The latest issue of Somesuch Stories reflects on the role of redemption through a series of essays and short stories that bring this ‘borderline archaic’ theme forward into the present day. Looking at subjects such as the future of writing, sexist AI, and casual racism, it follows on from the similarly well-thought out previous issues.
Somesuch Stories is the publishing platform of Somesuch, an award-winning London and Los Angeles-based production company making films, documentaries, commercials and music videos. As well as its online presence, the same team produces an annual print magazine, containing original stories related to contemporary experiences of culture, sex, identity and society, among other things. It exists to champion unheard voices, and its myriad stories are intended to enhance our understanding of our fellow humans, to engender our curiosity, and to entertain. Now on issue four, the magazine has previously covered themes such as disorientation and identity.
Something that Somesuch Stories does very well is to always ensure it engages with present topics. In editor Suze Olbrich’s opening statement, she considers our current ‘cardinal sins’, and how we internalise blame for collective flaws such as not acting enough on our concern for the environment, only to placate our wrongdoings with ‘things’, as instructed by our capitalist climate. This leads the way for pieces that give insight into some of these ‘cardinal sins’; Joseph Keckler’s essay ‘On the Redemption of American Culture’, offers an analysis of stagnant and vacuous American culture, and what can (or cannot) be done to redeem it.
Elsewhere, Daisy Johnson’s essay ‘The Future must no Longer be in the Past’ considers the art of retelling stories, and how traditional modes of storytelling are ‘constructs of patriarchy and colonialism’; perhaps by reconstructing stories and how they are told, we can subvert the tropes that are permeated by them. Sophie Mackintosh’s piece takes the form of a more traditional short story, following her character as she seeks sexual liberty, and Kieran Yates’ ‘Fan Fiction’ pays homage to unsung female movie characters, redeeming them by giving them narrative agency.
Like previous issues, this new Somesuch Stories has been designed by Fraser Muggeridge. Aside from the bright, playful cover – a stack of shapes based on video format ratios and available in two different, Christmassy, colours – the occasional black and white imagery inside is fittingly simple, which keeps the focus on the writing. Consistently palatable and well-produced, Somesuch Stories touches on many facets of modern day life; it has something of interest to everyone.