There is a phenomenon that occurs as times change. When there is an overarching shift in the culture, politics, and science of the world, the literature of the time swiftly begins to absorb those changes. Science fiction in particular is famous for encompassing all that we fear as well as all we aspire to become and reflecting it like a mirror back at us.
H.G. Wells, and later Orson Wells’s adaptation, played upon people’s fears of foreign invasion. The B-rated monster movies of the 50s gave us mutated creatures born of our fear of nuclear testing. Sci-fi of the 1980’s was hallmarked by corporate overlords and commercial totalitarianism. See Neuromancer, Max Headroom and Brazil for prime examples of 80’s existential fears. Now we see Black Mirror and Westworld showing the dark face and fears underlying the too-rapid development of technologies we have little hope of understanding never mind controlling.
It should be no surprise then that dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction is once more on the rise. We here at LSQ do our best to uphold the light and present a vision of hope and a respite from the darkness. Yet, even we are not immune to the times we live in.
Our collective fear of the loss of bodily autonomy plays out in the stories we present to you this issue. Climate change does not go unacknowledged by our authors either as more than one story tackles the aftermath of what now seems to be our inevitable planetary breakdown.
It is not all doom and gloom, though, so take heart. Within these stories, as with all great fiction of this kind, the heart and humanity we all have within us carries on.
There is triumph among the ruins, hope where there should be none, and a defiant thread of strength shared by the characters portrayed within these pages. “Hope without guarantees” as Professor Tolkien once said, is our bread and butter now. Hope in defiance of the darkness, hope in spite of everything crumbling around us. There is always hope and we’ll be here keeping a candle burning so the light stays on a little longer.