CY: How is it July already? This month I’ll be teaching at the Cascade Writers Weekend, along with Wendy Wagner, who our readers know and love as the editor of our sister magazine, Nightmare. Wendy and I have been friends for more than a decade—we read at each other’s weddings! Years go by without us getting to see each other in person. While the Cascade workshop is online this year, I’m so excited that we get to teach together.
AS: Wendy is really good people! As cool as many of the virtual events have been, especially standouts like FIYAHCON, I can’t wait to see people in person again. I was just at a friend’s house, commenting on how they usually have a Fourth of July gathering which often culminates in a living room full of people. They were both eager to see friends again, but quickly realized they want to ease into it: start with a smaller gathering of closer friends, those with whom they can easiest share company.
CY: Like many of us, I’m an introvert at heart, and I’m finding that even lunch with a friend takes it out of me much more than it did in the Before Times. It feels like such a big event, and there’s stimuli that we haven’t been exposed to for more than a year—and new accommodations, like scanning a QR code at the table to bring up the menu on your smart phone to keep ordering contact-free. The conventions that are coming back to meat-space this fall have their work cut out for them. Gencon is happening in Indianapolis, Worldcon in D.C., and World Fantasy in Montreal.
AS: I know! I’m seriously thinking about World Fantasy and WorldCon! I think self-awareness will be key to really enjoying these events. Making space for rest, being okay with feeling overwhelmed, getting a break from socializing. But also, getting out there and having fun! I really miss quiet conversations at the bar with cool people.
CY: Going virtual made conventions accessible to countless people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to participate, so I hope that online events continue in some form. But even if a person never gets to experience a convention—or just doesn’t want to!—the SFF community begins with readers and writers in quiet conversation with each other on the page.
AS: The SFF community has been important to me in so many ways, and I enjoy being part of it. Well, mostly. Most people are great! I believe that even if you never leave the house and just write what you write, even if you aren’t necessarily thinking about it, you are still engaging with the SFF community via your work. Our work here at Fantasy is deliberate, and I’m so glad that as a team we engage thoughtfully with the community through this magazine. I’m proud of what we contribute, and I hope our readers find a sense of community in these pages.
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In this issue’s short fiction, Lulu Khadim keeps loved ones close even beyond the veil in “A Softness of the Heart,” and Benjamin C. Kinney takes us through delightfully layered visions in “I Would”; for flash fiction, Dustin Katz brings the horror and the tension with “To My (Final) Girl,” and in “There Will Be a Question and Answer Period After Your Inevitable Demise” Marika Bailey challenges tropes that reach far back into history; for poetry, we have “How to Find Yourself Again” by Beth Cato and “Paladin” by Lisabell Tay. Plus an interview with The Return of the Sorceress and Velvet Was the Night author Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Enjoy!
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