AS: One of the things I really appreciated about the recent Worldcon (DisCon III) was the addition of the African Programme, “devoted to speculative fiction by Africans.” There are wonderful writers all over the world, and the way genre fiction looks—not to mention the place it holds within a culture—can vary from place to place.
CY: That certainly tracks with what we’ve seen in the short fiction space. Last year we saw three exciting anthologies of African work: Tor published the anthology Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction; Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora was successfully Kickstarted; and Jembefola Press produced the first Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction.
AS: I’ve also really enjoyed a lot of fiction by authors whose experiences come from living in different places; or who have very close ties to different places. I love the complexities those experiences bring to their narratives. Lesley Nneka Arimah comes to mind, Tochi Onyebuchi, Cadwell Turnbull, and many others.
CY: We’ve been incredibly fortunate to publish stories by authors from at least ten different countries so far. This is exactly what made me such an obsessive young reader: getting to experience the world through someone else’s eyes, and consider the questions of life through another person’s experience.
AS: I personally believe that as a literary community, we are improved by reading beyond the boundaries of those things which are most familiar to us. Familiar stories and characters are great, don’t get me wrong. But the world is larger than where we live and the people surrounding us; we can understand the world better by engaging with stories, and we can also learn a lot about ourselves through this process. Not to mention the fact that so many awesome stories are out there, waiting to be read!
CY: As always, we encourage our readers to seek out the stories that speak to them, no matter where you find them.
• • • •
In this issue’s short fiction, family gatherings are rendered larger than life in S. Fambul’s “Cousins Season,” and “Slow Communication” by Dominique Dickey explores a conversation over generations; in flash fiction, Allahrakhi Memon takes us on a strange journey in “The Unseen,” and Julia August’s “After Naxos, Ariadne” redefines the labyrinth; for poetry, we have “The Prophet, To His Angel” by Bogi Takács and “Mister Potato Head” by Mark Dimaisip. Plus a collective interview with a few notable short fictioneers: Christopher Caldwell, WC Dunlap, Jaymee Goh, Tenea D. Johnson, Sam J. Miller, Russell Nichols, Suzan Palumbo, Pamela Rentz, Eden Royce, and A.C. Wise. Enjoy!
Spread the word!