Author Archives: London Reader

Cyberpunk in 2020

Science Fiction from Dystopian Moment to Sustainable Future

Check out Cyberpunk in 2020…

Subscribe to either the Print or PDF edition of the London Reader to receive four great issues per year

It’s 2020—now where’s my flying car?

Pat Cadigan, a founder of the cyberpunk literary movement who is interviewed in this volume, famously answered, “That’s not the future we promised you. We promised you a dark technological dystopia. How do you like it?” It’s 2020, and the dark technological dystopia has arrived. 

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The fiction in this volume takes a look at the dystopian state of the world and dares to imagine an optimistic alternative, planting seeds of hope and drawing on solarpunk themes of a habitable future powered by renewable energy, networked-collaboration, and repaired technology. Like us, these stories stand at a crossroads between climate collapse and a radically reshaped sustainable future. The dystopia envisioned by 1980s cyberpunk authors has arrived. Will we continue down this path to self destruction, or do we dare envision a better future?

This volume features a collection of multi-award-winning cyberpunk authors who move the genre away from the 80s action movie aesthetic of bakelite guns and neon-lit street races and into our increasingly networked existence facing ecological collapse.

Stories from Nebula Award-winning authors Ken Liu, James Patrick Kelly, and Cat Rambo expose the pervasiveness of the internet as it intrudes into our most private and tragic moments. Arthur C Clarke Award-winners Gwyneth Jones and Lauren Beukes offer optimistic visions of the ways technology can connect us. This volume also features stories, minifiction, and poetry from Matt Bryden, Katie Harrison, Anthony Lapwood, Rebecca Lee, Rosaleen Lynch, Syd Shaw, and Paige Elizabeth Wajda who shine the light of their screens on this dark moment, looking for the loose strands that connect us together. Art by Pavlo Baiandin, Janusz Orzechowski, Sergey Osipov, and Harry Purnama display views of the dark street-scapes of the 21st century and glimpses of how our imagination and connections to each other can offer us a way out.

This volume also includes interviews with visionary author and Hugo, Arthur C Clarke, Locus, and Seiun Award-winner, Pat Cadigan and the novelist and principal writer for the upcoming and long-awaited game Cyberpunk 2077, Jakub Szamałek. They reflect on our dystopian moment and provide their views of where we go from here while Szamałek also answers what is cyberpunk in 2077.

The writing in this volume brings us up to date from the cyberpunk of the past. It attempts to debug the interconnected nature of the internet-driven world we now live in. It springs from our fears of a climate catastrophe while at the same time offers us an alternative vision. The future that the cyberpunk authors of the 80s warned us of is here. The dark technological dystopia is only getting worse. Social media is disrupting democracies, and the climate is collapsing. If we don’t act now, there will be no future. But it’s not too late; there is still hope. The choice is ours.

Check out Cyberpunk in 2020…

Part of the proceeds from this issue supports GiveDirectly. GiveDirectly is a charitable organization that sends donations immediately and directly to those most in need. Find out more at givedirectly.org

Open Call: Travel Writing in Europe

Into the Eurozone & Onboard the Eurorail: Travel Stories from Beyond the Borders of Brexit

Deadline November 2nd, 2020

Brexit is locking down the British border for Brits and Europeans alike. Quarantine makes us nostalgic for last year’s trip with friends. Airline emissions now justify sightseeing by rail instead of leaping from continent to continent. Europe is changing. Air is out; rail, electric vehicles, and car-sharing are in. Borders that were razor-wire fences just a few decades ago have become lines in a road—and vice versa. Has Europe’s Erasmus generation grown up to become citizens of everywhere, or of nowhere? Sometimes travelling from one country to another is about the journey, sometimes it’s about the destination, sometimes it’s about the people met along the way, sometimes it’s about the people by your side, and sometimes it’s about the people left behind.

The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories, travel writing, poems, photography, art, and postcard stories about travelling by land in Europe and neighbouring regions. We’re looking for road stories, interrail stories, city stories, language stories, hitchhiking stories, and border stories. We’re looking for stories focusing on character; stories of (bad) luck on the road; stories of the strangers met along the way, stories of fellow travellers, and stories of family left behind; slice-of-life observations from abroad; poetry about people, places, the traveller, or the road; stories about sustainable travel; stories about low-budget travel; stories of history present; stories of new experiences; stories of culture clash; stories about what it means to be a European after Brexit; and stories about epiphanies that change the traveller. The travel writing submitted to this issue can be true stories, well-researched fiction, or stories loosely based on true events. Submissions should be connected to Europe and focus on the experiences of characters.

