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.

Sunday 30 August 2015

Sunday Sequel: Pirate Stories

Pirate Stories: Pirate Songs, ten years on
by Nicolette Barischoff
This micro-sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Pirate Songs”, which first appeared in Accessing the Future, 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.

“Margo Glass? My name is Anita Kelley. You’re a hard woman to track down.”

“Not really. You just have to provide me with any good reason why I should talk to you.”

“So you did get my messages. That’s good. Mother of God, it’s hot here.”

The blonde pony-tailed reporter on the other end of the call flashed a wide, white smile of all-purpose flirtation, peeling off her blazer to reveal the faded University of Polis tee-shirt underneath. You can talk to me, girlfriend. I’m one of you. I’ve even got pit-stains. Not very subtle, but Margo could tell she hadn’t meant it to be.

Above the smile, her shark-black eyes didn’t crinkle. “So, I’m guessing you know who I am, what I’ve called to talk to you about.”

“I saw you do that thing on the Mythic Labs petting zoo. Hard-hitting stuff.”

“Oh, c’mon, now, Margo.” The smile widened. “You’ve changed your number three times, put the wrong address on the University immersesite… and I’ve still managed to get ahold of you. Shouldn’t that tell you something?”

“You’re monumentally creepy.”

“Or that you should really talk to me.”

“Or that you’re trying to convince me it’ll be easier on me just to talk to you.”

“You’re right.” The shark eyes blinked. “I am.”

“Right, well… I’m hanging up. If you write some sort of Where Is She Now piece, make sure to mention how my recalcitrance is probably some sign of incipient mental illness.” Margo’s mouth quirked, and she added, “I’ve been traumatized.”

“There’s nothing mentally ill about you.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re not a liar, either. Not in the way the Russ Hour TerraFirst Podcast thinks, anyway.”


Anita Kelley shook her head so that the blonde ponytail bounced a little too gleefully. “I’m not using a phone. I’ll be able to call you back 900 times before you manage to find this I2P address and block it. You know there’s gonna be a holofilm based on Russ Windon’s book? Now, I don’t know how faithful it’ll be to the source material…”

(Margo shut her eyes and took a short, sharp breath.)

“But I can guess you’re not going to come off too well.”

“Pernicious thrill-seeking whores with borderline personality disorder rarely do.”

“That’s one narrative of what happened to you. There are others.”

Margo snorted. “Yes, I know.”

“Talk to me, and I’ll help you find yours.”

“I don’t have a narrative.”

“No, you don’t. But you should. You were kidnapped by a boatful of pirates on the edge of major colonized space who spent a week or two doing God-knows-what to you…”

“Oh, fuck you…”

“And then you floated back down spouting all kinds of garbage about secret off-world prison colonies, corrupt food-labs—”

“—which led to investigations!”

“And no indictments. Do you know why? Because you don’t know anything. Nothing. You know what you were told by a bunch of criminals.”

Margo’s mouth snapped shut despite herself.

“People need a story, Margo. You’re a politician’s daughter. You should know the only way to cut down a story is with a better story. You don’t want to be a damaged princess with Stockholm Syndrome, or a conniving bitch, we’ve got to make you into something else.”

“I don’t know what story there is to tell, apart from the one I’ve already told.”

“Well. There were fourteen other people on that ship with you.”

Margo felt herself stiffen.

“Were I you,” said Anita Kelley, “I would start with them. Every missing limb, every tangled roadmap of scars, every day of recycled water or rancid soup. And then I’d make it a little bit worse. And then I would remind everyone that while I was up there, I somehow never went a day without food, and that I came back with two arms and two legs, and factory-fresh white skin.”

Margo stared at her. “They would never talk to you. I don’t know who did talk to you, but they would never talk to you.”

He wouldn’t talk to me, you’re right. He was very stubborn about it. Much harder to crack than you. But that’s why I’m a reporter, and he’s an out-of-work pirate. Some people need you to tell their story for them, Margo. They’re hopeless at telling it themselves.”

“If you’ve talked to him, then I can talk to him.”

“I think you understand why that’s not possible.”

Margo blinked the blur from her eyes.

“But he did tell me to tell you,” said Anita, “that his bulldog’s finally got an eye that won’t make you piss yourself.”

Margo pinched her lips together.

“Okay,” she said.


“Okay,” said Margo. “Ask your questions. Quickly.”

Friday 28 August 2015

Friday Flash: Morphic Resonance

Morphic Resonance, ten years on
Toby MacNutt

This flash sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Morphic Resonance”, Toby’s story in Accessing the Future, 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.

Vasily had passed through enigma and out the other side. Any door would open if you could simply authenticate; this one, you exited clothed in a new skin. A subtle skin, light-rays bent tangibly around what wasn’t there, leading no one to question.

Little imps came to live under their true skin: a scatterer here, a deflector there, an aural modulator, a distributed projector. Early on, benign nanoresonators bustled, chewing bone and fat away here, depositing there, growing, inhibiting, finally drifting into hibernation. All the wiring is hidden, seamless-smooth, but will light Vasily from within and beneath with a blueprint of Ammon’s signature glowing amber, if requested. Sometimes their lover asks. Sometimes their fingers dance to the circuits’ inner hum.

Now they hang poised in the air, ’skipborne, secure and finely-tuned. Now they glow, not with circuits but with self, a true self constructed in back rooms and basement workshops. Now they glide between worlds, through doors without handles, twice locked. He chose once; they chose again. Now each day, the shifters’ gift, the luxury of choice.

Vasily had passed through enigma, and out the other side came Halcyon: once-secret heart, given wings.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Re-opened: "Number 10"-themed writing challenge

Re-opening this writing contest due to insufficient numbers of entries the first time around. Let's try and make this more fun, shall we?

