“It hurts me that, if global warming still continues, if global warming continues on a large scale, it’s going to affect our future only; we the children and the coming future generation is going to suffer. So I wanted to do something about that, and that’s why I sued my government.”

—Ridhima Pandey

 [ Issue 2020.54; Cover art © 2020 Fluffgar ]

Issue 2020.54

Flash fiction

Short stories


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It has been our habit in recent issues of The Future Fire to write a topical editorial, referring to critical events in the world and thinking about ways speculative fiction—and the stories in this issue in particular—can address and comment on them. There is so much going on this year, that it seems almost impossible to do it justice with such a glib comparison. Would we, after all, write about plagues, and the arguably genocidal (failure of) responses to them? Would we talk about the necessity of antiracist and antifascist protest; about runaway consumerism and profiteering; about the spread of dystopian technology; about bigoted and hateful laws coming into force? Would we try to make a case for SF responses to fascist dictators all over the world, or to the climate disaster just around the corner?

Speculative stories can and do address all of these issues, and more, and we will always welcome both cautionary tales and optimistic “we can do better” narratives, each of which is an equally political, equally radical form of storytelling.

Better then to start from the stories, poems and art. The pieces in this issue of the magazine critically address questions including: the importance of allyship and intersectionality in dealing with any individual act of prejudice and mistreatment; our need for solidarity, plurality and diversity, all forms of survival when the world paints a target on your back just for existing; the value of fierce, unapologetic, unflinching rebellion; and other responses to generational violence. They deal with and give us fuel to think through issues around the false dichotomy and conflict between real life and escapism, the fine line between horror and the erotic, and the imperative to reinvent or remodel the world, reassessing appearances and assumptions, tell our stories, not those imposed on us by power.

It has never been more important for art to insist on the change we want to see in the world. That is always what we have wanted to see in the pages of TFF, and we’re delighted with what Vanessa, Shelly, M., Juliet, Jordan, Hester, Celia, Avra and A.J. have written, and Cécile, Eric, Fluffgar, Josep, Joyce, Katharine, L.E., Martin and Miguel have drawn for us this time around. They’ve all done wonderful work, and I think we can all see a slightly better world as a result of it. Many thanks as always to my fabulous co-editors Valeria, Trace, Regina, Emma and Bruce, and to Brian and Hûw for copyediting.

Enjoy, and see you in three months. Hopefully times will be a little less interesting by then.

Djibril al-Ayad, July 2020

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

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