Wednesday 1 July 2020

New issue: 2020.54

“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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Full issue and editorial.

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Vanessa Fogg said...

This issue is so beautifully curated. Stories that play off one another with overlapping themes of darkness and hope, love and rebellion, and dreams of a better world. Juliet Kemp’s lovely flash story is about a dragon and a girl. And it’s also about the weight of and responsibilities of an ordinary life, and about waiting, and a dream followed at last. Celia Neri’s story is an utterly charming tale of an Italian countess with a mind for science, and the stereoscope that takes her on an unexpected journey. Wonderfully inventive, with a light touch even as it looks at some serious issues. Shelley Jones’ story is a strange, enigmatic, and gorgeous tale of a world that progresses through different ages, and a bird woman on her solitary journey. It’s a mysterious tale of birds and time and change. And Jordan Taylor offers a wonderful steampunk world of magic and Mechanicals and war, where a Queen can use the Divine Flame to light gunpowder and prime cannons. A dark, beautiful story of love, yearning, rebellion, and hope.

M Bennardo takes us into another type of darkness, as he probes the recent urban legend of Momo. His tale is an evocative, unsettling, and thoughtful meditation on our darkest fears and desires. And finally, AJ Fitzwater’s piece rounds out the issue beautifully. It’s an unusual story of time travel, in which a group of grieving friends discuss what steps they would take to change the past without changing the current world too much—and only for the better. A truly moving, poignant, and somewhat bittersweet tale of grief and love, that dares to imagine a better future and world.

The poems by Avra Margariti and Hester J. Rook are also lovely and in keeping with the issue’s themes. And so are the illustrations that accompany these stories and poems! Special thanks to Katharine A. Viola for illustrating my own story! I’m so happy to appear in this issue, alongside these talented writers and artists.

Djibril said...

Over at Vernacular Books, Paul Jessup’s July Short Story Roundup speaks glowingly of Vanessa Fogg’s The Shadow Catchers, calling it “a wonderful fantasy premise that goes to interesting places,” and noting that “you can see the flickering conversations between Fogg’s story and Le Guin’s own shadow cursed boy from Earthsea.”

Djibril said...

In a round up of Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction for July 2020, Alex Brown picks out Dragon Years by Juliet Kemp, calling it a “bittersweet story” that “pokes at the reader”. She doesn’t read the story exactly how I do, but that’s what makes great stories, isn't it…

Andrew LH said...

I found Celia Neri's story to be absolutely charming.

Djibril said...

Vanessa talks about the full contents of TFF #54 in her round-up of short fiction recommendations from July–August 2020, partly overlapping with her comment above. An insightful reading of many of the stories, and nice recognition of the coherence and thematic consistency of the issue as well!

Djibril said...

Dan Micklethwaite posted a short review/recommendation of Vanessa Fogg’s The Shadow Catchers on Twitter, in which he writes: “‘The Shadow Catchers’ in @thefuturefire is yet another moving and lyrical fantasy story from @FoggWriter, about exploited workers maintaining a fragile peace, which is threatened by the deeds of duplicitous mages. Visually rich with brilliant prose.” Source.

Djibril said...

Over at Curious Fictions, Maria Haskins rounds up her September reading, and includes a glowing review of Juliet Kemp’s Dragon Years, in which she finds “a deep sense of mingled joy and sadness and regret that is absolutely wonderful.”