“We know how precious the water is. We know that we must stand for the water. Every time we drink water, we remind ourselves how important the water is. Don’t you do that?”

—Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

 [ Issue 2016.38; Cover art © 2016 Martin Hanford ]

Issue 2016.38

Short stories



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Not everything is what it seems—sometimes unseen terrors lurk in every shadow, around every corner, beneath an unassuming countenance or behind unthreatening doors. We might be pleasantly surprised by the resilience of a people we expected to collapse in defeat, and we could be equally shocked by the creeping bigotry and xenophobia of our smiling neighbors. Surprises are at the heart of dramatic tension, and hidden depths and dark secrets are a recurring theme in the stories in this month’s issue.

The five stories and one poem in this still, but deep-running issue bring us a bridge that has not forgotten its dead builders and addicts who have forgotten what death is; parasitic ancestors who protect their descendents against a deadly plague and mythical hairy folk who live alongside us; a dark stranger expelled from their home and travelling lost, plus predatory creatures that lurk in our heritage and are never far away… These stories are full of surprises, and of horrors, but also, in their own way, of beauty. I guess we’ll take what we can get, in this sometimes horrifying world.

You may have noticed that we’re running a bit late this quarter, which means that our next issue is only a couple months away, due in December. More stories and poetry will be coming your way very soon!

In the meantime, Nicolette Barischoff and Rivqa Rafael have joined us as co-editors of a new anthology to be published by Futurefire.net Publishing next year. Problem Daughters will amplify the voices of women who are sometimes excluded from mainstream feminism. We’re looking for beautiful, thoughtful, unconventional speculative fiction and poetry around the theme of intersectional feminism, with a specific focus on the lives and experiences of women of colour, QUILTBAG women, disabled women, sex workers, and any intersection of these. Fundraising will begin soon, and the call for stories will open before the end of the year. You’ll be hearing a lot about this volume from the editors and other guests in the next few months!

In the meantime, please enjoy fine new fiction and verse by Damien, FJ, Kelly, Ola, Petra and Rebecca, and the lovely illustrations by Cécile, Martin, Miguel, Miranda, Pear and Rachel. Horrors may lurk in these pages, but sometimes the world is better than we expect, too…

Djibril al-Ayad, October 2016

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

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