After a long hiatus, Fantasy Magazine is returning to print. The publication, which had been folded into John Joseph Adams’ Lightspeed Magazine in 2012, will come back online on November 1st 2020, with editors Arley Sorg and Christie Yant.
Fantasy Magazine was originally founded as a print publication in 2005 by Sean Wallace and Paul Tremblay (Tremblay later left, and was replaced by Cat Rambo), until 2010, when Adams took over as editor. During Wallace’s run, the magazine published a number of well-known authors, such as Catherynne M. Valente, Theodora Goss, Yoon Ha Lee, Lavie Tidhar, Caitlín R. Kiernan, E. Catherine Tobler, and more.
In 2010, Wallace and Adams launched Lightspeed Magazine, a digital publication that specialized in science fiction, and shortly after taking over editing duties in 2011 Adams acquired both titles as publisher, and merged them together under the Lightspeed banner. A year later, he launched Nightmare Magazine, a horror-focused publication.
With the merger, Fantasy ceased publication as a distinct title, save for standalone, special issues in 2014 (Women Destroy Fantasy, edited by Cat Rambo), 2015 (Queers Destroy Fantasy, edited by Christopher Barzak, Matthew Cheney, Liz Gorinsky, and Wendy N. Wagner), and 2016 (People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy, edited by Daniel José Older).
Now, the magazine will come back, with Yant and Sorg at the helm. When reached for commentary, the editors said that they were “missing the excitement of the slush pile, of finding and elevating new writers and we were both independently working on starting our own projects—when we discovered that we both had the same dream it seemed obvious that we should do something together.”
Lightspeed publishes both science fiction and fantasy stories (four each month), but both Yant and Sorg, as well as Adams, feel that there’s plenty of space for Fantasy to carve out its own identity on its own. “Christie and Arley are different people than I am,” Adams explained, “so of course they’ll have different tastes, and bring different backgrounds and perspectives to the stories than I would—and thus probably like some stories that I don’t and vice versa.”
Fantasy will also publish different types of stories. It won’t publish reprints, and unlike Lightspeed and Nightmare, they’ll publish flash fiction and poetry. “We also have our own tastes and process,” Yant and Sorg say, “which means the feel or flavor of the magazine may be slightly different. At the same time, we’ve both been involved with Lightspeed and Nightmare for many years, so there are bound to be some similarities, those stories which readers will feel would have appeared in the prior mag, as well as some differences; regardless, we expect to put forward excellent content!”
As to what types of fantasy stories? They’ll be looking for a wide range: “dark fantasy, contemporary urban tales, surrealism, magical realism, science fantasy, high fantasy, folktales…and anything and everything in between.”
The goal of Fantasy, the two explain, is to work to discover and elevate new voices within the fantasy genre. “Diversity is super important to us,” they said, “it’s not a hashtag, it’s not a trend, it’s something which affects our own lives, and it’s a priority because opportunities and visibility in the industry is so obviously skewed.” They note that they’ve been working behind the scenes to reach out to marginalized communities and have been helping writers who are just starting out by critiquing manuscripts. To help with submissions, Fantasy will only take anonymous submissions, in an effort to bring authors to the site based only on their work, rather than a well-known name.
The site has already opened to submissions, and the pair said that they already have a huge “stack” of submissions that they’re reading through. In the meantime, the site’s archives are up online for anyone who wants to get a jump on reading of their own.
(Disclaimer: The author of this piece was a slush reader and editorial assistant at Lightspeed Magazine from 2012 until 2017, but has no current ties to the publication.)