Winter, like all seasons, is a time of transformation. Glittering frost appears on windows overnight. Can you feel the chill in the air?
This issue has several stories that will contribute to your shivers, of delight and dread. Hauntology is a genre of music that combines voices from obsolete recording technology with modern electronics.
“Lonesome Road,” by Matt Cheney, is almost a literary version of hauntology, a different kind of ghost story—postmodern, but chilling all the same. Distant voices also play a role in Sunny Moraine’s “The Shapes of Shadows,” a mysterious tale of alien technology. Esoteric knowledge, lust and revenge spill through the pages of Alejandro Omidsalar’s “Abbadon’s First Rule,” a tale of horror and black comedy. And “Bargain Books” asks the question, is invisibility a blessing or a curse for gays? “Blue Moon,” this issue’s poem, shows that mothers don’t always know best. Plus an interview with Hal Duncan.
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You can preview the issue at the link above and it looks great. I’m really excited to read what else is in there. Plus, it just looks pretty, doesn’t it? It’s also a couple dollars off the regular list price, so pick up a copy while that lasts.
The story in question was a lot of fun to write. Most of what I write is fun in one way or another–I wouldn’t do it if that weren’t the case–but this one was a little different in that it contains some twists and turns that actually surprised me a bit as I was writing. The alien technology in particular took some thinking around corners; I wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to work or how it was going to tie all the themes together until the idea of shadows came to me, the transient quality of light coupled with the near-eternal nature of stars… though, as Gordon dreams, even stars have lives, and even those lives come to an end.
I was also taken with the idea of technology that was at once profoundly ancient and profoundly advanced, that blended technology and culture in ways that can’t be untangled, and that contained flavors of what we on Earth would recognize from dead civilizations, while still being deeply alien.
Finally, I was thinking about how we all want to leave things behind that will long-outlast us. Monoliths, words carved into stone, enormous shapes in the landscape that can only be seen from high in the air, and the dangerously ephemeral nature of our own increasingly digital record-keeping. What do we remember? How do we remember it? If we forget or vanish, who does our remembering for us?