Once again, thank you so much to all of you for your support, Issue #1 it was a much bigger success and had a far wider reach than I ever thought possible when I took the plunge and decided to start an anticapitalist dark fiction magazine from scratch. Hot off the success of the launch issue, I couldn’t be happier with the quality of stories and articles we have this time round.
When I read Naim Kabir’s “Reno Walled City” in the submissions it made me believe in cyberpunk again. It’s a genre that has been dead and dying for a long time, empty neon aesthetics replacing what should be grimy stories of alienated outsiders, criminals, assorted losers and low lives doing their best to get by in a hostile society that’s constantly trying to grind them down. So when I read “Reno Walled City” and saw a cyberpunk story that actually engages with the substance of what makes the genre interesting, it genuinely made my chest swell.
Similarly, vampire stories can often be a tough sell with me, but Sally Parlier’s “Housekeeping” is, in many ways, a contemporary love story that captures a grimy side to its setting and the characters’ lives that really hit home.
The third story in this issue, “What It’s Like” by Riley Tao, is exactly the kind of story I set up this magazine to give space to. A body horror story about a trans girl living with a penis growing out of her mouth, it’s a piece I think would struggle to find a home in many short fiction magazines at the moment; magazines that, despite their ‘commitment to diversity’, do not often have space for difficult, uncomfortable stories that voice the darker side of the struggles experienced by marginalised people.
Our final piece of fiction in Issue #2 is a beautifully-written ‘love letter template’ from Howard Tseng. “A Love Letter Template for the Little Scholars” is an unconventional and poetic piece of fiction that exemplifies the ‘no plot, just vibes’ style that fiction needs more of.
On top of that we have non-fiction from Raquel S. Benedict, who examines the sterility of ‘safe’ fiction and asks how is it that so much modern science fiction and fantasy is imbued with such middle class and corporate aesthetics? Karlo Yeager Rodriguez returns to put Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop adaptation under the microscope, examining how the producers fundamentally misunderstood what made the original anime so good.
Finally, we have an interview with horror author M. Shaw, whose new novella One Hand to Hold, One Hand to Carve, recently came out from Tenebrous Press and yours truly reviews Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Enjoy.