May’s just up and running and already it’s a busy month around here — on a couple different fronts, in point of fact:
Anathema’s Open to Subs for Issue 2
Now that it’s May Anathema‘s open to unsolicited submissions again. We’ll be reading subs for Issue 2 all through May, and if you’re a queer POC/Indigenous/Aboriginal creator you should absolutely send something our way! We’ve talked some about what we want at the link above. But mostly we want whatever stories you’ve got to tell through your fiction, non-fiction, and art.
Getting to see what comes in through solicits and the slush pile, and then being able to find extraordinary work to put together and build an issue out of it is the best part of running a magazine. I mean, sure, putting together a finished product and having people read it is pretty amazing, too, but that’s a whole other best part of running a mag. :D
Oh hey, speaking of people reading the mag you put together….
Anathema Issue 1 Got Some Reviews
We’ve been getting piecemeal reviews of the first issue coming in over Twitter, and my god are we happy to see that people kind of love the mag? It’s been so great getting to talk to people as they discover that we’re out here and producing some stellar content (due entirely to our fantastic contributors). But I want to draw your attention to two particular reviews of individual stories coming as part of roundup reviews.
The first is A.C. Wise’s review of Stephanie Chan’s “Aqua Mirabilis” in her April Words for Thought column over at Apex. We’re excessively proud that a story from Anathema was included in a list of recommended work appearing in Shimmer, Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, and Uncanny. A) We’re the only non-pro venue on that list. B) We’re the newest kid on that block by a healthy stretch. And Wise’s take on Chan’s story is just lovely. Here’s an excerpt:
The language in the story is highly evocative, describing scents and how they layer together. Chan uses scent, something fundamental, but often taken for granted, to highlight the vastness of the universe…. The story is lovely, but tinged with melancholy, asking whether humanity can truly explore new worlds, or if they will remain forever unknown.
You can see the whole review at the link above. And the whole review is well worth seeking out for its thoughtful and highly appreciative read of the story.
The second review I want to highlight is Maria Haskins’ take on S. Qiouyi Lu’s “A Complex Filament of Light” in her monthly short fiction roundup for April. There’s an astounding eighteen stories in that roundup (April was kind of an amazing month for short fiction), and the column’s also notable for actively highlighting Anathema and Lu’s own magazine, Arsenika, as periodicals to seek out: “Both are well worth a look, featuring strong voices and great stories.” I absolutely agree, despite the obvious bias re Anathema. ;)
But of Lu’s story specifically, Haskins says:
… this moving and aching story deftly explores anxiety, insecurity, and depression…. and there are also powerful threads of light, hope, and friendship woven into the story. Gorgeous prose.
Again, you can read the whole review at the link above.
Anathema‘s still new enough that getting any reviews is fantastic. But that they’ve been uniformly positive and people have been telling us that they’re connecting with the work and are so glad it’s out there? That’s so incredibly good to hear when staring down another slush pile and hoping you’re making the right choices to give people a chance to see themselves in and connect with the work you’re bringing to light.
Of course, Maria’s column was lovely for a whole other, and for me far more personal, reason:
“And in That Sheltered Sea, a Colossus” Reviews
I’m fairly used to my stories, wherever they’re released, getting mixed reviews or being the story in a mix that doesn’t get cited in favour of far stronger stories. So it’s been a little shocking that my Titan and Serpent story in March’s issue of Shimmer has garnered not just uniformly positive reviews, but some of the most generous reviews I’ve ever received. O_o
One of those two reviews came in Maria’s column mentioned above, where she says two things that blew me away:
I don’t often come across stories that make me think of Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing, but Matheson’s evocative story about love and loneliness and longing does just that.
And the prose itself is so beautiful I could read and re-read this story a hundred times over.
I just … how am I ever going to top that review, Maria? How? :p
That whole review’s absurdly generous (read the entire review at the link above), and April was the month that kind of kept giving. Because before Maria’s review came out, Charles Payseur had reviewed the story at Quick Sip Reviews, along with Lina Rather’s (really rather excellent) “Extinctions” that makes up the other part of Shimmer 36’s latter half.
I’m going to refrain from quoting Charles’ review here since it’s more spoiler-laden than Maria’s. Though Charles’ review, too, is exceedingly generous, and a gratifyingly good read of what the story is doing — which you always hope for.
I’m always fascinated, as well, by how people interpret what’s going on in the Titan and Serpent stories. Part of it’s trying to figure out if I’ve given away too much with each story, and seeing what elements speak to a given reader, and what others go unseen.
Honestly, I think the stories work best when read together, which has me leaning more and more toward putting them together as a collection. I’d love to sell the other four currently written first, but who knows how all that will work out at this point?
It’s a thing to think on. And that world’s ever so much fun to write in that even the contemplation of its various elements is enjoyable. :)
In the meantime, this concludes our beginning of the month roundup. As the Anathema reading period covers the entire month, there’ll be updates over on the Anathema blog, some of which I may crosspost or highlight here. Not least of all since we’re likely to be talking about what we’re looking for throughout the month, and this blog currently has a bigger readership than the mag’s. (Most of Anathema‘s outreach happens on Twitter and Facebook at this point.)
Keep an eye out for that, and potentially other news (I can’t think of anything else right now, but things inevitably come up) as the month progresses. And if you want to go read the source material of everything reviewed in this blog post, you can
read Anathema‘s April 2017 (inaugural) issue here, for free
and read “And in That Sheltered Sea, a Colossus” here, also for free.