I’m excited to share the release of the latest issue of Border Crossing, the online journal I co-edit with Jillena Rose and Julie Brooks Barbour as part of our work with the Lake Superior State University creative writing program. As fiction editor, I’m especially eager to share the work of the featured fiction writer this year, Saramanda Swigart, who writes the most fabulous–and feminist–historical fairy tales! “The Earth Falls to the Apple” tells the story of a young, 16th century noblewoman who receives a strange mirror as a gift from a suitor.
In the interview that follows the story, Swigart explains how the premise came to her as she researched how mirror technology changed in the 16th century. “Suddenly,” she explains, “human beings could see themselves in great detail… I began to wonder if the relationship toward the self changed as a result—if ideas about being human changed—leading to, or contributing to, a greater emphasis on individualism.” What resulted is a startling combination of fairy tale, historical fiction, and horror.
Overall, this year, the fiction we’re publishing this year is phenomenal. There’s “The House on Pienza Road” by Robert McKean, in which a man has an affair with his real estate agent as he tries to sell his recently deceased father’s house. We were especially impressed with the voice of this story and the wonderful, no-nonsense character of Ortensia Costello, the realtor, who comes to life from the very first page. There’s “The Walk Away” by Cass Pursell, about a sheriff who encounters an apparently homeless man in a cemetery, who ends up being something else entirely. Pursell’s story is alternately meditative–a thoughtful reflection on grief–and full of action, with a suspenseful ending. “Entanglement” by TJ Heffers is a sci-fi piece about a pair of scientists who are experimenting with a dangerous new mode of transportation. The story is simultaneously lyrical and thrilling, and its underlying allegory is thought-provoking. We also published a strange and wonderful experiment by Leanna O’Brien, “Not Born But Built,” the story of a synthetic consciousness written entirely in code. And there’s the beautifully written LSSU High School Short Story Prize-winning story, “Shadows of Auschwitz” by Anna Shier, an alternate history about a woman living in a postwar Germany very different from the one in our timeline.
This issue also includes a number of talented poets, selected by my colleague Julie Brooks Barbour. Sally Rosen Kindred, this year’s featured poet, offers five magical–and densely lyrical–poems about crows’ funerals and ravens and floods. Hope Wabuke‘s prose poems are innovative, musical, and moving, with their stark and abstract language. “Night Tales” by Leah Umansky imagines promises archived by birds. And the issue is visually enhanced, throughout, by Jude McConkey’s dreamlike photography. There is so much goodness, you’ll just have to read the issue for yourself!