“Right now the Amazon, home to millions of my relatives, is burning. If it goes on like this, twenty years from now my house will become a desert and my people will be at risk of becoming history. Governments … are not helping. They promote hate-based narratives and a development model that attacks nature and indigenous peoples. These governments are trying to put us in extinction. They are part of the problem.”

—Artemisa Xakriabá

 [ Issue 2019.51; Cover art © 2019 Saleha Chowdhury ]

Issue 2019.51

Flash fiction

Short stories


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This issue is full of tales of unlikely heroes: defiant champions, artists or artisans who don’t let society’s expectations limit their creativity, mismatched partners, heroines who make their own stories, unexpected researchers, and survivors who speak out and won’t be crushed or mediocre. It is full of voices we were not meant to hear, beauty we were not meant to see.

Mothers, daughters and lovers have to fight for themselves (whether or not there are men in their lives); girls with the perspective of seeing the world from the moon still struggle to be taken seriously by the authorities in mapmaking; an immortal queen knows what invisible courage and suffering means; a middling contestant proves Butler’s argument that persistence is worth more than “innate” talent; teenage girls have to fight dragons if there are no knights available.

Children have to stand up and fight for the Earth because we have failed them, have been failing them for generations.

This issue is dedicated to the unlikely heroes, the invisible warriors, the strikers who would much rather be in school.

Thanks as always to Alexandra, Eva, Jennifer, Kate, Katrina, Lisa, Misha, Rufina and Tannara for their beautiful words, and to Cécile, Eric, Fluffgar, Joyce, Katharine, Miguel, Rachel, Saleha and Toeken for their incomparable images. My co-editors Bruce, Regina, Trace and Valeria do the work of heroes, and copyeditors Brian Olszewski and Hûw Steer help the whole thing come together. No one can pull off something like this magazine alone (and who would want to?).

See you all again in January!

Djibril al-Ayad, October 2019

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

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