I am honored, shaken, and blown away by the fact that I am sitting here writing this to you now. You, of course, aren’t going to see this for another week or so, but know I’m thinking about you now, always, and forever.
Because, for me, that’s how I see being an editor. I’m not a gatekeeper or a curator keeping readers from writers and writers from readers.
My job as a reader and editor is to act as, well, patient zero.
Stories come in, all with their own merits—okay, fine, some without any merits—and they each hold this sorta pathogen or ghost. It’s sometimes hard to see what these stories carry or if it will be harmful, beautiful, traumatizing, worthwhile, healing. That’s why content warnings and notes are such a beautiful thing! They are warning labels to prepare you for how a story is going to affect you.
CAUTION THIS STORY MAY REMIND YOU OF THAT ONE FAMILY MEMBER YOU HAVEN’T TALKED TO IN A WHILE. (The Godmaker’s Cure by December Cuccaro)
MAY CAUSE READERS TO CRY OVER BREAKUPS THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED AND ONES STEADILY ON THE HORIZON. (I Wear My Spiders in Remembrance of Myself by Kel Coleman)
READ WITH TISSUES/A FRIEND/CLOSE TO YOUR NEXT THERAPIST APPOINTMENT. (the whole damn issue)
For themed issues like what Apparition Literary does, there’s an even smaller pool of stories to sample from. A story that may be a knock-out won’t catch if it doesn’t align with what we, as carriers of spec fic, want to send out into the world. Submissions are your chance to spread your stories past the pages on your screen or in your journal.
And that’s what writers, I think, should remember when submitting stories.
The testing stage is over. Once you send your stories out, they’ll grow, mutate into something new with each host they latch onto.
In this weird metaphor, what I’m trying to say is: stories change you.
They reshape how you see the world, yourself.
As guest patient zero for the Contamination Issue of Apparition Lit, I hope that I helped choose stories that feed your loneliness, your need for good stories, that ache you can’t name. My greatest wish as an editor is that these stories fully and deeply infect you.
Aigner Loren Wilson
Aigner Loren Wilson is a queer Black SFWA, HWA, and Codex speculative fiction, poetry, game, and nonfiction writer whose work visits themes of family, love, and friendship. She is an associate editor and copy editor for Strange Horizons and the horror podcast NIGHTLIGHT. On top of her guest-editing role with Apparition Literary, she is also serving as a guest editor for Fireside Magazine’s Winter 2022 Issues. Aigner writes regularly for Tor Nightfire, Discover Pods, and more. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lightspeed Magazine, WIRED, The Writer, FIYAH, and many more. She is also currently querying a BIPOC queer scifi adult thriller. To check out her short story and poetry collections, games, and courses visit her website (https://aignerlwilson.com/).
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Thank you for reading
Rebecca Bennett, Amy Henry Robinson, Tacoma Tomilson, and Clarke Doty