Issue Sixteen, July 2024

I once read that people facing parole hearings have a much better chance of release if their hearing is early in the morning. This is because, by the afternoon, the parole board has decision fatigue—the parts of their brains responsible for hearing testimony and weighing evidence are literally exhausted, and so they just start saying no to everyone. This is, in fact, a terrible reality that incarcerated people face in this country, and it's only one of the very many aspects of the carceral system that has to fundamentally change.

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of decision fatigue and how it applies to my life, though, and I have to say: running a magazine is hard, y'all. I've had enough people close to me do time that I'm comparing literal prison with running a small SFF magazine, but there are so many decisions that have to be made, from going through the slush to deciding what to include in each issue to figuring out how to beg people to support us through subscriptions and sales so that we can keep the lights on. Of course, the bright side is that when my brain sputters out and makes me want to hide under my desk, it's a lot harder to ruin people's lives.

All of this is just to say that a lot of very tough choices went into this issue, and I had to turn down a lot of great stories and poems simply because we couldn't afford to publish everything. What remains behind this cover, though, really shines, with fiction by Eugenia Triantafyllou, Marissa Lingen, J. R. Dawson, Valerie Kemp, Bree Wernicke, and John Wiswell, poetry by Marisca Pichette, Mari Ness, H.B. Asari, and Eva Papasoulioti, plus reviews by Danai Christopoulou. This issue is essentially about finding community in the face of adversity, recognizing those folks who've got your back and want what's best for you, but shedding those harmful actors who only want to hurt you.

So, as you read this issue, I'd like for you to think about the choices you have had to make in your life and about those people in our world who are never given a choice at all.

Thank you, as always, for reading,

If you'd like to support us, consider grabbing a copy at our ko-fi shop or subscribing through our patreon!

Cover Artist: Matthew Spencer (@mspencerdraws)

Matthew Spencer is a queer & trans illustrator from Michigan. His work appears in The Chromatic Fates Tarot, Atthis Arts’ Alia Terra: Stories from the Dragon Realm, and Neon Hemlock’s Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness. When not creating artwork for freelance clients, Matt spends his time illustrating his own Courtly Beasts Tarot and finding ways to combine his love of moody watercolors with the inspiration he draws from history, folklore, and nature.