Editorial, Issue 014

Bird girls and other feathered things

Every issue we put out is supposed to be themeless. There is never an intention to say “Oh, this will be the insert-theme-here issue”. Yet, occasionally, things fall into place and the stories that are chosen begin to develop a cohesiveness, to feel like they belong together. It happened a few issues ago when we had an influx of fairly creepy and disturbing stories pass through the submission form.

This time there are a variety of stories in this issue as always, some short, some long, all well written and unique as always. There must have been something in the air when authors were choosing stories to submit this time around though. We were inundated with bird stories!

Girls who were part bird, girls who fought bird-like creatures, girls who were grounded birds, and girls who flew. There were so many feathers fluttering through the inbox that I debated setting out a feeder. It was interesting to watch this all unfold as we opened and read each story.

When I thought about it, I realized that girls (and women, but mostly maidens) have long and deep associations with birds throughout the folklore and mythology of the world. From the Japanese Crane Wife to Norse Freya and her falcon cloak, women have long been associated, surrounded by, and even become birds in the wild and deep imaginings of the human storytelling tradition.

Birds are also representative, in many cultures, of the human spirit itself, flying high above the bonds of the earth and acting as a messenger to the gods on our behalf.

Some are fragile, elusive things like the Swan Maidens, others are Tricksters like Raven, bringing fire and light to the world. All hold the mystery of feathers and flight, along with some traditionally feminine qualities. And let us not forget that Harpies and Sirens fall under the bird mythology umbrella as well.

All that being said, there are some non-bird stories in this issue as well! Mermaids, a golem, and a fair share of science fiction fill the pages within, sharing space with our new feathered friends.

I’m so proud to bring you another batch of talented writers bringing, not just female stories, but great stories to the table. So, dig in and enjoy this marvelous issue!