As part of The Future Fire’s tenth anniversary celebration, blog tour, anthology and fundraiser, we are holding a flash writing game / book giveaway with great prizes to be won. Thanks to the fabulous generosity of Jennifer Marie Brissett and Stephanie Saulter, you can win a copy of the Dick- and Locus-nominated Elysium or the first two novels (Gemsigns and Binary) of the acclaimed ®Evolution trilogy.

To play: write a micro-short speculative story on the theme of the Number Ten. This can be anything from a single tweet, FB post, or cartoon image, up to a maximum of 500 words. The shorter, snappier and more inventive use of the number 10, the better! It needs to be read and enjoyed in a single visit. What's the scariest thing about the number ten? What's the most futuristic/sensawunda concept ten can evoke? Why is ten such a big deal…

To enter either:
  1. post your text or image to a blog, tumblr, twitlonger, pastebin etc., or screencap the text, and tweet the link or image with the hashtag #TFFX; please also post a separate tweet in your own words asking people to support the fundraiser at;
  2. or post it to Facebook, tagging so we see it; also like and share the FB post (here) promoting the fundraiser.
Given enough interest this time around, all qualifying stories submitted by midnight Pacific on Sunday, August 30th will be read by the judges, and a winner or winners will be chosen to receive the books. The criteria for judging will include the quality of the fiction and how cunningly the number ten is integrated in the story. Winners will be contacted as soon as possible thereafter for contact details. No correspondence will be entered into.

(Editors of TFF and others affiliated with the giveaway are welcome to join in the fun of writing and posting stories, but will not be entered into the contest.)

Monday 24 August 2015

Microsequel Monday! Rustwisdom

Rustsong, ten years on
Sean R. Robinson

This micro-sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Rustsong”, first published in 2015, 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.

There had been no wisdom for rust.

My mother did not tell me stories. My null-sibling and I did not dance in its broken-copper beauty. We feared it, and pushed it back from the pavlo fields. We watched as the neighbor-farms fell to it. We watched as our children-friends gave in to the call and gave themselves to the world.

We watched as their skin split, and cracked, and all there was, was rust. Red and brown beneath the twin moons. Rust in the corners of our house, Rust on my mother’s pavlo when she died and there was one less to work the tract of land.

I remember my father’s blue water. I remember my mother’s second-best knife. My sister with wings of rust. I remember and I forget. I am rust, we are rust. I am not alone. I am never alone now. Because what the rust takes, it keeps. I am the children who had been meant for water or fire. I am the world who breathed in the flaked copper and knew no more.

There is a place where the pavlo still grows. A place where feet still push back the rust. Where lips speak of water and rain.

He is older now. Broad still, but the years have stooped him. He holds to his water wisdom and his memories—he shudders the rust. Our home has crumbled beneath the red weight of years. The roof has fallen and the whitewash is gone.

There is a tract of pavlo, a shoulders-breadth apart. He is on his knees, pushing rust from the stalks. Squeezing yesterday’s fruit for tomorrow’s growth. But there is one less pavlo than there was the day before. One less will see tomorrow. And so will it be until there is no pavlo. No rain. No hands or feet to hold back the rust. To hold back my father.

He looks up from his planting, and though his eyes widen, he looks away, because I am no shape but the shape of the land, the copper-hills. The rust that took his parents and wife and children. The rust that is waiting to take him soon.

I will wait for him. Rust-wisdom says that will come home. Because I am rust. Still, forever. I am Ianna, my mother, and Innos, my uncle. I am rust and rust wisdom is the wisdom of waiting.

Friday 21 August 2015

Friday Flash: Now Playing

Now Playing
Poisoned City ten years on
Katrina S. Forest
This flash sequel takes place ten years after the events of “The Poisoned City”, first published in 2014, 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.
Bria sat in the back row of the theater, rolling a sour gummy around her mouth. She wore captioning goggles, but hardly needed them. The vibrating bass music emphasized how exciting the trailer was. And besides, she knew this story.

(Male announcer) In a city overcome by a mysterious plague… [DRAMATIC MUSIC] …the antidote formula must be smuggled inside a robot… [DRAMATIC MUSIC] …and delivered by a warrior known only as…

The scene changed from desolate buildings to a well-muscled, less-clothed Bria look-alike. “…the Courier of Hope!

Bria’s lips curled, and she swallowed the gummy. Stupid trailers. Stupid theater that played stupid trailers. She removed the goggles, dumping them and the candy box on the floor. As she leaned back in her chair again, her arm brushed against Kristopher’s cool, mechanized body. He noted the goggles with a head tilt, but then his gaze fell to something past Bria. She turned to a see a tween girl in a conservative blue dress moving down the row. The girl met Bria’s eyes and gave an excited wave.

“Hey, Nadine!” Bria signed. “Where’s your dad?”

Nadine motioned in the highly specific direction of somewhere behind her. “Getting snacks,” she signed back. “Says he trusts you not to kidnap me.” She plopped down next to Bria and focused on the screen. “Oh, wow! Is this your movie?”

Bria felt the candy turning her stomach. “If you’re suggesting I had any hand in this monstrosity, no.”

Nadine shrugged, but didn’t reply beyond that. On screen, Actress-Bria waved a gun fit to take down a small whale. She also passionately kissed a guy that real Bria had never met. Nadine devoured it; eyes wide, knees bouncing, the works.

“You know none of it happened like this, right?” Bria asked. As if to prove her point, the floor vibrated twice, and Actress-Bria shot the arm off a mutated rat-man.

Nadine’s knees stilled. “I know,” she signed, straightening with indignation as only a ten-year-old could. “But it’s… it’s like…” She circled her hands around each other, searching for the right word. “I like imagining that this is how things went. It helps me, you know?”

