Letter from the Editors

by Meera Velu and Devon Montgomery
Issue 6: Industry

Thank you for checking out the sixth issue of Speculative City. We are concluding the 2019 year by focusing on the theme of industry. Modern life is marked by the advent of industry more than anything, and the past 200 years have shown us the effect it can have on the individual and society at large, never mind the environment.

Speculative fiction since the nineteenth century has been exploring the impacts of industry through depictions of countless mad scientists and enterprising explorers who have run afoul of their own experiments. In honor of this tradition, we invite you to delve into contemporary works that also explore the theme. In this issue, we look at cities as dense conglomerates of people and labor, part and parcel of industrialization. 

Using this theme of industry that we, as editors, defined—the authors featured in this issue each wrote a tale that was inextricably intertwined with concepts of identity, this issue’s subtheme. Subthemes, which emerge in each issue, are something we only discover after gathering the best pieces within a set of submissions. It’s incredible how the collective mind works and the connections that are made from the culture we share.

Reflecting both the collective and the individual is the feature story “The Converter of Time” by Mina Ikemoto Ghosh. This piece explores a society’s engagement with industry and how that articulates ideas of self and worth, individually as well as within the community. The story follows with Beston Barnett’s “Omnopolis,” which illustrates an industry’s use of community and group identity, and how that comes to define the character of the city itself. Moving closer to the individual, Keith Mark Gaboury’s poem “Mutant” evokes industry through provocative and aggressive language, and Shondra Snodderly’s “Second Death Services” identifies how industry exploits expectations of individualism and identity.

Further incorporating the concept of self and city, this issue also features “The Flight of Grackles,” Joel Page’s modern allegory where characters must each give up a piece of their souls in order to reinforce functions of the city. 

Our interview with Alan Beatts of Borderlands Books concludes the issue’s focus of industry. Despite the changes within the region and the bookselling industry, the bookstore has stayed true to its mission and identity, acting as the stalwart for paper flesh books dedicated to speculative fiction in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

We hope you enjoy and don’t stop speculating!

—Meera Velu & Devon Montgomery

P.s. Stay tuned for the Year of Genre. In 2020, Speculative City will focus each quarterly issue on a specific genre to showcase the incredible range that speculative fiction can offer. The first genre theme will be horror.