The travel writing in this issue will explore themes of…

  • Human relationships and experiences on the road
  • Changing border barriers separating friends and family
  • Passport privilege and difficulties for marginalized people
  • Sustainable, low-emission travel
  • Alternative, low-budget travel
  • European identity in 2020

What to submit: Creative works can be stand-alone pieces or collections, but should generally be fewer than 5,000 words or no more than 4 poems per collection. Multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, and previously published submissions are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page

How to submit: The London Reader submission portal for this issue at https://forms.gle/eFa1imHZs7JigPV39 which requires a Google account

If you have any questions or difficulty submitting, email coordinator@LondonReader.uk

The deadline for submitting on this theme is November 2nd, 2020.

Free Issue!

Our Time in Quarantine
Stories and Poetry from the Lockdown

In this difficult time, we set out to do what we have always done: bring writers and readers together to try to understand our changing world through stories. This collection of entertaining and enlightening stories and poetry brings together individuals in lockdown all over the world. This issue grapples with what it’s like to live in isolation, encounter magic in this moment, or lose a loved one. As difficult as these times are, these stories remind us that we’re not going through it alone

In the current circumstances, not everyone can afford a subscription to a creative writing magazine, but we’d like to share the issue with you nonetheless. That’s why we’re giving the pdf away for free. Just follow the link below:

www.LondonReader.uk/Quarantine

If you’re able to support the writers, poets, and artists who contribute to the London Reader, please consider becoming a subscriber, donating, or simply sharing this post. Every person who donates will receive a complimentary pdf or mobi of a back issue of their choice, and their contribution goes to the writers within the issue.

If you’re interested in powerful, moving stories told by authors with their finger on the beating pulse of this troubling moment, read on.

Cover of Our Time in Quarantine

Our Time in Quarantine

Stories and Poetry from the Lockdown

In quarantine, almost everything has changed—but it has changed for all of us, all at once. As difficult as isolation is, we all share this moment. We are connected the world-over like during no global calamity that has come before. And our stories can help us navigate this pandemic in this moment. They can help us understand it through other people’s eyes. And they can help us remember how it has affected everyone’s lives.

In these stories, a magical clock that last chimed during the Spanish flu is uncovered; neighbours learn everything about each other through their facing windows; one woman’s quarantine feels oddly like a house cat’s; and ghosts of the past come to dinner when no one else can. The stories in this issue were all composed this year. They sprang from the experiences and imaginations of almost twenty different authors grappling with the pandemic.

This issue presents enchanting and affirming short stories from Yvette Viets Flaten, Emma McKee, DC Van Schaick, Amy Lord, Anna McCarthy, Coles Lee, Miriam Huxley, Gabrielle Mullarkey, Douglas W Milliken, and Rekha Valliappan. It includes moving and inspiring poetry by Victoria Fifield, Nancy Cook, Gerard Sarnat, Katrina Dybzynska, Ronda Piszk Broatch, Jen Karetnick, and Anvesh Jain, as well as art from Ann Marie Sekeres, Brenda Mann Hammack, Laisve Rose, and Leo Wijnhoven. This issue also features interviews with the multi-award-winning author Namwali Serpell, whose first novel, the intergenerational epic, The Old Drift has been called “extraordinary, ambitious, evocative, dazzling” by Salman Rushdie; and with Phumlani Pikoli, the author and multidisciplinary artist who’s been cited as an “urgent new voice in South African fiction”.

The work of these authors and artists all bear witness to the greatest health crisis of our times. Through stories, we are deciding what is essential to our lives, we are figuring out what the phrase “the new normal” really means, and we are discovering, we’re all in this together.

Read the digital edition right now for FREE

Subscribe to either the Print or PDF edition of the London Reader to receive four great issues per year

Divisions

Stories of Inequality, Poverty, and Struggle

The 20s have returned with a roar. Wage inequality in the west is at its highest point since the Great Depression, and another global recession looms before many communities have even recovered from the last. What does it mean for those still struggling to thrive—or even just to survive? How do we criticise our own circumstances when it seems like someone else is always worse off? What causes the day-to-day struggles that define inequality in our lives? The answers are not so straightforward, but the pulse of the present moment can be found in its stories.

This collection brings together the beautiful and poignant stories, recollections, poems, and art of Tanatsei Gambura, Guy Prevost, Megan Carlson, Amy B Moreno, Rosa Borreale, Emily Rose Cole, Kevin Doyle, Susan G Duncan, PE Campbell, Kevin Fullerton, Leticia Mandragora, Delwar Hussain, Avra Margariti, Sorrah Edwards-Thro, Leo Wijnhoven, and George F.

What do they tell us about inequality and struggle? They say it is here, right here, as two people discuss an acquaintance’s health concerns at brunch. They say, look, it followed us from the past when forty orphans arrived in Arizona by train. They say, we can feel it, right now, when pulling tight a blanket against the indoor cold. They say it is ongoing, and it is threatening to get worse. The creative writing in this issue doesn’t have solutions, but it does have perspective, and we cannot change course until we know what course we are on.

