As 2022 is drawing to a close, the wider world will no doubt pause and ponder the events of the past twelve months – some of which, like the return of full-scale military conflict to the European continent, would have been considered science fiction just a year ago. But those of us drawn to future-bound speculation will also remark on the heady mix of technological developments that burst into the collective consciousness and may have an epoch-defining impact on creative domains formerly considered the dominion of humans.
Our cover image reflects one such phenomenon: the rise of AI art. The picture gracing the Journal’s front page is still entirely hand-drawn, yet its creator, Dustin Jacobus, contemplates in an op-ed that which may be lost all too soon with the advent of machine art.
Mindful of the warm glow of Christmas and its associated winter holidays, though, the present issue is filled with the otherworldly and wry, even humorous side of spec fic, though not without darker, more menacing tones lurking between the lines. Staples of sci-fi and fantasy make an appearance, from AIs to elves, rubbing shoulders with alien artefacts and furry critters, intertwined with visions of alternate realities and the afterlife.
Such mixed omens seem to colour discussions also at European sci-fi gatherings. Most recently, our co-editor Mariano presented Sci Phi Journal and our sister publication, Revista Hélice, during last month’s SF convention in Barcelona at a round table on the relationship between fandom and academia. With the two journals seeking to serve as a bridge between both uplifting and light-hearted speculation as well as serious academic thought about SF and philosophy, it was remarked that the genre itself is straddling both modes of thought, frequently oscillating between pessimism and euphoria.
To continue the conversation, you may wish to catch fellow co-editor Ádám at the first instalment of #AskTheEditors, a new series of live web meetings with a rotating panel of sci-fi & fantasy magazine editors, where (as the title suggests) the audience is encouraged to pepper the virtual podium with questions. The inaugural episode is scheduled for Saturday, 7 January 2023 at 17h00 Central European Time (contemporary with 08h00 Pacific Standard Time).
But for the present, we extend Christmas greetings to all our fellow SF readers and practitioners, and hope that the New Year will bring us closer to, rather than further from, Utopia.
the SPJ co-editors & crew