From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

CHOSEN ONES

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Nonfiction

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kai Ashante Wilson

I had a sudden fierce urge to write some tie-in fiction—for Star Wars, or a Bioware video game, something like that. But since I’m just about the last the author likely to be chosen/approached for such a project, I quickly realized I’d have to make up my own media property if it were to happen at all: thus, the video game Kaiju maximus®. It nearly broke my mind—in a fun way!—trying to tell a straight-ahead genre story as tie-fiction for a media property that doesn’t exist.

Nonfiction

The Sleepover Manifesto

We know that queers need fantasies. We believe that queers specifically need fantasies of the future to sustain us moving forward. We need utopian dreams of worlds that could be, because, as Jose Muñoz argued, without fantasies we cede the not-yet-here to the imperatives of reproductive futurism. We argue that we need fantasies not just of the future, but of the past.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Catherynne M. Valente

The image I was always building to, from the moment I started thinking about the story, was the two young women kissing under the manchineel tree in the rain and remaining unharmed, the steam rising from their skin. Manchineels are real trees, and you really can be poisoned and even killed by standing under them while it rains through the toxic leaves. I discovered it while researching poisons for the story, and from then on it became the heart of it, that everything else circled around.

Nonfiction

Notes from the Editors

Here’s what we’ve got lined up for you in this special issue: Original fantasy—edited by Christopher Barzak—by Catherynne M. Valente, Kai Ashante Wilson, Carlea Holl-Jensen, and Richard Bowes; Reprints—selected by Liz Gorinsky—by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Austin Bunn, Shweta Narayan, and Nicola Griffith; Nonfiction articles—edited by Matthew Cheney—by merritt kopas, Matthew Cheney, Keguro Macharia, Ekaterina Sedia, Mary Anne Mohanrag, and Ellen Kushner; plus an original cover illustration by Priscilla Kim and original interior illustrations by Goñi Montes, Odera Igbokwe, Sam Schechter, Elizabeth Leggett, and Vlada Monakhova.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Austin Bunn

This is a perfect example of the dividends of just simply sitting in a chair, showing up every morning to write, and discovering something. I had absolutely no idea where this story was going. I sent that longboat over the edge not knowing, then it seemed my fingers described an old woman appearing, drawn back by cordage into our world. Where the heck did that come from? Once the metaphysicals began to reveal themselves to me—that longing was itself the rope out of the afterlife—I just followed the thread.

Nonfiction

Women Destroy Urban Fantasy: An Interview with Carrie Vaughn and Kelley Armstrong

It’s so ironic that you’ll hear people talk in one breath about how women are better at writing fantasy and men are better at science fiction, and in the next breath talk about how of course men write better epic fantasy, and women really only write that “girly” fantasy. There are some folks who’d squeeze us out entirely if they could.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Nalo Hopkinson

Bluebeard gives his wife an egg, and when she enters the forbidden room, she drops the egg in horror and gets blood on it. The bloodstain won’t come out, and that’s how Bluebeard knows she’s been in the room. So right away, the folktale has associations with menstruation and a loss of both innocence and reproductive possibility.

Nonfiction

Language and Imaginative Resistance in Epic Fantasy

Our view of the world, and reality, is a constructed one. Our brains—in their unending quest to be more efficient—often pull on early images and memories to construct our view of the real world. After all, what other information do we have to achieve this but those early stories about how the world is, how it works?

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: T. Kingfisher

Many fairy tales have their own sort of logic and don’t hold up very well to scrutiny, but Cinderella’s particularly bad in that regard—can you imagine what that slipper would be like after it had made the rounds of the kingdom?

Nonfiction

The Princess and the Witch

Once upon a time, there was a woman who told stories. Stories of witches and of princesses and of choosing true love. Stories that began once upon a time, and ended in happily ever after. You think you know what these stories are, and oh, perhaps you do. But until this woman, until Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, the stories were not yet called what they are now. But she wrote these stories, and she gave them their name—contes des fées. Fairy tales.