From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Editorial, March 2021

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CY: As we write this, we had our first spring-like day in the lower American mid-west. I can see buds on the trees outside my window. We’re finally coming out of a very long, dark winter, literally and figuratively. As we start to see more and more people getting their Covid-19 vaccines, that despair that kept so many of us down for the past year is starting to lift a little for some.

AS: Hope can be a dangerous thing! It’s so often the foundation for heartbreak. But I think hope is also essential: It keeps us going, keeps us striving. In fiction, even in darker stories, hope can give the reader a moment to breathe, and keep the read engaging. As spring unfolds, our country is beginning to move through a number of transitions, and so many people are feeling a bit more positive and hopeful again.

CY: I wonder how that will spill out into the stories we read in coming months, as we finally gain a little mental space to process what we’ve all been through. Some people can write about heavy stuff while they’re in it; others need some distance before they can touch it.

AS: It’s true! I also wonder how it will affect our own responses to stories. Part of this depends on what we get, and I do believe that finding a great story can have a huge impact on your mood. But I also wonder how much our environment and the things we are going through plays a part in what we are hungry to read.

CY: I’m looking forward to more stories of hope, change, and community.

AS: That… sounds really good! I’ve always liked dark stories, but I also like well-told stories of hope. I can’t wait to see what people send us!

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In this issue, you’ll find the following fabulous fantasies: Original fiction by M. Shaw (“Man vs. Bomb”) and Hal Y. Zhang (“Arenous”); flash fiction by McKinley Valentine (“The Code for Everything”) and Donyae Coles (“Close Enough to Divine”); poetry by B. Sharise Moore (“Black Beak”) and Priya Chand (“Dragonslayer”); and an interview with Charles Yu. Enjoy!

Arley Sorg

Arley Sorg is a senior editor at Locus Magazine, where he’s been on staff since 2014. He joined the Lightspeed family in 2014 to work on the Queers Destroy Science Fiction! special issue, starting as a slush reader. He eventually worked his way up to associate editor at both Lightspeed and Nightmare. He also reviews books for LocusLightspeed, and Cascadia Subduction Zone and is an interviewer for Clarkesworld Magazine. Arley grew up in England, Hawaii, and Colorado, and studied Asian Religions at Pitzer College. He lives in Oakland, and, in non-pandemic times, usually writes in local coffee shops. He is a 2014 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate.

Christie Yant

Christie Yant writes and edits science fiction and fantasy in the American mid-west. She worked as an assistant editor for Lightspeed Magazine from its launch in 2010 through 2015, and, in 2014 she edited the Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue of Lightspeed, which won the British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. She is the co-editor of four anthologies, and a consulting editor for’s line of novellas. Her own fiction has appeared in anthologies and magazines including Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011 (Horton),  Armored, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, io9, and