Dreaming Metropolis Editorial by Jay Tomio

The third issue of Heliotrope brings the first editorial and in our opinion the best issue yet.  It wasn’t easy as we were publishing as we were struggling with our identity; foolhardy to some, but me and Damon both agree this is how we both work best. In an industry – a world – full of talkers we are comfortable with active stakes. Everybody dreams, but we wake up and attempt to make additions to our reality.

Heliotrope isn’t just about dreams. It’s about memories.  A discussion at the Fantasybookspot.com forums was the origin of the first non-fiction feature I added to the issue. We were talking about what columns we could add to FBS and a pitch was thrown out to do something like the Shadow Cabinet.  We loved the concept, we all thought it important, and had what was not a small amount of reverence for the original, but we were never able to work that out but when considering Heliotrope I knew of someone who certainly could – the author of the original piece, Jeff VanderMeer.  Jeff has been on the frontline in the war of finding quality fiction, his shelf full of gems that are both unique in content, and unique in that they aren’t on more shelves. The latter is a crime The Shadow Cabinet will see it righted.

I’m not an original thinker. I thought one Jeff was good – two Jeff’s must be better.  Heliotrope is a short fiction market and I wanted a feature that highlighted “the writer’s writers”. What stories are ingrained in the conscious of other writers?  Jeffrey Ford once had the same thought I think, as he had his own Virtual Anthology feature that shared his thoughts on such stories.  I wanted to tweak this a bit though, and thus made it into a regular feature that will have a new writer adding chapters with each issue.  A solid premise I thought, but it would not have happened unless I could obtain the blessing of Mr. Ford and I was delighted that not only did he offer it – he also would kick off the feature for us.  I’m not sure if we could have done much better, or more apt I’m not sure anybody could have done much better.

I mentioned that both of the above features mentioned existed in some form prior to Heliotrope.  In a chat I had with author/poet Anna Tambour I mentioned to her what I missed.  We have lost many sites and columns in our little corner of the net from Emerald City to Dislocated Fictions, and they have been replaced by what are at best poor shadows or outright charlatans, be it fans, or rather loud authors whose claim to authority is one – even if well received – book or story in many cases nobody read years ago.  The Atlantis of these sites was Fantastic Metropolis. The site is almost two years past its last update and is still relevant. From Rossi’s madness, to top notch recommendations, hell even reading a Christmas editorial from six years ago is more informative than the bulk of today’s breaking opinion. Going through the archives you see a who’s who of today’s talent and I am simply delighted to be lucky enough to be the old man fishing, the first to see three survivors of the fallen continent and the first to hear their stories.  I want to send a profound thanks to the creative participants and the creators of Fantastic Metropolis, your city exists in fragments of recommended reads inhabiting numerous book cases.  The Shadow Cabinet and the Virtual Anthology were not born in Heliotrope, but hopefully they will continue in the spirit and the tradition of Fantastic Metropolis.

I did say three survivors. 

The third piece is from Michael Moorcock. The man needs no introduction, so I won’t offer one.  I had prior contact with the first two writers, but my query to Moorcock for Heliotrope would be the first time I communicated with him.  Before I did this I asked Gabe Chouinard about approachability factor. I have interviewed several authors, but for some reason approaching Moorcock was different and I must admit being intimidated, fearing a reply entitled Helio-pooh (which I would have framed). What Gabe told me was spot on.  Not only did I get a reply, but before I knew it I had a piece, soon after a revised piece – the man is a writer.  Out of all the authors I ever dealt with this was the one who really handled business.  It surprised me a little when pondering his statures, but it was juvenile thinking on part – that’s why he has stature.

One of my growing guilty pleasures with Heliotrope is my collection of poetry. I am not a natural fan of poetry, but as Helio grows my fondness for it does as well.  Because I’m not somebody who collects poetry books, those poetry I am exposed to is that which inhabits various anthologies or books I also read. For this reason this may be the toughest spot in the magazine to obtain.  These are my all-stars my dream team, and the lovely Theodora Goss is the next in the line-up. 

Excluding the mountain of rejections, the fiction was the easiest part to fill in this issue. The Connell piece reminded me of an eccentric and discredited story that didn’t have the time to join its mates in a prior anthology.  I had Brian Lindenmuth on this issue as a co-editor and the other two choices were very early entries during the submission process, both came back with Brian with a thumbs up and a third was one we both enjoyed as well. We basically had the same three stories in mind and these were what were the two we favored out of the group. Robe Vagle, Tina Connolly, and Brendan Connell are the heart of the issue and ultimately it is their talents we will be judged upon. I remain unworried.

Heliotrope, much like FBS is not anchored to one genre or mode of storytelling. We have some exclusive previews for you.  For the comic book fan we have a preview of Ape Entertainment’s Fablewood and by the time you read this a review should be available at Fantasybookspot.com, We need to thank Brian, as due to his efforts we  are proud to present an excerpt from a Ken Bruen novel and Damon puts the final touches on the issue by getting us a look at TIm Eldred’s Grease Monkey II.

It is our goal to make Heliotrope a quarterly patron of storytelling and opinion. We will crash and burn before we settle for stagnate comfort. Dreams not acted upon are dreams wasted.   Proust once said, “If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.”.

In this issue we have some of the most dangerous.

– Jay Tomio

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