Because this is the final issue of Lackington’s (for the indefinite future, at least), calling this introduction a “foreword” seems somewhat off to me. This really is a last word from an editor who’s sad to put a beloved initiative to bed, but who’s inarguably ready to do so. It’s been a trying few years for everyone on the planet, no less for those devoting free time—resting and regrouping time—to labour-intensive passion projects.
While 25 isn’t a round number, it is a perfect “collection” number to end this publication on. When I launched Lackington’s almost a decade ago, I honestly (as the cliché goes) had no inkling it would last so long and be so well received. Much of that is due to the seven authors who graciously took a chance on me when I commissioned stories from them for Issue 1 of an unknown magazine: Erik Amundsen, Kate Heartfield, R.B. Lemberg, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Helen Marshall, Christine Miscione, and Amal El-Mohtar. Since then, we’ve published 124 writers and 25 artists—many of whom appeared multiple times in these pages. I’ve been blessed, and I’m grateful beyond words to every one of our contributors for enriching Lackington’s with their words and images. You’re the ones who made this.
Of course, that gratitude very much extends to every person who picked up an issue of this magazine, who subscribed or joined our Patreon, who donated, and who reviewed the stories. I’m also beyond appreciative of Matthew Bennardo, the First Reader who came along a few years into this project. It was much easier doing this with a partner in crime, especially one with Matt’s talent, insight, and patience—not to mention the best gif-game this side of Twitter. I also want to thank Matt’s spouse (and three-time Jeopardy champ!), Katie Sekelsky, for her invaluable help on the design side of things. If you’ve received one of our “Happy Birthday, James Lackington” cards, you know her work.
I’ll now make room and time for much better words: the gorgeous passages created by this issue’s nine authors (with accompanying artwork by six of our longtime-iest illustrators). Your indulgence has been treasured, and your appreciation of story is what makes this darkening planet a home.
Be excellent to each other,