Reading is Revolutionary: Welcome to The Fabulist, June 2020, Vol. 14, No. 3

We had other plans for June.

But so, surely, did George Floyd, and instead, on May 25, 2020, he was murdered — by power, by prejudice, by the weight of 500 years of history bearing down on the neck of a man, a people, a nation, a world.

A better world is not merely possible, but necessary.

The Fabulist is just a ‘zine. But it is also a platform for speculative literature and the fantastical arts — which are powerful tools for inspiring the moral imagination required to envision that better world, and illuminate the hazards along the way.

In order to bridge the gap between the moral imagination and the commitment to take action and work for change, we’ve compiled a short list of links and resources for those who have the means and ability to participate in street protests and policy advocacy, and make donations to social-change organizations down in the trenches.

You can review the list here.

June publishing schedule

This June we’ve changed our publishing schedule to include works that respond to the current crisis, which has been a long time coming.

• On June 5, in response to the killing of Mr. Floyd, The Fabulist presents three excerpts from Terry Bisson’s “Fire on the Mountain,” published in the United States by PM Press in 2009.

A revolutionary work of counterfactual history, Bisson’s novel imagines that John Brown’s raid on the Harper’s Ferry armory in 1859 succeeds — and sets off a slave rebellion that ultimately leads to the establishment of a Black socialist utopia in the heart of the Deep South.

• The week of June 12 will feature two powerful poems by Natalie Downey, originally scheduled for June 5: “When Pandora Burns” and “Draught of Ambrosia.”

Arbor Day is on June 12 itself, a Friday, which we mark with Pearl Abraham’s “Tree Worship.” It’s a nuanced, gentle, dreamlike narrative of a life under the influence of grand and rooted beings. Perhaps a balm amid the tumult and suffering of this moment,

• On June 19, the Friday closest to Midsummer, Jerica Taylor’s “When Your House Shares a Property Line with Another Realm” gives us a glimpse of a strangely poignant, and possibly perilous, life adjacent to Faery.

H.S. Derkin’s “Previous Pilgrims” closes the month out on June 26. It’s a surreal and understated dream of transition between states of being.

Future plans

We do expect to add new material in June and over the coming months that will further develop our response to the abuses and potential for change that this moment in history represents.

This includes a new open call for speculative and fantastical fiction that responds to the extraordinary crisis, injustice, opportunity and imperative of this moment.

Thank you for reading, and acting as you are able — it’s a revolutionary two-step that truly can change the world.


Correction: An earlier version of this essay misspelled Natalie Downey’s name, and incorrectly listed the title of her poem “Draught of Ambrosia.” The Fabulist regrets these errors, which have been corrected.

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