Presenting the TOC for People of Color Take Over FSI!


We are proud to present the TOC for People of Color Take Over FSI!

Edited by Nisi Shawl


What Futures by Su-Yee Lin
Shadow Animals by Stephen Graham Jones
Darkout by E. Lily Yu
The Executioner by Jennifer Marie Brissett
I Understand by Jermaine McGill
Walking Round Money by Paul Miles
Serving Fish by Christopher Caldwell
Fortitude by Eliza Victoria
The Sacrifice of the Hanged Monkey by Minsoo Kang
Maggie Doll by Alex Jennings
Glass Bottle Trick by Nalo Hopkinson
The Great Leap of Shin by Henry Lien
The Palapye White Birch by Tlotlo Tsamaase
The Ace of Knives by Tonya Liburd
Legacy by Irette Y. Patterson
Recognizing Gabe: un cuento de hadas by Alberto Yanez

Non Fiction

Must Watch TV: Into the Badlands by S. Qiouyi Lu
Rebirth, Truth-with-a-Tea, and FIYAH by Erin Roberts
Read Me! 7 by Terence Taylor
Hopefulbright to the Rescue! by Darcie Little Badger
Star Trek’s Lt. Cmmdr. Worf and His Jny of Ontological Klingon-ness by Maurice Broaddus


*Title order is subject to change.

Message from the Publisher


It’s with deep regret that I announce the closing of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. The January issue will be our final regular issue and the People of Color Take Over issue will be our final issue. I’m really proud of the body of work that we produced at Fantastic. There are a number of reasons that now is the timefor me to close the webzine. According to my projection, it’ll take more than five years for Fantastic to become self sustaining, and I simply don’t feel that that is a reasonable time frame.

I had planned to stick it out another year, but my personal life has made that much more difficult. Last month my daughter’s house burned down and she and her family are staying with us while we try to sort everything out with an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay; and this month my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Right now, I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.  In addition to Fantastic Stories, I also run Wilder Publications, which turns a profit and has a number of employees and contract workers. I’m faced with the reality that I need to trim something out of my life, and Fantastic Stories makes the most sense.

I want to thank all of the writers who’ve supported us with their work. If anyone out there is looking for a columnist, let me recommend all of mine. Each one of them has been a joy to work with. They all deliver on time and are incredibly easy to work with. And I’d especially like to thank Robert Davis and Jay O’Connell, who both went above and beyond; this magazine was as much theirs as it was mine.

For those of you who are owed portions of an electronic subscription. Your subscription will be filled with electronic copies of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Cascadia Subduction Zone. That means you’ll be getting two magazines for every one we owe you.

 I will continue to be involved with genre fiction through Wilder Publications’ Positronic book line, so you can expect to hear calls for submissions from me from time to time, for the various anthologies I’ll be editing.


Warren Lapine

Kickstarter: People Of Color Take Over Fantastic Stories




 Fantastic Stories prides itself on being open to under represented voices. Science fiction and fantasy should encompass the totality of the human experience, in all of its diversity and complexity. Fantastic Stories is determined to explore a more inclusive, realistic vision of the future. Currently, Fantastic Stories is a bimonthly webzine paying fifteen cents per word for original fiction. To increase the visibility of our outreach to diverse voices, we have decided to run special Take Over issues that feature under represented demographics. These Take over issues will run in the off months of our regular issues.

People of Color Take Over Issue

People of color have been publishing some of the highest quality Science Fiction and Fantasy since the genre’s earliest days. Yet, there still persists a perception that science fiction and fantasy is somehow a white field. We’d like to help shatter that illusion and showcase some of the finest writer’s that Science Fiction and Fantasy has to offer.

About the Kickstarter

We’ll be publishing a POC Take Over Flash Anthology, whether or not this Kickstarter funds, but you can help us make this project bigger and much more awesome! If we reach our stretch goals we will publish three POC Take Over issues.

Click here for submission Guidelines.

Writers included in the Flash Anthology are:

  • Ananyo Bhattacharya
  • Carmen Maria Machado
  • Caroline M. Yoachim
  • Cassandra Khaw
  • Darcie Little Badger
  • Eliza Victoria
  • Indrapramit Das
  • James Beamon
  • Jeremy Sim
  • Jeremy Szal
  • José Pablo Iriarte
  • Julia Rios
  • Julie M. Rodriguez
  • Karlo Yeager Rodriguez
  • Kuzhali Manickavel
  • LaShawn M. Wanak
  • Laurie Tom
  • Malon Edwards
  • Naru Dames
  • Sundar Nicky Drayden
  • Richie Narvaez
  • S.B. Divya
  • S.L. Huang
  • Samuel Marzioli
  • Zina Hutton
  • Eve Shi

About the Special Issue

As with our regular issues, The POC Take Over issue(s) will have at least two illustrated original stories and four (non-illustrated) reprint stories, as well as five review columns that will cover the spectrum of the science fiction and fantasy genre.

