Best of the Net 2015  


2015 was a challenging year. We we're challenged by politics, by racism, by gender oppression, and by forces that still refused to acknowledge the full spectrum of sexual diversity. We were also met at many points in the year by tsunamis of gun violence that were always followed by a riptide of seemingly uncontrollable grief. If you were paying attention, 2015 was the scariest year we've experienced in a long time.

This year, however, gave me more hope than I ever expected to have. This year's loud intrusions into our physical, spiritual, and artistic worlds didn't drive a single pair of hands to cover their eyes, ears, or mouths. Every injustice was met by a chorus of dedicated ecstatics. Every violence that threatened to continue ripping at us long after the bullets had finished separating flesh from home-flesh was met by a full armory of poems, stories, and essays meant to explore, react, and preach against this common, murderous exercise.

Even if we were afraid or lost in the continuing smoke of the year for a little while, not one of us was stunned into silence. Silence would have turned our hearts against us, but because not one of you balked at the adrenaline when it found you, our hearts (though rough) are aglow in the battles. This is what I took from everything I read this past year. We are all resolute in our willingness to volunteer our time and talents to fight back.

There was no finer example of this than the work I read that was submitted for consideration in this year's Best of the Net Anthology. All of the work, even the pieces that won't be featured as selected works from this year's anthology were lightning bolts snapping through of the fog of 2015. You ornery, beautiful artists got my blood going hundreds of times. There was such a great energy and focus to the work I read, and even though I have met so few of you, I feel like I could identify the smell of your hot breath if I needed to. I would recognize your voice if I heard it again rise above the terrible arcade.

I am incredibly proud to show you the work that has been selected for the 2015 Best of the Net Anthology. The depth and sincerity of this work was met at the peak by entry and exit points that will catch you by surprise with each selected piece. Read every one of them, and you will know what I know, that 2016 (no matter what it becomes) better be ready for all of us. We are on our toes. We are anxious, but we are not afraid of anything. We are devoted artists, aware of the whole world, and we can sing, scream, and charge through the worst of it. We can't be outlasted the simple evils of our time.

Darren C. Demaree
Managing Editor, 2015 Best of the Net Anthology