This issue of EAP: The Magazine features a memorial picture of Laika, the first dog sent into space, and we feel in solidarity with that dog, although a good deal luckier. We’re into celebrating Firsts, and fortunately for us, our reality is a bit more controllable than Laika’s was for him—i.e. no being shot into the atmosphere by people apparently sane, but secretly not: for who would be able to look a dog in the eye and send it off to a cold death who was fully in touch with their selves? If there’s one thing we believe in, it’s that there is no override switch for human feelings in favor of a Larger Good. There is no Larger Good, in our opinion, without the smaller, every day goods that happen to each living thing. And each unliving thing, too, come to think of it, though how you define the line that separates the two is beyond me.
So we here at EAP get to pick out our goals for ourselves, lucky us. Our booster engines having long dropped off and the course well charted straight ahead, we’re transiting into the next part of the journey. There are going to be a lot of firsts around here in 2015, and so many possibilities my head is spinning more than poor Laika’s was when he got launched around the world.
Unlike Laika, we can have a look at what we want to do and, even if our options are limited in an economic world increasingly bent on squeezing out the small provider of content, there are options. They do belong to us. And, as we always say around here: “You can do whatever you set out to do as long as you take reality into account.”
So. Taking reality into full account, we continue our experiment with the EAP publishing project this year, and expand its reach. The world of Arcadia, a world attempting to be made of everyday human good, has been more insistent, communicating with us ever more effectively, even frantically, since the days when it sent us that deceptively childish fairy tale, Snotty Saves the Day, and the YA story of Lily the Silent. Arcadian scientists have discovered a way to hand over more of their history…through a mirror. (I don’t know why we didn’t think of that before, probably because I don’t have enough time around here to look in mirrors much.) Coming soon: The Lizard Princess, a history of Sophia the Wise, the great queen of Arcadia, told by her, with a foreword by her granddaughter, Shanti Vale. After that, Aspern Grayling’s report on all aspects Arcadian, for the use of his imperial master’s security force, in Report to Megalopolis. There’s a whole world out there—actually, there are infinite worlds out there—but that’s the one that’s been given first to EAP to uncover.
(By the way, Mike Madrid fans should know Mike will be concentrating his considerable talents this year on illustrations for The History of Arcadia, making some history of his own in bringing pictures of that world to life.)
This year will also see our first experiment with bringing a book out in eFormat before paperback, and with plenty of interactivity as befits a book about gardening by a poet: Get a Rake, an alternative (and what an alternative!) look at growing, by Debbie Naples, with some of it excerpted most recently in the online magazine.
And we’re exploring a partnership with Beneath the Ink, a group that produces beautiful interactive eBooks. We’re pondering an edition of Alex Cox’s X Films complete with clips from his films, photographs from his archive, and other fair use materials sure to annoy the corporations that will claim we’re infringing their copyright, so alternative film buffs stay tuned for that.
In all of these adventures, we’ll be exploring our main universe: the universe of story, and how alternative story can and does change the world.
Poor Laika. He had to live by an old, old story. He was the first dog in space, and there’s a monument raised to him in Russia, and a postage stamp, and books written about him. He’s famous. He’s immortal. He’s dead. And I’ll bet you wouldn’t have traded places with him for anything.
I know I wouldn’t have.
Onward to a new year! Warm wishes to all who sail into her with hope and joy, and with control over their own choices and their own risks ahead.