Interstellar Flight Magazine Best of Year Two
by Edited by Holly Lyn Walrath
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Pub Date 30 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 15 Jan 2022
Founded by Holly Lyn Walrath, Interstellar Flight Magazine is an online SFF and pop culture mag devoted to essays on what’s new in the world of speculative genres. With interviews, personal essays, rants, and raves, the authors of Interstellar Flight Magazine explore the vast outreaches of nerdom. Our 2020 anthology covers a wide range of topics from books to anime to film to television to feminism to queerness to racism and beyond.
This year's anthology also includes seven stories from the 2020 Alternate Endings submission call, guest edited by Jamileh Jemison. This call asked writers to reimagine our world for the better, giving us the alternate endings to 2020 that reinvisioned the future. Their work is a bright light in the grim darkness of 2020.
Table of Contents
Escapism as a Way of Coping: Diving into New Realms of Fantasy to Process Emotions by Allison Hunt
Your Critique Group's Feedback on Covid-19: Thanks for sharing this really interesting story! by Erin Becker
The Pixel Campfire: Indie Horror in the Age of the Internet: How Marginalized Creators are Reshaping Horror by B. Narr
Final Girl: A Life in Horror: The Making of a Horror Writer by Christina Sng
Women's Roles in Norse Stories: From the Edda to Tolkien to Marvel to Contemporary Fiction, Women Kick Ass in Norse Legends by John Tuttle
Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television: 70 Years of Reaching for the Stars by Karen A. Romanko
The Spectre of Trauma: How Ghost Stories Reflect Humanity's Struggle with Mental Health Laura Díaz de Arce
Oppression and Slavery in Speculative Short Fiction: Contemporary Black Writers Dive into History by Nathan Elias
In Defense of Bad Horror Movies: Lesbian Vampire Films & Re-Examining the Problematic by Holly Lyn Walrath
Netflix's Dark and the Art of Letting Go: Untangling the Labyrinth by Archita Mittra
Eternally Controversial: Doom Eternal and It's Place in a Controversial Franchise by B. Narr
Remnant: From the Ashes is a Metaphor for Climate Change: Reconciling Colonialism, Hyperconsumerism, and the Fun of Fighting Badass Monsters by Corey J. White
Double Visions: Two Mysteries for Today's World: Reading Frankie Y. Bailey and Claire O'Dell's all too-near futures by Jamileh Jemison
In 21st-Century America, Who Gets to be Magic?: The Magicians and Representation by Jamileh Jemison
Goblin Slayer and the Importance of Hope in Grimdark Fantasy: In a world of darkness and suffering, He Does Not Let Anyone Roll The Dice by Kyle Tam
Grunge, Metal, and AP Chemistry: Review of Rosebud Ben-Oni's 20 Atomic Sonnets by Leslie Archibald
On Watching Every Episode of Hellier in One Week: Kentucky goblins, UFO Sightings, and High Strangeness in the Heart of Appalachia By Cassandra Rose Clarke
New England Gothic: A Review of Josephine Decker's Shirley by Annika Barranti Klein
Every Queer Story is Not a Fairytale: Review of Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass by Presley Thomas
Queer Vampire Relationships in What We Do in the Shadows: In Revisiting Vampire Tropes, this Retelling Breaks New Ground by Sydney Richardson
The Blair Witch Project and The Terror of The Unknown: Why a Fake Documentary from the 90s Still Captivates Audiences Today by Sydney Richardson
Beastars is Weird Anime at its Best: A World of Furries Asks: Can We Overcome Our Deepest, Darkest Natures? by Holly Lyn Walrath
Queer Futures: An interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Upright Women Wanted by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
Artificial Intelligence, the Gender Binary, & Being Human: An Interview with Martha Wells, author of The Murderbot Diaries by Michael Glazner
Ballet, Suburbia, & Death Metal: An interview with Cassandra Rose Clarke, Author of Sacred Summer by T.D. Walker
Bog Bodies, Moors, and Ghost Girls: An Interview with Catherine Moore, Author of Borrowings of the Shan Van Vocht by T.D. Walker
Dancing Princesses, Fairy Tales, and Portal Fantasies: An Interview with Andrea Blythe, author of Twelve by T.D. Walker
#NotAllHeroes: An Interview with Tochi Onyebuchi, Author of Riot Baby by Jamileh Jemison
No Polar Bears in the Antarctic But Plenty of Women in Space: An Interview with Laura Lam, author of Goldilocks By JT Morse
One Song to Ruin Us All (in a Good Way): Interview with LGBTQ+ Romantic Fantasy Author Julia Ember by JT Morse
Slashers, Carnivals, & Urban Legends: An Interview with Jessica Guess, Author of Cirque Berserk by vanessa maki
2020 Alternate Endings
The Wake-Up Call by Suhaila Sundararajan
Not the Knife Today by Natachi Mez
For You, 2000 Quarantines From Now by Andrea Kriz
A Timely Mistake by Archita Mittra
Unwilled by Nisola Jegede
Saving Grace by Justin C. Key
Season of Safety by Tlotlo Tsamaase
"Interstellar Flight Press is an indie speculative publishing house and Best of Year One: Interstellar Flight Magazine is their first collection of essays, interviews, and excerpts. This anthology features innovative works from the best new writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF). It is clear from the first essay that Ursula K. Le Guin is a well-respected voice within the SFF community and is at the heart of the core mission of Interstellar Flight Press. This mission is best summed up with a quote by Le Guin, in which she says:
"Writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real ground for hope."
