From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Editorial, November 2020

Fantasy Magazine is back! Nearly four years since its last issue, we’re resuming with Issue #61, co-edited by Christie Yant and Arley Sorg.

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CY: One of the questions we’ve been asked most frequently is “Why now?” With everything going on in the world and in our lives, it seems an unlikely time to start a project like this one. We’re lucky to be living in a boom time for short fiction, with so many wonderful venues publishing fantastic stories. But we both had a feeling that there was room for more, and we were both itching to create something and find new talent.

AS: Everyone asks “why now” and to me, on the market side, it’s not about “now” because we always need more venues for quality fiction. The only way the question makes sense is on the personal side, to which the only answer is, everything fell into place now, and that’s “why now.”

CY: It really did! That lightbulb moment when we realized that we needed to do this together was pure serendipity.

Arley, it was your idea to do strictly anonymous submissions; no back door, no name recognition, and what a great idea it was!

AS: Anonymous submissions inevitably show your reading biases. For some markets this would result in predictable ToCs. In our case, we both read such a great variety of material, we enjoy a range of voices and topics, so we have this possibility of publishing a broader range of creative works. For us, it means the story is everything, and the chances of someone previously unpublished selling to us is entirely on the merits of the story.

CY: It was clearly the right decision, as our first Table of Contents goes to show! It will be interesting to see what a “Fantasy Magazine story” turns out to be over time.

It was so exciting to finally see the names attached to the stories after we had selected them for the first issue and discover that we had done precisely what we set out to do: find stories from a variety of perspectives and lived experiences.

And that’s exactly what drew us to this in the first place: the thrill of finding a new name, a new voice, a new story, or an old story told in a new way. Equally exciting is doing this in partnership with you!

AS: I keep expecting an email from you or John saying, “Just kidding,” or, “We decided this isn’t going to work after all!” I’m beyond excited to be doing this, I feel grateful that I can do this with you, and I am so glad that everything came together the way it did. I love being able to have an impact in the field, and I’ve been doing things to help change the field quietly, behind the scenes, in my own ways, for a long time. To take this step and become a coeditor for this magazine – it’s just absolutely amazing.

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In this issue we have Shingai Njeri Kagunda’s heartbreaking tale of a time-skipping sister told with a dash of poetry, “And This Is How to Stay Alive”; a surreal tale of perspective, “An Introduction” by Reina Hardy; May Chong’s wildly fun and sensual werewolf fantasy poem, “things i love about my werewolf girlfriend”; “The Secret Ingredient is Always the Same,” by Sarah Grey, a poem of heartbreak, survival, and friendship; Osahon Ize-Iyamu brings us a story of personal truth and potential in “To Look Forward”; Tamoha Sengupta gives a brief, vivid account of young love and pure rebellion in “Love Laws and a Locked Heart”; and we have an interview with Burning Roses author S.L. Huang.

This relaunch would not have been possible without the help and support of Wendy Wagner. Thank you, Wendy!

Enjoy!

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Arley Sorg

Arley Sorg is an associate 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 on the central coast of California, where she lives with a dancer, an editor, a dog, and four cats. 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. In 2019 she co-edited (with Hugh Howey and Gary Whitta) Resist: Tales From a Future Worth Fighting Against, an anthology benefitting the ACLU, and co-edited The Dystopia Triptych series of anthologies (with Hugh Howey and John Joseph Adams). She is also a consulting editor for Tor.com’s line of novellas, and 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 Wired.com, and has received honorable mentions in Year’s Best Science Fiction (Dozois) and Best Horror of the Year (Datlow).