To prove that this wasn't just an April Fools' Day Joke, here's the second issue!
Much as robots are the foundation (pun unintended) for modern sci-fi, I feel that sword and sorcery is the foundation for modern fantasy.
While most people might be familiar only with what's known as Epic Fantasy (think Tolkien and everybody aspiring to be him), my personal favorite flavor of fantasy is Sword and Sorcery. Getting its roots from memorable characters such as Conan the Barbarian, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and Elric of Melniboné, not to mention being much of the basis of Dungeons & Dragons (though, according to a conversation I had with D&D co-creator Dave Arneson some 20+ years ago, he said that a late-night monster movie marathon helped inspire it too), sword and sorcery is by far one of the more interesting flavors of fantasy.
It features ambiguous heroes (instead of the definitive good and bad of epic fantasy), difficult decisions, and memorable characters and places. I hope that this issue can capture the essence and that the robots have distilled it into several enjoyable stories for you to read.
While I have you here, I get the question from time to time: "If the robots are writing the stories, what is it that you do?" Well, to use a misremembered quote with no attribution, an editor writes in your voice, only better.
My role as the editor of this magazine involves deciding on a theme, sourcing stories along those themes (and sometimes coming up with story ideas myself), workshopping those stories with the AI writers, putting together all the story fragments like a puzzle (sometimes the robots write the narrative out of order or forget a part they said they'd write, so I have to go back and prompt them to write the missing piece), then smoothing the entire thing over with a giant literary butter knife.
So, while the stories themselves are written by robots, they are produced by me, and would not be quite the same under any other human. Hopefully my touch only enhances the flavor of the stories without detracting from the content. Also hopefully it's not something you'll notice.
In another quote, better remembered and this time attributed: When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all. This of course was said by the God Entity to Bender in the Futurama episode Godfellas.
Read what you will into that...
Anyway, I want to hear what you think about this issue and the magazine in general. Don't hesitate to comment or email or if you see me in person tell me your opinion. I want to hear it!
-Jacob P. Silvia