“Oui dehors il pleut mais cette pluie est délicieuse.
Dehors la vie est belle, que diable est-elle dangereuse.”

—HK et les Saltimbanks

 [ Issue 2016.37; Cover art © 2016 Eric Asaris ]

Issue 2016.37

Flash fiction

Short stories

Poetry

We're putting this issue of TFF together in a month in which heroes have died, hateful extremists have killed in two of the most shocking crimes of living memory, the wars all around us show no signs of abating, and our hearts have been broken by the news again and again. It’s hard to keep our hopes up in these circumstances, even harder to answer with equanimity when people ask us not to “politicize tragedy”—as if the act of pretending there was nothing political about a hate crime was not the most craven, reactionary, counter-productive response possible.

Fiction reflects the world we live in. Perhaps it exaggerates our flaws, acts as a warning against complacency or insularity, or it avenges itself against life with a vision of a better world. Stories, like dreams, are our way of sorting through the detritus of this fucked up world, rearranging them experimentally, sometimes nightmarishly, in the safe environment of the written page, the light reading matter, and working out our feelings about people, things, decisions, events, possibilities. Sometimes we need to weep about tragedy or dystopia, watch our heroes suffer, gaze unflinchingly at the ugliness in the human heart; but sometimes we need to celebrate the beauty in community and diversity, sometimes we need to pretend that utopia is possible, that the good in us will win out over the fear and isolation, sometimes we need to imagine better.

The fiction and poetry in this issue do all of these things. We see the ugliest of dystopias (as always, nothing we haven't seen worse in the real world), and the darkest human potential for violence and abuse, but we also see the resistance and rebuilding in response to these horrors. We see exhilirating adventure in the face of the greatest natural dangers, we see the dreams we dare to invent in the face of daily drudgery, we see the determination to stand against, or run from, straitjacketing convention, we see the birth of a new hero (or in this case superheroine).

I'd like to thank all six of our authors, Colleen, Mary, Priya, Rachel, Simon and Vanessa, for daring to give us such beauty when we need it the most. I hope you enjoy these stories and poem, and the lovely illustrations Cécile, Eric, Laura-Anca, L.E., Toeken and Valeria have created to accompany them, and we'll see you again in September for more in the next issue.

Djibril al-Ayad, June 2016

Comment on the stories in this issue on the TFF blog.

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