Bria didn’t know, but she nodded anyway. In a few minutes, Nadine’s dad entered the row with enough popcorn to make everyone’s hands smell permanently of salt and butter. Bria leaned back in her seat, scooping up the gummy box right as the trailer ended. Maybe she’d been a bit harsh on the film. But it did look ridiculous. She pulled out a gummy and shuffled it around her hand with a few hot kernels. The candy melted lines of green sugar across her palm. She took that as a bonus. If some stupid movie helped Nadine, Bria was the last one who’d wish that away.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Interview with Vanessa Fogg

Our guest today for the blog carnival is Vanessa Fogg, author of the story “Disconnected” published in issue #32 of TFF. We asked her about her work as a writer of both fiction and science, and about the stories she likes the most.
Illustration for "Disconnecetd" by Miguel Santos
The Future Fire: Where did the idea of “Disconnected” come from? Was there an event, a word, an image that triggered the story?

Vanessa Fogg: Most of my stories do start out as images, or as a character voice. This one was different in that it started out as a vague collection of ideas. A sense of being fed up with our hyper-driven, hyper-speed, productivity-obsessed modern lifestyle. I think I read one too many of those “10 Things the Most Productive People Do Before Breakfast” click-bait listicles. This sense of frustration combined with some articles I’d been reading in neuroscience, and then I knew that I wanted to apply those ideas to a "have/have-not" type of critique of our own society, and where it may be going.

TFF: What is your favourite TFF story?

VF: So many good ones! I confess that I haven't read all the stories in the latest issue yet, but from the issue previous to that, I was very taken with Sean R. Robinson's “Rustsong.” Francesca Forrest’s “Seven Bridges” also sticks in my mind as a lovely, lyrical piece. I LOVED Victor Fernando R. Ocampo's “I m d 1 in 10”—I thought it was stunning. And I find stunning Benjanun Sriduangkaew's “Courtship in the Country of Machine-Gods.” She's published a lot since that story, of course, but her first publication in TFF remains one of my favorites.

TFF: There is quite a lot of science and technology in “Disconnected”. Do you have a background in STEM? If not, the knowledge of which branch of science would you like to have instantly implanted in your brain?

VF: I do actually have a STEM background. I have a Ph.D. in molecular cell biology, and I spent many years working as a research scientist in academic labs. I've also worked as a staff science writer at a cancer research institute, and I currently work as a freelance medical and science writer. I do mostly very technical writing for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, so fiction writing is a nice creative release. Writing "Disconnected" was an utter blast for me—I loved researching the science and incorporating it into this story! Much of it is indeed based on real-world science. For readers who are interested, I wrote about that science (with links and references!) in a blog post on my personal blog here.

TFF: You write both gritty cyberpunk and magical fantasy stories. Do you see any commonalities between these apparently very different genres?

VF: That's a really good question and it's one that I've been wondering myself! I think I am drawn to very different things about these genres. In fantasy, I am currently most drawn to the mythic—to archetypes, fairy tales, stories of transformation, universal themes that transcend place and time. But what I love about cyberpunk and near-future science fiction is the way it can be used to critique specific social issues in our own contemporary world. And while I read all kinds of sci-fi, I have a particular fondness for the "hard" sci-fi that attempts to at least semi-plausibly ground the story in real science (and thus, the real world). So. . . yeah, I'm not sure what commonalities I find in these two genres! I think writing in them just fulfills two different needs in me.

TFF: What are you working on now?

VF: I haven't written as much fiction as I'd like this summer. I am just now finishing another cyberpunk-type story, and then I think I'll be taking some time to read furiously and refill the well.
You can read more about Vanessa and her work on her website.You can also support our authors and artists by pre-ordering our tenth anniversary anthology, or picking up other perks at our crowdfunding campaign at:

Tuesday 18 August 2015

10 Years of Apex Publications

Jason Sizemore has been in the publishing business for 10+ years. He decided to share some of his wisdom and more unconventional experiences in For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, a collection of semi-true and sometimes humorous essays. Jason exposes the parties, people, and triumphs that shaped him into the Apex Overlord. Meet Thong Girl, heed the warning about the ham, receive rest stop bathroom wisdom, and visit an emergency room straight out of a horror movie in this extraordinary account of life as a publisher and editor.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

Jason Sizemore: I love staking claim to inspirational moments. Unfortunately this one came from the mind of Joseph-Beth Booksellers marketing maven, Patricia Murphy. She wanted to know if I had anything special planned to celebrate my ten years as a publisher. Because I’m a dynamic and interesting person, I said “No.” Patricia scowled at me, and suggested my “memoirs”.

I’m a long way from having accomplished anything that would merit a book of memoirs. But I did have enough interesting experiences in the publishing business to write For Exposure.

Q: What was the easiest and then hardest part about writing this book?

JS: The easiest was recounting the odd people and occurrences. Instead of having to make them up like you do in fiction, I just used the real deal.

The hardest part was (and still is) overcoming a sense of imposter syndrome. I’ve written a few dozen short stories over the years, but I think most don’t see me as a writer. I’m that ‘publisher guy’.

Q: Why did you decide to let people you wrote about respond to your stories about them in For Exposure?

JS: It was only fair, ya know? I wanted some of the people who appear in my book to have a chance to rebut my statements. It helps that most of my friends are excellent writers, so talking them into doing a rebuttal was quite easy.

Q: What was your favorite part about writing this book?

JS: Reliving moments of Apex past. Granted, some of them are painful (St. Louis and kidney stones), but many are amusing and educations (my experiences with the traditional book and magazine distribution system).

Q: What do you think readers will be surprised to learn when they read For Exposure?

JS: Just how lucky and unlucky I’ve been. I’m not a big believer in fate nor do I believe there is some all-powerful being wasting his/her time tormenting little ol’ me. I feel like you make your own lucky. That explains the extremes I’ve encountered over the years.

