The team at Truancy Magazine is both pleased and sad to offer you our penultimate issue. It’s an especially sad issue because one of the issue authors, Paul R. Hardy, passed on not long after my last email to him, informing him of payment for his story. It was a sweet and kind email, offered to me during a very difficult time in my life, health and life-wise.
I had no idea of what he had been going through and was only informed of his sad demise some time later, by his sister. Paul’s “The Smuggler’s Broadside” combines two of my favourite things, maritime fantasies and music, specifically the music of Henry Purcell, which is attributed in the story based on Paul’s liner notes and wishes. I love the story that he offered us, and really liked the glimpse I had of his spirit and personality in our correspondences. As such, we at Truancy would like to dedicate this issue in his memory, and hope you will love his story as much as we did.
This was an issue I was particularly keen on launching, given that I had received two Norse short stories with serpentine motifs. The first one is “Jormugandr: A Norse Tale” by Susanne Thomas, featuring the Midgard serpent in a misadventure, based on the Poetic Edda account of him. The second Norse tale is by the Mohawk author Cathy Smith, “Sigyn’s Silfr”, featuring Loki’s lesser-known spouse and a very profitable gift. You may find accounts of Sigyn in both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. From Midgard, we travel to India in Chitra Gopalakrishnan’s mystical and quasi-academic account of New Delhi, “Foe and Stranger There Is None”, a tale that is steeped in the mystery of that historical city. From India, we travel to the woods for a rendezvous with a tree spirit in Deborah Davitt’s poignant poetic prose offering that both enthrals and breaks the heart. Rounding up our fiction offering is a reprint from Erzebet Barthold, the brilliant, multi-talented author and editor who roped me into the Cabinet des Fees team all those years ago, and without whom I would not be a fiction editor. “The Trickster in My Belly” is a wonderful tale of the spider-trickster Iktomi, which was printed in the long-lamented Jabberwocky series. Finally, to complement these two Norse tales, this issue also features returning Truancy author Vajra Chandrasekera’s “Níðhöggr”, one of my favourite works of fiction by the author.
Moving on to poetry, Bayveen O’Connell’s “Directions to Tir na Nóg” is an evocative poetic window into of one of my favourite otherworldly realms in folklore and mythology. Our selection continues with Truancy alumni, Lynne Sargent’s “Resignation Syndrome”, a powerful revisiting of Snow White. From there, we move to Scotland by way of Sarah Webb’s “Bottle”, a Selkie poem that was so intense, it caught me by the throat.
We have two reviews in this issue, one is Chris QWK’s review of Adifitri Ahmad’s second graphic novel in the Taubat Si Tanggang series, and my review of Maria Tatar’s The Fairest of Them All: Snow White and 21 Tales of Mothers and Daughters. The two books are a good indication of the range of fairytale types and revisions we at Truancy have engaged with over the years.
I am both sad and happy to publish this issue. Sad because it is the penultimate issue, heartbroken because having an author you’ve edited pass on is as terrible as having a student pass on, but we live in such painful times. Nevertheless, I am happy to share such wonderful short stories and poems with you, and to have reviews of two great works of folklore and fairytales, from a graphic novelist and artist, and from one of my folklore studies heroes. And I’m very, very relieved that this very long in coming issue is finally published. It was a very long and painful road to get here, with many personal trials and tribulations.
I’d like to offer my thanks to the entire editorial team for helping me get this issue ready, especially Rebekah, who did a brilliant job sourcing the clip art for most of the issue. Congratulations are also owed to both Rebekah and Nik who have successfully defended their MA dissertations and who have now passed their MA candidature*. Thanks is also offered to the Malaysian artist ERYN who provided the gorgeous “Memory” for our cover.
Onwards to the final issue of Truancy! I think 10 is a nice number to bring this project to a regretful close.
Editor in Chief,
*note: the EIC is a very proud supervisor.
Nin Harris is an SFF author and poet. In her day job she is a literary academic with a focus on the Postcolonial Gothic. Nin writes Gothic fiction, cyberpunk, nerdcore post-apocalyptic fiction, planetary romances and various other hyphenated weird fiction. Nin’s publishing credits include: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Dark, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Uncanny and more.
The featured image is “Loki and Sigyn” (1862) by Karl Franz Eduard von Gerbhardt, depicting Sigyn tending to Loki during his long punishment. The image is in the public domain. More information available at the Wikimedia Commons page.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This issue of Truancy Magazine (Issue 9) is supported by the grant GGP-2019-017 Climate-Based Literary Theory and Analytical Model for Indigenous Malaysian Communities impacted by Climate Change and Climate Migration, awarded by the Centre for Research and Instrumentation (CRIM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. (Principle Investigator: Dr. Anita Harris Satkunananthan)