“Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.”

—Angela Davis

 [ Issue 2022.63; Cover art © 2022 L.E. Badillo ]

Issue 2022.63

Flash fiction

Short stories


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There is perhaps a sense in which all art is progressive, and the very act of creating beauty for its own sake in a world where we’re told “time is money” is an act of rebellion. At the same time it is surely possible to create art—whether fiction, painting, film, music, crochet—that’s mean-spirited, too unimaginative to do more than replicate the lowest-common-denominator bigotries, violence and avarice of last century’s phantasms. I hope we can do better than that.

So what is this progressive art that we consider important enough to quote Professor Davis’s magazine article above? Rather than attempt a scholarly definition, we would (incompletely) answer that by example. Progressive stories, poems and illustrations include work that shows how crafting, that most domestic of art-forms, can be a means to survive, to connect with the earth, to serve society, indeed to become part of humanity again. And such art also shows the very act of surviving—that other rebellion against petty tyrannies—pushing through what the world throws at us, enduring where fantastika and reality overlap, keeping going even when we are alone, when we are different, when we are old, and above all when we still manage to belong despite it all.

If your art can be progressive in some of these senses, and can at the same time be surprising and beautiful, then you may have done the most amazing thing in the world. And we think Marisca, Adriana, Joyce, Brackett, Jennifer, Annoka, Shelly, Eric, Josep, L.E., Katharine, Fluffgar and Dr T do all of these things, again and again.

Enjoy this issue, and we’ll see you again at the end of the year.

My co-editors and I would like to dedicate this issue to our friend Maureen Kincaid Speller, who passed away two weeks ago, and will be missed by so many many people in the community of writers, readers, critics, and publishers in this genre. Her wit and generosity should be an inspiration to us all.

Djibril al-Ayad, October 2022

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

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