Our Selection Process for Issue One

Putting together the first issue of a magazine is an interesting task. SERIAL Magazine is a bootstrapped, start-up publication. It began with a team of one and quickly expanded to a team of three. We had a central mission of bringing readers the most entertaining and fun genre stories that we could find. I don’t recall exactly when the initial team fully formed, but every week Netta, Jacob, and I would get on the phone and talk about the stories that we’d read.

When we made our first selections, we had too many stories to fit in a print magazine and were forced to narrow our selections to the 8 stories we love for so many different reasons.

The Characters We Root For

My gender may lead to bias, but I have an impossible time not rooting for Sophia in “Littlegrace” by Emma Hines and Buck Lightener-Chung in the Last Dung Beetle by Michael W. Clark, Ph.D.. Both feature young girls who are completely underestimated. While you get to see Sophia prove her doubters wrong rather quickly, it will take several installments for you to see Buck find her own as she repeatedly outwits those who try to harm her.

The Stories with Big Emotional Impact

As you can imagine, I’ve read each story in this publication multiple times. And “Natural Selection” has made me cry every time. This may not mean much since I’d definitely call myself a cryer, but I think this story does such a good job of tapping into a hope that all of us have. We all hope that people are truly good at their core. We hope that if someone has an ability to save lives, they’ll do what it takes. We not only hope other people have this type of character, we hope that our character is made up of the same stuff. If you had the chance to save the world, would you?

The Stories that Suck You In and Keep You Guessing

“Taniwha” is a story that immediately sucks you in. By the fourth short paragraph you know a monster is on the loose and it’s about to go down. The suspense continues as you literally have no idea how bad things are going to get until the final paragraphs. While “The Night People” by Michael Washburn leads you into the chaos more slowly, I can honestly say, you have no idea how this story will end until the very last sentence. Twist after twist after twist!

The Genre Maestros

We publish genre fiction because we love genre fiction. So when we see authors who do it well, we can’t resist selecting it. When I first read “Hunger Pains” by Chris Chan, I immediately saw the potential of a series. He wasn’t afraid to tackle a pretty sensitive crime, the murder of a teen, but with that he brought a compelling crime solving duo and a bit of levity that allows you to sink into the story. “Instant Order” is the shortest piece in our magazine but the author, Joseph S. Pete manages to take the reader on a journey in less than 1,000 words, making it a perfectly plotted piece of flash fiction. And lastly, we have “Naked Lines,” the comic by Jason Hart and Emi Yonemura that replicates the style of classic pulp comics while giving us a compelling short story about a failing love.

This first issue of SERIAL Magazine is an eclectic mix of various genres with no central theme and we imagine most of our issues will be the same. We are looking forward to a few special issues soon though, namely a Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Pride Month issues.

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