Questions of fate never get old because they never really get answered; they just keep echoing through time. Did Pandora make a bad choice when she peeked in the mystery box, or did she make the only choice? How would the world be different if Lily Evans had married Severus Snape instead of James Potter? Would another hour of sleep have kept me from pouring orange juice in my coffee this morning?
The stories in our seventy-eighth issue all grapple, in some way, with the struggle to determine whether what happens must always have happened or merely happens to have happened. Two of them, Rowdy Geirsson’s “Dream Hard On” and Ani King’s “I Give It Six Months” engage directly with the gods of Norse and Greek mythology, respectively. In Matt Dennison’s “Magnets of Faith and Knowing,” narrator Lurleen finds a penny, but it’s up to you to decide whether it’s lucky or not. The characters of GJ Hart’s “What Feasts Might Follow” encounter a sneaky curse, while the protagonist of Joshua James Jordan’s “Zoned” finds the border between realities to be less controllable than one might have hoped. Deanne Richards’ “Luminary” puts forth poetic inquiries into the nature of existence. Also, you’ll want to check out the cover art from Jon Snoek if you’re fond “Of Mice and Rats.”
Here is one final thought: all of these stories have traveled through space and time to meet you in this place, at this moment. They are, as George McFly would say, your density. Embrace them.
Swizzle it online or stick the PDF.
. . . because you are about to be showered with April awesomeness. The pieces in our seventy-seventh issue vary widely in subject, style, and tone, but each has a title that intrigues the reader without giving too much away.
Steve Sibra’s “My Papa, He Made Me a Frankenstein” sounds wonderfully like a B-horror country song. Who wouldn’t want to know “What You Deserve“? (If it’s this story by Tabitha Pearson, then you’ve been very, very good.) James Wade’s “At the Old Ball Game” misdirects expectations by appropriating a familiar refrain from Americana. Christopher Morgan’s “Omen” lays on the vague dread. “How They Lost Us” by Eleanor Gallagher simultaneously raises questions and promises answers. Christopher Allen goes all philosophical on us with “Everything that Matters in Life and Death.” The talented Allen Forrest provided this month’s cover art, “Nick and Nora.”
Liquefy the contents online or purée the PDF.
The theme for our seventy-sixth issue is . . . well, when you read thousands of submissions, you inevitably develop some biases over time. There’s a list of things we aren’t interested in publishing in our guidelines that was put together by our founding editors, Eirik and Monica, and I have my own list of things I prefer to avoid. The funny thing is, every single piece in this issue falls into a category I usually find problematic: stories told from multiple points of view, poems more than a page long, imagined encounters between actual historical figures, fictionalized portrayals of mental illness, rhyming couplets, dudes playing pool. When these things are done badly, as they often are, they make me cringe. But as it turns out, when they are done exceptionally well, they are a pleasure to read. So thank you, March contributors—I’ve never been so delighted to have been proven so thoroughly wrong.
Nuzzle it online or tickle the .pdf.
P. S. Get mooned by this month’s cover art.