“Fantasy is the lie that tells truth,” is how scholar and editor Brian Attebery begins his 2022 Oxford University Press book of essays, Fantasy: How It Works. This is in many ways a fait accompli as much as it is a call to arms — writers aim for truth in a variety of ways, all of which culminate in statements memorably delivered direct to the heart, we hope. And Attebery’s delivery has great aim — as Fran is finding out this month, stealing time away to read essay after essay in the collection.
It’s not just fantasy, of course; all across the speculative universe, characters play with metaphor, plot, tensions, in ways that speak so much truth. And the call is a challenge in short stories: restricted as they are in words, they must tell truth faster and brighter.
We feel very lucky this month that all five of our stories do exactly that.
As you may have already discovered in “Those Hitchhiking Kids,” (if not, hurry over to read this month’s free story and share it too!), Darcie Little Badger’s wonderfully intrepid characters Corey and Jimena took to the Sunday Morning Transport road on April 2, to explore what wanderlust means, especially for ghosts. On April 9, Marie Brennan’s “At the Heart of Each Pearl Lies a Grain of Sand” examines the truth of stories we think we know well, and those we’ve never heard before. On April 16, the truth will come in terms of a question: Do you fall in love with the city in Kat Howard’s gorgeous new short story, “Unreal City,” or does it fall in love with you? On April 23, Will Alexander’s “Phoenix-Feathered Hat” returns us to the universe of last year’s “A Body in Motion” — where you’ll visit a space station that is very alive, and it finds certain guests highly upsetting. What could possibly go wrong? (Answer: Many things, including poetry!) On April 30, you’ll meet Brandon O’Brian’s mecha-warriors, who have a lot to learn about life beyond the battle, beginning immediately in the high-tech love story “The Officer in Your Heart.”
Meanwhile, we are heartened to discover several new, glowing reviews for the fiction in The Sunday Morning Transport — at Locus, Karen Burnham discusses “Trinity’s Dragon” by Holly Lyn Walrath and A.C. Wise’s “The Lightning Seller”; at Tor.com, Alex Brown lists Rachel Hartman’s “Ghost Story” as a Must Read; and Maria Haskins lists Karen Lord’s “A Timely Horizon” as a quarterly short fiction treasure.
As always, should you find something you love here, definitely let everyone know, both in the comments and by sharing the news. And please don’t forget to vote in the Locus awards (— everyone can vote and we have four stories on the Locus recommended list!) and the Hugos (if you’re voting!). We are so proud of all our stories, and delighted to see several from our first year in the world already making Recommended lists and more.
Happy reading this month, and thank you for joining us on the journey,
Julian and Fran
The Sunday Morning Transport is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our authors’ work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I'm so glad that I've been able to subscribe and I'm no longer going to be disappointed by 'Preview' in my emails!
And I shall go and look up that collection of essays by Attebery!
Very grateful to you both for providing us all with these exquisite works of art!