The world so full of dire turns, and here we are telling stories.
It’s not just idle escapism. We turn to imaginative and fantastical tales because they keep us alive. Give us hope, inspiration, meaning, a sense of empathy, some moral insight into the human condition.
We at The Fabulist have been circling around this thesis of art, publishing and cultural practice for some time now, and we’re finally learning how it integrates with our identity and mission as a home for fantastical fiction, art and ideas.
Where We Stand
Today, the stuff of science fiction and alternative history is the stuff of daily-news headlines.
In India, successive heat waves push temperatures “to the limits of human survivability,” according to an article in CNN. Exactly that sort of heat wave opens Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future, an epic work of cli-fi and science-policy fiction that anticipates not just the terrible toll of the climate crisis, but the ferocious efforts of individuals, agencies and whole societies to wrest from it some utopian hope for a better tomorrow.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has us all fascinated by the movement of troops and materiel, and abuzz with chatter about tactical nuclear weapons and World War III. Curious? Nervous? A little of both, perhaps. It’s fertile ground for feverish imagination, and yields an appetite for change …
Our dependency on fossil fuels, the Russian use of oil and natural gas as an economic choke-chain for those nations tethered to its pipelines, and the echoes of American oil-war adventurism in Iraq and the Middle East, all put the yearning and promise of solarpunk in sharp relief.
The rapidly mutating coronavirus has become an endemic global pandemic, with wave after wave of transmissible variants crashing against every shore. What twists and turns of the tide are still ahead?
We’ve read these stories before. How far removed are any of us from their problematic realities, in a world where war, climate change, and pandemic have shown us that borders are largely legal fictions, defined by words on paper, and disregarded by biological and political powers with impunity?
At The Fabulist, we’re telling stories that emerge out of this dissolution of boundaries. That sweep us along in the flux between one state of being and another. That take us through the pain, terror and desperate hopes of transformation. That bring our phantasms of persona and archetype to feverish, hallucinatory, hilarious and hopeful life.
What This Will Look Like in 2022:
• Stories: We’ll be delivering new stories, art and poetry to you every Friday through the end of the year. We’re quite pleased with what we’ve discovered, and look forward to polishing and presenting each of these little gems and treasures for your reading pleasure.
• Reviews: This year we are reviewing not just books, movies and videos that play in the genre fields we love so much. We’re also spending time with nonfiction books that explore the edges of our social, cultural, political and scientific imaginations. Because our survival depends on breaking free of the broken, obsolete, and downright toxic realities of increasingly authoritarian global capitalism, with its corrosive, narcissistic, nattering axis of left-right ideological baiting and politics of division. Utopian hopes and iconoclastic criticism are both products of a fantastical realist imagination, and 100% in our wheelhouse here at The Fabulist.
• Interviews: As with our reviews, we’re expanding the scope of our interviews to include both creators and advocates. We’re having conversations about fantastical fiction and art, and also about the issues, needs, hopes, crises and opportunities of the future we’re all living in right now. We can confront the ever-emerging dystopia of our militarized, industrial-consumerist crisis of climate change, social inequity and abusive cultural patterns with real-world, anti-dystopian community organizing, and the visionary discourse that makes it possible.
• Coming September 24, 2022: “A Radical Futures Symposium.” Our first independent event is on the books at Adobe Books here in San Francisco. For those of you outside city limits, we’ll be streaming as much of it as we can. Mark your calendars, and stay tuned for details.
• Ebooks and other textual treasures: Readers, we hope you share our delight as we continue to roll out new ways to get an eyeful of the fantastical words, art and ideas that The Fabulist stands for. This includes the 2022 run of our monthly ebook, The Pocket Pixelarium, launching in late May, a new full-text email newsletter to complement our weekly digest, and a new email-only story series debuting this fall.
• Second reads and new open calls: We’ll be finalizing decisions on our second reads from our last open call. We’re also looking to reformulate our open-call process moving forward, to make it more responsive and manageable. Thank you for your patience as our tiny, all-volunteer staff moves these processes forward.
• Website stuff: For the geekly types among you, we’ve just begun experimenting with WordPress’s new full-site editor interface. It’s the start of a process that will result in the launch of a new, lightweight, more functional Fabulist Magazine website by year’s end. We are inordinately squiggly and excited about this.
Support The Fabulist on Patreon
If you like what we’re doing, please support The Fabulist by becoming a patron. You’ll help us grow, expand, and, most importantly, pay the brilliant writers and artists whose work we are honored to host in our pages.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned as we work to bring you fresh, fantastical fiction, poetry, art and ideas throughout 2022 and beyond.