Tuesday, 29 December 2015

New Issue 2015.35

“The waves of the Aegean are not just washing up dead refugees, dead children, but the very civilisation of Europe.”

—Alexis Tsipras

 [ Issue 2015.35; Cover art © 2015 Laura-Anca Adascalitei ]
Issue 2015.35
E-book versions coming soon.

Review this issue on Goodreads.

    Saturday, 14 November 2015

    TFF-X table of contents

    We’re very happy to share the TOC of the anthology celebrating ten years of The Future Fire magazine, which will be out next month in print and e-books from all the usual places. We think you will love TFF-X, as we do, with its mix of stories you may have seen before (if you’ve been reading TFF loyally for the last decade), and many new pieces of irreverent, experimental and unexpected content… We couldn’t have done this without these amazing authors, and especially you beautiful readers. This one’s for you.

    Nasmina’s Black Box • Jennifer Marie Brissett
    The Taste of Their Dreams • Margo-Lea Hurwicz
    Shadow Boy and the Little Match Girl • C.A. Hawksmoor
    Flight of a Sparrow • Jocelyn Koehler
    What Hath God Wrought? • Neil Carstairs
    Fae Visions of the Mediterranean • Valeria Vitale
    Reflection • Jessica E. Birch
    The Need To Stay the Same • Jo Walton
    Bottom Drawer • Brett Savory
    Liquid Loyalty, ten years on (poem) • Redfern Jon Barrett
    Always Look on the Bright Side • Alison Littlewood
    Mermaid Teeth, Witch-Honed • Benjanun Sriduangkaew
    Sweet Like Fate • Sara Puls
    An Unrecognized Masterwork • Bruce Boston
    Je me souviens • Su J. Sokol
    Lessons of the Sun (poem) • Joyce Chng
    Sophie and Zoe at the End of the World • Rebecca Buchanan
    Accessing the Future • Kathryn Allan
    Art Attack! • Mark Harding
    Slice of Life • Julie Novakova
    Half Light House • James Bennett
    Lifting the Veil on the Illustrators • compiled by Cécile Matthey, Serge Keller
    Drown or Die • Therese Arkenberg
    Easy Sweeps of Sky • Melissa Moorer
    Always Left Behind • Jack Hollis Marr
    Outlaw Bodies (seven prologues and an epilogue) • Lori Selke
    Thick on the Wet Cement • Rebecca J. Schwab
    Innervation (poem) • Toby MacNutt
    Ephemeral Love • Melanie Rees

    If you haven’t already seen it, don’t forget to check out the fabulous cover art by Cécile Matthey on our Press Page.

    Saturday, 31 October 2015

    Hallowe’en favourites from the editors of TFF

    Staying in the Hallowe’en mood, we asked all of the TFF editors and guest editors for their recommendations of horror-themed short stories (both worldwide and in TFF’s back catalogue), for names of women and POC horror writers, for films, children’s books, artwork and videogames in this genre. Not everyone answered in every category, and the list below is just the first thing or two that each person thought of, in no particular order, and is certainly not meant to be a definitive list. Please add your own favorites or recommendations in the comments. Happy Hallowe’en!

    1) Horror Stories:
    2) TFF horror stories:
    3) Women horror writers:
    • Mary Shelley
    • Susan Hill
    • Nicola Griffith
    • Octavia Butler
    • Cecilia Tan
    • Cherie Priest
    • Tanith Lee
    • Wendy Wagner
    4) Horror writers of colour:
    • Tananarive Due
    • Rani Manicka (her book The Rice Mother about the horrors of the Japanese occupation of Malaysia was so disturbing)
    • Ben Okri's books are terrifying
    • Benjanun Sriduangkaew
    • Daniel José Older
    • Koji Suzuki
    • Khakan Sajid
    5) Horror films/TV shows:
    • A Woman Walks Home Alone at Night
    • Ginger Snaps
    • Alien
    • The Thing
    • Babadook
    • Pan’s Labyrinth
    • The Hunger
    • The Ring
    • The Nightmare Before Christmas
    • Afterlife (TV)
    • Pushing Daisies (TV)
    • Les Revenants (TV)
    6) Horror/monster-themed children’s books:
    • Les trois brigands, by Toni Ungerer (I don't know if this counts as horror, but it is a scary story that turns out to be cute in the end)
    • Jan Pienkowski's Haunted House
    7) Horror artwork:
    8) Horror videogames:
    • Eternal darkness: Sanity's Requiem
    • American McGee’s Alice

