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For this issue, we commissioned Daniela Viçoso to illustrate a piece inspired by Portuguese folklore, a central and recurring aspect of her work. Speculative fiction has close ties with folklore all over the world—it's often the very source and drinking fountain of fantasy, and we wanted to highlight its importance, its imagery and the vivid narratives it can convey.

Below, you can see the finished piece for "the end of winter", and read Viçoso's words on the process and concept behind it.


“the end of winter” © 2022 by Daniela Viçoso


After a few sketches, I settled on a type of imagery I paint over and over again: folklore masks. The red ones are based on caretos, diabos (devils) and other mask traditions from northeastern Portugal. People wear them at winter festivities, usually set around christmas and carnaval. These rituals go back to roman and pre-roman times, and are associated with cyclical rites of winter.

Besides loving to learn about folklore, I find comfort in portraying odd, mysterious, evocative scenarios and strange masked figures. I want people to look at this art and wonder "what are these figures? why are they posing like this?". The central figure holds a baby lamb and the frame around them portrays almond blossoms, the green man, clay animal figurines and swallows; all symbols of the changing seasons and renewal.

Amongst all the terrible things happening in the world, I painted this, wishing for peace and for spring.



One of the original sketches for “the end of winter” © 2022 by Daniela Viçoso

Daniela Viçoso is an algarvian artist who likes painting and making comics. Her work ranges from themes such as popular imagery, folklore, the BL genre and melancholia. Her one shot Erasmus song was awarded one of the bronze awards at the 13th edition of the Japan International Manga Award (2020).
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
Issue 17 Apr 2023
Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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