Edition 26: Notes From the Editor
It’s that time in our publication year again and I’m very proud to present our special edition, Symbiosis.
There’s a fine line when choosing a theme. Too narrow and there won’t be many submissions. Too broad and a theme is hard to collate, given the exponential number of interpretations that can exist.
Our call out was this: Life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Plants and mushrooms work together to create networks, an ecosystem. We live together with microbiotic bugs in our mouths, our guts. No being exists on their own. We exist in colonies, in families, as part of worlds. Show us symbiosis: two characters that can’t live without each other, or someone perfectly adapted to their microcosm. Working in sync to create a better life.
For those who don’t know me, my alter-ego is a hard working medical research scientist. New discoveries and scientific what-ifs spur a lot of my own writing. So given its omnipresence, I thought it would make an excellent, diverse theme.
Luckily, many writers also thought so. I’m humbled and gratified to see the amount of polished and tight submissions that this theme inspired. It was hard work to make the final decisions.
For me, the thread of each of these stories was a very personal or individual reliance or coexistence, which was exactly what I had in mind when I put this theme out. It was also quite heavy with science fiction, which I should have expected given my own link to the idea.
We’re very pleased to welcome special guest, Joseph S. Pulver, Snr, with his first appearance in our ezine. His work, A Nightingale’s View of Autumn is a fine example of Joe’s lyrical prose, and an exquisite piece of dark fantasy. When we received this wonderful piece, it wasn’t commissioned for the theme, but coincidentally fit so perfectly. Joe, born in the US, but now a resident of Germany, is one of a handful of Eastern European appearances in SQ Mag. Joe is both a writer and editor, and you can find out more about him. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to Katrin Krüger, Joe’s wife, for her assistance with some details.
From our submissions, which has a great international representation, I narrowed down a handful of excellent shorts for you. Lee Murray brings us Selfie, a very literal coexistence at the time of an apocalyptic event. Clockwork Hearts by J.B. Rockwell touches on grief and loneliness, and the very human reliance on each other within a steampunk world. In an unusual occurrence for SQ Mag, Outbreak is set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, but it’s Adam Kotlarczyk’s subtle breakdown of a functioning human alliance that drew me in.
S.L. Dixon, one of only a few Canadians published in our ezine, brings us a dark psychological look at symbiosis, with his character caught between the world as he knows it exists and the façade, in Against the Grain. A.L. Lorentz took symbiosis to many levels in his science fiction short Astralgaloi, which directly positions the reader to look at beneficial—nay, essential—relationships between human and machine. We welcome back Suzanne J. Willis with the fantastical Given Shape by Moonlight, a delightful salty tale of family and lifetimes of poor decisions. The edition will finish with a short by Tom Dullemond’s recounting of spaceship scavenge and predation in Risk Analysis, but I can’t reveal its tie-in. Spoilers!
Two excellent reviews also await you. Damien Smith has reviewed LifeLine by Dave Justus, a choose-your-own science fiction adventure through the iTunes store. Lee Murray reviews Greg Chapman’s new novella, The Eschatologist. Greg has been featured in our ezine previously, so head to the review and also stop by his excellent story in last year’s special edition.
Our whimsical cover is from Christian Chapman, a delightful young artist who Gerry came across a few years ago. Some of you might remember Christian’s cover full of picturesque loneliness from Edition 18. We’re very pleased to welcome him back and to showcase this delightful piece!
In some other news, soon after this edition, we will begin collating Star Quake, our Best of 2015, so authors, keep an eye on your inboxes! For related announcements and release dates, keep an eye on our Facebook page, Twitter and Google+ accounts. Purchasing Star Quake is also a great way to support both our writers and the continuation of the ezine into the future.
We’re also building up to re-opening for submissions between May and June. As above, social media accounts are a great way to keep up with this. It may only be a short window as well, but more details closer to the time.
Thanks to everyone who contributes, shares and comments. We love your feedback and excitement! If you’ve enjoyed reading what we publish, consider a small donation, which helps us keep running and improving.
Without further ado, I leave you to our Symbiosis Special Edition, which I hope will bring you a fraction of the joy and entertainment that I have had preparing it.
Editor, SQ Mag