    Friday, 30 October 2015

    Hallowe'en Special: horror stories from TFF

    If you’re looking for a few dark and bloody tales to read for the Hallowe’en season, we’ve a list of 35 such stories to share with you—taken from the annals of TFF over the last ten years. Maybe we should make an anthology of these some day…

    If you like your horror fairly classic: more or less contemporary, and some combination of supernatural or violent, here are the stories that might be up your dark, deserted alley:

    If you don't mind a bit of secondary world in your horror, dark fantasy, historical, post-apocalyptic or dark steampunk, then some of these might be more your steaming mug of horse blood:


    And if you like a touch of surrealism or magical realism while your heckles are being raised, sample some of these other-worldly beauties…
    For more like this, follow The Future Fire for the next ten years, or check out our Fae Visions of the Mediterranean anthology—call for stories open for the next two weeks; volume will appear in the new year!

    Wednesday, 30 September 2015

    New Issue 2015.34

    “When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

    —Maya Angelou

     [ Issue 2015.34; Cover art © 2015 Carmen Moran ]
    Issue 2015.34

    Download e-book version: PDF | EPUB | Mobi

    Review this issue on Goodreads.

    Friday, 18 September 2015

    TFF-X blog carnival recap

    A recap of guest posts, interviews and other blog posts that were posted as part of the TFF-X fundraiser during the month of August (thanks to everyone involved!):
    1. Interview in Urban Fantasy Magazine
    2. Interview on Fox Spirit blog
    3. Micro-sequel Monday: “Little Match Girl, ten years on” *
    4. Interview with Joyce Chng
    5. Interview with Djibril by Jocelyn Koehler
    6. Friday Flash: “A Sense of Place” *
    7. Interview with Kathryn Allan at Twinja Book Reviews
    8. Micro-sequel Monday: “Galatea's Stepchildren, ten years on” *
    9. Ernest Hogan, "A Low Ride with Victor Theremin"
    10. Stephanie Saulter interviews Valeria
    11. Blog post at Theaker's Quarterly Fiction
    12. Interview with Richard Thieme
    13. Rebecca Schwab interviews Bruce
    14. Interview with Lori Selke at Apex Books
    15. Friday Flash: “From the Mud, Rising Bravely” *
    16. Djibril's Friday Five at Pornokitsch
    17. Margrét Helgadóttir interviews Cécile Matthey
    18. Su J. Sokol interviews Jennifer Marie Brissett
    19. TFFX writing contest
    20. Micro-sequel Monday: “Good Form, ten years on” *
    21. Quiltbag stories from the last decade
    22. “My Superpower” by Djibril over at Skiffy and Fanty
    23. Alasdair Stuart interviews Valeria
    24. Cécile interviews Rebecca Schwab
    25. Valeria interviews Vanessa Fogg
    26. Friday Flash: “Now Playing” *
    27. Serge interviews James W. Bennett
    28. "Keeping The Future Fire Burning" at Anne E. Johnson's blog
    29. Micro-sequel Monday: Rustwisdom *
    30. Peter Tennant interviews Djibril at "Case Notes"
    31. Re-opened: "Number 10"-themed writing challenge
    32. Tracie interviews Kathryn Allan
    33. Rebecca Buchanan interviews Robin
    34. Friday Flash: Morphic Resonance *
    35. Sunday Sequel: Pirate Stories *
    36. Microfiction Monday: 2084 *
    37. Dennis Upkins interviews Cécile
    Look out especially for the micro-sequels posted at this site (marked with * above) which are lovely—and there will be more new material like that in the anthology.

    Tuesday, 15 September 2015

    Seeking experimental microstories

    Call for Stories

    The TFF-X (The Future Fire—ten years) anthology will contain 15 reprinted or slightly revised stories, plus at least as many new pieces that we hope will give an idea of the sort of things we’d like to see more of in the magazine in the future. We’re enthusiastically looking forward to the next decade, as well as celebrating the last one.

    If you think you can help us to exemplify different and experimental modes/kinds of social-political, diverse, progressive and speculative stories, we’d love to hear from you. Some of our ideas are listed below. We're looking for very short pieces, so 500-1000 words is about right (or equivalent, for comics/poetry). We'll pay $20 per piece, and this call will remain open until we have the 5-10 new pieces we need to fill the volume (or until the end of October at the latest, at which point we'll have to firm up the table of contents if we’re to publish the anthology before the end of 2015). If you have any other experimental ideas—try us! Email your submissions or pitch ideas to fiction@futurefire.net with a subject line beginning “TFF-X submission: (title of work) and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

