[warning]Heads up phobia warning: the website I'm going to link to has pictures of ants on the header and a spider in the sidebar.[/warning] There's a lot of stuff I learned about at Readercon, and stuff I did, and stuff I bought, that I really want to gush about, but I'm doing my best to take my time and have sensible things to say about the stuff I'm excited about. So that means, among other things, reading stuff before I blog about it.
One of those things is the Journal of Unlikely Cartography, the most recent edition of a free online magazine called Unlikely Story. The only story I've read so far is How To Recover A Relative Lost During Transmatter Shipping, In Five Easy Steps, by Carrie Cuinn.
Potential, vague spoilers: The map in this story is beautiful. I mean, actually not, because it's a textual story and the map is never actually visually depicted, but I can't not imagine it as an incredible work of art.
The story itself was funny, with undertones of sad but not so much that I'd call it a sad story. But the moment with the actual map seemed to me to sidestep into a different kind of magical place.
There was some talk of maps as a kind of fetish object in the SF/F community at Readercon, and I think anyone in the genre fandoms can basically agree that there's something implicitly magical about a map. There were three panels on maps this year, and they were all well-attended. (I know because I went to all of them.) I'm looking forward to the other stories in the Journal of Unlikely Cartography, because I'm hoping for more of those magical moments.
About the phobia warning, btw: I didn't know about the spider when I read this story because I read it on mobile -- I will be reading the rest of the stories on mobile, too. Also, request to everyone ever: unless there's literally a spider and you're trying to warn me, don't put pictures of spiders on things.