Sunday 3 April 2022

New Issue: 2022.61

“With a genre like film noir, everyone has these assumptions and expectations. And once all of those things are in place, that's when you can really start to twist it about and mess around with it.”

—Lana Wachowski

[ TFF Noir; Cover art © 2022 Saleha Chowdhury ]Issue 2022.61: TFF Noir

Short stories


Cover art by Saleha Chowdhury

Guest editorial by Valeria Vitale

Saturday 2 April 2022

Micro-interview with Cécile Matthey

We welcome back Cécile Matthey, illustrator of “Make of Me a Comet” and cover artist of The Future Fire #60.

TFF: How did you go about illustrating “Make of Me a Comet”?

CM: In the first illustration, Elsa is full at work on something we can’t really see—to avoid spoiling the end of the story. There are some hints at her final sculpture in the second illustration, a collage showing her desk. Among various things, like a shopping list, newspaper clippings and a sandpaper sheet, all stained by the bottom of a coffee mug, there are several research sketches. The newspaper clippings were included afterwards, when I fell upon a small article mentioning the… passing of a comet! In the same issue, there was also an article about Georgia O’Keeffe, a famous woman artist whom Elsa might admire, so I added it too.

Illustration © 2022 Cécile Matthey

TFF: With whom, alive or dead, would you most like to collaborate, and on what?

CM: With a friend of mine, a Swiss musician and music producer called Cat’s eye. I made a live illustration on one of his songs ten years ago… already. I’d love to illustrate the cover of one of his next albums, for instance. Usually he designs them himself, because he is also a talented photographer. Anyway, I have been too shy to ask him so far 😉.

TFF: What is more fun, to build or destroy a sand castle?

CM: To build it… and to destroy it right away ! Living rather far from the sea and sand beaches in Switzerland, I didn’t have many occasions to do so when I was a child. But I remember having done something similar with a few medieval castle models made of cardboard.

TFF: What one lesson would you offer to a budding artist?

CM: A lesson in three parts, which appear very simple, but that took me almost a lifetime to understand and practice:

  • Try, do not be afraid to fail: that’s the way you learn and get better.
  • Be curious, keep your eyes open: inspiration can be found anywhere, anytime.
  • Have fun!
Illustration © 2022 Cécile Matthey

TFF: What else are you working on now?

CM: As you already know, I’m also a scientific illustrator in archaeology. I’m currently working on an antique treasure discovered in a Roman villa (Yvonand, Switzerland). It is mostly composed of silver spoons and bracelets, some of which are elaborately decorated, looking very modern. Clearly, this treasure has been hidden, but we don’t know why, nor by whom. It’s moving to think these objects have been used and worn by people, more than 2000 years ago.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the stories or illustrations in this issue at

Friday 1 April 2022

Micro-interview with Marianne Connolly

Welcome Marianne Connolly, author of “Mrs. Daedalus” in The Future Fire #60.

TFF: What does “Mrs. Daedalus” mean to you?

MC: “Mrs. Daedalus” began as a prompt in the Wordos critique group, “How My Mother Became A Drone.” It developed into a story about my own mother, but with more magic and less nagging.

Illustration © 2022 Joyce Chng

TFF: Would you like to be or to own a robot?

MC: I wouldn’t choose to be a robot, but I would appreciate a few enhancements, like super-sharp vision or the power of flight. As for owning a robot, I’d be cautious. I think any robot worth its salt is likely to organize its own liberation. Think about Murderbot (Martha Wells), the Cylons (Battlestar Galactica), and Phillip K Dick’s androids (with or without electric sheep). Maybe it’s better to have a robot roommate and share the chores.

TFF: What are you working on next?

MC: I’m working on two short stories about were-creatures, and an urban fantasy novel set in Boston in 1983.


My mother had a knack for appliances. She liked machinery, the way some women like cats or houseplants, and machinery liked her. When I was a kid, she would embarrass me at the department store, talking to the toasters, purring over an avocado green Osterizer, clucking her tongue as though they were puppies whining in a store window, crying to come home. When she did take one home, she would tinker, and the transformation would begin. In my mother’s kitchen, machinery began a second life.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the stories or illustrations in this issue at