Weird, experimental and literary fiction and art

Something weird this way comes

View of Glasgow taken with a Zenit 3M SLR camera and printed on Ilford stock.

Begun in February 2018, Hedera Felix is an independent publisher dedicated to weird, sci-fi, intersectional and experimental fiction and visual art, with a desire to publish moving image and sound works in digital editions.

The motivation for setting up Hedera Felix was to facilitate a new kind of adventurous literature by bringing three fields of writing under one roof: experimental, weird and literary, and, at the same time, to experiment in publishing digital forms of narrative and conceptual art, including moving image, VR literature and sound works.

Hedera Felix is contributed to by the following freelance team:

Directors: Pamela Clarke, Simone Hutchinson and Richard Taylor
Managing Editor: Simone Hutchinson
Assistant Editors: Pamela Clarke and Richard Taylor
Art Director: Jack Greenwell
Web Support: Oort Systems

Publications and events

Mycelia

The first publication is Mycelia – a small (B5) magazine of weird fiction and art, produced in print and digital formats. The print edition is produced on heavy stock in full colour to provide a substantial material artefact that readers will want to keep and return to again and again. The digital supplement is to be called SisM – more of which below.

SisM

Although we have been more or less quiet on the subject of what the digital supplement to Mycelia might look like, the first issue is under development and will feature a new piece of VR work by an award-winning artist, as well as footage of spoken word performances (so we will publish both the sound file and video file). This digital sister is called SisM, as in Sister of Mycelia and in acknowledgment of the –isms that intrigue us at Hedera Felix. SisM is in process and we plan for it to be released before December. Each issue of SisM will be accessible and dedicated to selected fiction as well as submitted moving image and sound works.

A book without a name (yet)

The third publication is set to be an anthology of fiction, creative non-fiction and art about chronic illness. We would love to hear from any writers and artists potentially interested in contributing to the anthology. Ideally, contributions will be commissioned in December 2018, with publication tentatively planned for May 2019.

Collaborations

Hedera Felix would be interested to hear from like-minded enterprises and individuals to discuss proposals for making interesting things happen, such as events and collaborative publications. The spirit of cooperative creativity is special. 

Previously, …

Enfolding Each Other“, written for Beyond Cataclysm, curated by Marcus Jack of Transit Arts, Glasgow. Screened at Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle, 20 July 2018.

Hedera Felix was invited to write a text for a cinema programme being presented at Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle by Glasgow-based moving image curator, Marcus Jack of Transit Arts earlier this summer. The programme was called Beyond Cataclysm and presented a selection of artists’ films that engaged with ideas of the post-human landscape. This theme was inspired by the eco-feminist subtext in John Wyndham’s novel, Day of the Triffids. To accompany the two-parter screening, We provided a short essay on two major speculative fiction trilogies that explore concerns with the post-human landscape, and especially capitalism’s relation to the ecosystem, and the human position within that relation.

We travelled down to Tyneside Cinema for the event and were impressed by the gorgeous and unusual vintage cinema complex. In the intermission between the two parts of Beyond Cataclysm, Glasgow-based artist Michelle Hannah performed Render Me and blew the audience away.

Further reading

An influence on all Hedera Felix publications is the novel Orlando (1928) by Virginia Woolf. Introducing the Orlando section of his Woolf Works piece at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in January 2018, Max Richter described the novel as proto-sci-fi. Although familiar with the novel, it had been a while since I had read it and I could not say I’d thought of it as sci-fi at the time. Max Richter’s Orlando music had all the hallmarks of science fiction soundscapes: watery and metallic synthesiser notes and wave-like structures that suggested vast gravitational folds in space. I thought of the book’s time-travel narrative, Orlando’s changing gender identity, the work’s literariness, and its satire. Orlando was the ideal muse for a publishing press that wanted to encourage adventurous writing that wasn’t afraid to bend the rules.

Mark Fisher

One writer I wish to mention as an influence is the late Mark Fisher, most known for his book, Capitalist Realism (2009). Lesser known is his last book, published shortly after his death, The Weird and The Eerie (2016), in which he discusses the aesthetics of selected liminal fiction, film and music which possess weird or eerie qualities. (My favourite essay in the collection is on simulation via works by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Philip K. Dick.) What follows is a simplification of Mark Fisher’s definition of the weird and the eerie: the weird can be identified as weird because of something odd present that should not be there; whereas the eerie is so because there is something absent that ought to be present. It is a simple distinction to remember and a little provocative.

Jeff VanderMeer

Another strong influence has been the fiction of Jeff VanderMeer, whose Southern Reach trilogy built a new kind of speculative world rooted in environmental and ecological horror, but in a genre familiar to readers of science fiction and psychological thrillers. The role played by the landscape, its flora and fauna, is spectacular; VanderMeer’s creativity with the new ecosystem in the Southern Reach world has stayed with me ever since I read Annihilation (2014) when it was first published.

Donna Haraway

And for the sake of brevity, I’ll give just one more influence, and that is Donna Haraway. For her recent book, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (2016) (which despite the name has nothing to do with Lovecraft) and for her unique style of writing that practices what it proposes (in the very sense of Adorno’s praxis). Donna Haraway is a weird writer whose theoretical books play at the boundary between academic theory and fiction. As a feminist and scientist of biology, whose earliest writings are now canonical feminist texts, Donna Haraway stands for creativity, ethics, and courage.