Crowdfunding Update


by Warren Lapine




First off, let me tell you how honored everyone at Fantastic Stories is that so many people contributed to our campaign. That tells us that you value what it is that we are doing. As you know we did not reach our goal. That left us with some difficult decisions to make.

As we mentioned in our last update, because of your support we’ve decided to keep this magazine alive. We also said there would be changes. Most of the changes you will not notice as they will happen in the background and should have very little effect on what you read when you come to the pages of Fantastic Stories. The one change that you will notice is that we are going to move from being a monthly magazine to being a bi-monthly magazine.

If one of your perks was a one year subscription we’ll be converting that to a two year subscription so that you get the same number of e-pub issues as you were promised in the campaign. Again, thank you very much for helping us keep the dream alive. You will begin to receive your perks the second week in June.

We’ll keep you updated as to when they go out and when future perks will go out. And we’re also considering other ways of thanking you for being there when we needed you.

Thank you again, and look for a new issue in July!


Warren Lapine
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief



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Reblog: A Tribute to Roger Zelazny


by Trent Zelazny

Happy birthday, Dad.

“From far, from eve and morning
and twelve-winded sky,
the stuff of life to knit me blew hither:
here am I.”

I never thought I would ever be sitting here at my computer writing something like this. The story I would like to tell is far too complicated. So I shall tell another story, and shall attempt to be brief.

Most children, at an early age, look up to their mother or father, see them as heroes, as mythical demigods, invincible beings, what have you. They are our providers; they take care of us. In a sense, they are gods. I was not an especially weird child for seeing my father in this light. When I was a little boy, Dad was the greatest man in the world. He was my hero. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up (more on that in a minute). Unfortunately, when young innocent children reach those dreadful teenage years, for whatever nebulous reason, these same all-powerful adult figures are suddenly, in the eyes of adolescence, regarded as uncool. They become the last people in the world some teenager wants to be seen with. I don’t know why this is, but most of us know that it is.

I would be lying if I said I was not guilty of this same outlook. I was nothing special, just another naïve kid who foolishly thought I could rule the world (with what, I don’t know). Sometimes, though, I’ve wondered if there was more to it than that.

My older brother Devin and I were both very much into horror films and comic books when we were kids. I still love horror now. My father noticed this interest we had and encouraged it in both of us. He rented us scary movies any sane parent wouldn’t let their kids watch even after they had kids of their own. He bought us comics, told us spooky stories. I can remember being so young that I was barely able to write and I wanted to write stories like Dad. But I wanted to write scary stories. I wanted to remake Friday the 13th Part 3 or something, only in words. Hell of a goal, huh? But hey, that’s how these things develop, right?

My father gave me this old clunker of a word processor typewriter, the kind with the little LED display about the length of a stingy stick of Juicy Fruit and the body shaped like a reject from George Lucas’ model spaceship department. Where he got this machine, I do not know. I do know that I typed on it a lot, never much of anything special (I was just learning to write, let alone type) until the day at my grandmother’s house when I completed my very first short story. It was called, I believe, “Ax Killer,” and it was a six-year-old’s conglomeration of bits from different horror films, sewn painfully together with no plot, no characterization, nor anything else of literary value. Basically lots of “AAAHHHH!” with misspellings and little to no grammatical usage. Still, I was proud of all two and half double-spaced pages I had cranked out.

After discouragement from my grandmother, I didn’t write again until I was almost in high school, close to the end of my eighth grade year. It was quite a while yet before it would have any true significance. My English teacher, Lynn Woodard, decided to take a break from the usual this and that, and told everybody to take out their notebooks. For the first half of class we were to write a short story about anything we wanted. For the second half we were going to read them.

