A LETTER FROM OUR GUEST

PROFESSOR JESSICA TREADWAY

The phrase “speculative fiction” has always struck me as a little redundant. Isn’t fiction, by definition, a work of speculation by its author? Yet I understand the usefulness of a single term embracing stories devoted to science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic, and other genres that find a home in Page Turner Magazine—including realism tinged by a sense of these other worlds.

The Chilean-American author Isabel Allende advises us to “Write what should not be forgotten,” and this issue is chock full of stories that stay with me after I’ve turned the page (or, to be more precise, logged out). Whether their official label may be “horror” or “historical mystery” or “graveyard romance gone wrong” (okay, I made that one up!), they present us with vivid characters, settings, and a great deal of food for thought when we set out to speculate What if?

In my workshops in the Popular Fiction MFA program at Emerson College, our weekly modules are devoted to specific elements of fiction-writing craft: characterization, setting, dialogue, plot construction, etc. Yet, there has to be something else, something more—let’s call it the “spark”—for a story to grab readers by the lapels, as the saying goes. It may take the form of an overarching question the story asks; an invented world the reader sinks into and doesn’t want to leave; or such compelling evocation of characters’ internal landscapes that we feel we are those characters, succeeding and suffering along with them, cheering them on or, sometimes, rooting for their failure.

I believe that this is what the art of fiction can do uniquely: allow us to inhabit other human beings and become them for a while. That’s what the authors of these stories invite you to do, and I hope you have the same rich reading experience I did in accepting that invitation. Congratulations to the writers included here, and to the dedicated staff at Page Turner Magazine, for so impressively expanding the horizons of our speculative realm.

JESSICA TREADWAY
MARCH 17, 2022