I think it’s safe to say that 2016 has been a rough ride. In the space of a few months, we’ve lost a number of iconic entertainers from David Bowie, Alan Rickman, to Jab Adu that it feels like the ground is shifting beneath our feet. In concert with the growing impact of global climate change, a wildly unpredictable presidential election cycle in the United States and a cratering economy here in Nigeria, the world seems a deeply surreal place, and no one knows quite which way is up.
Like the year that birthed it, this edition can also be called surreal. Just like a Fulani warrior princess riding a leopard with a blaster in hand, its logic is dream-like; it is not afraid to throw together incongruous ideas and somehow keep them working. In fact, dreams make up the central premise of many of the stories in our edition, from the impossible dream of loving the wrong person to the idea that our dreams hold the key to our true selves – if only we would pay them more attention.
Our edition is special in many other ways as well. This is the first edition where we will pay our contributors – making us one of the few African literary magazines that do this. We want to thank the Goethe Institut, whose grant last year helped make this possible. However, the funds can only go so far and we will be running a crowd-fund drive before our next edition to try and raise funds for the rest of the year. We do hope you’ll give what you can to help keep this crazy project alive. This was also the first edition where we got the help of volunteers to help us sort through the slush pile. A big thank you goes out to University of Manchester students, Dr Jan Cabral-Jackson and Shaun Carter – and Geoffrey Ryman for hooking us all up.
It has been a confusing year so far and, as we always have, we turn to stories to help us make sense of it all. Like Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So” tales which gave us fanciful explanations for why the leopard has spots or why the hippopotamus’ skin is so wrinkly, speculative fiction may not have the answers, but they’re fun enough to get us thinking.
Let’s all stay strong.
15 March 2016