Subscribe now to access to the most recent issue. To read a previous issue, donate whatever you want, and receive a download link to the PDF:

The London Reader is a cooperative magazine. Your donation supports the writers, artists, and collaborators who made the issue.

Subscribe to either the Print or PDF edition of the London Reader to receive four great issues per year

Motherhood Cover

Motherhood

Stories of Love, Loss, & Life

Motherhood can be all consuming, and yet it is all too often ignored. Why do strangers think they know a bad mother when they read about one incident online? What is the first week of motherhood like, holding a new life in a hospital ward? What do you tell a child who asks about death? What can you do when insomnia and your child’s crying drive you toward the breaking point? Who would you choose if you could magically foresee your future children in every relationship? What are the lengths people will go to have children on a harsh and inhospitable planet? And what would you tell your own mother if you had one last chance? All these stories and more fill the pages within. This issue of the London Reader turns its focus to the trials of motherhood to illuminate the beating heart at the centre of the human experience.

Stories of Love, Loss, & Life features a new story from Emma Donoghue, the award-winning and best-selling author of Room, which has been made into a film of the same name, as well as short stories, personal reflections, poetry, and art from Jayme Koszyn, Louis Evans, Diana Reed, Ewan Morrison (the author of Nina X and Swung), Stacey May Fowles (the author of Infidelity), Micaela Maftei, Laura Tansley, Joanna Streetly, Kay Bolden, Rosaleen Lynch, Nora Nadjarian, Suzanne Skaar, Clare O’Brien, Wilda Morris, Glenna Meeks, Ella Otomewo, Laura Marija Balčiūnaitė, Julie Blankenship, Cynthia Gregorová, and Zena Blackwell. The Motherhood issue is introduced by Kate Everett and includes an interview with Kim Thúy, the award-winning author of Ru and Mãn.

What is motherhood? Can the answer be found in stories of community and isolation, belonging and rejection, hope and fear, love and loss and life? Open this issue, and find out.

Subscribe now to access to the most recent issue. To read a previous issue, donate an amount of your choice, and receive a download link to the PDF:


The London Reader is a cooperative magazine. Your donation supports the writers, artists, and collaborators who made the issue.

Subscribe to either the Print or PDF edition of the London Reader to receive four great issues per year

Existential Dread in the Digital Void

Ominous Horror Stories for the Present Moment

A second face appears in the dark of your phone’s screen; a web search for life’s purpose comes up blank; and your next right swipe might be your last. We stand on the edge of catastrophe and try to ignore the existential crisis by escaping into our devices, but our dread only deepens. This collection of ominous horror stories for the present moment sharpens its focus on the digital void.

Existential Dread in the Digital Void brings together twenty writers and artists who shine their mobile’s dying light down the darkened hallways of our times. The short stories and minifiction in this issue draw us in, like a foreboding buzzing in our pocket, and don’t let us go until their tragic or twist endings satisfy our digital itch. With a guest introduction by Ann Dávila Cardinal, author of Five Midnights, this issue features fiction from Jeff Noon, the award-winning author of Vurt; Bridget Penney; Michael Marshall Smith, winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction more times than any other author; Clare O’Brien; Simon Bestwick (with a guest foreword by Niwar Ameen Obaid); Tobias Wade; Emma Helen Reid; Claire Holahan; James Dorr; Jennifer Companik; Marie Argeris; and Ramsey Campbell, Britain’s most respected living horror writer according to The Oxford Companion to English Literature. The visual art in this issue comes from Elizabeth Barsham, Michael E Tan, Javier Rodríguez Corpa, Lyssa Omega, Joe Roberts, and the duo d’Ores&Deja. Finally, looking at the horror genre in the current era, this issue also interviews Ellen Datlow, editor of The Best Horror of the Year anthologies, and Tananarive Due, award-winning author and executive producer of the groundbreaking documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.

The chilling visions in this issue look both inside our minds, at our existential worries reflected in our devices, and outside into the dark, at the faces of strangers lit only by the screens of their phones. These ominous stories warn us of what we should have already feared, and their intimate touch, like a fingernail under the skin, will make you shiver.

Subscribe now to access to the most recent issue. To read a previous issue, donate whatever you want, and receive a download link to the PDF:


The London Reader is a cooperative magazine. Your donation supports the writers, artists, and collaborators who made the issue.

Subscribe to either the Print or PDF edition of the London Reader to receive four great issues per year

Open Call for Creative Writing: Mothers and Motherhood

Deadline November 4, 2019

What does it mean to be a mother in today’s changing world? How does the absence of mothering shape someone? How do mothers change their children, and children their mothers? Mothering today is hard. Instead of relying on the consistent advice of community, mothers are bombarded with values and theories by loved ones and strangers: breast is best, attachment parenting, forest schools, tiger mums, and elimination communication, to name a few. Becoming a mother is about more than being responsible for a life; it is also about learning how people now see you differently, and about choosing where you belong.