I don’t know why it was that, for one of the only times in the past ten years, I decided to put pen to paper that day. Maybe I was just inspired. Whatever it was, I wrote a story, connecting a random string of events with random nonsensical dialogue. I understood stories. I didn’t understand writing them. I’d given up on that when I was six. Continue reading

Reblog: Nomination, Globalization, & Mermaids That Will Eat Your Face: on being nominated for a 2014 nebula award


Alyssa Wongby Alyssa Wong

I am incredibly honored and excited to announce that my short story, “The Fisher Queen,” originally published in the May/June issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, has been nominated for a 2014 Nebula Award, one of the biggest awards in science fiction and fantasy! The full list of nominations is here, and I’m so glad to see such a range of brilliant, biting, heart-holepunching stories on it.

I was also incredibly excited to find out that I’m the first Filipin@/person of Filipin@ descent to be nominated for the Nebula. It’s humbling, more than a little terrifying, and a huge honor. It’s also a sign that American SFF, a field that was once very white and male, continues to broaden to include, nurture, and provide space for people of color, people in non-Western countries, and people who write in languages other than English. This year alone, the Nebula slate includes French-Vietnamese award winner Aliette de Bodard; indomitable Cixin Liu, writing in Chinese and translated into English by the brilliant Ken Liu; and newcomer Usman T. Malik, the first Pakistani Nebula nominee. It’s heartening and beautiful to see.

However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t still have to fight for our space in American SFF. There have been a lot of loud voices this past year (and many years before that) complaining about the changing landscape of science fiction and fantasy. The aftereffects of colonialism and preferential attitudes toward Western writing influence the literary landscape in many non-Western countries, creating environments with damaging systems for local writers. That being said, this past year has brought many concrete landmarks of progress, including Continue reading

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination — Award Eligibility


**Hugo Award nominations are open**

In 2014, our first calendar year, we proudly published four issues of short fiction and reviews, making Fantastic Stories of the Imagination eligible for the Hugo Award, Best Semiprozine; Locus Award, Best Magazine; and British Fantasy Award, Best Magazine/Periodical.

Our Editor-in-Chief, Warren Lapine, is eligible for the Hugo Award, Best Editor (Short Form), and the Locus Award, Editor.

Gillian Daniels, who writes the insightful New & Noteworthy Short Fiction column, is eligible for the Hugo Award, Best Fan Writer, and the Hugo Award, Best Related Work.

The following original stories from 2014 are eligible for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, World Fantasy Award, and British Fantasy Award in their stated categories:


“New Beaches” by Daniel Hatch — August issue
“Invisible Friends Too (Or, I have no bananas and Ice must cream)” by Steven Sawicki – September issue

Short Story

“Rope Burns” by Kelly McCullough — October issue
“Night of Apophis” by Brenda Kalt — November issue
“Chocolateland” by Shariann Lewitt — December issue


Thank you to all of our contributors, and of course, our readers.

Guest Post: Exciting Times in Fantasy and History


Rjurik Davidsonby Rjurik Davidson

Fantasy is often considered a genre about other worlds. It’s less recognized that fantasy is also a genre about other times. Reflecting its origins in myths and fairytales, much of the genre takes place in a kind of faux medieval world: I say faux because it rarely has the a realistic depiction of feudalism, a cold brutalizing world for the majority of its inhabitants, its class stratifications justified at the level of ideas. History offers us few benevolent Kings or Queens, few Aragorns or Daeneryses. Many of these feudal fantasies are a kind of idealized version of the past, and tell the story of the farm-boy or girl destined to become king or queen.

The best fantasies give their worlds a history (though it’s surprising how many exist in a kind of timeless world). One of the most famous, of course, is Tolkien’s Middle Earth, which possesses a long, rich and epic past — described in The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and elsewhere. By the time of The Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth has been in slow decline for centuries: the noble pastoral past is winding down, threatened firstly by the industrial world of the Dark Lord (and the ‘sharers’ who take over the Shire), and secondly by the rise of humankind. This combination of moral diminishing and rise of industry gives Tolkien’s world — for all its visionary heights — a melancholy conservative cast.

