Theme Announcement for Issue Four: Arcana
An issue about secrets, mysteries, magic, and control
The online run of Issue Three: Wormhole was a huge success, and I want to once again thank every single reader and contributor for being a part of that uncanny, unsettling, and yet ultimately hopeful issue. Soft Star is a publication of speculative fiction, which includes both fantasy and science fiction. Issue Three leaned heavily in the sci fi direction, and with Issue Four, I think it’s time to give fantasy a little love.
The defining characteristic of the fantasy genre is magic, which is why Issue Four’s theme is “Arcana.” Magic, to me, represents the greatest unknown in all of speculative fiction. Wormholes, auroras, and other cosmic phenomena can all, in theory at least, be explained and understood through science. Magic is all of those things outside of science which we may never fully understand. In fact, the word “arcana” itself refers not only to magic, but to secrets and mysteries. These mysteries will form the heart of Issue Four.
Fantasy stories often tell tales of creatures who do possess some level of understanding of magic, and who are able to wield magic for themselves. Wizards, druids, sorcerers, and magicians are classic archetypal characters in fantasy writing for good reason: They represent the human desire to understand and tame the wild forces of the universe, and to use them to our own advantage. That said, there are just as many stories of magic-wielders who find a limit to their power and understanding, and who are swept up in magic outside of their control. I hope to highlight this interplay between mastery and chaos in this issue.
Magic takes many forms in fantasy writing, and I look forward to reading diverse interpretations, from the mundane and elusive arcana of magic realism to the ancient wisdom of wizards in sword and sorcery stories to the inherent magic of the unknown universe.
Although this issue will be more fantasy-focused, I do not want to ignore the importance of science fiction to Soft Star’s ethos! Works of science fiction and science fantasy are very much encouraged (the line between those genres is often quite blurry anyways), as long as they fit the overall theme. Fairy tale, folktale, and myth retellings are welcome as well.
You can use this collage as inspiration for your written and visual submissions:
Submissions for Issue Four: Arcana are now open! Please see the Submissions tab for more information. I look forward to seeing your fantastical works and to sharing them with the Soft Star audience!
Until next time,
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