The Deadlands (Issues 1-3) – The Geekiary
Dead lands is a new monthly speculative fiction magazine that publishes short stories, personal essays, and poems about death and what it means to be at the end.
I received a free exam copy of Deadlands number 3 in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions are mine.
Beliefs about death, rituals centered on mourning and renewal, and how we approach the end of our lives all vary from one cultural setting to another. How we perceive, and whether there is an afterlife, and definitions of an ending may change due to some event or circumstance. My mother’s family in Puerto Rico (Afro-Taínos) buries the bones of their loved ones in flower baskets or gourds to hang in their homes. After Hurricane Maria, flowers are still planted and hung in the memory of people (even the missing) who have passed from the physical world to the spiritual world called coaybay. We don’t see death as a “final”, but rather as a milestone. For most other people, death means a new beginning.
The first two issues of Dead lands offer a wide range of perspectives and ideas regarding endings – the end of life, navigating unfamiliar space, and embarking on a new beginning. Editor-in-Chief E. Catherine Tobler begins issue number one with an op-ed on her first encounter with death in a funeral home. Tobler’s letter is followed by Amanda Downum (the magazine’s necromancer) personal essay on the literal repair of a dead man’s skull and how being an undertaker shaped her. perception of existence. The second issue of the magazine contains another treasure trove of magnificent prose and poetry. The Beautifully Chilling Story of Margaret Ronald Bone fields and the luminous poetry of RB Lemberg and Marissa Lingen adorn these pages.
Issue # 3 continues to provide great information on topics involving death and endings. The ghost of October by Caitlyn Paxson (personal essay) haunts me with its lyrical prose and impressive conciseness. Plus, get ready to immerse yourself in the poetry of Zin E. Rocklyn and Gwynne Garfinkle.
The magazine also features the monthly “Ask a Necromancer” column, where readers can ask a licensed funeral director. Amanda Downum questions about things related to death. Amanda answers a question about green burials in issue 3. Dead lands holds so much potential with the dynamic opinions and beliefs of its contributors about death and what defines an ending.
The masthead of The Dead Lands: Sean markey (editor), E. Catherine Tobler (editor), Sonya Taaffe (poetry editor), David Gilmore (non-fiction editor), Cory Skerry (artistic director), Laura Blackwell (editor) and RJ Theodore ( designer). Featured writers include Vajra Chandrasekera, RB Lemberg, Premee Mohamed, Arkady Martine, and more.
Number 3 of Dead lands is available for online reading (subscription required).
If you are interested in submitting to Dead lands (including reprints), please read the magazine’s submission guidelines first.
For more speculative fiction magazine recommendations, check out my Queer Magazine Recs and Queer SFF Story Recs.
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) graduated in 2019 from the Masters program in Creative Writing at American University. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) by Mason Jar Press.
Pronouns: he / they
Location: DC Metropolitan Area
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