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 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.