It is with gratitude that Marika Bailey and I present the Strange Horizons Caribbean Special Issue. I want to begin by thanking the Strange Horizons team for helping us make this project a reality. I also want to acknowledge the SFFH community for their support in funding and boosting this call. Your unwavering enthusiasm for our project has been heartwarming.
We received submissions from authors from fifteen different countries in response to our call. Writers who live in the Caribbean or are part of the diaspora showed up and waved their flags in the best way. Thank you to all who submitted. It was a privilege to read your work. We wish we could have published each and every one of you, and we hope to see your names and words published in the coming months and years.
Caribbean speculative fiction is not new. This special issue furthers a path forged by brilliant editors and authors who came before us and oral traditions stretching back hundreds and even thousands of years. Stories have always been the vital connection to our pasts and heritages. They have brought us joy even in violent colonial times and have given us hope. They are how we have envisioned our self-determined futures. Indeed, storytelling is at the heart of the Caribbean soul. And though we have never been a monolith—each country has its own unique people, languages, dialects, histories, and cultures—it is that devotion to storytelling that has made the region a narrative, academic, and poetic powerhouse. This issue demonstrates that prowess.
In fiction, our table of contents features five stories that highlight a range of voices, tones, genres, and styles. “On Fallow Fields Where Flames Once Bloomed,” by N.A. Blair, draws on folklore to tell a story about learning to love oneself while falling in love. Ben Francisco’s “Brincando Charcos (Jumping Puddles)” invokes portals and the personal complications inherent in escaping persecution and generational trauma. Michael Roch’s “The Gates of Lanvil,” translated by Karine Saint Jacques, situates us in the realm of science fiction with a story about a doctor and his “son” afloat on the ocean, and their conflicting visions of their destinies. Malena Salazar Maciá’s “The Fate of Despair,” translated from Spanish, transports us to a future planet we may not fully comprehend, but where we absolutely belong. Finally, written in dialect, Sarah Ramdawar’s “I Attack the Queen” captures the voice and humor of a family gathering where tall tales are told and good food and drink are shared.
In poetry, Brandon O’Brien’s “The Creature from the Black Lagoon Is your Father” explores parent-child relationships and how they shape our self concepts. “Railroad Del Mar” by Lysz Flo unfolds on an epic timeline underwater where vengeance simmers before surfacing. “Manman ak Pitit” by Rachelle Saint Louis locates the reader on land and considers what an island can experience and remember. Nadine Tomlinson’s “Sonnet for Birds” plucks us from the air and asks us to listen to the sound of that rupture.
In nonfiction, we have an essay written by Akilah White which examines Yard Consciousness as a facet of the Caribbean imagination and its manifestation in P. Djèlí Clark’s longform work.
Again, the range of these works, their breadth and depth should be noted. We are multitudes, beyond the bounds of any imposed definition of who we should be or the stories we should tell. It is a fierce and glorious legacy we uphold.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to facilitate this special issue, and I hope it encourages readers, editors, and publishers to seek out more work by these phenomenal authors and other writers who live in or have roots in the Caribbean region. Caribbean writers have so many more stories to share—incredible, moving, thoughtful, intelligent stories, full of heart, hope, pain, joy, love, and courage. Buy them. Read them. Support them whenever you can.
Without further ado, I will leave you to enjoy the work we have published here.