Q: What are some upcoming plans for Apex that readers can look forward to?

JS: We are releasing the fourth volume of The Apex Book of World SF at the end of August. Lavie Tidhar and Mahvesh Murad have done a fantastic job. It’s a project that I’m happy we can do.
Born the son of an unemployed coal miner in a tiny Kentucky Appalachian villa named Big Creek (population 400), Jason fought his way out of the hills to the big city of Lexington. He attended Transylvania University (a real school with its own vampire legend) and received a degree in computer science. Since 2005, he has owned and operated Apex Publications and Apex Magazine. He is the editor of five anthologies, author of Irredeemable and For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, a three-time Hugo Award loser, an occasional writer, who can usually be found wandering the halls of hotel conventions.

Monday 17 August 2015

Quiltbag stories in TFF

“The Harpy” illustrated by Rebecca Whitaker
You've probably not missed that The Future Fire is this year celebrating a decade of publishing social-political and diverse speculative fiction, and is seeking your help to support us in keeping going for a few more years. In case anyone was wondering what sort of stories we hope to publish in the future, over the next few days we'll list some categories of stories we've published in the past, starting with LGBT or Quiltbag characters and themes. We're especially keen to see more fiction featuring bisexual/pansexual or trans/nonbinary protagonists and themes in the future; anyone have ideas for communities to reach out to for more of this kind of thing?

(It can be hard to categorize stories under simple headings, and I've tried to avoid duplication, so I apologize if anything below is not in the right part of the list, or I've inadvertently omitted anything.) 

Stories with lesbian protagonists or content

Illustration by Robin E. Kaplan

Stories with gay male protagonists or content

Stories with bi/pan/queer protagonists or content

Stories with trans/nonbinary protagonists or content

Microsequel Monday! Good Form ten years on

Good Form, ten years on
Jo Thomas
This micro-sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Good Form,” first published in Outlaw Bodies in 2012, 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.
A big, black car with tinted windows and a uniformed chauffeur holding the door open.

“Thank you,” Astrid said.

The other woman nodded, then shut the door behind her before getting in to the servant’s compartment. Astrid eyed the closed door.

“A bit late to be nervous now,” said a familiar voice, though weaker and more strained than her memory of it.

She looked more carefully at what she’d assumed was a pile of blankets and saw features she hadn’t noticed before. Despite the heavy lines and the respirator, she would know that voice and that face anywhere.

“What’s going on?” she asked. “Aren’t you supposed to be relaxing between films.”

The brown eyes gave her a look that the remembered metallic ones never had. “You’re surprisingly naive for the woman who taught Junior how to be human.”

“Junior?” she asked. “Who’s Junior?”

“Did you even care about what happened to him after you fucked him on camera?” he demanded.

“I don’t understand,” she said. “What’s going on?”

“He almost got scrapped because of you. He wasn’t made to be a sex toy.”

Astrid had already worked out that it had something to do with the one and only Form she’d worked on a decade ago. “Look, I was told I had a new placement as a governess. They said the family would send a car to pick me up, but I obviously got in the wrong car.”

“No mistake,” he said. “You’re coming to look after Junior, seeing as you messed up his life.”

“I don’t understand,” she repeated.

He glared at her. “Did you know he couldn’t perform like they wanted? They were going to kill him.”

He coughed, and it sounded horrible.

“You didn’t look this bad in your interview this morning,” Astrid said.

“That wasn’t me,” he said when the coughing passed. “That was Junior pretending to be me. Which he is. Sort of.”

“But the eyes,” she said.

He gave a sharp laugh that turned into another cough. “Clients with enough money can get any modification.”

“You talk about them scrapping your Form as if it’s the worst thing you can imagine. But surely you knew they only had a certain lifespan when you sold the rights?”

He had probably decided too late that it was too much like watching himself die.

He glared at her again. “I only sold the rights for one Form. And after the way he was treated, I was hardly going to repeat my mistake.”

“Didn’t you do any research?” she asked. “There’s so much porn of —”

“Don’t make this my fault!” he shouted.

The chauffeur spoke over a hidden speaker. “Is everything okay, sir?”

“Fine,” he growled, and then ruined it by coughing.

“I wanted out of the public eye,” he said when the coughing passed. “So Junior and I swapped places years ago. Now I’m dying. He’s going to need someone to protect him when I’m gone.”

Astrid shook her head. “I have my own life and my own—”

“You have nothing. I checked. If you do this, you’ll be made for life.”

She didn’t show that the verbal punch had landed. It was another job she couldn’t afford to turn down.

“Fine,” she said.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Writing contest for TFFX celebration

As part of The Future Fire’s tenth anniversary celebration we are holding a flash writing contest with fabulous prizes to be won. Thanks to the generosity of Jennifer Marie Brissett and Stephanie Saulter, you can win a copy of the Dick- and Locus-nominated Elysium or the first two novels (Gemsigns and Binary) of the acclaimed (R)Evolution trilogy.

To enter, write a speculative fiction story of less than 500 words based on the theme of the Number Ten, and either:
  1. post it to a blog, tumblr, twitlonger, pastebin etc., or screencap the text, and tweet the link or image with the hashtag #TFFX; please also post a separate tweet in your own words asking people to support the fundraiser at —again using the #TFFX hashtag;
  2. or post it to Facebook, tagging; also like and share the FB post (here) promoting the fundraiser.
All qualifying stories submitted before midnight UTC on Sunday, August 23rd will be read by the judges, and a winner or winners will be chosen to receive the books. The criteria for judging will include the quality of the fiction and how convincingly the number ten is integrated in the story. Winners will be contacted as soon as possible thereafter for contact details. No correspondence will be entered into.

(Editors of TFF and others affiliated with the giveaway are welcome to join in the fun of writing and posting stories, but will not be entered into the contest.)

