“We don't create a fantasy world to escape reality. We create it to be able to stay.”

—Lynda Barry

 [ Issue 2017.41; Cover art © 2017 Eric Asaris ]

Issue 2017.41

Flash fiction

Short stories



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Reality can be hard to face, especially in a world as ugly and frightening as we’re living at the moment, so some good escapist fantasy would be welcome. But at the same time we need our storytellers, our dreamers, our fantasists and fabulists to keep us hoping, to keep us imagining better and striving for the world we want.

Do we know what’s real or do we create a consensual reality to make communication possible? Do we “get real” rather than wishing for better, or do we “face reality” to fight for justice here and now? Does speculative fiction say more about our own time (“reality”) than any speculated future or idealized past? Is science fiction the “realistic,” scientific genre, while fantasy is magico-religious and escapist?

The stories in this issue of TFF question reality or challenge realism, let us dream and feed our hope. They are stories that use the setting of spirituality and fanaticism to explore the acceptance of chronic pain and the importance of bodily agency and ownership; that develop the survival-driven mores of a postapocalyptic culture, spliced with humanity, flexibility and kindness; that juxtapose realities, sanity, tragedy and ghosts in a dreamlike, queer fabulism; that twist a fairytale with the recognition that maybe not everyone wants that Happy Ever After we’re promised; that season an almost Lovecraftian rural weird with the all-too-realistic racism of the modern world; that show us a moon that we’ve never seen, challenging our own fabulist realities. The darkest horror doesn’t entirely sink our hope. The most oneiric escapism never drowns our connection to reality.

We’re honoured to publish these six pieces of incredible fiction and verse from new friends Jason, Michelle, Selena, Subodhana, and old friends Sean and T.D., alongside superb illustrations from Christine, Eric, Jason (himself), Miguel, Katharine and Toeken. It’s great stuff, and if this is one of the most unreal issues we’ve run in a while, it’s by no means the least true

Djibril al-Ayad, June 2017

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

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