Shimmer #23: Editorial

The Half Dark Promise, by Sandro Castelli
The Half Dark Promise, by Sandro Castelli

People often ask me, “what makes a story Shimmery,” and it’s not always easily answered — sometimes, you don’t know a story is Shimmery until you hit the end, and you realize there is a change inside you.

Sometimes, it’s more easily answered, as the shimmer is distinct from the point of entry. A confident voice that knows where it’s going from the first line, even if I, as a reader, don’t know. The immediate delivery of an image that is unusual, arresting; an image that makes you pause and want to see more. The stories in Shimmer #23 accomplish both things for me as editor and reader both.

Something moves in the half dark two gas lamps ahead of me.

Gas lamps! Something? In the half dark? I’m already intrigued, even if we don’t yet know what the something is. Does our narrator know? Indeed she knows, and will show us everything soon.

Child’s mistress was out when the scentless woman entered the shop and laid a strip of severed cloth upon the counter.

A scentless woman, a severed cloth. A character named Child? Where is this going? There are a few things to unpack, beautiful threads that foreshadow much to come.

When I think oil rig, I think big metal Viking onslaught in the night.

Immediate hook — pounding metal music exploding through a winter night. Hammer of the gods! Ships to new lands! You are on that ship, holding on.

Things used to be pure inside me.

How Shimmery is that opening line? So Shimmery. Seven words that convey a huge image, a big idea the story will unpack piece by piece. What things, why are they no longer pure, what changed?

Something inside you may change as you read this quartet of stories. My thanks to Sarah Pinsker and Madison Bell for their help in proofing the Haitian Creole herein.


Read or Buy Shimmer #23


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