fae, fiction, myth, paganism, poetry, review, short story, summer solstice, underworld
Welcome to the Summer Solstice 2022 issue of Eternal Haunted Summer! Our theme for this issue is other-than-human realms. We are pleased to note that this is our largest issue to date, thanks to the many talented contributors — many of whom are making their EHS debut! — who submitted their poems, short stories, and essays.
So what is an other-than-human realm? What and where are these places that humans are not welcome, not allowed? Or are these places we are changed after having visited? Or perhaps this is a realm we can only visit once we are no longer recognizably human. Or perhaps it is the on place we can be truly ourselves.
Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the contributors to this issue focus on the Fae — both the place and the people. In some of these works, the Fae is/are a space of beauty and danger, a realm where humans must tread carefully, if they dare to venture there at all. In others, it is a place of respite, a refuge from the ugliness of the mundane world. In still other works, “fae” is embodied by a single being, the epitome of otherworldliness. Hannah Zhang makes her debut with the deeply personal “(a fairy)”, while Shayne Keen makes his own debut with the haunting, tragic “Faery Ride.” Kim Whysall-Hammond explores the liminality of Fae and the human mind in her poem, “In shape no bigger than an agate stone,” while Nicole J. LeBoeuf offers a cautionary note to visitors in “On the Limitations of Photographic Evidence in Fairyland.” Elizabeth R. McClellan draws on folklore, mythical archetypes, and Pre-Raphaelite poetry in “Questing Done Right: The Goblin Market,” while Scott J. Couturier offers up the sorrowful “Where My Lover Goes.” Elizabeth Davis mixes horror, fantasy, and classic literature in “Between Dutchman’s Grove and the Iron Hills,” while Annie Cúglas takes us to medieval Ireland in “The Knock” and Rose Strickman finds the Fae in Washington State in “A Midsummer’s Procession.” The connection between the Fae and the natural world is explored in Hayley Arrington’s “Morgan le Fey the Apple Tree,” “Pietà” by Mark A. Fisher, and the eco-science fiction tale “Changeling World” by Jonathon Mast. Finally, in our only essay, Olivia Claire Louise Newman contemplates “The Duality of Light and Dark in Otherworlds as Explored in Clay Franklin Johnson’s ‘My Mélusine Illusion’.”
Other contributors draw inspiration from ancient spiritualities and literature. As is the case with the Fae, some of these places are welcoming to humans, while others strip us of our sense of self and leave … something else. Both Ryan E. Holman and Joe Weintraub take us to the island of Aeaea in “Circe, Part One” and “Circe’s Song,” respectively, while Kelly Jarvis paints a stunning picture of “The Garden of Evening.” Seán Carabini looks to Táin Bó Cúailnge in their EHS debut “Crow Fold,” while Chelsea Arrington draws on Welsh mythology in “The Lament of Arawn’s Queen.”
The afterlife, too, however it is conceived, is also explored here. “Devil Dog” by Matthew Roy offers a sympathetic look at that most fearsome of guard dogs and Ngo Binh Anh Khoa proposes “A Tribute to the Ferryman,” while “Styx” by Mariel Herbert delves into the private thoughts (and messages) of the Queen and King of the Underworld themselves. Eve Morton draws on Sumerian beliefs in the humorous and macabre “Travel Tips for the Underworld,” while Maxwell I. Gold returns to EHS with “The Soul Candle of Olam Ha-Ba,” a weird and cosmic take on traditional Jewish beliefs. Andrew Warburton makes his EHS debut with the eco-funereal “Sabrina,” while Gerri Leen turns to Egyptian beliefs in “Ma’at’s Precipice.”
Still other contributors find other-than-human realms in the natural world, far from asphalt roads and concrete and glass buildings. Others look to the depths of the human mind itself, where psyche and myth mix and mingle; or the land of dreams, where the difference between real and imagined blurs into nothingness; or the space sideways of the “real” world, where we are more ourselves than we can ever be here. Or perhaps, this other-than-human realm is the land of asphalt roads and concrete and glass buildings as seen through the eyes of other-than-human creatures. And so we have Holly Lynn Walrath’s debut, “Coyote Eats the City,” Sharon Whitehill’s “Dame Fortune vs Dame Wisdom,” and Lyri Ahnam’s “Forest Heart.” And also Jaden Pierce’s “Phoenix,” Hamad al-Rayes’ fantastical debut “Pilgrimage,” and the meditative “Veiled” by Greta T. Bates. And, finally, the dense, mythic, Gothic poem, “The Hecatean Ides; or, The Dark Spirit of Shelleyan Solitude” by Clay Franklin Johnson.
As always, please feel free to reach out to us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment. Let our contributors know how much you appreciate their work!
Enjoy the issue, and have a happy and blessed Solstice.