Knowledge can be found in a variety of places from
sources well known or unexpected. “Lore,” the theme of
this issue, can be defined as a body of knowledge which
comes out of tradition. It can also refer to the details
embedded in the complex worlds found in games, novels,
and film which might include their own folklore or
Whether subtle or extensive, works of speculative
fiction often create their own lore as they explore “what if”
questions in new worlds. Through their explorations of
human nature, sources of terror, how and why the world
works, and a myriad of other subjects, the genres of
speculative fiction challenge and reinterpret the
knowledges we take to be true.
Every piece in this issue creates or reinterprets the
idea of lore or knowledge in its own way. Find here tales
of doomed love and sinister relationships, of eternal
women and ancient magic. Also included are poems of
sinofuturism, a classic folktale retold, and a tribute to
works in the speculative canon.
This semester’s issue would not be possible without
the wonderful authors and the dedicated members of
figments. It is a product of time and hard work which we
are proud to present. A huge thank you to everyone
involved in the process, and to you, dear reader, for taking
-Marina Cooper ’21
What scares you?
Think about it. What makes your heart skip a beat? Or do double duty on the way home in the dark? What keeps you up at night, hesitating to stretch your hand across the pool of quivering shadow between your bed and the lamp? What gives you cold sweats at 2:00 a.m. and flushes your cheeks with hot, fresh blood and slight embarrassment when you remember it later in the broad, baking noon? What lurks in your closet? Beyond the moon? Inside the vast and twisted recesses of your mind?
We’re all afraid of something.
Ponder that as the leaves begin to change. As the world dies and autumn draws its rusty, crackling breath. As you slip beneath the placid surface of the everyday into the horrors that lurk and whisper and cackle coldly in the pages of this volume. Ponder that as an old woman dies, a wandering bard (or someone more sinister?) crosses a desert of ice, and we learn just what, not one but two, walls fail to let us forget.
We’re all afraid of something. How about you?
Happy Halloween, Samhain, and Día de los Muertos,
Curator of Starlight, Space Opera, and Sorcery
Mythology may well be considered the original speculative genre. Often fantastical, frequently horrific, sometimes forward sweeping. Always testing the limits of belief and imagination. Blurring the lines between faith and fancy. Offering a billion, billion new faces for timeless traditions.
This semester I’ve seen something that warms my heart: I’ve seen a student body with their eyes on the future. I’ve seen this in The Human Side of Robots in Film series that screened movies like Her and Ex Machina in the Wilcox Blackbox. I’ve seen this in the newly formed Princeton Futurist Society, which is gearing up to discuss AI, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and all the other tech trends that are bringing the Singularity hurtling toward us.
I’ve seen this in Professor Ruha Benjamin’s sociology seminar, Continue reading
It’s a good time for speculative fiction in America. We’ve come a long way since the trashy dime novels and pulp magazines of the early 20th century, when sci-fi was the sole province of nerdy adolescent boys, and the guilty pleasure of the men they would become.
It is still the province of nerdy adolescent boys, but there is less guilt attached to the pleasure of adult fans in a world where Fahrenheit 451 is taught as literature in school, where Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time, where dragons and space ships alike take their place on the big screen or the bookstore windows day in and day out.
The “genres,” as we like to call the trifecta of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, Continue reading