    Genre, style or conceit (many of these can be summed up as “ekphrasis”—a representation of one art form via the medium of another):
    1. Story written as a theater or radio play, or as an interview
    2. Story written as a pitch for a TV show or web series
    3. Story in the form of an online user review for a science-fictional/fantastic product (hoverboard, replicator, magic wand? You can think of something more original than this!)
    4. Design a poster or one-page advert for a made-up book or film
    5. Story in the form of a critical review of a non-existent book (no spoilers!)
    6. Story in the form of a user guide for a videogame or a module for an RPG
    7. Story told via a letter or letters (letter to a magazine advice column; letter of complaint; rejection letter for a job/story/grant; letter of condolence/congratulation; any letter that isn’t just the sender telling a story to the recipient)
    Theme, content or medium (can be combined with one of the above, if you want to be hyper-efficient):
    1. Stories written largely/partly (or with dialogue) in a language or dialect other than US-English—with no apology or translation for the reader
    2. Bi/pansexual and trans/nonbinary characters (we do pretty well with queer representation otherwise)
    3. Utopian story—a world that satirizes our own by being visibly better than it in some significant way (doesn’t have to be perfect)
    4. Absurdist or nonsense piece—any combination of surrealism, dadaism, bizarro, dream-quest
    5. Horror and dark fantasy (so many possible modes)
    6. Poetry (any style; up to 40 lines)
    7. Graphic/comics story (2-4 pages)
    All stories should of course be social-political, diverse, intersectional, and all the others things that TFF want to see in fiction anyway!
    (If you would like to read more about what some of our editors would like to see more of in TFF in the future, the question has been addressed by Kathryn, Cécile, Valeria and Djibril in recent interviews. More suggestions welcome!)

    Submission guidelines summary:

    Length: approx. 500-1000 words (poems 40 lines, comics, 2-4 pages)
    Email submissions as attachment to fiction@futurefire.net
    Deadline: October 31, 2015, or sooner if filled
    Pay: $20 (USD) per story, poem, comic, etc.

    Monday, 14 September 2015

    TFF-X Fundraiser — Thanks!

    The following message has just gone out to all backers of the TFF-X fundraiser (in case anyone missed it):
    Many thanks to all of you who supported the TFF-X fundraiser, which exceeded its target by nearly $300 at the beginning of the month; you have made this anthology possible, and freed up some much-needed funds to increase the pay rate for Fae Visions of the Mediterranean as well.

    We expect the anthology to appear before the end of the year, at which point those who backed at the appropriate levels will receive your print or e-copies of these and other Futurefire.net books. (The five-anthology bundles won’t be available until the last two volumes are published, of course.) Copies of Lowest Heaven should already have gone out to those of you who backed at those levels, and undead dolls and custom artwork recipients have been put in touch with their respective creators. If you think you should have heard from me but haven’t, please drop me an email asap, and I’ll try to sort it out.

    Warmest thanks to you all again!
    As noted, we have as a result of the generosity of our backers raised the pay-rate for Fae Visions to €30 per short story or poem, and €15 per flash story. The CFS for that anthology is still open for a few more weeks, and we’re especially keen to hear from any authors from the Mediterranean region, in particular those from North Africa, the Near East or Turkey, who are currently very underrepresented. It’s going to be a great anthology whatever happens, but it has to be representative of the region if it’s to mean anything.

    Tuesday, 1 September 2015

    Ten-years-after Tuesday: Xiomara's Flying Circus

    Xiomara’s Flying Circus
    Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus, ten years on
    by Ernest Hogan
    This flash sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus”, Ernest’s story in We See a Different Frontier, and was written to celebrate the tenth anniversary of TFF. If you want to see more fiction like this in the future, please support our fundraiser, where you can pre-order the celebration anthology and pick up other exciting rewards, for a few more hours only!

    Mr. Burroughs must have thought he was Tarzan the way he treated Xiomara.

    “You’ve done well for a hot little tamale. In just ten years, you’ve gone from a señorita in a dirty little town in Mexico to to owning a movie studio in Hollywood.”

    He reached under the table.

    I reached for the pistols under my silly embroidered waiter’s jacket

    Mr. Burroughs’ bodyguard, a big lug who was too stupid to play Tarzan didn’t even notice me. He believed me when I said I “no espeak mucho English.”

    Xiomara slapped Burroughs’ hand. “Please, Señor, we are in public!”

    “We might as well be in Tijuana by the looks of this place. And call me Ed.”

    “Ed. A funny little name.”

    “We can’t all be something exotic like Xiomara.”

    I hate the way gringos mispronounce her name.

    “And I will be be the perfect Dejah Thoris!”