SFF provides a safe place for minorities and other marginalized groups to find a voice. The first entry in Interstellar Flight Magazine parallels an analysis of Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and the current sufferings of children at the Mexican border. An interview with Hungarian agender-trans writer Bogi Takacs discusses their poetry that crosses boundaries on the topics of the body, disability, and politics. Other voices included the struggles of growing up as a girl who loves video games, as well as the personal struggle of coming out to your family. What is so special about SFF that Interstellar Flight Magazine highlights for readers are that it "causes us to question why things are the way they are and how things could be." This kind of impact encourages social-political discussions and shows that literature has always been a powerful tool for change.
Interstellar Flight Magazine does have a lighter side full of fun discussions about the writing process, as well as dozens of recommendations readers from space operas to horror novel that readers will not want to miss. Picking up this one-of-a-kind collection will be sure to lead you to your next favorite indie Science Fiction and Fantasy book."
Review by Warp Speed Odyssey
"Unsure what’s going on in contemporary speculative fiction? Learn about modern voices in genre, both through their own words and criticism. Interstellar Flight Magazine’s first Best of Year One collection covers a wide variety of topics from today’s authors."
Average rating from 7 members
Thank you netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a review
It was my first time reading articles from Interstellar Flight magazine, and I really loved it!
This magazine contains articles, reviews and short stories, and it felt so good to read stuff written by people who aren't your basic cishet white man. I could relate to a lot of analyzes, and got the opportunity to discover new books, series, and authors!
This isn’t the kind of book that can be recommended to a general readership as it is very niche. However, if you like sci-fi, fantasy and horror in its many forms then you’re likely to find something here to enjoy.
I’m fairly new to the SFF world but I still found this collection of essays, reviews, interviews and short stories highly enjoyable. The essays were my favourite part of the collection especially Your Critique Group’s Feedback on Covid-19 by Erin Becker and The Spectre of Trauma by Laura Díaz De Arce. Between the pages of this anthology,
I found myself adding books I’d never heard of to my TBR and new-to-me TV shows to my watchlist. It also gave me a lot to think about a wide range of topics.
My favourite short story was Season of Safety by Tlotlo Tsamaase. I loved how raw and brutal it was and offered me a greater insight into what it might have been like being in lockdown with an abusive partner.
Overall, I really enjoyed this collection and will be subscribing to Interstellar Flight Magazine.
Thank you to NetGalley and to Interstellar Flight Press for this ARC.
An good mix of pieces makes this an interesting read. While most of the essays and interviews seemed to focus (it felt like) on horror and fantasy, neither of which are genres I read, I enjoyed hearing from writers about what inspires them, about what influences/d them, and about their processes. Also, as always, great to hear from usually-marginalised voices. Some of the essays also put into context important issues like BLM, and gender and people group diversity in SFF.
One essay I really enjoyed was Your Critique Group’s Feedback on Covid-19: Thanks for sharing this really interesting story! by Erin Becker, which was really funny. (No writer could have written the year that was 2020).
My favourite part was at the end, the seven stories that imagine alternate endings for 2020. Because this whole anthology came out of that annus horribilis, the pandemic is a theme throughout. It’s wonderful that it ends with fiction that marks this surreal time.
Will my breath ever be considered essential?
— a wonderful line from Tlotlo Tsamaase’s pandemic story, Season of Safety. Enjoyed this story (as much as you can enjoy writing on domestic violence, and during lockdown), from a writer I’ve been watching for a while.
Also included are reviews for gamers, all of which went completely over my head.
In all, this was a very interesting anthology, with much that should be of interest to any SFF fan.
I've never read any issues of Interstellar Flight magazine, so this was my first look at what the publication has to offer. I found the stories captivating, the articles interesting, and the reviews enlightening. I especially appreciated the diversity of the contributors and the variety of material, ranging from sci-fi to fantasy to horror with plenty of thought pieces and criticism for even the most discerning reader. There's enough here to showcase the high quality that the magazine puts out, and as a result I am getting a subscription!
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