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Friends, welcome to our new fantasy magazine. It feels like Mirk has been bubbling away in the background for a while, and then suddenly the first issue is upon us. If you’re here, I assume you’re a fan of fantasy fiction, so I won’t bore you with the reasons why we’ve decided to launch a new fantasy magazine. Yes, there’s lots of fantasy magazines out there already, but like cookies, puppies, or wine, there’s always room for more.

In the following pages, you’ll find eight short stories which are mostly secondary world fantasy. There’s sword and sorcery, historical fantasy, mythic fiction, and others I won’t try to pigeonhole. K.R. Sandoval’s Murder by the Full Moon is one that doesn’t fit neatly into any subgenre—part low fantasy, part mystery, perhaps even historical police procedural. I don’t know, but it’s wonderful and something a little different.

Perhaps this talk of sub-genres isn’t helpful. I sometimes wonder if we get a little obsessed about categories when few, if any, of us read within one subgenre.

Of the eight stories we’ve published, seven were entries to our themed contest. We struggled to whittle the entries down, so what you’ll find is the winner and our shortlist. Jay Requard’s thrilling sword and sorcery story is the odd one out. It was a general submission and it’s also much longer than the others. Don’t let the length give you a false impression, Jay grabs you on the first page and doesn’t let you go until the very last sentence.

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of submissions, both general and to the contest, that were written by women. This may be my lazy assumptions, but I tend to think of fantasy fiction as something that appeals more to men. Of the stories we published, five were written by women and exactly fifty percent have female protagonists.

This got me thinking. Do we know who reads fantasy fiction? Surely having a firm handle on this would be helpful for all you budding fantasy authors. That’s why I did a bit of digging and pulled together an article that explores what we do and, perhaps more strikingly, what we don't know about the average fantasy reader.

And that, my friends, is just one more thing to love about fantasy fiction. It apparently appeals to such a wide range of people, and it covers a diverse body of fiction. From Rothfuss to Gaiman, Abercrombie to Holmberg, we should be grateful we’re living through this renaissance in fantasy fiction!

We loved reading all the submissions we received. I hope you find the same enjoyment in the following pages.

Until next time, happy reading,

Craig Kelly



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