About Our Guest Editor

Nisi Shawl is a founder of the Carl Brandon Society and a member of Clarion West’s Board of Directors. She edits reviews for feminist literary quarterly The Cascadia Subduction Zone. Nisi Shawl has edited Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars; and WisCon Chronicles 5: Writing and Racial Identity; she co-edited Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler; and Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany. With Cynthia Ward she coauthored the 2005 Tiptree Longlist book Writing the Other: A Practical Approach. Her story collection Filter House was a co-winner of the 2009 Tiptree Award. Her Belgian Congo steampunk novel Everfair has been garnering rave reviews from virtually every outlet that has reviewed it.

About the funding

All of the funds raised by this Kickstarter will be used on the POC Take Over issues. Any funds left over after that will be used on future issues of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.

Stretch Goals

  • $7,500 Story Upgrade: We will publish a third original story.
  • $14,000 2nd POC Issue Upgrade: We will publish a second POC Take Over issue with three original stories. Everyone who pledged $10 or more will receive an electronic edition of this issue.
  • $17,500.00 Art Upgrade: We will commission illustrations for all reprint stories. Everyone who pledged $25.00 or more will receive wallpaper of all the illustration in the POC Take Over issues.
  • $25,000.00 3rd POC Issue Upgrade: We will publish a third POC Take Over issue, with three original stories and the illustrations for reprints. Everyone who pledged $10 or more will receive an electronic edition of this issue, and an e-anthology of 20 stories by people of color previously published by Fantastic Stories and its parent company, Wilder Publications.
  • $32,500 Podcast and Anthology Upgrade: We will produce podcasts of all of the original fiction (one per month), and a paperback anthology of the stories in all three POC Take Over issues. Everyone who pledged $50 or more will receive a paperback edition of the anthology.
  • $40,000 Anthology Upgrade: We will publish a hardcover anthology of all the stories in the three POC Take Over issues. Everyone who pledged $75 or more will receive a copy.
  • $50,000.00 Special POC Horror Issue Upgrade: We will publish an all horror issue. (Editor to be announced).

If all of these stretch goals are met we have some other cool ideas for additional stretch goals!

Other ways you can help support Fantastic Stories

Brian Sammons at Dark Regions Press Interviews Lynne Jamneck


By Brian Sammons and Lynne Jamneck


Brian M SammonsSo, Lynne, what were the authors that got you hooked on reading? Your favourites, the ones you couldn’t get enough of.

Lots of Hardy Boys books as a kid and a series of Afrikaans books called Trompie and Saartjie, the latter kind of the South African incarnation of Pippie Longstocking (Trompie was the boys’ version). I read Stephen King and Dean Koontz from about the age of 11/12. Used to scare the crap out of myself (“We all float down here!”) but I couldn’t help it. My mom used to give me her adult library cards to get them out, because you only used to get adult cards at about 16. My mom is cool.

When did your love affair with books begin and what led to it?

I’ve always liked my own company; never felt an intense need for having other people around (though I seem to have become more social over the past few years). I just remember always loving books. Here was an object that told a story, and I could interpret that story in whatever way I chose. No-one else could interrupt and say “No, the duck was white, not blue!” What more could you want?

What led you to start creating your own stories and books?

The idea of telling my own stories was terribly exciting. I started seriously considering this around the age of 17. What’s the psychology behind wanting people’s attention like that? Reading a book is a significant commitment. You’re letting yourself be led blindly, and though you can sometimes guess where a story is headed, it’s still kind of no-man’s land, you know? It’s a big risk you’re taking! You might even meet some blue ducks. Something about that sort of commitment appeals to me.

Continue reading

What Lovecraft Taught Me About Harlem


by Victor LaValle

Victor LaValleH.P. Lovecraft spent almost his whole damn life in Providence, Rhode Island. Born and raised into an insular family, young Howard could be described, generously, as sheltered. Then along came Sonia Greene, writer, hat-designer, single-mother, and Jew, she and Lovecraft fell for each other and married in 1924. Lovecraft was thirty-three, Greene forty. Greene moved Lovecraft down to Brooklyn to live with her and supported him financially, but eventually she lost her job, budgets got tighter, and they moved to cheaper parts of the borough.

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Fanny & Dice: A Book is Born


by Rebecca McFarland Kyle

BeckyIndyI’ve always dreamt of meeting Peter S. Beagle. The Last Unicorn and Inkeeper’s Song  are two of my all-time favorite novels. When he offered a writer’s workshop at a nearby convention, I signed up immediately hoping he could give my career the kick in the pants it needed.

