“Much like fairy tales, there are two facets of horror. One is pro-institution, which is the most reprehensible type of fairy tale: Don’t wander into the woods, and always obey your parents. The other type of fairy tale is completely anarchic and antiestablishment.”

—Guillermo del Toro

 [ Issue 2015.33; Cover art © 2015 Robin E. Kaplan ]

Issue 2015.33

Flash fiction

Short stories

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While I love beautiful and optimistic science fiction and fantasy, which is fiercely political purely by the act of daring to hope, that’s not the only kind of speculative fiction that has a political dynamic. The world isn’t always a beautiful place. Sometimes it’s a horror story, as when you see friends being hounded by online trolls for the crime of being queer or of color and daring to speak up on the Internet; sometimes it’s dystopian, as when thousands of people drown trying to flee war and persecution at home, and your neighbors and politicians openly advocate sinking their ships to dissuade them from coming. Sometimes it feels like quivering, eldrich horror is the only viable response to the world we live in. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we have anything to celebrate at all, which is why we sometimes need that optimistic SF as well. Or we can celebrate the little things…

In this second issue of 2015, we’re again celebrating ten years of publishing The Future Fire, and of course primarily doing so by again including five absolutely wonderful stories in this issue. All five authors are here for the first time, and are regaling us with tales of end of life care, adventures in empire and politics, allegories of runaway consumerism, surveillance and conformity, or the savagery that is humanity. All but one of the illustrations are by artists who have worked with us before, and are as beautiful as anything we’ve published. I would proudly hold this issue up as an example of the best TFF can offer, if anyone asked.

We’re also celebrating with another example of Best of… this year: we’re putting together an anthology of stories from the history of the magazine, plus new work by some of our most acclaimed authors, and all sorts of other new materials that we’ll gradually be leaking to you between now and the end of the year. In the meantime you may have noticed that we have a Call for Stories open for Fae Visions of the Mediterranean, co-edited by Valeria Vitale, an anthology of the wonderful and terrible, ghosts and pirates and seamonsters, nightmares and mirages and lies, from the lands all around the Mediterranean Sea. If you’ve ever stood on the shores and seen horror in the blue depths, you may have a story for us. If you know anyone from Southern Europe, North Africa, or the Near East, why not ask them if they have a story for us? If they don’t speak English, that’s fine too—we want all Mediterranean voices to be heard in this anthology.

That’s not all—I won’t give away all our surprises today, but watch this space for details of a forthcoming fundraiser (which we hope will help us to pay fairer rates for all of the publications mentioned above), and other celebrations. In the meantime, enjoy the fabulous stories from Angela, B.L., Chloe, Erika and Nick, and the gorgeous artwork from Callum, Cécile, L.E., Miranda and Robin.

Djibril al-Ayad, June 2015

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