This issue represents a reboot of the journal, under the new lead editorship of Defne Çizakça. Defne has assembled an eerily beautiful assortment of stories and illustrations from contributors around the world. The issue is haunting and unnerving, shifting through the landscapes and dreamscapes of one of the darkest folktale traditions. That unsettling cover illustration is by Fedralita.
Ordering is information available here; preview the table of contents below.
Unsettling Wonder, Issue 5: Changelings
Anyone who’s cared for a child knows the sudden choke of fear, that sudden need to lean tense and breathless over the cradle to just listen—is the child still breathing? Is their small heart still beating? Is this fragile, feeble young thing still safe in the night? Or have they—somehow—been changed? The oldest, darkest stories give a name to that fear—the instinctive, protective fear that someone, something, some shadow stalks by night to steal away the children: Lamia. Nian. Red Mother. Changeling.
This long-anticipated issue of Unsettling Wonder delves into the ancient folk motif of the changeling. Babies stolen from cradles, patients stolen from hospitals, objects stolen from kitchens, mothers stolen from families, and in their place something that looks the same but ever-so-slightly wrong. Has the familiar become strange, or has the strange become familiar? Twelve newly commissioned stories, interviews, and artworks from around the world draw from diverse languages and folk traditions to articulate that haunting, night-terror idea: even the ones we love most might be changed.
from the Editors
We are used to avoiding what we do not know, to distancing ourselves from people, places and cultures that seem ‘other’. But when the unknown is of our own flesh and blood, suddenly that which is unruly is not something we can shun and keep at a distance. The other becomes someone we must care for and protect, wild and vulnerable at once.
The Bee Keeper
Safe as Houses
Laura Moreira Tomich
In Their Song
Although the window was open there was barely a whisper of wind to disturb the telegrams, which lay in two piles before him. Hara sweated and copied the details of each into a ledger, big as a tombstone.
Hinobi Kanda, 21, killed, Manchuria
Juntei Tanaka, 18, killed, Rabual
Hitoru Muto, 36, missing in action, Guam
A Guide Across Distant Seas
an Interview with Aikaterini Gegisian by Defne Çizakça
Gold Sister, Silver Sister, and Wood Girl
Translated from Chinese by Zhang Juan
The People of Old
Fatih Atmaca, translated from Turkish by Defne Çizakça
In the folk tales of my grandmother, the Red Mother appeared more often than any other spine-chilling creature. Grandmother used to say our family had a special affinity with her, that no harm would ever come to the pregnant amongst us, that the Mother would never mark us with blood because she had made us a promise
Lyyli Belle in the Desert
From L’Infante Maure by Mohammed Dib
Translated from French by Madeleine Campbell
Stream of Unconsciousness #2
The Objects’ Rebellion
I didn’t find it strange when the blender, my husband’s razor machine and the electric pencil sharpener sat together at my feet like abandoned kittens while I was hanging laundry out on the line. I almost stepped on the razor’s tail, so I dutifully apologised and accepted their request. They seemed so small I didn’t have the heart to do otherwise. Besides, what did I have to lose?
Martin Cathcart Froden