The short story is dead.
The last thing the world needs is another short-story magazine.
Nobody wants to read stories anymore.
These were typical of the words of encouragement
that Francis Coppola and I received when we launched Zoetrope: All-Story
five years ago this month. At that time, nobody including me
guessed that bringing a new slant to old-fashioned storytelling would have such
broad appeal, or that Zoetrope: All-Story would establish itself as a
destination for the best short-story writers of the end of one millennium and
the beginning of the next. And, even with all our hopes, we didnt dream
that wed beat the odds and the venerable old-guard magazines
to win the National Magazine Award for best fiction in 2001. It has been
a great joy to watch Zoetrope: All-Story take form and flight, find its
voice and its audience, and receive its measure of recognition.
From the start, Ive had the extreme good fortune of
finding or being found by wonderfully talented and devoted
people, especially my core team: Justine Cook, Samantha Schnee, Holly Rothman,
Gheña Glijansky, and Lea Carpenter. Together we learned the diplomacy
required to work with great designers such as David Bowie, Julian Schnabel, and
Helmut Newton; the patience to woo the likes of Gabriel García
Márquez; and our favorite the joy of discovering unknown
writers such as the inestimable Melissa Bank, the formidable David Benioff, the
talented Adam Haslett, and many, many others, and watching their careers soar.
And, while we were confident of our choices, it wasnt until
you, our readers, gave the magazine such a remarkable reception that we
fully understood that our mission also had tremendous popular appeal.
With our fifth anniversary, we wanted to present a special
issue, one that looks to the future. It was Francis himself who suggested
utopia, and we set out to commission stories specifically on that theme. Aware
of the inherently contradictory meaning of the word utopia (in
Greek, eutopia is a good place and outopia is not a
place at all) and of the twentieth centurys trajectory of failed utopian
experiments, we put the challenge to the writers to imagine anew an old ideal
and invited them to explore any aspect of utopia they wished. What we found in
these stories is that utopia can only be seen in a glance, never looked at full
on, never entirely captured. Utopia can be imagined but never reached, and each
of these stories provocatively tackles the innate human desire to conceive a
perfect world. And, while we could not have foreseen the tragic events of
September 11th , which cast a new light on our issue, these six
stories highlight the permanent relevance of aspiring to a better world.
February also marks the move of Zoetrope: All-Story
from its birthplace in New York City to its new home in San Francisco. But rest
assured, that wherever it lands, Zoetrope: All-Story will continue to
find wonderful short stories to inform and entertain you. It is with pride that
I join its writers, guest designers, readers, and well-wishers in marking this
fifth anniversary and anticipating its next achievements.
My warm regards,
Editor in Chief