Issue 1: Sharp Things — Editors’ Note

In the Grimms’ fairy tale “The Golden Key”—from which our journal takes its name—a young boy finds a little iron chest in the snow, and, after a little searching, he uncovers the key that opens it, too. He fits the key to the lock and is turning it, turning it…and then the story ends.

What we love about this little tale is that the ending is really the beginning; the ending is one full of possibility. It makes us want more.

And that’s what we hope the first issue of The Golden Key will do, as well: offer strange, marvelous glimpses that leave you wanting more.

The weird is what brought the three of us editors together. We just happened to be in the right place at the same time, all deeply fascinated by the the magical, the strange, the as-yet-unseen. It intrigues us each in different ways, but we all agree that we can’t seem to get enough.

Why not find a way, we asked ourselves, to share all these wonderful things with others? So we drafted a call for more of this fantastic, speculative work, and, with the help of Lang, our patient resident web and tech person, we put together our own little cabinet of curiosities, a treasure trove of stories and poems that share the same sensibility of wonder.

So here we are. After a phenomenal response to our call, we’ve chosen work by ten writers about sharp things that could, possibly, be found inside the little iron chest. We are honored and thankful to have been given the opportunity to read more fine speculative work and to share some of it with you now.

In this issue there are monsters. Tigers. Baddened machines. Sharpness on your tongue. Claws and thorns. Forests bristling with menace and overlong shadows. Spindles and spinning wheels and needles are weaving a disturbing fabric. Brush the earth back and find shards of bone carrying the stamp of centuries; handle them with care.

Each piece is illustrated by our talented resident artist, Libby Burns. We hope you will enjoy this first issue; we’re very glad to be able to offer it to you free in its entirety online and via PDF.

— Susan Anspach, Carlea Holl-Jensen, LiAnn Yim
October 2012

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