Spotlight on: Fantasy Magazine

Fantasy Magazine, which shut down in 2012, has reopened under the editorship of Arley Sorg & Christie Yant, with the first issue of the new incarnation out this month. We asked the new editors to give us a little history and tell us their plans for the magazine. For more: <>.

After going on hiatus in 2012, Fantasy Magazine has been reborn! Tell us about why it’s coming back and how you got involved.

Arley Sorg: This really feels like a case of kismet. I’d been thinking about doing a fiction magazine for a couple of years at least, consider­ing proposals and making secret plans. I had even made an agreement with a publisher (who shall remain nameless). An agreement on a handshake. I was to be brought in as editor-in-chief of a major magazine. It fell through because of some other problems on their end. Not long after, Christie and I did a video chat to catch up. We hadn’t had a chat in a while and we were due. And things just… sparked! Suddenly we were talking about running Fantasy Magazine together. Everything fell into place.

Christie Yant: At the time that Arley and I chatted to catch up, I had been planning to start my own quarterly. I had registered the domain, worked up a budget, and was working on my submission guidelines. When I told Arley about it, he mentioned his project that had fallen through, and it suddenly became obvious that we needed to do this together.

Does the magazine have a mission statement or a particular niche you’re trying to fill?

AS: Fantasy as a genre can be really varied, the idea can encompass so many things. We both like a wide range of stuff, including dark fantasy or science fantasy. We both enjoy stuff beyond the mag’s purview, such as legit horror. If anything, Christie likes the unusual, the innovative, and I like the emotional, the meaningful; but we both read broadly and enjoy lots of kinds of stories. We are doing anonymous submissions because our main goal, our mission statement, is to be an open and welcoming market to new and emerging writers.

CY: We are really committed to being an open market. We want to find the new voices, and we can’t do that without regular open submission periods. There is very little that rivals the feeling of discovering that gem in the slush pile, and better yet, to find that it was written by someone you hadn’t heard of.

Christie Yant, Arley Sorg

What can we expect in upcoming issues? Any pieces you’re especially excited about?

AS: You’re going to see a pretty wide variety of creative work from a great mix of perspectives and lived experiences. Some of the upcoming fic­tion brought tears to my eyes, while other pieces made me grin.

CY: We’ve filled our first two issues and are very proud of the TOCs – anonymous submis­sions has definitely given us the result we hoped for. We hope our readers will be as delighted as we are!

Fantasy is part of a trio of magazines includ­ing Lightspeed and Nightmare. How does it differ from its sister publications, beyond the obvious genre focus?

AS: The main difference is really just going to be our editorial taste, which is hard to explain or define in any meaningful way. I haven’t been with the Lightspeed family as long as Christie, but I’ve been slushing there since 2014, as well as doing a lot of other work both in front of and behind the scenes. Since Lightspeed is still publishing fantasy fiction and since Nightmare publishes dark fantasy, and since we all have this long-standing relationship, there will be those stories which could fit at any of the three mags, and there will be those stories which editors John Joseph Adams and Wendy N. Wagner wouldn’t have found as interesting as we do. I think the real difference, the one that’s easy to define, is that we will probably be publishing more work by newer authors than our sister mags.

CY: It’ll be a challenge to get writers to send their amazing dark fantasy to us before they send it to Wendy! In fact, our December issue includes a story that was previously rejected by one of our sister publications, which really proves Arley’s point: Editorial taste varies so much. The fact that there are two of us that every piece has to impress will certainly contribute to the flavor that will eventually emerge. We’ve also decided to focus less on the nonfiction side, which allows us to include flash fiction and poetry instead.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or the work you do?

AS: Not really. I’m just excited to be a part of this. I will say that these days publications need read­ers more than ever. Whatever magazines folks like, whether it’s Fantasy, Locus, or any other, sup­port them, share favorite reads with friends, and spread the word.

CY: I hope that readers find something that moves them in every issue. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far!

Arley Sorg & Christie Yant

This and more like it in the November 2020 issue of Locus.

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