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Editor’s note

Orange banner reading Inner Worlds above a black and white picture of a person transforming into crystals
Cover artwork by Joana Solà (@sisaliks)

Inner Worlds is a project that means a great deal to me, and I’ve been so grateful for the warm welcome that we’ve had, not to mention the unique and moving stories that people submitted for this first issue. I felt honoured to read each and every one.

It was extremely difficult to choose the final line up for our inaugural issue, but I am thrilled to be able to share these fourteen excellent stories. They span fantastic islands, distant planets, and the darkest shadows. Some are funny, some are uplifting. some are devastating. Each story is a window onto a world which may feel familiar to you, or which may feel entirely new.

What they all have in common is an emotional intensity which some might find surprising in genre fiction. A theme which emerged early in the submission period, and which is reflected in this final selection of stories, is a longing for release which is finally granted through transformation. Often, the character changes. Occasionally, the world does. But something has to give.

It was with this idea in mind that I encountered Joana Solà’s wonderful artwork, which contains both beauty and horror. I love the ambiguity in the image: is this a person emerging from crystal, or becoming crystal? Perhaps they are simply as they are.

Like that crystalline gaze, these stories challenge us not to look away, but to see each other as we are, in all our infinite complexity. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Thank you for reading.

Sarah Jackson

November 2023

Inner Worlds ISSN 2977-8131

Our cover artist is Joana (@sisaliks), an illustrator from Barcelona, Spain. With a background in engineering, she finally became a professional artist, and never looked back! Her work reflects her love for fantasy, sci-fi, horror and everything in between with an edgy vibe, and often features eerie or dark themes. https://linktr.ee/sisaliks