The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories, true stories, creative nonfiction, flash/mini-fiction, poetry, photography, painting, and any other writing or art that explores the topic of mothers or motherhood. From challenging assumptions about mothers to revisiting the tradition of motherhood, the London Reader seeks personal and intimate stories about mothers and motherhood written by mothers themselves and by those reflecting on the impact of mothers on their lives.

Submissions to this issue can include:

  • Childhood memories of mothers and grandmothers
  • Poetry and stories about being a mother
  • Difficult family stories
  • Piecing together scraps of memory of a lost mother
  • Experiences of mothers who have had to move away from their extended family
  • Stories of pregnancies lost or terminated
  • The changing relationship between a mother and child over the decades
  • Stories about mothers’ lives outside of motherhood
  • Perspectives on LGBTQ+ or non-binary motherhood
  • Pregnancy and birth stories
  • Stories about being unable to be, or choosing not to be, a mother
  • Stories about the difficulties of relating to your children
  • And stories of fathers as well

Authors from international or marginalized communities with under-represented stories are especially encouraged to submit to help create a multifaceted portrait of motherhood in this issue.

What to submit: Creative works can be stand-alone pieces or collections, but should generally be fewer than 5,000 words or no more than 5 poems or visual works per collection. Multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, and re-prints are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page.

How to submit: The London Reader Submission Portal for this issue. If you have any questions or difficulty submitting, email coordinator@LondonReader.uk.

The deadline for submission on this theme is November 4, 2019.

After the Flood

Stories and Poems for our Changing World

Tides reclaim coastal cities, forest fires choke the sky, heat waves scorch the plains, and in the eye of this catastrophe are the stories of families and communities—of fear and hope. The world faces a crisis, and we must search our souls for answers.

How can climate change fit into our stories? This issue of the London Reader re-maps the Earth with new and alternative visions of the present and the future. Stories and Poems for our Changing World faces crisis head-on, but the authors within come to many different conclusions. The cli-fi creative writing in this issue begins with pessimism, revealing the extent of natural disasters. It then revisits and re-evaluates our connection to the natural world. Finally, it finds a path forward, through calamity, with renewed ambition to make a difference.

After the Flood features an interview and fiction from Kim Stanley Robinson, the award-winning author of New York 2140 and the Mars Trilogy. The other creative works within include thought-provoking short stories from Elle Wild, Steve Carr, Hannah Wright, Kai Thomas, Katherine McMahon, Bell Selkie, and Omar El Akkad, author of American War; moving poems from Memye Curtis Tucker, Janette Ayachi, Ivy Archer, Colleen West, Matthew Gwathmey, Alice Mills, Robbi Nester, and Jill Evans; and stunning artwork from Artem Mirolevich, Christina Riley, Claire Price, David Ambarzumjan, and Ira Joel Haber, featured in the MoMA and Guggenheim.

We face a flood of unprecedented destruction. What will come after is up to us.

“A powerful intervention in our moment.”
Kim Stanley Robinson

Subscribe now to access to the most recent issue. To read a previous issue, donate whatever you want, and receive a download link to the PDF:

The London Reader is a cooperative magazine. Your donation supports the writers, artists, and collaborators who made the issue.

Subscribe to either the Print or PDF edition of the London Reader to receive four great issues per year

“When I came to the United States…”

South Texas Detention CenterMore than 90 Somali nationals were deported from the United States at the end of January. They are being returned to a country of strife that they crossed an ocean to flee.

Writing in the most recent issue of the London Reader, Somali-born Ali Dahir tells the story of his persecution in Somalia and later Ethiopia as well as his detainment as a refugee in the United States, where he was held at the South Texas Detention Center.

Read more about the issue, “Home: Stories of identity, belonging, loss, and migration”

“When I came to the United States, I never expected a situation like I experienced in detention. Perhaps I expected a warmer reception. I faced a lot of problems in the immigration jail: racism, discrimination, and abuse both at the hands of the officers and the other detainees. I had no dignity left after being terrorized by the police in Ethiopia, but I was not immune to the words hurled at me in the detention centre.

“Behind the razor wires, steel bars, and concrete walls of the prisons, the Muslim inmates are treated the worst. We were the objects of sarcasm and ridicule by other inmates. If you tried to complain to the officers, they normally sided with the detainees. I regularly heard mocking calls and jeers, like ‘Hey Osama! Did you come to bomb the US or do you just want to bomb the cell?’ Muslim detainees are the longest-serving detainees.”

He was deported from the United States in the summer of 2016.

You read more of the Dahir’s story alongside other writers and artists exploring the concept of Home in PDF through Patreon.com or on Kindle through Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.