When I started working for Anomalous Press in 2012, I was enthralled with the idea of a literary magazine actively seeking writing that was too weird or experimental or risky to find a home in traditional journals. That was the kind of writing I’d been drawn to for years—work that played at the edges of genre, that created worlds where magic could be as deep-seated as family lore, or that elevated fairy tales, alien abductions, and post-apocalyptic wastelands into language-conscious, compelling, and socially critical art. I am honored to have had the chance to work with founding editor Erica Mena, Editor-in-Chief Shannon Walsh, and the other volunteer editors and readers who sustained Anomalous Press’s on-line journal for five years and fourteen issues, offering a home to hybrids and experiments in poetry, prose, and visual art.
Anomalous was born out of a love for the marginal and existed as a labor of love, but in 2015 other projects took priority for our staff. Rather than retire the journal completely, we decided to evolve. It was a seamless transition to become an imprint of Drunken Boat, a journal invested in putting the spotlight on marginalized voices. Our hope is that Anomalous Press will live on as an “experimental sandbox” in Drunken Boat’s diverse playground. The Anomalous Press Chapbook Series, which launched in 2013, will also continue as an imprint of Drunken Boat Books, offering a platform for a range of varied voices and experiences.
This inaugural Anomalous Press folio features speculative work by women and non-binary writers. Special thanks to Paisley Green for lending her expertise in the selection and editing process. The umbrella term “speculative” is slippery in what it contains, widening beyond science-fiction and fantasy to include magical realism, slip-stream, and the supernatural, I find it fitting to pair such a nuanced space with the female experience, especially the experience of women of color. The speculative tradition offers unconventional avenues for solving, or at least drawing attention to, problems of convention. It takes something jarring, something out of the ordinary, to call out deeply engrained, problematic beliefs and habits—ignorance and prejudices that allow rich white rapists to walk free, for black men to be shot by police, for a nightclub to turn into a slaughterhouse, for a hatemonger to become a US presidential candidate. A shift in perspective is needed. Empathy is needed. Writing can help with that. Speculative writing can teach empathy under the guise of the familiar turned upside down so the weak spots show through. Perhaps this seems too idealistic, too simplistic, and maybe it is, but in the face of endless uncertainty, I take heart in the possibilities of writing. People will write. People will read. Conversations can start and new realities can be crafted.