Lackington’s has been playing with themes ever since Issue 2. Even the inaugural issue ended up with a theme that knit the first-ever Table of Contents together, however accidentally. I love how the umbrella effect of a theme not only unifies the tales in an issue but teases out deeper meanings that authors may not have designed. Collecting stories by theme isn’t just fun for a certain taxonomic editor—it also enriches the stories themselves as the theme lifts up motifs, creates contrapuntal tensions, and weaves a golden thread of discourse through an issue.
Part of the fun is playing with alternate or less obvious interpretations of a theme. Some Lackington’s stories require readers to look a little closer to spot the connections. However abstract an approach authors may take—which I love, because I love new insights—I promise a stated theme is always present, however slant or subtle. But in this issue, which is devoted to the theme of “Musics” (for there are different types of musics in this world), long-time readers might notice how hard it is to miss the music in these stories—with the exception of JB Park’s “Camouflage,” in which the buzzing clamour of an approaching threat is far from melodic. This makes Issue 14 the most literal Lackington’s collection ever, for the music is full and loud and so evident that it nearly rings in our ears as we read.
If you look up synonyms for music in a good thesaurus, theme itself comes up as an option. Layers upon layers are created even in this less figurative collection. It’s almost as if human beings simply can’t help but think in terms of motif. Long live the pattern-seekers and long live music.