From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Editorial, February 2021

AS: There’s no doubt that 2020 was… challenging. The closer we came to the end of the year, the more eager we were for it to finally be over, to get into something new. And then January hit… and… well.

CY: This month’s essay by Andrea Stewart is on escapism. As we write this at the end of the first week of January, escapism seems vitally necessary. Around the world the pandemic rages on, though finally we have hope in the form of initial vaccine roll-outs, and here in the U.S. where our foundation has been rattled in a way that’s hard to even grasp. People are heartsick and exhausted, and the mental escape of a book, story, or poem seems more important than ever.

AS: I absolutely agree. There’s a tough balance to strike: to engage with the issues and events in a meaningful way, but not to be overwhelmed by them. Literature can be a means to engage with ideas, and it can also provide relief from the barrage of negativity which seems more and more constant. In fact, some stories can do both at the same time.

CY: Also there’s something about winter that makes me want to turn inward. I’ve been reading for pleasure a lot more lately, rereading old favorites and prioritizing the books in my to-be-read pile. I’m trying to branch out this year, too, and read more poetry and some classics that I’ve meant to get to but never have.

AS: Winter has me sipping hot soup or tea as I read, wrapped up in blankets or thick sweats. I recently wrote a Year-in-Review piece for Locus Magazine which forced me to look back at the fiction I’d read throughout an extremely tumultuous year. There were so many wonderful stories! In the day to day, in the face of our worries, it’s easy to forget how much great fiction is at hand. In remembering, I smiled, and I got excited for the stories to come.

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In the February issue of Fantasy Magazine . . . Original fiction by Innocent Chizaram Ilo (“Flight”) and David James Brock (“Kisser”); flash fiction by Sharang Biswas (“Of Course You Screamed”) and Shingai Njeri Kagunda (“Blackman’s Flight in Four Parts”); poetry by Danielle Jean Atkinson (“Like a Box of Chocolates”) and Lynette Mejía (“What My Mother Taught Me”); and a new essay, “The Validity of Escapism,” by Andrea Stewart. Thanks for reading!

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.