“I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

—Greta Thunberg

 [ Issue 2019.50; Cover art © 2019 Pear Nuallak ]

Issue 2019.50



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Jubilee 50th Issue

Cover artist: Pear Nuallak

Medal for first prize. Colonial booty. The alchemist’s goal. ₇₉Au. The first age of heroes. Corrosion-free electronic connector. Pure sunlight. The fiftieth anniversary jubilee. What does gold mean to you?

Well, to us, today, it just means that this is the fiftieth issue of The Future Fire, and we’re celebrating with a bumper volume—three times the word-length of our usual issues—full of novelettes and long poems. Pear Nuallak has given us a signature gorgeous, both speculative and progressive, golden cover artwork. And we’ve really gone to town on the beauty in the word this time around too, all the stories are dripping with delicious prose and exquisite verse. There’s a fair share of pain and horror as always, of course, but there is also a healthy serving of hope and resistance and inspiration. (As Greta reminds us, there is no room for complacency, but we do need to believe there is a point in acting.)

I won’t add to the word-count with a long nostalgic editorial this time, especially since I wrote a potted history of the origins and developments of the zine when we released the celebratory anthology TFF-X for our ten-year anniversary. I’ll just say a few words to thank my co-editors Regina de Búrca, Bruce Stenning, Valeria Vitale and Trace Yulie, guest editors Kathryn Allan, Emma Bridges, Fabio Fernandes, Cécile Matthey, Lori Selke, copy-editors Brian Olszewski and Hûw Steer, and first readers, reviewers, illustrators and of course authors, too many to mention.

I will say that whether you’re subverting cyberpunk or magical realism, whether you’re retelling fairytale or Anglo-Saxon mythology, whether you’re repeating time-loops or using non-linear narrative or giving a happier ending than your genre expects, stories that break the rules have a beauty all of their own. No (traditional) plot? Second person narrative? Romance in a scientific genre? Rationalism in a fantastic genre? Untranslated non-English dialogue? Five-thousand letter palindrome? Longer than a novelette? Media combined in a way hard (impossible?) to capture on screen? If it’s beautiful and progressive, we want to see it anyway. Challenge us. Let’s see what we can do together.

In the meantime, enjoy these wonderful stories and poems, and see you for the platinum jubilee in a few more years!

Djibril al-Ayad, August 2019

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

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