Richard Leis's Reviews > House of Zolo's Journal of Speculative Literature: Volume 1

House of Zolo's Journal of Speculative Literature by House of Zolo
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it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry, science-fiction, short-stories

Disclaimer: My short story "Rail Work" is included in this volume.

House of Zolo's first volume of the new Journal of Speculative Literature contains a variety of endings and quite a few beginnings from across the (speculative) universe, in prose and poetry form. While many of the beautifully-rendered endings feel sadly definitive ("A Million Years Down" by Joe Dicicco, for example), some of them are more hopeful and open-ended ("Witness" by Jennifer Loring), and between these two stories lie many other rich experiences, twists and turns, new worlds, old worlds, invasions, flora and fauna, computers and AI, horrors and joys, gods and mortals, technology and wonder. The editors have thoughtfully organized the pieces in this volume so that they pair and lead one to the next in fascinating ways. Here are some of my favorites:

Poetry: I really enjoyed all the poetry in this volume, so it is hard to pick just a few favorites. I'm always happy to encounter poetry from Deborah L. Davitt, and this volume includes two of her excellent works: "Raining Ghosts" and "Tide-Borne". Vince Gotera's "Astro-Archaelogists's Log" is a delightful work of poetry. I also really enjoyed the poem "BEASTS 2.0" by Robert Borski and the poem "Now We Are Free" by E. H. Lupton. And "Starring You in the Role of the Fourth Rider" by L. X. Beckett has such wonderful play with persona narrator and point of view.

Fiction: "All Rooted Things" by Samannaz Rohanimanesh is an emotional journey that left me in tears. "Camp Cupid" by Lucy Stone evokes, in my opinion, The Handmaid's Tale and The Hunger Games while being its own unique, beautifully-detailed, and character-driven story about the role of women in a further-fallen world. "Journal of the Former World" by Jessica Barksdale takes on a particular science fiction trope I often struggle to enjoy in a refreshing, emotional, and satisfying way, while playing masterfully with point of view.

Though not every piece worked for me, the Journal of Speculative Literature is a timely overview of the state of speculative literature today, including how writers today are thinking about the future. I'm looking forward to volume 2!
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Reading Progress

January 2, 2020 – Started Reading
January 2, 2020 – Shelved
January 2, 2020 – Shelved as: poetry
January 2, 2020 – Shelved as: science-fiction
January 2, 2020 – Shelved as: short-stories
January 6, 2020 – Finished Reading

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