    Mr. Burroughs licked his lips and grinned.

    “So, Señor Burroughs, do we have a deal?”

    “I’d love to have you make A Princess of Mars!”

    “I’ll have my lawyers send you a contract.”

    “Yes, yes. But first, I though we would seal this deal in another way.”

    He panted a sloppy kiss on her lips, tore her dress, and squeezed a chichi.

    I reached for my guns.

    One of Xiomara’s eyes told me to wait.

    “Señor! You are a married man!”

    “My wife is more interested in making love to a bottle than me. And you inspire me!”

    “Cabrón!” said Xiomara.

    Mr. Burroughs whistled. His bodyguard aimed his gun at Xiomara’s face.

    Her fist smashed Mr. Burroughs’ huevos as I put a bullet into the bodygaurd. Then I vaporized Mr. Burroughs with the Tesla death ray.

    Cháirez and Holguín, who flew with me for General Villa, and now owned this restaurant, came out from the backroom, with guns drawn.

    “Any problemas?” asked Cháirez.

    I vaporized the bodyguard.

    “Nada,” said Xiomara. “He thought my naglas were part of the deal.”

    “That chingdera makes life easier,” said Holguín.

    “Too bad,” said Cháirez. “It would have been a great movie.”

    “It will be,” said Xiomara. “I’ll talk to his widow.”

    Cháirez and Holguín hooted. “Viva Princess of Mars!”

    “Princess?” said Xiomara. “I’d like to make her more of an empress.”

    Monday, 31 August 2015

    Microsequel Monday: 2084

    Art Attack!, ten years on
    Mark Harding
    This micro-sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Art Attack!”, first published in 2007, and was written to celebrate the tenth anniversary of TFF. If you want to see more fiction like this in the future, please support our fundraiser where you can pre-order the celebration anthology, by tomorrow.

    It was a bright cold day in April and the apples were bleeping thirteen. Frankie Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast to escape the vile Edinburgh wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of the starbucks.

    The lights were off, but everyone understood there was no alternative if Starbucks was to achieve the quarter’s profit forecast. The queue for the starbucks machine was mostly women, mostly on email, spending their mcbreak with their children to top up their loyalty points, rushing their fractious toddlers round McDonald’s, Starbucks, Greggs.

    The machine dribbled a tobacco-coloured liquid into Frankie’s stained loyalty cup. His chest swelled: how well they had all done to keep down the price of starbucks!

    His apple angrily buzzed his backlog of netfix holoshows, he’d ran out of excuses for avoiding Dissident Hunter. But the apples were chiming the 5 Minute Love. Saved by the bell!

    Everyone knelt, hands clasped before their breasts, apples borne in obeisance. The Amazon Leadership Hangout began:

    O let us work harder
    O let us work longer
    O let us work smarter
    And above all, let us do all three

    A woman burst into tears as they chanted.

    O let us insist on the highest standards

    The weeping spread.

    O let us be self critical
    And above all, let us deliver results

    Such wisdom! Such insight! The women sobbed uncontrollably now, olay running, garniers messed, dirtying their pradas on the grubbiest patches of the floor.

    Next: the montage of heroes of post-industrial capitalism, each woman shouting to prove her employee loyalty.

    Steve Jobs (Maestro!), Rupert Murdoch (Such charisma!), Jeff Bezos (Master!)…

    Frankie forced his eyes to his apple. He should be harnessing his mind solely for business benefit. He tried to hold his private thoughts at bay.

    …Mark Zuckerberg (Sweetie!), Sepp Blatter (Genius!), Donald Trump (Sexy!)…

    Was he capable of love anymore? he wondered. He professed love, but was it real? Rupert, Jeff, Sepp. Donald Trump! If he couldn’t love gods like these, who could he love!

    Frankie shivered. A woman—bans perched in her hair—was watching him. Could she somehow see inside him? Was she an Anytime Feedbacker? A Mystery Shopper?

    The Love ended. Frankie cheered, plunging into a fantasy of contentment. He imagined watching Dissident Hunter, agreeing to how they portrayed him, no longer confused between his memory of those times and the holo he saw, no longer doubting the truth they told him. He imagined washing away the grit in his mind. At peace at last.

    Tears blurred the view of his apple. Why had he been so stubborn? But he could win the victory over himself. He could love them.

    ‘Do you have a match?’ It was the girl with the bans

    Frankie started. ‘I’m sorry. I’m not allowed to smoke… I have a medical certificate.’

    ‘Here.’ She handed him box. ‘Keep them.’

    The buzzing of his apple unheard, Frankie stared at the matches, thinking of the fire he could light.