schneider’s “Vivisection,” we hope the works in this issue will jar you somehow.

On a serious note, we would also like to offer our good wishes to Paul Haines, who has a wonderfully unsettling piece in this issue. He has been struggling with advanced-stage bowel cancer and we send our support to him and his family as he continues to heroically fight for his health. You can follow his efforts at his blog

All the best, and we hope you enjoy the issue.

— The Editors