Intro to Feb 2021 Fiction by Edwin Riddell

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Thanks to all contributors for another bravura issue. We had submissions from as far apart as Alaska and Tasmania.

Unconsciously or subconsciously (I never know which is which), there seemed to be several echoes of the Covid pandemic in this season’s submissions. Perhaps these are reflected in the number of stories involving metamorphosis of one kind or another.

There’s little doubt that effective dialogue adds greatly to the drama and attraction of any story – as fans of Ivy Compton-Burnett like me would always maintain. To my mind, it doesn’t matter whether the language is slangy, profane, high-flown, or plain-speaking. As long as it’s convincing and adds to the entertainment or drama. When it works, for the reader it’s like being a fly on the wall or coming into a situation in what the classical dramatists called in medias res (“in the middle of things”).

As ever, choosing just six works for this new issue was difficult. It’s no consolation, I know, to say that at least another half-dozen could easily have been selected. What eventually goes into the final cut is really just a matter of trying to attain a kind of balance or variety in genre, mood, length, and so on.

I hope and believe readers will find that here.