Category Archives: Issues

Drama & Dragons

Drama & Dragons: Stories about Games and Growing up

From their humble beginnings a half century ago, pen-and-paper roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons have gone on to become a global cultural phenomenon and inspired many generations of writers to think deeper about the stories they create. This issue of the London Reader delves into the worlds of these games and the stories of the people who play them.

Guest introductions by Emily Care Boss and Steve Jackson give insight into the connections between games and literature. Short stories, poetry, and art by Jeff Noon, author of Vurt; Bridget Penney; PK Merlott; Innes Smith; Jesse Gazic; Christine King; Rachael Arsenault; Ian McLachlan; d’Ores&Deja; Kevin Oberlin; Paul Carrick; Inbal Breda; Stefan Poag; Eric Quigley; and Nicolò Maioli all explore roleplaying games and the lives of their players. This issue also presents an interview with the New York Times best-selling author of the Dragonlance series, Margaret Weis.

Drama & Dragons includes a Bonus Feature with three one-page, ready-to-play roleplaying games that walk the line between literature and games, as well as a Bonus Feature on LitRPG fiction, a new genre of fantasy and sci-fi, where the stories take place within a computer game and the rules of the game impact the characters. This bonus section includes interviews with the founders of LitRPG—Vasily Mahanenko, Alex Bobl, and D. Rus—as well as excerpts from LitRPG novels by Holly Jennings and Ember Lane.

Join these storytellers on their adventures as they explore the dungeons of our collective imagination and confront the troubles that lie within.

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Truth, Lies, & Fiction for a Post-Fact Age

Our lives are based on the fictions we tell ourselves and each other. Every new friendship grows out of the characters we present and perceive; every social media status and photograph we upload narrates the way we see the world; and every politician has a story they want us to believe. How can we navigate the truths and lies of our lives in this post-fact age?

In 2016, ‘post-truth’ was named the word of the year, and Matthew d’Ancona makes the case that we are living in a post-truth era. The short stories, poems, interviews, and art in this issue interrogate truth, lies, and the role of fiction in these trying times. Whether they deal with the big political lies we hear on TV or the little personal lies we tell about ourselves or our sexuality, the subtle and thought-provoking stories in this issue of the London Reader explore our difficult relationship with the truth—how we bend, break, and mend it—and they offer a pleasant reprieve from the swirling pandemonium of lies in our increasingly digital lives.

Truth, Lies, & Fiction for a Post-Fact Age features: new minifiction from Jeff Noon, author of Vurt; interviews with Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi, and Matthew d’Ancona, author of Post-Truth; as well as stories, poetry, and art from AJ Berasaluce, Ruth Brandt, Rachel Bullock, Nicholas Gurewitch of Perry Bible Fellowship fame, Kat Hanula, Barbara E. Hunt, Wes Lee, Andrew Lloyd-Jones, Scott Stavrou, Laura Theis, Daniel Uncapher, Mike Wilson, and Christopher Woods.

Whether from a timeless or decidedly 21st century perspective, all of the writing in this volume considers the role of truth and lies in our lives today. At a time when the news is called into question, fiction can help us rediscover the truth.

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After Words: Animal Reflections

Stories, Poetry, and Essays on the Lives of Animals

We live side by side with animals. A flock of pigeons roosting on a rooftop is as apparently ordinary a scene as cats scrapping down the street or squirrels teasing their would-be chasers before turning tail to safety. How often we forget that we, too, are animals, and that our relationships with other animals can help us better understand the world we share with them. How often do we remember that as our ambitions and cities keep growing, the lives of animals among us keep changing? After Words: Animal Reflections questions our place in the world by exploring how animals have visited and haunted our lives and writing.

Curator Christina Claudia Galego frames the issue with new fiction by Meg Elison, winner of the Philip K. Dick Award, and critical poetry by Daniel Scott Tysdal, a ReLit Award recipient and TEDx speaker. Alongside these selections are creative essays, short stories, and poems by Ed Ahern, Mikki Aronoff, Janette Ayachi, Sarah Barr, Evan J. Coleman, Matt Daly, AJ Huffman, Matthew Hollett, Tom Larsen, Wes Lee, Janet McCann, Christopher M. McDonough, Cecile Rossant, Benjamin Paynter, David F. Shultz, Dan Veach, and Melanie Whipman, as well as affecting artwork by JJ Paynter, Dan Veach, Severine Richardson, and Jagoda Woźny.

