From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Editorial: August 2022

AS: I conduct a lot of interviews. I love asking authors and editors about genre, because the answers can really vary, and I think you learn a lot about the individual by seeing their perspective on something. So, here we are, running this magazine called “Fantasy.” What is fantasy fiction to you, why is it important, how is it different from any other kind of writing?

CY: What I love about fantasy as a genre is that the “What if . . . ?” possibilities are virtually unlimited. This comes up in my book club a lot. They’re all strictly science fiction readers and some of them get irritated if the “science” in their fiction isn’t closely grounded in known reality. Personally I find that really limiting; I don’t mind going way out there into the impossible to explore an idea or a relationship. My suspension of disbelief more often hangs on the actions of the characters than the nature or plausibility of the speculative element, which allows me to enjoy a wide range of stories.

AS: I feel like, to a degree, all fiction is a type of fantasy. It’s an individual imagining something that didn’t happen, probably isn’t going to happen, and creating a narrative out of that imagining. But for me, the power of fantasy fiction is in its versatility. You can do so many things with it, from just throwing together fun ideas to exploring difficult, important topics. It can look like so many things, from something that you’re not even sure involves the fantastic, to wildly imaginative scenarios. Some of my favorite pieces of fantasy point at truths or explore reality utilizing cool concepts, such as N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became. But because fantasy can be so many things, it can be a wonderful way for people who are quite different from each other to come together.

CY: Agreed. There are times when I desperately want to convince people that just as science fiction isn’t limited to rockets and robots, fantasy isn’t all dragons and wizards. The stories that we seem to gravitate toward are using a fantasy framework to examine race, class, gender, climate, trauma, justice–some are deeply personal, some are timely and topical, and of course some are just sheer fun, which is just as valid an application of literature as any!

AS: I think that the work we publish approaches or utilizes the fantastic in a variety of ways. You can find all kinds of fantasy in our pages. But whatever the story or poem or even essay, if we’re publishing it, then you can count on it being interesting.

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In this issue’s short fiction, Eliza Chan explores gender and power across generations in “The Tails That Make You,” and P H Lee’s  “A True and Certain Proof of the Messianic Age, with two lemmas” brings us folklore through an algorithmic lens; for flash fiction, Mary Soon Lee explores classic fairy tales through a different lens in “Introduction to Couture 101,” and M. H. Ayinde grows something new in “Girlfriend Material”; for poetry, we have “The God’s Wife” by Nana Afadua Ofori-Atta and “The Himba Destroyer” by Yvette Lisa Ndlovu. Plus! A collective interview (part one of two) with several of the Top Ten Finalists for this year’s Locus Awards, from the Best Fantasy Novel category! Enjoy!

Arley Sorg

Arley Sorg is a 2021 and a 2022 World Fantasy Award Finalist as well as a 2022 Locus Award Finalist for his work as co-Editor-in-Chief at Fantasy Magazine. Arley is a 2022 recipient of SFWA’s Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award. He is also a finalist for two 2022 Ignyte Awards: for his work as a critic as well as for his creative nonfiction. Arley is a senior editor at Locus Magazine, associate editor at both Lightspeed & Nightmare, and a columnist for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He takes on multiple roles, including slush reader, movie reviewer, and book reviewer, and conducts interviews for multiple venues, including Clarkesworld Magazine and his own site: arleysorg.com. He has taught classes, run workshops, and been a guest for Clarion West, the Odyssey Writing Workshop, Cascade Writers, Augur Magazine, and more. Arley grew up in England, Hawaii, and Colorado, and studied Asian Religions at Pitzer College. He lives in the SF Bay Area and writes in local coffee shops when he can. Find him on Twitter @arleysorg. Arley is a 2014 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate.

Christie Yant

A white middle-aged woman with pale skin, chin-length magenta hair, and tortoise-shell glasses

Christie Yant writes and edits science fiction and fantasy in the American mid-west. She is a World Fantasy Award and Locus Award finalist as co-editor of Fantasy Magazine; a consulting editor for Tordotcom’s acclaimed line of novellas; co-editor of four anthologies; editor of Women Destroy Science Fiction!, winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology; and the author of just enough published short stories that if you counted them up on your digits you’d probably have a toe left over. She has a website here: inkhaven.net. She presently attempts to balance her dayjob, writing life, and editing life with varying degrees of success.