Little Girl Lost: An Introduction by Ronald Linson

The Lost and the Found

The origin of Little Girl Lost: Thirteen Tales of Youth Disrupted lies in the writing of two stories by its editors. “They Belong to Her” (by Deidre J Owen) and “The True Nature of Swimming Holes” (by Ronald Linson) came to fruition about the same time, and the idea came to me for this volume. I posed it to Deidre and she readily agreed.

As it happened, a number of circumstances converged and we ended up not only starting this project, but we founded Mannison Press. We saw potential in our respective strengths, and since we’ve collaborated before, it was a natural conclusion to found the company as partners.

Our goal was to put together a collection of stories from as broad a range of genres as we could…and we’ve succeeded. Little Girl Lost has stories in the three major speculative fiction genres: fantasy, science fiction, and horror, not to mention crime drama and literary fiction. That is not to say that some of the genres don’t overlap and blend together.

For example, “Walk the Walk” by Piers Anthony is a light fantasy tale with elements of horror thrown in. Rhiannon Lotze’s “Barrens and Brine” is a rip-roaring far-future pirate adventure.

Reading the submissions was, I think, the most enjoyable part of getting the project off the ground. We received so many excellent stories that it was hard to choose, and we regretted the necessity of rejecting many of them.

Finding the real gems was exciting. It was like going into a clothing store and finding that perfect shirt. Not only is it the right color, it fits like it was made for you, and best of all, it’s on sale for fifty percent off. Finding a perfect story for Little Girl Lost made our day.

We came into the project with broad ideas regarding the meaning of “lost.” We did not want all of the stories to fit the literal concept of the word. True, we have some of those, such as my own story and “A Setting for Julia” by Roxanne Dent, but we sought to include more fluid definitions.

The loss of innocence is a recurring theme in literature. William Blake’s beautiful 1794 poem, “The Little Girl Lost,” is a fine example. Blake’s poem is about a young girl growing up and becoming sexually aware. That is only one kind of innocence lost, however. We felt that the theme of overcoming adversity—or at least surviving it—better suited this volume.

“Sarah Small” by Rachel Nussbaum and “The Girl Who Couldn’t Shed Tears” by Bradley R. Mitzelfelt fit squarely into this ideal. Both tales revolve around a young girl thrust into a situation in which she has to rise to her full potential or perish.

And then there are occasions where a young lady is the arbiter of her own downfall, such as in “Forgive and That Other Word That Means Forget” by Caitlin Marceau. Poor choices often lead to much mischief.

I am pleased that we found these tales of the lost little girls of pure fantasy, of worlds that could have been, and of worlds that could be. Their stories will inspire, frighten, and disturb you, but above all, I hope that they will entertain you.

Ronald Linson
New York City
August 2019