Guest Editor Reveal: Jaclyn Morken

Hey!

morken2019I’m Jaclyn, I’m Saskatchewan born and raised, and I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. I have an English degree from the University of Saskatchewan and now I’m working through the end of my MFA in Writing—so, I like to read and write. I mostly inhabit the fantasy genre, but I’m trying to branch out.

I’ll start off by saying what smarter people than me have already said: speculative fiction takes us into new territory. Whether it’s yesterday or three million years from now, in our own world or another one entirely, speculative fiction considers something impossible or not-yet possible. But well-written speculative fiction should make me believe it is possible, here and now.

For that, I’m looking for strong characters.

Sure, a real challenge of writing spec fic, especially in shorter pieces, is creating this believable new world without losing the reader’s attention. But a story’s concept could be stunning, its worldbuilding masterful, and it will still fall flat if its characters don’t resonate.

If I can believe that these characters are real—if they have personality and motivation, and actions that coincide with such—then I’ll believe almost anything thrown at them. And I want to believe in those impossible worlds and situations, because I want to see what these characters are made of.

My writing generally starts with a “what if” situation, and I guess, in a nutshell, that’s what speculative fiction means to me. What if the terrible, the fantastic, the impossible collides with the mundane? What if an ordinary individual interacts with the extraordinary?

Show me. I want to know what happens next.

Guest Editor Reveal: Simon Böhm

Hi there, my name is Simon and I’m from Germany, which used to be the land of poets and thinkers and is now the country of cars and beer. I came to Canada in 2016 for my MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan and decided to stay. So here I am.simon2019portrait

First off, I hate the term Speculative Fiction (isn’t the word fiction implying speculation anyway? Asking for a friend) but what can you do. To me, SpecFic includes everything with a fantastic element. Alternative history? Check. Fantasy? Check. SciFi? Check. Magical realism? Check. Horror? Mostly check.

Personally, I love everything horror – especially King, Barker, Herbert – and a lot of classic Science Fiction by the likes of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, or Isaac Asimov. Those genres have a tendency to produce longer works and stories, which I attribute to the fact that they require a certain amount of buildup or world-building to achieve their goal. The shorter the story, the more universal and familiar the initial situation has to be in my opinion.

Why does this matter? As an editor for antilang., I’m not necessarily looking for an original genius – though if you can deliver the next archetype villain, that’s great. But you don’t need to create the next creature for Stephenie Meyer to ruin. I prefer a well-written, engaging, classic story over a messy but original one any day of the week. Effect is king, especially in horror. Scare me. Knock my socks off. Make me smile (in a sadistic, maniacal way) and go: that was awesome!

I guess that’s it. Here’s my hand. Now take me to the land of your imagination, no matter how weird or dark it is. Just a heads up: like a lizard that dismembers its own tail, I can let go of my hand. So if you turn around and I’m not there anymore, you lost me. But that won’t happen. Not with you. Right?

Introducing our New Art Director!

Hello, we know we’ve been a bit quiet since our launch and opening for submissions, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t hard at work behind the scenes. It’s time to share with you something we’ve had in the works for a little while: we now have an Art Director!

Lissa McFarland has been involved with The ALP since it’s inception–starting with designing our first logo and the cover for antilang. no. 1. But she’s not just a visual artist–you can read her creative non-fiction prose poetry in antilang. no. 2 (pages 64-7) and listen to her read poetry in soundbite vol. 1 (9:02-10:16).

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As Art Director, Lissa will be taking over our Instagram account (and if you follow her personal or artist pages, then you know her comments are amazing). In addition to this, she will be on the hunt for a Canadian artist for the cover of antilang. no. 3 and involved with layouts and designs for both publications as necessary. She might even write us a blog post or two about how she sees visual art fitting into our mandate of good. short. writing.

A proud member of Calgary’s queer community, Lissa will also be involved in helping us become better editors for submissions that deal with subject positions we do not have access to. We have always striven to be inclusive and to help facilitate a safe space for our contributors, but we know that sometimes when we recommend cutting a phrase or switching a word, those edits could have the effect of lessening the voices we want to give space to. In the past, our contributors have been understanding with us and have explained why certain edits are not productive for their pieces. We hope that by working with Lissa, we can become better so that our contributors don’t have to put themselves in positions they might find uncomfortable (we can’t ignore power dynamics, even though we are trying to eliminate them).

Get-to-Know-the-Editors: Allie

Calgary born and raised, Allie completed two BAs (English, with a creative writing concentration and honours; Law and Society with honours) at the University of Calgary. She left for colder climes to pursue a MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan. Allie writes novel(la)s that explore female experiences in Western society (or futuristic dystopian societies). She favours prose, with excerpts from her manuscripts appearing in filling Station Magazine, Nōd Magazine,  and forthcoming in In Medias Res. However, various sources have accused Allie of being a poet in disguise, and her poetry can be found in The Boston Accent, Hooligan Mag, and FOUND, the second chapbook by Malform Press.

During the last year of her BAs, Allie was the managing editor at Nōd Magazine (the undergraduate-run literary magazine on campus). She works odd jobs such as copy-editing a manuscript about the history of women’s prisons in Canada, researching environmentally inclined artistic endeavours in Vancouver, enforcing Chicago-style citations on legal papers for an upcoming collection, and teaching first-year creative writing.

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Although Allie has no musical talent she often insists on singing while writing (her roommates go to class and are grateful to avoid Allie’s ‘metalicizing’ of country songs). When forced to interact with people, Allie will offer snacks in an attempt to trick unsuspecting persons into playing card games.

Get-to-Know-the-Editors: Jordan

He dabbles in Marxist poetry, conceptual translational poetry, and short fiction.

Jordan Bolay hails from Northern Saskatchewan. He first migrated South (like an hour and a half South) to Saskatoon where he got first a BA and then an MA in English. He then moved to Calgary to pursue his PhD in English. He studies videogames, the ideology of canonization, comics, and (when he actually works on his dissertation) social politics in the archives of Western Canadian writers. While not working on his research (procrastinating), he dabbles in Marxist poetry, conceptual translational poetry, and short fiction. His chapbook how to make an English exam interesting was published by The Blasted Tree Press in 2017 and his long poem “Rest (an erasure of the Regina Manifesto, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation Programme, 1933)” was published in ti-TCR and was an honourable mention for The Capilano Review’s Translate and Transform Contest, also in 2017. (Jordan is working on making future titles more concise.)

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Jordan in full-blown adventure mode near Haines Junction, YT (photo by Allie McFarland)

During his MA he was the poetry editor of The Fieldstone Review at USask, and has been the fiction editor of filling Station (Canada’s experimental literary magazine) since 2016. In his spare time, Jordan enjoys hiking in the mountains surrounding Banff, homebrewing craft beer, and rocking out on his Geddy Lee signature jazz bass.