AS: This is the last month of a really rocky year. As I write this line, it’s the middle of October. But when I think about the ending of the year, I think of all the things we’ve endured, both individually/personally and culturally; and I feel a sense of hope for what 2022 may bring.
CY: Everyone I know has struggled so much over the past two years. One of the things that has kept a lot of us going is the fact that we have each other—a community of readers, a community of creators, a community of fans. Ray Bradbury used to talk about how, when he would get lonely, he would go to the library to “visit his friends.” When I was growing up, I thought he meant the books; he probably did, but I think he may also have been talking about the people who wrote them. When we’ve all been forced by circumstance to be apart for so long, I take real joy in reading stories by the names I know, and in discovering exciting new work by names I don’t know.
AS: Fiction can serve so many purposes; it can be so many things. It can be an escape, a reprieve, or a means to release the pressures of life. It can be a conversation; it can help transform ideas and theories and even cultures. Reading fiction can be an emotional experience, catharsis; it can be intellectually stimulating and challenging. If something in our pages speaks to you, whether it’s fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, I hope you will share your favorite finds with friends, with peers, with whoever might be interested, and let them experience what you’ve experienced.
CY: That’s what it’s all about, right? It’s the difference between being into something and being a snob about it by keeping it to yourself and “knowing more” than the people around you, and being a fan who desperately wants to share that joy and get even more people into it. At my day job, it seems like once a month someone will say something like, “Have you met Jane? She’s into science fiction and fantasy, too! You’ll love each other.” Most of the time, they’re right; every conversation will revolve around what we’re read recently, what we liked or didn’t like about it, and what we hope to read next.
AS: Looking back at the pieces we’ve published over 2021, including this issue, I feel so proud of what we’ve put together. There’s so much for people to experience in our pages, and so many ways to engage with the work of these creators. We’ve been able to publish truly fantastic writing. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2022!
CY: We’re so fortunate to be able to bring these stories to our readers. Thank you all for sticking with us throughout 2021. We look forward to bringing you more stories to delight you, move you, make you think, and spark once again that sense of wonder that genre fiction does best.
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In this issue’s short fiction, we get a different kind of hero’s journey in a really cool world with Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga’s “Saviour of the Light Market”, and “The Rainmakers” by Megan M. Davies-Ostrom glitters and glows in a climate-based post-apocalypse. In flash fiction, Dominica Phetteplace haunts us with “24 Reasons You’re Dreaming About Your Ex / 24 Razones Por Las Que Sueñas Con Tú Ex”, and C.L. Holland’s “What the River Remembers” takes a much closer look at change through a unique perspective. For poetry, we have “Forest Maths” by Nnadi Samuel and “The Other Day The Saucers Came” by Karen Brenchley. Plus a kind of “Part 2” essay, or companion piece to our December 2020 essay, this one called “All the King’s Women: the Fats” by the author of Big Girl, Find Layla, and series The Road to Nowhere, Meg Elison. Enjoy!
Spread the word!