Issue 2 Editorial

A couple, feeling the spark has fled, dresses up for an evening in. The QB and the cheerleader, doctor and nurse, strict schoolteacher and naughty pupil… it’s a classic go-to for a cheap laugh in romantic comedies. But the truth is, sexuality allows us to step outside ourselves for a bit. Funny or serious, a scenario like the ones listed above or a baroque D/s encounter, a stark S&M scene or just narrowing our focus by focusing on pleasure, sexual encounters can offer more than just physical release. They can give provide us with mental relief as well.

I hadn’t intended to do theme issues when I began Congress, but when this issue started taking shape, I realized our three stories this month share something in common—each features a protagonist who uses sexuality as a means of escape from the everyday. Mr. Andrew S. Fuller’s science-fictional near-future Portland hipster romance stars a librarian who finds herself by losing herself in virtual sex. In our reprint, Mr. Jesse Bullington’s “Porn Enough at Last,” his opaque narrator is called upon to step outside the “ordinary” and “everday” of living in a secure bunker… but for good reason, and to good result. And finally, Circlet Press founder Ms. Cecilia Tan treats us to “Crowdthink Consensus Thresholds: A Study.” It’s a rather dry title, but the story, about virtual sex and real love, is certainly steamy.

Congress Magazine is also proud to present our first interview, with Hugo Award-nominated erotica author Dr. Chuck Tingle. Dr. Tingle’s story “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” was somewhat controversially nominated for a Hugo Award this year, and we’ll find out the results this very month at WorldCon in Kansas City. Dr. Tingle graciously agreed to speak with us about his nomination, plus topics such as current events, wrestling, dinosaur personalities, as well as the importance of stepping outside of one’s self to find true love.

We’re already reading for Congress Magazine #3, and while it’s August out there and your humble editrix doesn’t have air conditioning, feel free to send a pitch for your hottest stories to Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy this issue, and if you’ll be at WorldCon, cheering Chuck Tingle or any of the other Hugo Award nominees, feel free to come up and say hello. We’ll be there!

About the Author

Wendy N. Wagner

Wendy N. Wagner is a full-time science fiction and fantasy nerd. Her first two novels, Skinwalkers and Starspawn, are set in the world of the Pathfinder role-playing game, and she has written over thirty short stories about monsters, heroes, and unsettling stuff. An avid gamer and gardener, she lives in Portland, Oregon, with her very understanding family.

About the Author

Jason S. Ridler

Jason S. Ridler is a writer, improv actor, and historian. He is the author of A Triumph for Sakura, Blood and Sawdust, the Spar Battersea thrillers and the upcoming Brimstone Files series for Night Shade Press. He’s also published over sixty-five stories in such magazines and anthologies as The Big Click, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Out of the Gutter, and more. He also writes the column FXXK WRITING! for Flash Fiction Online. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Mr. Ridler holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. He lives in Berkeley, CA.

About the Author

Carrie Laben

Carrie Laben grew up in western New York and earned her MFA at the University of Montana. She now lives in Queens. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such venues as Birding, The Dark, Indiana Review, Okey-Panky, and the anthology Mixed Up! edited by Molly Tanzer and Nick Mamatas. In 2015 she was selected for the Anne LaBastille Memorial Writer’s Residency.

About the Author

Cecilia Tan

Cecilia Tan is “our genre’s premier pornographer” (says Walter Jon Williams)—the founder of Circlet Press and winner of the RT Pioneer Award and Career Achievement Award in Erotic Fiction. Her stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Strange Horizons, Best American Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, and many many other places. Her 15th novel, The Initiates of the Blood, is forthcoming from Tor Books in 2017.

About the Author

Jesse Bullington

Jesse Bullington is the author of the weird historical novels The Sad Tale of the Brothers GrossbartThe Enterprise of Death, and The Folly of the World. Under the pen name Alex Marshall he is releasing the Crimson Empire trilogy; the first volume, A Crown for Cold Silver, was shortlisted for the James Tiptree Award, and the second, A Blade of Black Steel, just dropped in May. All of his novels have naughty bits. He’s also the editor of the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated anthology Letters to Lovecraft, and co-editor, with Molly Tanzer, of Swords v. Cthulhu. He can be found in the Pacific Northwest.

About the Author

Chuck Tingle

Hugo Award nominee Dr. Chuck Tingle is an erotic author and Tae Kwon Do grandmaster (almost black belt) from Billings, Montana. After receiving his PhD at DeVry University in holistic massage, Chuck found himself fascinated by all things sensual, leading to his creation of the “tingler”, a story so blissfully erotic that it cannot be experienced without eliciting a sharp tingle down the spine.

Chuck’s hobbies include backpacking, checkers and sport.

About the Author

Andrew S. Fuller

Andrew S. Fuller writes and edits horror, fantasy, and science fiction. His work appears in magazines On Spec, Crossed Genres, The Pedestal, anthologies FISHA Darke PhantastiqueSwords v Cthulhu, and several short films. Since 1999, he’s edited the fiction magazine Three-Lobed Burning Eye. He grew up in the Midwest, dabbling in heavy metal and theater, and now lives in Portland, Oregon between a volcano and two rivers, where he commits archery, design, and cocktail snobbery.

About the Author

Livia Llewellyn

Livia Llewellyn is a writer of dark fantasy, horror, and erotica, whose short fiction has appeared in over forty anthologies and magazines and has been reprinted in multiple best-of anthologies, including Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year series, Years Best Weird Fiction, and The Mammoth Book of Best Erotica. Her first collection, Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors (2011, Lethe Press), received two Shirley Jackson Award nominations, for Best Collection, and for Best Novelette (for “Omphalos”). Her story “Furnace” received a 2013 Shirley Jackson Award nomination for Best Short Story. Her second collection, Furnace (2016, Word Horde Press), was published this year.

About the Author

Robert Levy

Robert Levy is an author of stories, screenplays and plays whose work has been seen Off-Broadway. A Harvard graduate subsequently trained as a forensic psychologist, his first novel The Glittering World was published by Gallery/Simon & Schuster and is a Lambda Literary Award finalist as well as a nominee for the Shirley Jackson Award. Shorter work has appeared in Shadows & Tall TreesBlack Static, and The Brooklyn Quarterly, among others. He is currently working on a television pilot as well as a new novel, and can be found living in his native realm of Brooklyn.