After Words: Animal Reflections also presents a timely exchange with Pulitzer Prize-winner Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction, and a thoughtful interview with Giller Prize-winner André Alexis, author of Fifteen Dogs.

For those who wonder where their dog goes at night, what it’s like to see an elk in the wild, or whether animals are people too, this issue of the London Reader is for you.

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Wish You Were Here

Writing and Reflections on Travel

This issue of the London Reader invites you to pick a date, book a ticket, and step out your front door into the words of travellers from around the world. Wish You Were Here: Writing and Reflections on Travel is a collection of stories, poems, and thoughts about life on the road, in the big city, and even in our own backyards as seen by a visitor from somewhere else.

This issue features interviews with prolific writer and traveller Don George, who wrote Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing, and Mary Morris, author of The Jazz Palace and multiple travel memoirs and editor of The Virago Book of Women Travellers. The issue is introduced by travel writer and academic Mark Anthony Jarman, and it features travel stories by Sneha Abraham, Lucas Abrahão, M. M. Adjarian, Mia Gaudin, Nancy Ludmerer, Clare O’Brien, Fiona Sibley, Elen Turner, and Alexis Wolfe as well as poetry by Allison Adair, Rose Condo, Ben Fagan, Charles Leggett, Lindsay Reid, and Kaz Sussman.

If you miss the sea, especially if you’ve never been before, if you want to get lost with an old friend and find yourself somewhere new, if you want go where there’s no mobile reception or where you can hide in the crowds, if you want to set out for thirty days on a river and feel the ache in your shoulders under the pale northern lights, if you want to remember your honeymoon or remember that restless spring in Madrid when even the buildings were sweating in anticipation of the night, if you want to travel, next week or next year, this issue of the London Reader is for you.

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Words from Within

Stories of Mental Disturbance

It often feels to those who suffer from mental illness that words cannot convey their experiences. The twenty voices in this issue of the London Reader take up that challenge in creative writing. If there are any words that come close to capturing our mental states, it is the climactic sentence of a short story, the concluding line of a sincere confession, or the final metaphor of a sharp poem. Within these pages, writers and poets, essayists and lyricists, psychologists and sufferers, lay bare their experiences with mental illness, showing us both its ugly and its sympathetic side, with their Words from Within.

What is mental illness? It is different for each of us. It is being awake all night and feeling the buzz of a neon sunrise without looking. It is a ransom note demanding you give up normality in exchange for your life. It is sitting at an empty shoreline and deciding whether to swim or give in. It is a troubling phone call from a close friend that could be the last. These images come from the emotional and captivating stories and poems within the pages of this volume.

Featuring…

Interviews with award-winning novelists Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook, and Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from renowned writers like Beth Aviv, Amy Bee, and Alexis-Rueal, award-winning poets like Fern G. Z. Carr and Leland James, psychologist Alberta Nassi, sisters Rebecca and Carinya Sharples, and many others whose work has been inspired by their or their loved ones’ struggles with mental illness.

The creative writing of Words from Within: Stories of Mental Disturbance brings to the page both the pain and the perseverance of the everyday and the extreme experiences of those who suffer from mental illness.

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The Hate Speech Monologues

This issue of the London Reader brings you heartbreakingly personal stories of experiences of hate from around the world. From stories of escaping genocide or mass-murder, to dealing with hate in the home, the classroom, or on the street, the Hate Speech Monologues deals with the ugly realities of prejudice in the wider world, but it carries with it the hope that hate can be overcome.

Each of the pieces selected for this issue of the London Reader was originally performed on the stage. They were written from personal experiences and presented by the writers. These storytellers come from all over the world, but shared a stage together in Budapest as part of the original ‘Hate Speech’ Monologues. This issue of the London Reader presents some of the most powerful and compelling narratives and poems performed at the ‘Hate Speech’ Monologues in celebration of its fifth anniversary. This issue stands as a tribute to the power of stories to build connections and to stand up to hate.