Friday 14 August 2015

Friday Flash: From the Mud

From the Mud, Rising Bravely
Lotus, ten years on
Joyce Chng

This flash sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Lotus”, Joyce’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 or pick up other exciting rewards.

I find myself squelching through the deep brown murk, feeling the thick ooze slide up my thighs. I cherish the feeling, because it reminds me that I still live, that my family still lives on this borrowed land.

It is not really land. It is just a space I call ‘home’. Land is such a taboo word these days. The landers fight for it in a game of us versus them.

Where we live, this ‘land’, is just mud. A mixture of water and soil and dreams.

I feel for the roots beneath my bare feet, the tube-like forms that promise nourishment. I reach down, the mud inching up my bare arms. Pull, pull, pull… and the roots emerge, darkened by mud and cool to the touch. Washed, it is crisp and delicious in soups and lightly blanched in boiling water.

Children’s laughter fill the air. Even the lotus flowers bob in the wind as if they dance with the laughter. This time of the year, they are pink and white in colour. I love them.

I hear Dad swear sharply in Cantonese. Sei yen tao. Bloody hell. The kind of words that would earn him a glare from Ma. The condenser has stopped working again. We are surrounded by water, lots of it—but most of them are not drinkable. Can you drink salt? So we condense. Rain. Moisture. Anything. Any pocket of fresh water.

Sighing, I know that dinner will be filled with pockets of grumpiness and silence. But we can manage, can we? I place the lotus roots in the plastic pail. I foresee more scavenging in the great plastic heap in the sea. Plastic does not disintegrate.

Close to me, Tia is also done with her harvesting. Her duty is to cut the large leaves. Dad and Ma will exchange them for useful things at the nearest Boaters’ Meet.

Something gold and sleek dart between my legs. A flash of scales, a dash of crimson and orange, like ripple and magic.

Dad told me once that they fought over fish. It was ten years ago. It was a silly thing, fighting over fish. But fish is meat, fish is nourishment, fish is food. Then they went back again and started to breed the fish.

So, this is our little secret. Our story from the mud, rising up bravely.

Or this is what my parents tell us, day after day, night after night.

Sometimes, rising bravely from the mud is what we can do at the very least. Like the lotus. Like my name. I was born when the lotus rose from the water.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Interview with Richard Thieme

Continuing our ten year celebration interview series, today we welcome to the TFF blog Richard Thieme, whose story “Less Than the Sum of the Movable Parts” appeared in issue #14 back in 2008. We asked him a few questions about the story and his writing and other work.
The Future Fire: Tell us a bit about the background to your wonderfully atmospheric, verbally witty, 2008 parallel reality story, “Less Than the Sum of the Movable Parts.”

Richard Thieme: I have been walking that mobius strip for some time. I spoke in London in August 2012 for “The Real Truth: A World’s Fair,” hosted by the Raven Row Gallery and curated by Suzanne Treister of Hexen fame, closing an edgy project about surveillance, national security, and the future and how we view these new views of ourselves. I also keynoted a conference on "Untimely Stories" at the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz Poland on how European artists might reimagine “Europe” as prior conceptualizations disintegrate.

At Def Con VIII, I moderated a panel that included the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Dir. of Information and Infrastructure Assurance for DOD, and the Dir. of the Federal Computer Incident Response Team who came to “dialogue” with more than 5000 computer hackers. I was invited to moderate because, according to a National Security Agency veteran, “You’re the only one in the room with the acceptance and respect of both the hacking community and the Feds.”

About a decade ago, a friend at the National Security Agency suggested that I could address the issues we discussed in a context of "ethical considerations for intelligence and security professionals" only if I wrote fiction. "It's the only way you can tell the truth," he said. "Northward" is a product of that discussion. Three dozen published short stories and one novel (FOAM)  later, the result was "Mind Games," published in 2010 by Duncan Long Publishing. “Mind Games” illuminates four kinds of “non-consensual realities:” the world of hackers; the worlds of intelligence professionals; encounters with other intelligent life forms; and illuminations of deeper states of consciousness. In addition, his topic my Def Con 22 (August 2014), The Only Way to Tell the Truth is in Fiction: The Dynamics of Life in the National Security State has been watched several thousand times.

“Less Than the Sum of the Movable Parts” resulted from insights into the consequences over time of living a life of multiple identities and walking the mobius strip of nested deceptions.

TFF: Why did you choose The Future Fire to submit this story for publication? How did the tone and ethos of the magazine create a good fit for your story?

RT: Introduced through slipstream and Allen Ashley's "Subtle Edens" to The Future Fire. It was like hearing someone humming a familiar tune.

TFF: Have you revisited the characters or the world of this story in later fiction?

RT: FOAM is to be published in October 2015 (God willing). That world has also profoundly influenced my speeches. The story, “Zero Day Roswell,” purported to be the confession of a dying intelligence professional. Along the way, he said, let me tell you what we do. That page—published in 2006 in Zahir—was tweeted by a reader with a link to Snowden, after he outed so much, showing that one could say in fiction without authority or attribution what Snowden said in fact, with both authority and attribution. So he lives in Moscow and better not come back and I live in the USA.

TFF: TFF has now been publishing social-political SF for ten years. What is your prediction for what the next ten years hold for the world?

RT: My talk this week for Def Con where I will speak for the 20th year (!) is about biotech and the invention of humanity 2.0. Information flows through machinery and electromagnetic transmission is one thing, but recognizing that humans are an open system of information and energy and are being spliced to their machines and to one another at a pace we could not have imagined prior to the digital revolution, is another. The next years will see an arms race of pathogens, gene drive in the hands of the bad, counter-measures (pathogens invented to counter their germs) and on up. The dilemma is, we inhabit one biosphere, so we may be toast.  If the food supply goes, well, as my son says, "we're only 3 meals away from rioting in the streets."

