The Rat People (Novel Excerpt) by Rochelle Spencer
The Checkpoint by Elana Gomel
The Trial of Black Panther by Harmony Neal
Plus an Editor’s Note by Chief Editor Evan Adams
Often, in publishing, even when you’re not building a theme issue, patterns start to emerge. We chose work for this issue in October of 2016; we weren’t trying to do a resistance issue, and even once we realized we had, we didn’t know how relevant that would turn out to be.
The pieces in the Issue 2 of The Fantasist were not written or selected to resist the current political situation. We didn’t know that this was going to happen. In these stories, people fight against police violence, economic inequality, and worlds that may be changing faster than anyone can adjust to. They resist conformity, they make choices between their families and their world, they fend off guys who think they’re helping and really, really aren’t. This work reflects the pressing concerns of what already feels like a previous era – the concerns we were trying to address now that those of us who were marginalized did not feel our survival quite so immediately imperiled. Those things are still important, even without the relative safety and stability which finally, finally brought them to the forefront of the conversation.
In most fantasy, when something is wrong, someone damn well does something about it. This not does not apply only to the obvious and apocalyptic wrongs of the central plot. While Harry Dresden saves the world every year or so, the Alphas fight supernatural evils around their college campus. While Harry, Ron, and Hermione are tracking down horcruxes, Neville, Ginny, and other students fight against the oppressive, abusive pedagogies newly implemented at Hogwarts. While Rand Al’Thor begins to gather the nations in preparation for Tarmon Gai’don, Perrin Aybara rallies the people of the Two Rivers to fight off legions of invading trollocs. These “smaller” problems always come from the same source as the larger, looming evils that dwarf what would otherwise be dire emergencies in their own right. Resisting them helps ensure that the world, once saved, will still be a place people want to live, and that whatever work was done in the long quiet since the last near-apocalypse is not cast aside in our desperation to survive, or unmade by adversaries who assume our attention will be directed elsewhere.
It would be tempting to view the pieces in Issue 2 as science fiction, rather than fantasy. After all, two of them are set in the future, at least a little bit, and they deal with advanced technology, or explore the implications of science, or engage in a kind of social criticism that for some reason is generally regarded as the sole purview of sci-fi. But we’re a fantasy magazine, and the work we publish is fantasy. Maybe it’s fantasy because we said so. Maybe for other reasons. We leave it to you to read and consider.
Thank you, and enjoy!
Forthcoming in June of 2017:
Hack n’ Slash #999 by Carla Dash
Sun and Moon by Deborah Davitt
Letters Sweet As Honey; Mnemosyne; and The Song of Savi by Foz Meadows