I looked at my body of work and nothing seemed worthy. The deadline to submit my 5,000 words fast approached.

About a week before the submission was due, I had a dream. Persephone hadn’t gotten called to bring Spring to the Upperworld for years and she was taking matters into her own hands. She convinced her cousin, Eurydice, who hadn’t gotten word of her husband Orpheus for years and still grieved his loss, to come with her. They climbed up into the Badlands, a vastly different world than the one they’d last walked — and quickly had to adjust to the Wild West.

I had no idea where the dream came from. I’ve been a fan of Greek mythology since I was introduced to Bullfinch’s Mythology in fifth grade. I hadn’t seen anything related to the characters in year, but I have studied lucid dreaming and used the concept to write scenes before. I scribbled down the dream as fast as I could. Big surprise the dream story came in at almost precisely the 5,000 word limit for the workshop.

As you can imagine, I didn’t sleep too well the night before the workshop. I was grateful we’d have individual sessions instead of a class. If my hero didn’t like my sub, I’d hear it alone. Instead of talking immediately about my work, Peter Beagle mused about Persephone herself, the connected mythos, and how her story still resonated with the world. I took notes furiously, unsure of what to think.

“What did you think about the sub?”

“It feels like a novel,” he smiled and handed the papers back without a red mark on them.

I sat there and mouth-breathed. Okay, I’d gotten the dream whole cloth, but nothing else since.

“How do I write it?”

“Let the characters tell their story.”

Easy for him to say. He hadn’t had such a vivid dream and scribbled the thing down in a notepad from the nightstand at 3:00AM and then heard nothing since! Still, I went home and re-read the excerpt as well as my notes of what he’d said.

What would happen next?

No surprise that Peter Beagle’s notes actually helped me get back into the storyline. At the time, they didn’t seem related to the writing on the page. Like all great teachers, he was gently directing me in the path I should take for the rest of the story.

I finished the book two years later — with help from some amazing beta readers. I turned it in on Christmas Eve, just a week before the publisher’s annual submission deadline was over. She notified me that she’d received the submission, read and liked the first chapter, and would be reading it over the next several weeks as time permitted.

I was shocked to receive an acceptance letter the day after Christmas. My publisher said she’d started the book and couldn’t stop reading, so she was buying Fanny & Dice. That was the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten!

If you think the hard part was over then, you’re wrong. At that point, I had to do final edits and start thinking of promotions. For a generally shy person, I found this phase the hardest of all.

I was fortunate: the four authors I asked to blurb me all readily agreed to help launch a freshman author and blushing fangirl. They all provided kind words to include with my book and helpful advice.

blog1Fanny & Dice launched at Mile High Con this past Halloween. I can’t say I’ve taken the world by storm, but I wasn’t aiming specifically at that. My goal was to tell the characters’ stories and hopefully to find fans who love them as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

Awe filled me when I realized how close to the mark I’d come. While visiting my favorite aunt at an assisted-living center, I encountered an octogenarian who’d immigrated from Greece in her childhood. This tiny woman filled the hallway with her luminous presence. She strode everywhere with her head held high, intelligent eyes bright and studying the world. When she introduced herself, she offered up two-syllable given and surnames.

“But that’s not my real name,” she said with a grin after I worked to pronounce her name as she had. She spoke two names which resonated with the blue sky and sea of her homeland. “They shortened my name so Americans could pronounce it.”

Right then, I learned her real name and I realized I had hit on something very real and true from most immigrant’s experience. Readers have already asked if there will be sequels. Perhaps Eurydice will sage into a luminous lady who walks the world with determination and grace.

Born on Friday 13, Rebecca developed an early love for the unusual. She currently lives between the Smoky and Cumberland mountains with her husband and four cats. Her first novel, Fanny & Dice, was released on Halloween Day 2015 and there are several more in the works. To learn more, visit her website:

BLT: Black Leather Times in Fandom


amelia-g-DSCBLT05696web2by Amelia G


The zine revolution had its roots in science fiction fandom. When my unsavory pals and I first starting putting Black Leather Times (BLT for short) together, a lot of our social lives revolved around going to science fiction conventions, where we gave out a couple thousand free copies of each issue. We even did a new issue for each time we attended a DragonCon, EveCon, CastleCon, and BaltiCon. As well as the occasional Disclave or Phenomicon or other event which seemed like a good excuse for a road trip in outlandish garb.

Each issue of BLT featured cool artwork, insightful humor, and a special theme. Our themes included Conventions, SF&F, and D&D/B&D, as well as more mundane topics such as Back to School, Valentines, and Cannibalism. Some of the fandom-related topics included convention sex-checklists, fannish lexicons, how to tell if you are dating a vampire, and deconstructions of the debate on differences between elf ears and Spock ears.