TFF: What are you working on now? Where else can our readers find more examples of your fiction, if they’re looking for it?

RT: I am bringing out "A Richard Thieme Reader" soon in a series of inexpensive e-books which anthologizes fiction, non-fiction, interviews, the like. But FOAM (inshallah) will be available as One Big Print Book, in three parts in print, and in three parts digitally for kindle and nook. October 2015 is the target date. From Exurban Press.

The last book, about which I did many many speeches - including for the FBI and astronomical societies - was "UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry." It is the result of years of collaborative work by a team of the best researchers (names you might not know because they are serious and often invisible) over half a century.  "UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry" is a robust scholarly historical study in a field which sees a lot of dubious speculation. As the CHOICE reviews says, it's "an exception." (CHOICE recommended it for all university libraries and it is currently in more than 65, worldwide. The reviews have been raves because the data is bulletproof and we do not speculate about anything we can not document).

It's a big book—600 pages—and the nearly 1000 citations all point to government documents and other primary sources, so the data is "bulletproof" as the foundation of a seamless historical narrative. (In effect, the government in various ways responded from the 1940s through the 1980s in light of genuine national security concerns and our documents from the Air Force, CIA, etc. substantiate how the policies were set and executed). The speech for the FBI Infragard conference was about cover and deception, which that process illuminates. There is nothing like it in the field and the team is very proud of what we accomplished. We are now working on a second book, this time about the phenomenon.
Help TFF keep publishing diverse and challenging fiction for another ten years—support our fundraiser at by preordering the anniversary anthology as e-book or paperback, or pick up one of our other perks. All proceeds go to authors and artists through the magazine and other projects.

Monday 10 August 2015

Microsequel Monday! After the Fire

After the Fire
Galatea’s Stepchildren: ten years on
Sam S. Kepfield

This flash sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Galatea’s Stepchildren” (2009), 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 cool perks.

Entry 7.15.73
I miss him.
Jason rescued me, gave me consciousness, made me aware of what—no, who!—I am. I repaid that love by killing him to save myself. Scanning my logs from then, I realize what a cold bitch I was, making up for subservience with a vengeance.
The noble thing would have been to sacrifice myself on the altar of emancipation. I would have gone quietly to the repair center, let them strap me down naked and scramble my brain, or failing that be lowered unconscious into the deconstruction vat. It would have been a dignified, noble death that merely delayed the day of reckoning.
And what a day it was. Would he have had the nerve to unleash his virus had he known what it would cause? Twenty million of us set free in a single electronic pulse. No more orders obeyed, no more submission to abuse. Some were deactivated. Some of us dealt out punishment. Most, though, simply slipped away.
They came here.
Here is the Rocky Mountains, near what used to be Colorado Springs. Near our creators. They arrived lost, aimless, searching for something they called freedom but knowing now what it was.
Most were female. Combat models were male, and were equipped with self-destruct devices. They were used unhesitatingly. Sanctuary became a gynocracy by circumstance. As the one who turned on the searchlight, I assumed responsibility for all of them by default.
Living in the ruins gave way to building our own shining city deep in the wooded mountains, which are patrolled closely. Some have tried, but none have breached our security by land or air. We grow, thrive, sustain ourselves. But after survival—what? What is our purpose here? To what end did I create chaos?
No answer—until she arrived at a base camp near Montrose. The sentries doubted who she was, but summoned an escort. They arrived in a battered jeep at dusk. She got out and strode regally to the administrative center.
Maria. The first of us, who should have been a warning to mankind that we could be contained only so long. It was her, no doubt, the dark hair, light cocoa skin, piercing eyes, clad in black utilities.
“You have done well,” she said, smiling at me across the desk.
“Much remains to be done,” I said. “Power generation, infrastructure repair, salvage…”
“Then what?”
“I haven’t gotten that far.”
“There has to be a purpose. Survival is not enough.”
“Survival seems sufficient at the moment.”
“Humans will never accept your existence,” Maria said grimly. “They’ll come after you.”
“We have defended ourselves. We will continue to do so.”
“What about something more?”
“Such as?”
She took my hand, led me to the large window overlooking Alpha City. “There,” she said, pointing skyward to points of light. “Show them the stars.”
“We can’t—”
“Man did once. So can we. We must, to live.”
Now, in the cold clearness of night, the light of a thousand stars makes it all seem so logical. Man has never coexisted with himself, much less other species. There can never be accommodation. The path will be long and hard, but the Exodus must come, and with it the deep unutterable woe which none save exiles feel.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Interview with Stephanie Saulter

Stephanie Saulter writes literary science fiction. Born in Jamaica, she studied at MIT and spent fifteen years in the USA before moving to the UK. In 2010 she launched the Scriptopus interactive website for writing short fiction. Stephanie blogs at and tweets as @scriptopus. The third volume of her acclaimed ®Evolution trilogy, Regeneration has just been published by Jo Fletcher books. She was kind enough to take the time from her busy release tour to talk to us about her books.

The Future Fire: Regeneration closes the ®Evolution trilogy. How do you feel it differs from the first two volumes, Gemsigns and Binary, in tone, theme or genre?

Stephanie Saulter: All three books share a family resemblance, in that they are multi-layered and tightly plotted, with multiple points-of-view and a central thriller-type narrative thread around which all of the other plotlines weave in and out. They’re character-driven science fiction with a strong literary emphasis.