Drawing on their own personal experiences of hate and discrimination, this issue features personal stories and poetry from: the award-winning poet and TEDx Talk speaker Nilofer Khan Habibullah; Mariya Parodi, Communications Associate for the International Rescue Committee; Elizabeth Joy Loudon; Philippe-Edner Marius; Sarah Ahmed; Ruth Simister; Jacob Verhagen; and more. This issue also features interviews with the academic Theodore M. Shaw and author Ibram X. Kendi on hate speech and racism in America.

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The London Reader, Love 2.0: Rewriting Romance in the Digital Age

Love 2.0: Rewriting Romance in the Digital Age

As we check our smart phones after every ping, we fail to concentrate on any one thing for more than a few minutes. In an age where we turn the lens on ourselves more than towards our lovers, is it still possible to love each other? In this new millennium, where we right-swipe for the next date, look for love in online match algorithms, and check new messages both during dinner and between the bed sheets, are we still capable of loving? Or are we forever held prisoner by the short-lived act of falling in love, over and over again?

The fiction, poetry, and interviews in Love 2.0 depict a multifaceted vision of romance in our modern era. This issue features a new collection of minifiction by Arthur C. Clarke award-winner Jeff Noon and creative writing by April Pierce, Rob Hartzell, Shalini Adnani, Liza Dezfouli, Eleanor Gall, Kathleen Latham, Carter Vance, and more. Together they explore, challenge, and ultimately redefine the experience of falling in love for the 21st century. The issue also presents interviews with Jeff Noon and author, columnist, and prolific tweeter Dana Schwartz and asks them their thoughts on writing and romance in the modern era.

In Love 2.0, nineteen different writers share their diverse stories and perspectives on romance and relationships in our increasingly digital age. What does it tell us about love? And what does it tell us about ourselves?

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Home: Stories of Identity, Belonging, Loss, and Migration

Home is the where the heart is,
but the heart may be far from home…

In the 21st century — in which nearly 70 million people are forcibly displaced and 244 million live outside their country of birth — home is a more elusive concept than ever, and it is one that is often entwined with feelings of loss. In this issue of the London Reader we hear from under-represented voices from around the world as we explore themes of belonging, migration, identity, and lost homes. Through the photography, poetry, short stories, and writing of refugees, migrants, and others, we will take you on an extraordinary journey through the lives of people who are all, in their own way, trying to find “home”.

“Home: Stories of identity, belonging, loss, and migration” features an interview with two-time Giller Prize winner M.G. Vassanji and an interview and excerpt from author and aid-worker Saleem Haddad. The issue also presents an excerpt from Selina Siak Chin Yoke’s first novel as well as short fiction and poetry from Beena Nadeem, April Pierce, Eleanor Gall, and others. In addition to showcasing photography from rural Afghanistan, Winter 2016 is a Special Extended-Length Issue that features the artwork and stories of Syrian children from the Akré refugee camp in Iraq, whose program will receive 10 percent of the revenue from this issue.

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The London Reader is a cooperative magazine, so your donation goes directly to support the writers, artists, and collaborators who made the Autumn 2016 issue.

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#cyberpunkNOW

// The economy and climate are collapsing. Borders are being built up. Yet everyone is connected moreso than ever before. CEOs and squatters with smartphones are conjoined in the consensual mass hallucination. Relationships are right-swiped, and exes hack each other’s accounts. Cryptocurrencies buy research chemicals on the darkweb. Social media pages become memorials to the dead. Hashtags spark revolutions. Mass surveillance is both the business model of the internet and business as usual in the perpetual war on terror. Is this cyberpunk? Is this dystopia? Who cares?

// This is #cyberpunkNOW

// This issue of the London Reader features interviews with the founders of Cyberpunk—William Gibson and Bruce Sterling—and Sci-Fi author Kim Stanley Robinson, as well fiction by Ike Hamil, Stephen Arseneault, George Bartlett, and more. #cyberpunkNOW focuses on short stories, minifiction, poetry, and art that explore the deep-reaching personal, social, and political implications of technology on our lives, re-examining society through the lenses of cyberpunk and science fiction.

// #cyberpunkNOW is dedicated to the memory of Lukas Mariman, 1972-2016.

// As a previous issue, you can read it now by donating whatever you want to the issue’s creators. Mention you’d like the #cyberpunkNOW issue in the Paypal form, and receive a complimentary PDF:


The London Reader is a non-profit cooperative magazine; your contribution supports the writers, artists, and collaborators who make each issue