From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Editorial: September 2021

CY: As we’re writing this, we only recently learned that we are World Fantasy Award Nominees! We’re so grateful to the nominators for their excitement about the return of Fantasy Magazine, and honored to be included among such brilliant minds and contributors to the field. The World Fantasy Award might be the first award I was ever aware of (if only because it was mentioned in the introduction to a favorite book). So to have our names associated with it in any capacity is kind of a dream come true.

AS: Well said. After years of working at Locus, in the shadow of all those Hugo Awards (plus an Alfie!), this is the first time I’ve ever been listed for an award, the first time I’ve ever been up for something like this. On the one hand, it’s kind of exhilarating! On the other, for me, it’s a testament to the work we’ve published. Yeah—we did pick those pieces. But the nomination is as much if not more an acknowledgement of the hard work and talent of our fantastic authors.

CY: Absolutely! A magazine is only as good as its contributors. And behind the scenes, there are others who make this whole thing work: Veronica Henry and Phoebe Barton, who do our Author Spotlights; Chloe Smith, our copyeditor; Anthony Cardno, our proofreader; Jeremy Tolbert designed, built, and maintains our website; and of course, our publishing Overlord, John Joseph Adams, who handles all of the arcane publishing bits and formats the ebooks for our readers to enjoy.

AS: Whether or not they are put up for an award, there are many fantastic editors and venues out there, just as there are great writers who haven’t broken into “pro” markets. I think you can tell more about a magazine and its editorial stewardship by looking at what they publish, than you can tell by the awards they get. I mean, I am seriously grateful for the acknowledgement. But it doesn’t change what we are trying to do. It does, perhaps, make me feel even more validated in our goals. Also—celebrating is important!

CY: A recurring theme in our editorials is encouraging our readers to go seek out excellent work in other places. In our category—the somewhat vaguely named “Special Award, Non-Professional” —the other nominees publishing extraordinary short stories are Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Uncanny Magazine. Undertow Publications publishes novella-length stories, along with anthologies and collections. And for the scholarly-minded reader, there is the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, which examines the fantastic in literature from around the world.

AS: Definitely! Awards ballots can be a great way to source new reads. And it’s fine if you don’t agree with an award. Not every poem, story, or book is for every reader. Any award winning movie will have critics and experts who thought it wasn’t all that. Art comes down to individual taste, and we don’t all have to agree. Importantly, for authors, the best thing you can do for your art is to hone your craft, be honest with yourself about your work, and be true to the heart of what you want to write. And as both Christie and I have said many, many times: Keep going!

• • • •

In this issue’s short fiction, Amal Singh gives us a difficult reality check in “What Is Mercy?” and K.P. Kulski’s “An Arrangement of Moss and Dirt” reminds us to be careful what we wish for; in flash fiction, Addison Smith introduces us to a couple coming out of—or into—their shell in “Sounds for Crustaceans,” and Mark S. Bailen has a fresh perspective on portal stories with “Lost Portals”; for poetry, we have “The Herbalist” by Oluwatomiwa Ajeigbe and “The Forbidden Path to Forgetting” by Daniel Ausema. Plus an interview with Elysium and Destroyer of Light author Jennifer Marie Brissett. 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