“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.”

—Ursula K. Le Guin

 [ Issue 2017.43; Cover art © 2017 Katharine A. Viola ]

Issue 2017.43

Flash fiction

Short stories


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We’re told that the map is not the territory, which either means that the word is not the thing it denotes, or that the image is not the landscape. There are a lot of images of landscapes in this issue of TFF, whether literal (scorched countrysides, deadly riverbanks, rebelling nature, predatory trees) or figurative (starscapes, magical hierarchies) or both (landfill and human corruption). We’re told that we should not confuse the words that connote with the lands and images that we evoke in response to them.

If the pieces of writing in this 43rd issue have any common thread, it may be that the world is much bigger than we are, that the petty rules and expectations of humanity are easily broken, that the planet will be there longer than we or our creations or our institutions will. That what we think we are leaving behind will eventually be eaten by the rocks, just as our bones will. That our attempts to oppress, suppress or control people or creatures that we consider inferior or transgressive are bound to fail eventually, either through inevitable passage of time or through violent resistance. That even if we are trapped, by societal forces or by our own imprisoned psyches, we cannot be held forever—neither we nor our captors will be here forever. Whether this is a moral of hope or of despair is for us to decide, as always. The stories are not reality, but if they have a relation to it in direct or indirect ways, they can still be useful as a map of the territories.

One last word: we’ve have recently opened the call for submissions for Making Monsters, an anthology seeking speculative stories and poems that retell or reimagine classical monsters. We’re open to broad definitions of “speculative” and “classical,” and as always with Futurefire.net Publishing we’re especially interested in marginalised characters (figures transgressing and transgressed against in their monstrosity) and all the intersections of feminism and related axes of response to violence and oppression. This is the first collaboration between FFN and another press, so we’re interested to see how this pans out. Please send us your stories: we’re reading until February 28, 2018.

In the meantime, do enjoy the great stories and poems by J.N., Joshua, Karen, Kelly, Kiera, Maria and Petra, and the lovely artwork by Carmen, Cécile, Jason, Katharine, Laura-Anca, Pear and Rachel.

Djibril al-Ayad, December 2017

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

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