From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Editorial: October 2022

AS: Let’s talk about our readers. And let’s also talk about reading. We are creative people, and we have our other projects. But the stuff we do in the publishing industry ultimately goes back to a love of reading, to enjoying places and characters and getting lost in stories.

CY: Right! So many of us share a history of being that three-books-a-day kid. There was a time when if you were into science fiction and/or fantasy, all of your SFF-loving friends had read all of the same stuff you had. Today there’s so much out there, enough to appeal to every taste and subgenre imaginable–the field has evolved and become so broad that it’s entirely possible not to have any overlap with our friends.

AS: One of the things I love about our venue is that we showcase a lot of new authors, a lot of searingly bright talent. We often get to be the first to recognize their brilliance, and to bring their work to the readers who will deeply appreciate them. It’s been incredibly satisfying to see new authors getting love on Twitter or some other platform, or even in person, at places such as Worldcon.

CY: That was the main driver for both of us when we brought Fantasy back–to find those emerging authors and amplify their voices. One of the things that happens as authors gain momentum is that they sort of “age out” of short fiction and move on to novels–but there’s always a new group of writers right behind them that we’re eager to discover.

AS: I recently interviewed Ken Liu for my site. He had this great line: “…the writer is mostly creating a space within which the reader performs an act of co-creation to bring the story alive, at her own pace, using her own imagination, drawing on her own treasure trove of experience for material.” I admire the way Ken frames this. It speaks to the way that the writer can put down a narrative, but the reader picks it up and interprets it based on their own lives. I feel like powerful stories can change you in some way, challenge you, shift your perspective; or, sometimes, drive home the idea that you aren’t as alone as you thought you were. So many of our pieces have done that for me, and I hope that they have touched our readers in the same way.

CY: I’m not sure that people realize how seldom authors hear that, despite how often it’s true. People are much more likely to take to the internet to tell the world that they didn’t like something (and even tell authors directly, which is just rude). I used to think authors must be inundated with adoration; the terms “fanboy/fangirl” was so often used derogatively, so I thought that I shouldn’t “bother the talent.” But that’s just not the case for most authors. To hear that a reader was moved by a story–that’s what authors live for, and today they’re so accessible. So if you loved a story you read here–or anywhere!–make an author’s day by telling them so.

• • • •

In this issue’s short fiction, Kelsey Hutton brings the curtain down on Giselle in “Queen of the Wilis” and Aigner Loren Wilson’s “The Black and White” takes us on a monstrous road trip with badass sisters; in flash fiction, Eurydice reconsiders this whole… Orpheus thing in Avi Burton’s “Quantum Eurydice,” and something’s fishy in Stephen M.A.’s “Short Swims From Great Heights”; for poetry, we have “The Road” by Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí and “Wolves Heaven” by Abu Bakr Sadiq. Plus essay “Reclaiming a Traditional African Genre: The AfroSurrealism of Ngano” by Drinking From Graveyard Wells author (and author of Fantasy poem “The Himba Destroyer”) Lisa Yvette Ndlovu. 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.