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.

Subscribe now to access to the most recent issue. Because Home is a previous issue, you can donate whatever you want, and receive a download link to the PDF:


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.

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

Fiction in the Facebook Era

zuckerberg-facebook-dead

“A glitch on Friday afternoon led Facebook to declare two million users, including Zuckerberg himself, prematurely dead. People logged in to their accounts to find that they had been ‘memorialized'”The Guardian

Our lives and technology have intertwined with often uncanny fallout. In the Autumn issue of the London Reader, #cyberpunkNOW, a piece of minifiction by Benn Ward looks at the eerie cybershade that lives on in social media after a person’s death:

///

Contrails
by Benn Ward

I HAD WORK in the morning, my first day back after the funeral, but I sat awake in the light of my computer screen, clicking through Dad’s Facebook page.

Condolences and prayers were still popping up on his wall—“You were the best coach I could have asked for. Thank you,” and, “Steve and I will always remember you. Love, Cherryl”—as if they were writing to his smiling profile picture taken at the top of Mount Rundle.

All of his Likes were in the present tense too. Curling. Hiking. He hadn’t played cribbage in years, but it was listed there. His most recent photo was from a friend’s retirement party in February at the Westwood Lodge, when he could still walk.

His last status was just beneath the condolences, asking if anyone had a spare 20 litre pot they could lend our family for Easter Dinner. He had trouble chewing solid foods, and Mom was going to make a soup.

These photographs, these words, this contrail of his life, is all that’s left. But none of the pictures showed him in his hospital bed, unspeaking, shaking, as he grasped my hand.

///

To read more of the #cyberpunkNOW issue, including another piece of minifiction in the “Facebook Family Furnishings” series by Benn Ward, subscribe or donate to the London Reader.

Feature Contributor: Shinji Toya

toya-2“In the project ‘3 Years and 6 Months of Digital Decay’ developed in association with the Arebyte gallery, I set up an online platform where a digital video will be more and more fragmented as time passes until the image disappears entirely three and half years after the launch of the website. Vicktor Mayer-Schonberger has talked about how digital media remembers so much information that we know less than the digital remembers. Because digital media can identically duplicate memories (unlike analogue), digital memories are immortal to begin with. If this immortal memory reaches every aspect of our lives (like search engines that can track every click we make online), the information may become beyond our control. Through my artwork, I want us to observe and think about how technologies of forgetting (or auto-decay) can be implemented in our lives and consider whether this technology is desirable for us.”

Shinji Toya’s artwork is featured in the latest issue of the London Reader, #cyberpunkNOW

“3 Years and 6 Months of Digital Decay” is a digital art project that Toya exhibited at the Internet Yami-Ichi event at the Tate Modern in London in association with Arebyte Gallery.

Toya is a multimedia artist originally from Japan, now based in London. He has been awarded the Contagious Nova Award in Lowe and Partner’s Nova Award Series. Toya’s practice is predominantly digital, and involves a range of diverse creative approaches such as moving-image, print, painting, computer programming, digital installation, and website. You can find him online at cargocollective.com/stoya

See more of Toya’s artwork alongside contemporary voices in creative writing exploring the theme of #cyberpunkNOW

#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

Coming Soon: Autumn 2016

Cover Image

In the next issue of the London Reader, Alexander Maurice introduces us to the works and voices of the cyberpunk genre and interviews two of its founding authors: William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Autumn 2016 releases this September.

Open Call: Time Travel

Stories that begin where they end, “today meets tomorrow”, and other weird tales for

Time Travel: Now & Then

Deadline: January 31, 2019

Since the time machine of HG Wells and the ghosts of past and future of Charles Dickens, authors and artists have used time travel to explore humanity through the looking glass of another time. What happens when characters have the chance to talk to themselves in the past or when they receive a glimpse of possible futures?

The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories, flash/mini-fiction, poetry, artwork, and any other literary, speculative, or science fiction that reveals character or explores difficult issues facing society through the convention of time travel.

The concept of travelling through time may be interpreted broadly by contributors. Among other inspirations, works can be in the style of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake, Sun Ra’s Space Is the Place, Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, or the butterfly effect of Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder.

Possible story prompts:

  • A drone delivers letters from the year 2019 to 1619.
  • A famous historic figure visits the present day and asks some difficult questions.
  • People from a future wracked by climate catastrophe flee back through time and become refugees in the present day.
  • A narrator with a fear of ageing keeps returning to their youth to prolong the inevitable.
  • The main character wakes up in a future where gender stereotypes are reversed.
  • A  teenager in 2018 can somehow Instant Message their own teenage parent in 1998.
  • German punks go back in time to the Great War to enlist in the Bavarian Reserve Infantry and plan to assassinate a young Lance Corporal Hitler.
  • A writer’s words travel into the future…

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 3 poems. Multiple submissions are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page.

How to submit: Submit using the London Reader Submission Portal here.

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

The deadline for submission on this theme is January 31, 2019.