Last week, Salik and I made a short video based on a poem he wrote in Nepali about a revolutionary poet. It crossed a hundred views in a matter of few days. It’s a small but significant number for a poem. The popularity of film as a medium is partly due to its immediacy—its ability to blend into our field of vision and become a part of our immediate sensory realm of sight and sound. The growing proliferation of videos and films across genres has made us aware of the need to actively engage with this medium as writers and poets. Salik thought it was about time he adapted one of the poems for this issue of Mithila Review as a film.
When we read Michael Janairo’s submission “Instructions for Astronauts” for this issue, it resonated with some of the themes of our favorite space-based films and series. SyFy’s series based on James S.A. Corey’s Hugo award winning books, The Expanse has been our staple since season 2 of the series started airing in February. Against all criticisms, we’ve also thoroughly enjoyed Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and are eagerly waiting to watch Alien: Covenant later this year. Janairo’s poem captured elements that have traditionally been a part of science fiction’s visual corpus and his stellar voice quality made it all the more adaptable for a film. Working with Michael’s poetry, it became evident that good visual material can only come from excellent writing. The visual, after all, is an innovative translation of a textual script. The hope is that the video will become a medium through which Janairo’s poetry can travel far and wide.
Science Fiction film occupies a larger space in the spectrum of science fiction art forms than other forms. However, as Dilman Dila’s piece in this issue tells us, filmmakers from countries like Uganda do not have the same recourse to viewership and audience as filmmakers elsewhere. Dila’s film is an inspiration and hope for all aspiring science fiction filmmakers in the margins of the world where the tools and resources to make such films are severely limited. The visual imaginations of artists in the margins are wrought in the aesthetics and politics of the world they belong to. Ashim Shakya’s artwork, “Enclosed,” was the cover of our fourth issue of June 2016. In this issue, we’ve invited him to share his experiences of the post-earthquake scenario in Nepal and his ideas behind a few of his other pieces in the series. Ashish Mathew Mammen’s artwork came to us as a submission. We felt that it encapsulated the immediate world of the artist with a distinctive speculative aesthetic.
Starting with Issue 7 early this year, we finally became a paying market thanks to the generous support of our Patreon patrons. As our funds were limited, we couldn’t pay all our contributors. But we sincerely hope that more of our readers would help us move closer to the goal of becoming a professional paying market for excellent science fiction and fantasy from around the world.
For this issue, we’ve received some amazing submissions. In fact, we’ve closed our poetry submission till our next issue because we’ve received so many poems we couldn’t say no to. We’ve also had to make the difficult decision of weighing submissions against our ability to pay. This is perhaps our first issue where the fiction section of our magazine is largely composed of original submissions and we’ve gone way out of our budget to make this happen.
We bring some of these poems and stories to you with the faith that they are integral to the making of a global community of readers and writers that support science fiction.