The response to the first submissions period for Arsenika was massive—we received over 800 submissions from more than 35 countries. Many of the pieces were excellent, and it was difficult to make the final decisions. But ultimately we culled the issue down to the six pieces here, with authors representing five different countries.
Laurel Amberdine’s “Reflected Across the Dark” is a glimpse into a world devastated by a supernatural phenomenon; Tlotlo Tsamaase’s “Mirror, Reflect Our Unknown Selves” underscores the themes of sisterhood that Amberdine initially explores while commenting on beauty standards and personhood. “White Herons” by Lana Bella is gorgeous, a delight of complex imagery and grace.
L Chan’s “Praying to the God of Small Chances” offers us a different window into a loss that hasn’t yet come to pass, that might not come to pass. “the lagahoo speaks for itself” by Brandon O’Brien offers a voice to the monstrous, and “if ink could flow backward” by M. Darusha Wehm is our first interactive piece, one that speculates on possible futures, alternate presents.
All of the authors in this issue have done a wonderful job of taking the broadness of the term “speculative” and spinning it in their own ways. From the global scale of “Reflected Across the Dark” to the intimacy of “Praying to the God of Small Chances,” the authors in this issue each bring their own perspectives to their stories that make them their own.
As we continue to grow, I hope to keep prioritizing diversity both within the stories and among the authors. We thank you for all the support you’ve shown us so far and hope you enjoy this issue.