Fiction in Issue 4 was edited by Kamala Puligandla, who has a wonderful piece in Issue 1 that you should all read. Below Kamala shares a note on the upcoming fiction, which gets released this Monday.
If I may be completely honest, I read the majority of the JFR fiction submissions from a horizontal position on the couch: head on the armrest, computer on my belly, plate of cheese next to me. It’s safe to say that some of the time, I was just snacking. But the stories I’ve selected for Issue 4 all immediately made me put down my cheese and focus. I even had to sit up because I was laughing and it’s hard to lie on my back and laugh with cheese in my mouth. You try it.
In all seriousness, to laugh at fiction, for me, is a big deal. It means that a perfect stranger has managed to earn my trust and charm me. It means I don’t have to entirely agree with this stranger, but I’m happy to follow them around and imagine what they ask me to because they’re concerned for my experience. It also means that I’m likely to go ahead and walk to the end of that flimsy tree branch or into a stationary fist held gut-level or away from the nail that has caught a loose thread on my heart—that I’ll find myself suddenly connected to and implicated in this piece of writing. And it’s not some nasty trick, it’s because I wanted to be.
The stories here did that. They charmed me into their familiar-seeming worlds and then I found something unexpected: the heartbreaking elasticity of spit and love; how a math test can calculate life value; robotics as the study of how (poorly) humans treat each other; a young woman who is safe for once. Their perspectives opened windows for me. I hope they can do the same for you.