What is a revolutionary thing? Revolution often connotes the radical overthrow of an existing paradigm, usually a political regime. While some revolutionaries fight with weapons, others fight with ideas, or hexes, or stories. For many of us, our revolutionary acts are smaller, stranger, harder to define. It may be revolutionary to resist the expectations that have been placed upon you, or to be your authentic self in a society that tries to deny your legitimacy. For some, simply surviving from one day to the next is a revolutionary act.
In the work that follows, you’ll find all kinds of upheaval and radical change–bodies transforming, fights breaking out. There are ideological battles fought by fish and colonial relationships explored through fungus. In some cases, the victors live happily ever after, while in others, revolution is recursive, and those affected are caught in a cycle of upheaval that will go on without end.
It’s fitting that this issue also presents the winning stories from our second Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Carmen Maria Machado, whose own work is radical in its centering of queer female desire and its uncanny sensibilities. The winning story, Jennifer Lynn Krohn’s “Juvenescence,” envisions a brutal, fantastical coming of age, all the unnerving wildness of adolescence made flesh. One of our two honorable mentions, “In the Belly of the Bear” by A.A. Balaskovits presents a new sort of fairytale, one in which the heroine is blessed with just the right skill to be able to overcome her fate. Our second honorable mention “Three Teens Kill Time in a Miami Parking Lot in July” by JD Scott, tells a tale imbued with doubling and mirroring, in which perception is challenged and knowledge comes from surprising sources.
The stories and poems in Issue 8 are a testament to the enduring realities of revolution, in all its forms. Above all, the works and writers featured in this issue demonstrate that weird, speculative, or strange writing is powerful: a revolutionary, radical thing.