Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

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This is Augur’s start, so let’s start with augurs.

It took some time to find the right name for this magazine. I’m a picky perfectionist when it comes to titles, and when you add in neurodivergence you end up with many, many lists involved come selection day. But augur was the word that stood out to me first—and it was the one I came back to over and over again. Augur. An ancient Roman practice of reading futures in the flight patterns of birds. There is so much tangled in this: magic, myth, imagination, storytelling, and a clashing of the real and the unreal.

In the end, it was the one I came back to permanently.

My fellow editors did not object, which was a great first sign. The more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with it. Augury was everything I wanted from this magazine. Not the explicit kind of augury. I do not want to be a Roman man staring at the sky. But I do want to deal in futures; I think, really, that any writer or creator or editor is already dealing in futures. Not just the kinds bursting out from glorious space operas or quiet near-future explorations, but those tucked away in margins and glue and bent covers and punctuation. Hidden in the makeshift permanence of written-down stories, these futures are left to be found by someone after the texts have been published. From the moment it is written, a story is a creature of futures, continuing to exist only in the futures where it is next read.

When I was a high school student, and I’d just been accepted into the University of Toronto, I attended an introductory lecture by Nick Mount. He talked about why books, reading, literature mattered—why, as he put it, lies mattered. This circling uroboros of fiction and untruth got caught somewhere in my lungs. I was captivated.

I still like thinking of literature as beautiful—or sometimes very ugly—lies. It’s a fabulous entry point into thinking about the mechanics of why we read. Especially when talking about speculative fiction, which must be even larger lies than “realist” work! I remain fixated on exploring what truths, almost truths, or very useful lies the stories around me hold.

But I also want to explore how the little truths, realnesses, dreams, and gestures can become a part of our canon, both literary and real. As we dig deeper into an era where the digital is the real, text overcomes us. What isn’t a story, these days? What doesn’t dig at our eyes and burrow into our minds, to be told another day? So when we collect fiction, when we build storytelling mechanisms that deal in cold, hard, truthy lies, there also must be a pull to look at the futurity nurtured within these pieces.

Whose stories are we telling. What work do they perform. What actions do we take by enabling them to be read.

What futures will they foster when they are read.

If you watch our kickstarter video, you’ll see the slogan we landed on: our stories contribute to the futures we need. That “we” is not us, the editorial staff. Nor is it necessarily any given reader. It is about collective futures, made word by word by an intersection of voices—futures that pull together perspectives and celebrate difference. Not necessarily a real future, the one we live in, but the one we imagine.

More than anything, after all, it is the futures we imagine—the ones that coil in us long after we’ve put down the text—that have power.

So go. Read. Celebrate the pieces that we have brought together for you.

And practice a little augury with us as you do.

Kerrie Seljak-Byrne
Editor in Chief
Augur Magazine