Welcome to our 2023 Autumn edition.
As summer gives way to fall in the northern hemisphere, several members of the crew watch their children start primary school and set out to accompany them on the journey of “learning the world” (to borrow an SF title). The awe experienced by youth in encountering the countless novelties still in store for them can often inspire a yearning for a renewed taste of the same in those more advanced in years. In the ‘golden age’, that quest was once seen as the prime mover of speculative fiction. And it is that same ‘Sense of Wonder’ which, in their various tiny ways, our stories and articles seek to explore this time around.
Both essays featured in this issue navigate the publishing landscape and editorial currents prevalent in the SF of the past and present, respectively, and the striving for novel angles on well-worn themes which sought to offer readers something new to think about with each turn of the page. We hope that in the ten works of fiction that form the body of this quarterly edition, every curious mind will find the odd bit to ponder. As often in this publication, they span the breadth of time from the Earth of antiquity to the Dyson-clad suns of the far future.
Excursions off the beaten track are, of course, not always welcome in this day and age. The story “A Rejection” resonated in particular with co-editor Mariano owing to his experience of having his research paper on non-heterosexual utopias rejected out of hand (i.e. without peer review) by a leading journal in the field of gay studies, for he had unearthed works of fiction which do not cleave to currently accepted orthodoxy. For more on this, see also his previous article on peer-enforced intellectual conformity, c.f. horizontal totalitarianism.
In a rebellious vein, we also resume the publication of the “missing” chapters from Georghe Săsărman’s imaginary cities – those that had not been available in English thus far. This time we include the most controversial, which Ursula Le Guin had declined to include when she translated the Romanian SF master’s urban fantasy flash cycle. The story is brought to life here through Monica Cure’s skilful English translation.
Enjoy the ride!
the Sci Phi co-editors & crew