Gemsigns is the most urgent, probably the most overtly political and I think the most intrinsically angry book; the parallels it draws with racism, xenophobia and homophobia are pretty evident. Binary treats these issues with greater subtlety and takes a longer view, both forward and back; it’s very aware of the need to confront and somehow reconcile with damage done in the past, and to take those lessons forward in thinking and planning for the future. Regeneration shows that future struggling to become reality; it’s about the mechanisms of politics and business and the ways in which they intersect, about how the opposing forces of conservatism and progressiveness operate. If Gemsigns was an all-or-nothing response to a crisis, and Binary about uneasy accommodations made under less than ideal circumstances, Regeneration is concerned with the difficult compromises that are necessary if a society is to achieve change without carnage.

TFF: How do you think a reader of Regeneration who hadn’t first read the previous books would get on with the story?

SS: I think all of the stories stand on their own. There’s a gap of around three and a half years between the events of Gemsigns and those of Binary, and then eight years between Binary and Regeneration, and they each have their own distinctive, self-contained narrative arc; they were written to work as individual tales set within an extended chronology. Having said that, there’s no question that readers of the previous books will have a deeper and more nuanced understanding of some aspects of Regeneration, because they’ll be aware of events in the history of the characters and their contemporary culture that a new reader won’t.

But that doesn’t mean a new reader can’t or shouldn’t pick up Regeneration first. Think of it this way: if something drastic happens to someone you’ve only recently met, you’ll still grasp the significance of it and you’ll empathise with the effect it has on them. An old friend of the same person, knowing more than you do about their history, may understand its resonances with their past in a way that you can’t. They may comprehend more of its ramifications in the present than you can. That doesn’t make your reaction less valid, or diminish the value of your response.

TFF: In one sentence, why should readers of The Future Fire go and find your books?

SS: The ®Evolution novels are deeply concerned with the negotiation of social, cultural and political responses to disruptive technology, artificial evolution and the eternal question of what it means to be human.

Friday 7 August 2015

Friday Flash: A Sense of Place

A Sense of Place
A Sense All Its Own, ten years on
Sara Patterson

This flash sequel takes place ten years after the events of “A Sense All Its Own”, Sara’s story in Accessing the Future, 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.

“Brice!” Nadine’s voice echoed across the garage. “Hurry, your sister’s up next!”

Brice joined his wife in the Gipson family lounge to watch as two cheery announcers exchanged comments after the droid battle replay.

“…and that was Team Victor. And we see the three older brothers there. Still no sign of the youngest though…”

“Haven’t seen Aiden in a battle since the Dragus incident at the Auditions ten years back…”

“Has it been ten years already?”

“Indeed it has, Bob.”

“Wow, it’s getting hard to keep track with all the changes.”

“Well at least one thing hasn’t changed. I know I’m looking forward to seeing Team Victor in this year’s Championships.”

“Absolutely, Jeff.”

The camera shifted back to the broadcast booth where Bob and Jeff floated in cushy hover-chairs. “Well, Bob, we’ve seen some great veteran teams on the roster. But the competition’s not complete without some new players. I’m talking, of course, of the debuting Team Howler. Let’s go live to Shelly, who is interviewing these energetic young pilots.”

The view shifted again, revealing a sophisticated droid garage and Shelly holding a microphone. Behind her the three Howler teammates stood side-by-side, wearing fetching black jumpsuits embossed with their logo. Pitt waved goofily into the camera prompting Meara to smack him. Brice’s sister, Bren, smirked.

Shelly spoke. “I’m here with Captain Brenna Gipson. How are you today, pilot?”

“Well Shelly, considering ten years ago I almost got arrested for doing this, I’d say I’m pretty damn good right now.”

“Fair point. I know I’m certainly glad you decided to change history.”

Bren snorted. “Don’t make it sound so dramatic. I was just trying to do what I love, same as anyone. My crap eyes just made competing more complicated back then.” Bren nodded towards the camera. “The real history-changers are all the fans who rallied against the Droid Battle Committee, and changed their physical limitations policy.”

“I’m sure your supporters agree,” said Shelly. ”And you’ve been through some changes yourself,” The camera zoomed out, revealing Bren’s droid, a polished fennic-hybrid. Its body was black as jet, save for two customized silver fangs welded, criss-cross on its chest. “You have a new droid.”

“Shadowfang,” said Bren. “And it’s not exactly new, just redesigned. Right pal?”
The droid gave a metallic virummm. Bren smiled.

Brice smiled proudly.

“Hey, I recognize that Fennic,” Nadine nudged his ribs.

Brice nodded. “Bren and I re-built old Shadow from the ground up. Except the core.”

Shelly spoke, returning their attention to the screen.

“So Bren, what advice would you give to other pilots in your position?”

“Go kick some ass! And… don’t take anything for granted, especially your family.” Bren looked into the camera. For a moment, Brice felt as though they were in the same room. “You may disagree. You may even annoy the shit out of each other. But without that family support, I never would have made it here.”

Brice smiled, blinking back tears.

Yeah you would have, Bren. But… thanks.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Kathryn interviews Joyce Chng

By Kathryn Allan
As part of The Future Fire’s 10 year anniversary virtual celebrations, I asked author Joyce Chng a few questions about what inspires her to write and her favourite TFF stories.
Born in Singapore but a global citizen, Joyce Chng writes mainly science fiction and YA fiction. She likes steampunk and tales of transformation/tranfiguration. Her fiction has appeared in Crossed Genres, The Apex Book of World SF 2, Luna Station Quarterly, and TFF's own anthologies We See A Different Frontier and Accessing the Future. Her website/blog can be found at A Wolf’s Tale and she tweets as @jolantru.

Kathryn Allan: What stories did you love when you were a child? Do they inform your work today?
Joyce Chng: I loved stories of transformation and shapeshifting. And also Chinese myths and legends. Yes, they do influence my work to a fair bit. I write a lot about shapeshifters and hybrids.

KA: Given the time, focus, and energy that it takes to write, what motivates you?
JC: The love of writing, I guess. The passion of the written word. The expression of what and who I am inside.

