From the Editors: Holding On When All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

I wrote this issue’s call for submissions thinking of architecture. Thinking of drowned cities and burning ones, of sun-cracked concrete where the water can come in and fields gone too fast towards some warmer version of themselves, not even fallow any longer so much as lost. Of waiting for the next hurricane, on the twelfth floor of a Manhattan apartment building, thinking well, we won’t drown, but what’s going to be left—and of years later, watching wildfire trackers from a house in the high desert, wondering how fast, how far, how many dead.

I wrote the call with all of that grief on my tongue—I am a thing that loves cities and loves deserts and wants to lose nothing, and will lose anyway—and asked for the point of contact where human alteration and ecological alteration touch; fantasias of density and of absence; blurs between organic and inorganic forms, places, and persons. Asked for stories and essays that would think of architecture, of the built environment, and not merely write pain, but instead think of symbiosis, of touch, of memory. Of what could be built out of what has been built already.

The stories and essays in this volume of Reckoning are a gift to have received. They are anguished, vicious, exquisitely gorgeous; they speak, over and over again and in a thousand different ways, of place, of connection, of making and remaking. Of coming home, and never being able to come home again, and what you might do afterward.

The issue is dark, and it does hurt: but the world is, also. Dark, where it is not burning. And this is not a darkness of despair, or retreat, but one of recognition; a display of a wound, and a cautery—or a rope spun out in the dark, hand to hand, voices over the flood. It is an honor to share them with you.


Author: Arkady Martine

Arkady Martine is a speculative fiction writer and, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner. Under both names she writes about border politics, narrative and rhetoric, risk communication, and the edges of the world. She is currently a policy advisor for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, where she works on climate change mitigation, energy grid modernization, and resiliency planning. Her debut novel, A Memory Called Empire, released in March 2019 from Tor Books, has been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo and Locus Awards. Arkady grew up in New York City, and after some time in Turkey, Canada, Sweden, and Baltimore, lives in New Mexico with her wife, the author Vivian Shaw. Find Arkady online at or on Twitter as @ArkadyMartine.

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