We craft and tell stories because we’ve stood on the uncertain edge between the waking world and our imagination, between enchantment and fear. And we remember other stories that help us build our own stories, scraps of lumber and fragments of narrative we gather together to make stories for ourselves.

Publication: Issue 6, ‘Tales of Kismet’

We are delighted to announce the release of a new issue of Unsettling Wonder, on the theme of Tales of Kismet.

This issue examines the age-old question of whether the life we’ve been living is a result of our conscious choices, or whether we are merely victims of the mischievous designs of kismet. Through this issue full of poetry, micro fiction, short stories, artwork, interview, and novel extracts, we are pleased to present to you the opening of a charmed path to the unnerving inquires on the complex relationship between the spiritual world and the self.

Ordering is information available here; preview the table of contents below. The cover illustration is by Eli Bezimansky.


Unsettling Wonder, Issue 6: Tales of Kismet

How can we tell if we desire anything? And, if we desire, is it our own self doing the desiring or something other—a flash of neurons, a memory of past life, the divine will. Karma. Predestination. Kismet. The oldest and darkest stories dare to ponder this question: Can we ever really know why anything happens in life?

This issue of Unsettling Wonder spins new stories to ask that old question, and challenge the ways we think we know the answer. Two djinn meet in a Glasgow bar to kvetch about the world’s fortunes. A Caribbean grandmother leads her family into the stewpot. Cinderella’s coachman recalls his life as a rat. A banshee strikes a devil’s bargain. Featuring work by Kirsty Logan, Jack Butler, Katherine Langrish, Ioulia Kolovou, and many others, Tales of Kismet is a beautiful, haunting collection on the caprices of fate.


Contents:

Introduction
from the Editors

What is it that we see when we recollect, when we look back into our pasts and reflect on our lives? The answer is likely to contain stories, emotions, and a series of choices. Roads that were not taken, so that others could be. Countries visited, only because others were not. Careers embarked upon, languages learned, books read: all of them chosen instead of sound alternatives. It is the culmination of these decisions, and the way we react to their outcomes, that forms us into a “self,” even if we remain uncertain and fragile for most of our lives.

Two Djinn Discuss the Course of Human History, Glasgow
Russell Jones

The Ash Tree
Emily Ilett

The boy can see the wood from his window. It is agitated. Shaking like a nightmare is inside it. Black rainclouds lean on the branches, rolling leaves around their tongues like words. […]

[T]he girl has become as no one as she can. She is a tangle of twigs and leaves; a small, spiky tree, wilting beneath the drumming rain. The treegirl shuffles slowly into the forest.

The Labyrinth and the Princesses: A Kiij Story
Rhonda Eikamp

Oh, My Mermaid
Kirsty Logan

Bedtime Story
Breeanne Daniels

Grandma stirred a pot slowly and moved her mouth as if she were underwater. The girl stared at her, then swayed into the kitchen to cut the basil and scallion. The mother shook the table. The kitchen floor became uneven. The living room smelled like burning; the smell of the country, the smell of grandma’s stories and the mother’s childhood past. And the children’s future.

Turning the Corner
Kathryn Gossow

Predictions of the Society
Katy Hastie

Travels in the Mouth of the Jaguar
An interview with Karen Miranda Rivadeneira
By Defne Çizakça

The Margin Dwellers
Anniken Blomberg

Hang Your Heart on a Hawthorne Tree
Jennifer Bushroe

The Rose-Beauty
Collected and translated from the Turkish by Ignácz Kúnos

Subplot
Jack Butler

Van Gogh’s Moth
Regi Claire

Inevitable Tales
Katherine Langrish

Kismet—fate, destiny, quadr, karma, doom, wyrd—across the world these similar yet subtly different concepts have sprung up as responses to the same anxiety. They reassure us that whatever good or evil may befall is somehow meant to be: intended, written in the stars. Kismet is the opposite of luck.

The House of Theodore
Ioulia Kolovou


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