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?