April 2019 table of contents

2019-04-01 · by Stewart C Baker
tagged Table of Contents

Encounters between the everyday and the unknown are a big part of what makes speculative fiction (and, I would argue, art in general) so effective at pulling us out of ourselves and into the mind of someone else. It’s this tension that gives Poe his eerie cerebral terror and LeGuin’s worlds their endless beauty—and their quintessential relatability.

Our games this month are all about those encounters, as well. Holly Heisey’s “Scripting Diplomacy,” our original game, follows an autistic diplomat as they plan out their first solo mission to a non-human station. “The Invader,” by Elizabeth Smyth, puts you in the footprints of a woman who finds something strange—and deadly—at a deserted beach.

This month’s cover art by Laura De Stefani, “So Little…”, turns the encounter on its head: Is it the girl and her dog who are encountering the giant creature or, as the title suggests, the other way around?

On the essay front, in “Hounds & Heroes: Control, Closure, and Exploration in Games” Sharang Biswas questions the very nature of encounters, asking if following a solitary hero as they encounter something new and threatening is the best way to tell a compelling story via games. Anya Johanna DeNiro looks at classic one-command IF game Aisle, which very much moves away from heroic encounters and into a mundane encounter in a grocery store shopping aisle—or does it, exactly? Last, but not least, Bruno Dias examines failure in storytelling, whether it’s as the result of an encounter or not.

We’ve changed our process on non-fiction a little this month. Going forward, our two shiny new non-fiction editors Langley Hyde and Dawn Vogel will be editing the essays. This will free me up to do more of the leg-work for getting the issue together more smoothly, and will improve the editing process for our non-fiction content.

As a reminder: Patreon supporters and on-site subscribers get early access to all our content on the first of the month. We’re committed to paying our authors for their work, and subscriptions help us do that in a more sustainable fashion. If you’re not a subscriber, you’ll be able to access our content on the 15th of the month.)

As you browse through our offerings this month, we hope there will be many new and interesting encounters that you take with you on your own journey. And we hope that journey brings you back to us in June, when our next issue hits the virtual streets!

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