To depict a history for your fantasy world means to have a theory of that history. You have to explain how the world moved from one stage to another. That means you need to have a sense of history’s driving forces. Is history essentially a movement of progress or (like in Tolkien) a slow fall? Are all possible histories likely to follow the path of our world’s, from antiquity, through feudalism, to industrial capitalism? Or is history more contingent than that, able to move through all kinds of social structures? In this kind of thought experiment, fantasy comes close to science fiction and alternate history, both of which also need to have the same kinds of theories of history. In science fiction: how did the world get from now to the future? In alternate history: what event was decisive enough to change the past?

In recent years, there have been several shifts within fantasy. Most recently, Grimdark has offered us more realistic depictions of violence. Before that, the New Weird opened up a new space for fantasy, out and away from the feudal typologies. One of its innovations was to shift fantasy out of the rural world and into the modern city. This had consequences for the history depicted in the books. Modern cities are a product of industrial (and later in the west, post-industrial) capitalism. Gone are kings and queens, in come parliaments and Directors and bureaucracies. Modern cities mean modern political movements, modern political ideas, modern sensibilities.

Unwrapped SkyFor my own novel in this tradition, Unwrapped Sky, I pictured the city of Caeli-Amur as inhabiting the space between about 1870 and 1920. It’s a modern world, but it’s also a world that is in our past. There are factories, modern political movements, a kind of state capitalism run by three bureaucratic houses, an avant-garde art scene, and philosophical meetings within cafes and tiny bars. All of this is infused with an essence of Greek and Roman myth. Wandering among the dirty industrial alleyways are Minotaurs and Sirens: I still find that image exciting. But I made a second shift to accompany this one. Like Tolkien, I presupposed a lost ancient world. Unlike Tolkien, I suggested that this world — the world of the Ancients — was an advanced civilization, a utopia, ruined by an apocalypse. The remains of its sophisticated technology lie scattered throughout the world, mysterious and incomprehensible. Hence the world has gone through a devolution — a dark age — but by the start of the novel it is beginning to drag itself back up into industry. In this way Unwrapped Sky retains that sense of melancholy loss that so moves us in Tolkien, but jettisons the conservative shell. Hopefully it speaks in some way to our own losses — to the destruction of the environment, to the losses of many cultures and languages of the world, to the sense that things have somehow come apart. Caeli-Amur also has a future, and its story is a story of social change — the movement from that bureaucratic capitalism to something else, perhaps.

This is only one approach to history available to the fantasy writer. The delight of fantasy and science fiction, is that it is a thought experiment. It allows playfulness. Fantasy depicts what isn’t, and why shouldn’t it depict what isn’t, or what can never be, historically? Its fun and it’s also serious to ask what is and isn’t possible in a fantasy world. It inevitable gets us thinking about our own world. Robert Jordan depicted a society in which history is circular, but what other ideas might we depict? How about entirely new social systems, not antiquity, not feudalism, not capitalism, but something else? What about a fantasy utopia, one without oppression? What about a world where minorities are not marginalized? What about a matriarchal fantasy? Each of these would require the writer to think of how this came to be: what was the history of that particular world? We’re only just beginning to explore these regions, these times, but the possibilities are exhilarating. We live in exciting times for the fantasy genre.

Rjurik Davidson is a writer of short stories, essays, screenplays and reviews, and the Associate Editor of Overland magazine. He splits his time between Australia and Europe.PS Publishing published a collection of short stories, The Library of Forgotten Books, in 2010. He has been short-listed for, and won, a number of awards. His novel Unwrapped Sky was released in April, 2014 (Tor). SciFiNow claims it can “go toe-to-toe with China Miéville’s best.” Kirkus Reviews calls it “Impressively imagined and densely detailed.” And according to Library Journal it “marks Davidson as an author to watch.” A sequel, The Stars Askew, is scheduled for October, 2015 (Tor).