speculative prose

Issue 2 Foreword

female anatomyThank you to the readers, donors, reviewers, submitters, and contributors who signal-boosted our inaugural issue and made it buoyant. Your support has carried us nicely into Issue 2 (and beyond; we’ve already locked in tales for Issues 3 and 4). Momentum has been acquired, and we owe a great deal to the SFF crowd for helping this project along.

This issue, quite by accident, is all about the body. Our Spring 2014 theme was born when I noticed, after the fact, that I’d gathered a brace of stories about the disabled body, the constructed body, the subaltern body, the reproductive body, and the possessed body, to name a few. Our Issue 2 writers pooled their arts to explore all the frustrating ways “body” and “(be)longing” tend to hinge together, and how exertions to change, manufacture, police, or legitimize our bodies — and the bodies of others — are constant.

If these ideas are familiar, they play off one another here in a discrete arena, at least. The collection opens with a disturbing and unforgettable unicorn, courtesy of Jack Hollis Marr, who scours the bottom of the old myth and raises the sweat and silt of it; most of us will never read another unicorn tale with any sense of lighthearted fancy, after this. Sofia Samatar and Julia August each presents stories about fantastic automata, painting ancient-world steampunkery that engages with the essence of the made as well as the maker. Vajra Chandrasekera situates the South Asian body in a white world on the verge of apocalypse, where certain selves are already too fragmented, and Sean Moreland, a Poe scholar, offers up a “Poe-stiche” that deploys Poe’s flights of language and questions of transcendence in order to queer Ligeia further still. Each author investigates the body (human and animal) from more than one angle, and what results is a collection that contains its own compelling ontology.

Because these connections and patterns and contrapuntos are so rewarding, I’ve decided to work within a theme for future issues. Check our Submission page for current calls, and remember that oblique approaches to themes are even more appreciated than direct ones, for the glow they tend to shed on the matter at hand. I hope this collection will open up a novel corner for every reader. Oh, and enjoy the lyricism herein — we have that in spades, as well. Always.

Ranylt Richildis





This entry was posted on May 13, 2014 by in Commentary.
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