Author Shariann Lewitt worked on many of the early issues of BLT. She and I co-wrote a lot of appalling (but funny, and sometimes helpful) advice, regarding dystopian SF and travel and special occasions and mohawks, for the black-clad crowd in the con circuit. Shariann once convinced me that we had to eat at every sushi restaurant in the DC area because our zine totally needed a page of sushi reviews. She and I did co-write a DC sushi round-up, so I guess all that deliciousness was sort of work and possibly some of the most reasonable advice BLT ever offered. Unless one considers it more reasonable to have a PhD write an academically sound set of instructions for making shrunken heads from one’s enemies.

BLT is about to turn 25 years old. For its silver anniversary, we’re doing a Kickstarter to publish a giant, 400 page retrospective omnibus book. It will contain every hilarious issue of the BLT zine, some reminiscences, and technical information on production for fellow zinesters. If you feel like checking it out, the Kickstarter page features a couple sample pages and I’ll be adding more to the Updates section over the coming week.

Thanks for reading!


Amelia G is a publisher, editor, writer, and photographer. She generally writes about, and photographs, people with unusual lifestyles. She has been published by Playboy, Rolling Stone, Blue Blood, Simon & Schuster, Circlet Press, and hundreds of other venues. Amelia loves new places and conventions, and has been a guest speaker at World Fantasy, DragonCon, SXSW, and many others. Learn more at

The Many Amazing Stories of Leading Ladies in SFF Fiction


by Rebecca Roland

HeadshotDuring a recent conversation on Twitter, my publisher asked me if it was ever a conscious decision to write a female fantasy lead. My immediate answer was a resounding yes. I love reading about women doing cool, important things, so I wanted to write about that, which got me thinking about some of the reasons an author might write about a female lead in a fantasy novel.

1. It’s fun to read — and write — about strong female characters. Sometimes when the term ‘strong female character’ is mentioned, it brings up images of women who can kick serious butt, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Brienne of Tarth. And certainly sometimes a strong character of any gender is one who can lift a lot, fight well, or maybe run a marathon. But mental toughness is a large component of being a strong character as well. If you have the muscles but flee in terror when a dragon shows up to eat everyone you’re supposed to protect, then you’re not strong in all the ways that matter.

Incidentally, I always think of Django Wexler’s excellent essay on women warriors when I think of physically tough women in fantasy. If you enjoy history, or if you’re looking for some good thoughts on world building, then this essay is for you.

2. To make an understatement, motherhood is often a struggle, often a pleasure, and always a challenge. It can make life … complicated. Motherhood is often unrealistically portrayed in many mediums, and it’s become something of a competitive sport in the real world, with each parent trying to outdo the other. Fantasy is a great way to explore the family dynamics, the power struggles, and the challenges and joys of being a mother. From Cordelia Naismith in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series to Cersei Lannister in A Song of Ice and Fire, mothers struggle to do what they think is best for their children. And it is truly glorious to experience a mama bear showing her teeth and claws to protect her kids.

3. I’ve been working in the same field for fifteen years, which makes me feel a bit old, but also says something about how much I enjoy my job, so it’s great to read about women who are good at their jobs and who derive a sense of accomplishment from them. I think urban fantasy serves this well, like Kara Gillian of the Demon Summoner series. She’s a competent police officer who enjoys helping people and catching bad guys. I love to read about Women Doing Their Jobs Well.

4. When I was a teenager, a family member actually told me, “Don’t rock the boat” when I was angry over something and wanted to change the situation. I think a lot of young women are given the same sort of message. “Don’t cause trouble.” “You need to be nice.” You know, stuff that doesn’t help you navigate through life unless your goal is to be a doormat. So I love, love, love reading about young women who challenge the status quo because I wish I had more of that message when I was young. That’s part of the reason I love Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. And Hermione Granger was powerful not because of her magic, but because she was brilliant and that she stood up for what was right.

I want to read about women doing cool, important things. I want to read about women who work in fulfilling careers, who parent, who are amazingly strong (not just physically, but also mentally). I want to read about women who push for what’s right, who know how to have fun, who laugh, who cry, who care for their friends and family, and who care for themselves.

And I don’t think that’s too much to ask.


Rebecca is the author of the Shards of History series and The King of Ash and Bones, and Other Stories. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Nature, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Stupefying Stories, Plasma Frequency, and Every Day Fiction. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. You can find out more about Rebecca and her work at or follow her on Twitter at @rebecca_roland.
Her most recent novel, Fractured Days (World Weaver Press, 2015), is available at many online retailers (along with the previous books in the series).