Journals for Justice--A Literary Magazine that Focuses on Social Issues
Mobius: The Journal of Social Change is an online quarterly journal focusing on unusual or experimental stories. In their own words, “a Mobius story or poem is about SOMETHING.” Mobius is a journal focused on the social issues of yesterday, today, and even the future, hinting at dystopia society in "Dope: It’s What’s for Dinner" by Joshua K. Gill where books are censored and drugs, all drugs, are made legal. Seeing that the journal focused on social commentary, I was unsure whether to expect works that were “in-your-face” political. But after reading through the short fiction and poetry, I didn’t come away with that feeling at all. The works comment on a variety of topics, including immigration, war, and inequality, and often hint at the “what-ifs” and how society would be affected.
"Wombs for Rent" by Eva Sajoo comments on the idea of women basically being part of a baby factory, standing in a line and being chosen by prospective parents. An extreme version of the reality of today’s surrogate agencies, the narrator is a young woman taking part in a surrogacy for the first time. Her reality is one filled with strict schedules, diet, and in her case, no pay unless she is promoted to the upper-wing. The story touches upon the somewhat distant relationship a surrogate often plays, and what happens in the end should a surrogate change their mind.
Of notable mention is "The Day Off" by Patty Somlo, remarking on the lives of undocumented workers in the US, and what would happen if they all went on strike for a day. In the story, an Arizona Congressman tries to pass a bill that would deport all undocumented workers in the states. The president of the vineyard workers’ union convinces workers to take the day off, thereby putting a halt to most farming business, and in a tourist town, “Without the maids and busboys, cooks and spa workers, businesses found it impossible to open.” "The Day Off" drew me in more than any other story because it touches upon the reality of undocumented workers in the United States. Whether or not you side with the workers, "The Day Off" explores the idea of what would happen to the economy if they decided to stop working altogether, meanwhile making fun of recent news hailing from the state of Arizona in regards to Immigration Law.
With a mix of fiction, poetry, art, and editorial pieces, the journal covers all its bases, though I found the short stories to be the strongest pieces. The journal published an art piece by David Spriggs titled "Half Explosion", but the image online is small and seems to take away from the artwork. Other than that, the layout of the journal is rather simple and overall doesn’t distract from what is most important: the content.
I’m a huge fan of online journals because of their wide accessibility to readers, and it seems that in recent years they are gaining more credibility than before. Though as with anything published online, there are issues with the lifespan of the content. If a journal were to cease publication, the website could shut down and the content could be lost entirely (one reason I am still a big supporter of print).
But having been published since 1989, originally as a print journal and later online only starting in 2009, Mobius seems to be running strong in the literary world. Other than a few typos here and there, and a glitch that once prevented me from reading the content (maybe a server error), I enjoyed Mobius for its unique literature, and eye for social commentary on the issues concerning the world today.