It’s no surprise that our “Skins” issue summoned stories about shapeshifting. The ability to utterly transform one’s skin is part wish fulfillment and part stuff of nightmares, depending who you ask. If we find comfort in the familiarity of our own face and form, we just as likely crave the experience of escaping what pins us to our person. A shift from human form to animal (or bird or fish or bug), a shift from the material to the immaterial, a shift from one sex to another—wouldn’t it be nice? Wouldn’t it be fraught with implication?
The tales herein dig well beneath the surface on these matters, but they do it in the service of tactile speculative writing and colourful prose. This collection tells stories about obsession, ego, aesthetics, power, family, loss, race, gender, colonization, and tradition, and these themes come wrapped in the skins of outrageous fantasy: demonic titans, human canvasses, disembodied souls, interplanetary travel, alien parasites, folklore ghouls, and were-people all make an appearance here. This issue is larger than usual—seven stories for the seventh issue—because we received so many strong submissions we simply had to publish.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone who supported Lackington’s with a 2014 Aurora nomination. Landing on the ballot a mere year into the game was unexpected but very very welcome. My fellow nominees for Best Related Work in Canadian fantasy and science fiction include friends and past contributors who are beyond deserving of an award in this category, and I’m thrilled that Lackington’s keeps company with them. Congratulations to all the nominees on this year’s Aurora ballot, and thanks to everyone who participated in the process—you’re helping the Canadian SFF landscape come into focus and gleam a little brighter.