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.
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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!
Spread the word!