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Anniversary Issue

The first full year marks the coming of age of an electronic publication. One is neither old enough to be venerable nor young enough to be ignored. As short a time as a year may seem, it's a relatively respectable achievement for a 'zine. In our field, most never make it so far. In that way, it's kind of like being in a publishing platoon. You wait to 'learn the names' of the ones that survive. It's fair to say that MYTHOLOG has done more than merely continue to exist. We've consistently presented intriguing literature, creative illustrations, and inspiring covers, mediated by professional editing and high production values. We've earned our spurs, and we are still here. This is the First Anniversary Issue of MYTHOLOG. If this is your first visit, you're in for a treat; if you're a regular reader, you'll notice some familiar names among the contributors, and a few new ones. In addition to a retrospective of select features from issues of the past year, we're proud to present a bevy of new stories and poems, and even to be a bit daring -- by adding the first installments of two different serials. It is fitting, however, given the occasion, to begin by expressing our closest and farthest thanks. To each writer of fiction, each poet, each visual artist, each perspicuous editor, inconspicuous proofer and ept member of staff, and each contributor who cannot here be named, thank you. You've given us life. Now, remembering that in particular, we give it back to you as the warmth in our Winter. So come in, let us take your coat. The festivities are already underway. Now from the joy of our infancy begins the thrill of our youthful maturity. Come, help us celebrate...

Joseph P. Farrell

This first installment in "The Mosaic Soliloquies" is typical of, if introductory to, the serial. A gothic secret history, its intricate prose is dark and archaic. Set in the Byzantine Empire, it begins with The Lord Patrician Vardas' Strategem, and suggests the directions of future installments, to the courts of Charlemagne and of Pope Leo. The Soliloquies are part of a tale of three Romes: The Old Rome, that City which would fall, by Gibbon's date, in 476. The New Rome, the Roman Empire itself, with Byzantium as its imperial capitol, which would live on until 1453. And, between them, the Rome that never was, the dual-edged razor of Charlegmagne's so-called Holy Roman Empire, in which all his striving was for an emperor's crown that, once obtained, could never satisfy.

Asher Black

We publish a maximum of one item in each medium per author per issue. Asher argued that, technically, a serial and a work of short fiction are different media. At the first sign of being questioned about this, he grinned, loosened a gauntlet, and invited us to join him in the Arena. Well, we've seen Asher's blade in action. Just look at how finely he slides it down the edge of a genre with Reflection on the Future. So, we decided his point was worth taking, especially when he gives such lovely Gifts as the so-named first episode of a serial about which he's saying little else.

Brian Ames

Ames fleshes out the bones of a macabre myth in the tale of The Hummock King. This dark story, and our previously published Feeding Time, will be featured, according to the author, in "Head Full of Traffic", an anthology due out in the Spring.

Charles Lipsig

If you like going to the local independent coffee house for a mug and the occasional open-mic poem, you'll be pleased that Charles Lipsig has brought the coffee house and the poem right to you. Or perhaps we should say "poems". A poet's sense of adventure has led Chuck to write Ghost of a Night as a series of tanka, a form related to haiku, but with two additional 7-syllable lines, making it 5-7-5-7-7. The sense of an icy finger sliding down one's spine is accentuated by a familiar setting of warmth and human activity.

Phil Rockstroh

Rockstroh's answer to the ghost story involves talking furniture. Uppity furniture. Beatnik furniture that questions the meaning of life. Life: a Ghost Story asks you to look before you sit and consider existence, the universe, and how to shut it up.

Kelly Searsmith

On feast days, somewhere, someone you know is stuffing, basting, roasting, and thinking about something else entirely. Wild Goose Harvest tells us what really may be going on in the kitchen.

Julian Lamarck

Lamark licks her readers' lips with a story of Innocence in the form of a poem about something deliciously bad.

Elizabeth Barrette

We just love Elizabeth's work. It's got that raw sensuality that makes so much myth work so well. She's back with Lilith in the Garden, another tale of innocence and knowledge. Likewise, we've selected her poem, Ex Libris, as our Retrospective Feature from Issue #4. Perhaps one of the common features of myth is the blurring of the artificial line between light and dark, presence and dissipation, innocence and awareness. One hears talk of a 'gray area' from those who want to justify something when they know better, or just to turn off the very mind that could ask such questions. Maybe myth is the gray area. Certainly, it is a not a static gray. It is more like a lively conversation, like the gray ocean when it mirrors an overcast sky. Gray is that which, lacking a distinct or memorable hue, shouldn't be beautiful but is anyway. Barrette's is good 'graywork'.

Retrospective Feature from Issue #3

"The trees are thicker here." Mary Pat Mann's Through the Gate is selected as our favorite from Issue #3. Somehow, it makes one want to follow -- not to take the path seldom trod, but to look at that path differently.

Retrospective Feature from Issue #2

E. A. Gundlach's writing is ambiguous enough to be mysterious, without being cryptic or obscure. When we first read Baku & the Dream Catchers, it instantly became a favorite piece in a favorite issue. It is tempting to say that it must be the intriguing characters, but the story is just damned fine too. In one scene, we're careening through the streets in a Buick loaded with loot and driven by something sexy and inhuman. If this were a printed medium, it'd be a definite page-turner.

Retrospective Feature from Issue #1

We like Em Wycedee's Grace, because it feels as though one is part of the conversation, both the inner one and the outer one. Written as a voluptuous first person narrative, the voice is mature enough to be persuasive yet is still wanting and, for all its assurances, not completely certain of its conclusions.

Amanda Burkinshaw

You may have noticed that each time you come to MYTHOLOG, a random cover is presented. After all, why should a good cover be enjoyed only for the space of a single issue? Besides numerous illustrations, Amanda has done both of the Dryad covers for MYTHOLOG, including this newest one. A gallery of Amanda's delightful work is at this site.

Mike 'Warble' Finucane

Pen and ink drawings are Warble's specialty. He's done a number of illustrations for us, but the Black Lion is the first cover. Custom-designed for MYTHOLOG, you'll see it as one of the random possible covers when you visit MYTHOLOG. If you like his work, be sure to visit Warble's gallery.