Edition 18: Notes From the Editor
Here we are, 2015! The start of a brand new year, post the season of excess and indulgence, of families and functions (both the enjoyed and the difficult).
The funny thing about the holiday season is that while it can bring us together, it can also isolate us. Often, the spirit escapes us or never has a chance. Or perhaps, as some of us do, we appreciate that time, but require a little isolation to ground and centre ourselves. So in that, we bring you a collection you can embrace.
I think Christian Chatman’s piece for our cover captures that connection between the beauty and melancholy of loneliness. In that it is pure, and awful, yet magical—a simultaneous sensation. We’re very pleased to be able to showcase his work as our cover for this edition. And please, if you think it half as incredible as we do, pop on over to his website and look at his wonderful art.
This thread of seclusion interweaves the pages of this edition as well. Each of the stories has an element or a character that speaks to lacking a connection with others.
From our invited author, Laird Barron, we have a story of a military man’s disconnect from his leader and of the places a loyal friend cannot follow, in Ears Prick Up. Michelle Ann King bewitches with a science fiction flash piece with the way a chosen host is disconnected from all around her in The Visitors; how they can never understand the changes she is going through. George Sandison’s KFP demonstrates a man cut off by time from his new world. In The Calling, John W. Oliver’s protagonist keeps his distance from those he loves and has cut himself off from his family.
Even the winners of 2014’s Story Quest Competition, our biggest yet, tie into this weave. Derryn Pittar, winner of this year’s contest, leads us on a tale of a girl approaching womanhood living in a New Zealand isolated from the rest of the world, and cut off from her father by religion, in The Carbonite’s Daughter. Tim Major’s created world’s driving force is a recluse who lives on a train rather than deal directly with the reality, in Like Clockwork. And Mark Rookyard tells a story we all indirectly know, in Robert Fairweather and the Wrong Ticket; a returned soldier attempts to fit into a life he no longer understands or feels a part of.
Mysti Parker unknowingly picked The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon, with a narrative that centres around one lonely girl and what she can see. It deals with others also dealing with the fallout, secluded from one another by time. My film review of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies addresses how even in a group we can be isolated by our emotions. Damien Smith reviewed Difficult Second Album by Simon Petrie, a follow-up collection of largely sci-fi stories, which he describes as leaving him guessing as to where each new piece is going to come from.
Keep an eye out for an announcement of our special edition in the very early days of the new year. We’re excited to have the brilliant Angela Slatter on board as a solicited contributor for this one, as one of our featured authors. More details soon!
And finally, at the end of what has been a very full and exciting 2014 here at the mag, we’d like to say a few grateful words. We’d like to thank all of you out there who have been keen to see your work in our ezine or as part of the Story Quest Competition. It is the highest compliment. To those who have donated their time as slush readers or reviewers or proofers: you are invaluable and we can’t thank you enough (for the help and for our sanity). To all the wonderful artists who have graced our covers: we are ceaselessly amazed at the incredible professionals we work with and how each piece continues to impress us beyond words. For each share or tweet or review or blog: thank you for your help to spread the word about SQ Mag. We love to see how far away people come from to enjoy this magnificent thing that we do. To every person who donated or advertised with us this year: without you we might not still be here. And to Gerry Huntman, Managing Director of IFWG Publishing, who works tirelessly and thanklessly behind the scenes to help us create this incredible magazine: thank you.
And so with that, I leave you to a brand new year, one filled with dark deeds, funky new tech and worlds that will entrance you. We hope you enjoyed 2014 with us, and look forward to thrilling you with another great year of stories.
Editor, SQ Mag