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Two-Year Anniversary
Editor's Note

by The Radon Team

Radon Journal holds a complex relationship with linear time. To us, it was only yesterday we were laying the groundwork to create this journal. Yet somehow, here we are celebrating two years of existence.

When we laid out the first issue, we intentionally did not include an editor’s note. We wanted the focus to be on the authors, and knew we had to earn a voice first in order to have anything to say. And maybe it’s a little grandiose for editors to (literally) insert themselves at the front of texts.

But after two years of putting out issues, we felt now was the perfect time to grow self-reflexive.

This journal was created to fill a gap in the literary scene; to be a resource and example for radical narratives that most of us never had as young writers in the late 2000s. We grew up reading space operas and cyberpunks, and so wrote the genres we loved when we picked up the pen. We took our genres with us to colleges and MFAs, where the world screamed at us that science fiction was not a respectable literary form. That there was no audience and no love left for the genre—as if it was left in the 20th century along with our society’s optimism for a better future.

At the same time, we became radicalized in the Occupy movement, putting our bodies on the line as we linked arms in front of cop lines. We watched paddy wagons fill up with our comrades we failed to de-arrest during dozens of May Day protests. We were there rushing into college buildings to shut down Richard Spencer and being beaten by riot cops. We met the rise of the far right, Turning Point, Patriot Front, and Trumpers on the streets to push them physically back with poles and shields and keep our communities safe.

Through all of this, we created affinity groups, wrote radical literature, DIY zines, and left pamphlets in public places for people to find. Though we loved it, we always heard a background echo that real anarchists did not write science fiction. That only passionate non-fiction was needed for the impending revolution. So we put our love of the stars on hold to focus on our love for our fellow humans.

After leaving academia, entering the publishing world, and enduring a pandemic, we decided to create the literary journal that we had always wished existed. A journal for the writers who aren’t afraid to put their critiques of society at the forefront of their prose alongside awe-inspiring, star-spanning tales. Because at the core of Radon is the belief that storytelling is what truly sticks with us as humans. That the stories we write and read impact society and people far more than any other tactic.

There is often a tendency for literary journals to pop up one year and be gone the next. The number of science fiction-focused journals in particular is always tenuous. Inspired by our predecessors at Clarkesworld, Uncanny, Strange Horizons, and Asimov’s, we wanted to become a steadfast institution in the sci-fi journal scene; not for our own pedigree, but in order to support the next generation of writers. 

We were (or still are) writers ourselves, and know the struggle. We set out to pay authors, support them post-launch, and develop a community of like-minded writers and readers to support one another. And that’s what we’ve done. There has been nothing but love from the writing community, and we hope to continue giving back for decades to come. Maybe by 2034 we’ll even be in line for a Hugo Award. Likely not, but we enjoy always dreaming big. Our minds are directed toward the future, and we don’t accept the current reality as all there is.

In every dimension we exist, we thank the authors we’ve worked with so far, and the wonderful ones still to come. And also our supportive Patrons who helped us meet our first funding goal in 2023 and raise our pay rates. Here’s to our community meeting the second goal in 2024.

Radon Journal will not topple oppressive governments or help put humans on Mars. But it can inspire. And we plan to do just that for years to come.

Aimer, Alecto, Cress, Eden, Gidget, Kelsey, Saga, Sol, Teague

Radon Journal Issue 6 cover art
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