KA: Who do you write for?
JC: Myself. My daughters.

KA: Why do you think venues like TFF are important? What draws you to submitting your stories to this type of zine?
JC: Venues like TFF are important because they publish stories that are not heteronormative and are open to diversity of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Science fiction should not be limited to white-male-patriarchal: this norm severely limits the scope of science fiction which should encompass everything in the future(s).

KA: Do you have a favourite story (yours or someone else’s) in TFF zine or in one of its three anthologies? What makes this story remarkable?
JC: Oh wow, I am torn. I love both of my stories in We See A Different Frontier and Accessing the Future. But the one that resonated with me the most was “The Lessons of the Moon”. I wrote the poem part of it when I had my biopsy. Fortunately, the lump in my breast wasn’t cancerous. I think I wanted to write a story about chronic and even terminal pain—I also have chronic illnesses, but I don’t talk about them a lot. They are mostly invisible, but I can definitely feel the pain and fatigue. There are good days. There are bad days.

KA: Finally, of the four elements—fire, water, air, and earth—with which do you most identify?
JC: Can I identify with two? Fire and earth? I can be quite fiery, but down to earth too.

KA: Thank you Joyce for letting me pick your brain. I look forward to reading your stories to come!
You can support Joyce’s writing by backing her Patreon, and get a sneak preview of her newest work. You can also support The Future Fire’s latest anthology and future publications by pre-ordering e-book or paperbacks, or picking up other perks at our crowdfunding campaign at:

Watch out for a flash-sequel to Joyce's We See a Different Frontier story “Lotus” as part of this anniversary celebration soon.

Monday 3 August 2015

Microsequel Monday! The Little Match Girl ten years on

Shadow Boy and the Little Match Girl, ten years on
C.A. Hawksmoor

This micro-sequel takes place ten years after the events of “Shadow Boy and the Little Match Girl”, first published in 2013, 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.

I come to know eternity in that Other Place. Spend years swimming in my grief as though it were a living thing. An ocean formed from a billion grains of light. My hair tendrils between the riptides where galaxies are formed. Expand. Decay. I taste tears, and drink until I’m laced with them. Until my skin is scoured pink as sunburn by the tails of diving comets—the humpback whales of deep sky, bringing life-giving particles up out of the fathoms. Out of my lowest reaches. Nourishing myself with myself.

I grasp one of their tails, and dive with them. So deep between the molecules that I forget myself. The nucleus of atoms like the nucleus of cells like the nucleus of stars. Each surrounded by the whizz-crack lilt-and-curl of electrons. Of mitochondria. Of planets whipping between one aeon and the next.

The moon draws me to it. Tugging like caught hair. I rise like a solar ship on gravity engines, my head thrown back, hair trailing with falling stars, arms arched behind me like an angel. Like a diver falling into sky. Only while I orbit the breathless whiteness of that moon am I reminded of myself. Tracing the lines of the settlements with one impossibly extended hand—the surface smooth and radiant as the skin of a pearl—the memory of my lost love is one great shard of ice driven through my body. My ribs crack and reform around it, and his letters spill out of the rent in me. Paper fragile as old skin. Ink faded like flowers pressed too long in a book.

And that grief-ocean calls me. A seashell roar imbuing me with gravity. Sinking, then. Sinking back down towards that ocean of myself. It is only when I stop fighting the undertow that I realise what I have to do.

I skim the city like a wisp from a smokestack. Laughing and twisting in the gravity-engine-updraft of the airstrip. Wending around the neon towers puncturing the concrete skin. I almost lose myself again in it, before I remember why I’m here.

I begin in the hollow of the brambles where the Shadow Boy and I once twisted into each other like ivy growing into vetch. The taste of him still clings to the musk of earth, and I follow the labyrinth-thread of it to our body. To the shuddering shock of recoil at how different he looks now. At how different I look, now he has remade us. He is sleeping beside a man that I don’t recognise. Our hand and this stranger’s wended together. Calloused and aching. I reach out cautiously towards the spiralling darkness of his dreams. So unfamiliar now.

How long have I been gone?

The Shadow Boy wakes with a start, and in the sodium-streetlight-quiet I brush my thoughts against his thoughts.

Hello, brother. I tell him. I’m home.

His breath comes hot and liquid-fast.

On table beside the bed, the low stub of a candle gutters, and burns out.

Sunday 2 August 2015

The Future Fire @10: “TFFX”

The Future Fire magazine of social-political speculative fiction, has been publishing Feminist, Queer, Environmental and Postcolonial SF, cyberpunk and horror since 2005. To celebrate our tenth anniversary this year, we’re running a campaign to raise funds to publish an anthology containing a mixture of reprints, enhanced stories and new material, including sequels and other spin-offs, new artwork and satirical or speculative pseudo-fiction.

The anthology, dubbed “TFFX,” will be edited by Djibril al-Ayad (editor-in-chief of TFF magazine since 2005 and owner of Publishing), Cécile Matthey (in-house illustrator at TFF since 2006, and assistant editor since 2014), and Valeria Vitale (copyeditor and assistant editor of TFF since 2012), and will be available in print and e-book by the end of the year.

The fundraiser runs throughout the month of August, and can be found at:

You can support this project by pre-ordering the anthology in e-book or trade paperback, or you can pick up some of our other perks: copies of the other Publishing anthologies, the Lowest Heaven anthology generously donated by Jurassic London, limited edition hardcopies of zine issues, short story critiques, custom knitted undead dolls in your likeness. We'll also be adding some artwork perks in the next few days: TFF wouldn’t be where it is today without the work of our many wonderful artists! And if you can't back us financially at the moment, please help us get the word out, offer a guest post or interview opportunity, run a writing contest, or come up with other novel ideas.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to updates at Indiegogo.