Your magazine feels deeply science-fictional to me, though it doesn’t exactly define itself that way, because it showcases real people who are working on the sorts of art and inventions that seem to belong within the realm of fantasy and SF. We tend to think of such creations as imaginary or futuristic, but they’re actually happening all around the planet. You even dig up the oddest artifacts from the distant past! How do you find all these artists, musicians, mad scientists, writers, and fringe people making fantastical things? What do you look for? What pulls them all together as belonging under the Coilhouse masthead?
NL: All sci-fi worlds are really alternative cultures to our own. Sci-fi was always the first place where progressive ideas got tested. It was a “safe” way to introduce such ideas to a larger mainstream audience, and our culture’s slowly but surely catching up. Good sci-fi still exists to question the taboos, inequalities and problems of our culture. Genderbending, magic, atheism, polyamory, alternative family structures – everything that the religious right fears the most also happens to be the stuff of great science fiction. The people who enjoy science fiction and say “this is the world I want to live in” – that’s us, that’s the majority of our readers. That’s why it was important for us to kick off Issue 01 with a piece by Samuel Delany, an excerpt from an upcoming novel about a utopian community for gay black men, and why we continually interview science fiction creators and come back to science fictional themes in the art and fashion we cover. It’s no coincidence that so much of “weird/alternative fashion” is very futuristic, very much inspired by costume design from films like Dune and Blade Runner (which, in turn, were inspired by underground/punk fashion of the time). It’s just another way for all of us to signal to one another: “Let’s see how far we can take our existence here, to remake the world in our image.”