Friday 29 July 2022

Mini-interview with Louise Hughes

Louise Hughes, author of “Unspoilt” in The Future Fire #62, joined us for a few questions.

Illustration © 2022 Eric Asaris

TFF: What does “Unspoilt” mean to you?

Louise Hughes: Not everyone can go out there and join a mass protest, whether because they have a disability or some other circumstance prevents them. The world is complicated and it can be frustrating. Sometimes you're so busy focussed on your own thing that you don't even notice what is happening. “Unspoilt” is intended to show that there are other ways of taking part in a rebellion, even one you've only just learnt exists.

TFF: If you could choose only one book to take on a long space journey, which one would it be?

LH: Like the characters in my story, I’m going to pick an audiobook: Hild by Nicola Griffith, narrated by Pearl Hewitt.

TFF: Which natural or geographical feature do you feel most affinity for?

LH: Hills or mountains (definition variable depending on location). I like to be at the top, looking down on everything below. There’s a reassuring solitude about it when you can see all the paths up and know exactly who and what is around you, and all the sounds of the world are there but far away.


The cockpit shutters slid upwards and the planet below us swept into view. Blue, for the most part. The kind of sapphire blue travel corps were so fond of using on holoboards. A series of archipelagos clung to the equator like dead ants.

There was nothing I couldn’t already see in the portfolio. Nothing the drones weren’t streaming up to us as they hovered merrily through their scan pattern. Nothing that wasn’t plotted on Karin’s maps.

Reminder: you can comment on any of the stories or illustrations in this issue at this post.

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Micro-interview with Toeken

Micro-interview with Toeken, illustrator of “New Day Dawning” and cover artist in The Future Fire #62.

TFF: How did you go about illustrating “New Day Dawning”?

Toeken: Extraordinary tale by Francesca Forrest, truly remarkable. I began sketching several elements—for example the Cacicus cela, the “bloom” and the branches that fire off the choker. Then it was messing around with gouache washes in magnolia and various blues on water color paper before scanning them and arranging the roughs for the two illustrations digitally.

Illustration © 2022 Toeken

TFF: Is there a difference for you between creating artwork to order, and composing purely from your own imagination?

Toeken: I’ll be frank, when I got the chance to read this I initially thought “I can't do this,” and when that happens I usually just jump in and hope I don’t make a mess of it. With my own stuff, it’s actually a very similar reaction when an image starts to suggest itself. If it’s too easy? F**k it. What's the point of wasting your time doing that?

TFF: Who would you most like to meet, living or dead, for a drink tonight?

Toeken: Right now—Harlan Ellison. Mostly just for the incandescent rage convo.

TFF: Tell us about an artist whose work you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?

Toeken: As always, there's a bunch: Saelan Wangsa, Julie Dillon, Fan Ho, Leslie Ragan.

TFF: What else are you working on now?

Toeken: Paintings/illustrations for Shoreline of Infinity, Bag of Bones Press, Archive of the Odd and personal stuff, but the monster that’s chewing up the bulk of my creative time right now is the graphic novel for Android Press, written by the ridiculously talented Phil Emery—that’s Razor’s Edge and it is due out early 2023.

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

Monday 25 July 2022

Micro-interview with Tim Pratt

Tim Pratt, author of the novelette “A Door of My Own” in TFF #62, joins us for a short interview.

Illustration © 2022 Carmen Moran

TFF: What does “A Door of My Own” mean to you?

Tim Pratt: I often think of the importance of having a place of refuge, where you can relax and control your environment and truly let your guard down; a lot of people don't have a place like that, but once you do, it changes your life, and gives you the confidence to try new things and take risks, because you know there's a place you can retreat and regroup. But, of course, having a place of refuge means that place can be a point of vulnerability… Also, I just really love stories about magic doors, and thought it would be fun to make every door a magic door.

TFF: Tell us about one of your favourite underrated authors?

TP: My favorite modern fantasy novel is The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. It's the only novel he's published (so far) but I hope desperately for another. It's a glorious puzzle box of a book and I re-read it every year or two. Not enough people have read it, but when I mention it to someone else who has, their eyes invariably light up and we spend a little time raving about its wonders.

TFF: What are you working on next?

TP: I’m currently writing a novel called Conquest of Nigh-Space, which should be out late next year. It’s multiverse and space opera, romance and action, espionage and philosophy, jokes and terror. Basically everything I love in one book, set in the world of “A Champion of Nigh-Space” and “A Princess of Nigh-Space”—in fact, the novel is about the unavoidable conflict between the protagonists of those stories.


I found my room when I was eight years old, running from my foster mother when she was drunk, screaming, and flicking cigarette ash at my temporary siblings. I ran to the closet, thinking I should hide, but mostly thinking I wish I could go somewhere safe. For some reason I reached out with my left hand, the one with the key-shaped birthmark on the palm. The door opened, but instead of hanging coats and a tumble of smelly shoes I found a bare room, the floor beautiful blonde hardwood, the walls paneled in oak. The room looked huge (I shared a smaller one with three other kids), and when I was older, I measured it: fifteen feet by twenty feet, three hundred square feet all my own. I looked behind me, down the dark hall, toward the screaming. I stepped through and shut the door.

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

Friday 22 July 2022

Mini-interview with Francesca Forrest

We are joined for a chat by Francesca Forrest, author of “New Day Dawning” in The Future Fire #62.

Illustration © 2022 Toeken

TFF: What does “New Day Dawning” mean to you?

Francesca Forrest: SF generally imagines collective consciousness either as a horrifying erasure of self (as with the Borg in the Star Trek franchise or ancillaries in Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch books) or as some kind of groovy spiritual opt-in experience. I wanted to consider it from a more organic perspective, something more connected to collective organisms that exist already. And I didn’t want to push a viewpoint: I wanted there to be room for a variety of feelings about such a being. Unrelatedly, I also wanted to posit a highly successful non-Eurasian indigenous nation-state.

TFF: What posthuman augmentation would you like to receive?

FF: Not gonna lie: I’d be interested in having Winna’s experience.

TFF: What is the most rebellious thing that you did as a child?

FF: I’m a painfully compliant person, so my rebellions were more along the lines of “This isn’t expressly forbidden, so it must be permitted—right?” When I was seven, a friend and I climbed out a window onto the roof of our back porch in order to launch a flying carpet we’d created. (My parents had never thought to state that climbing onto the roof was forbidden.) Some kind of prudence got us to test the carpet sans riders first. We’d just thrown it off the roof when my mom got home and found us there.

TFF: What are you working on next?

FF: I’m making revisions to a story about a swarm of bees that impersonate a beekeeper’s wife, and I’m also working on a novel to follow on the two shorter-length Tales of the Polity I’ve written.


“There it is,” exclaimed Winna. “There’s the Santa Marta bloom!” Thirty-five thousand feet down, a pinkish-brown smear drifted on blue waters of the Caribbean: Trichodesmium terrens, the novel cyanobacterium poisoning oceans worldwide and bringing hunger and economic chaos in its wake. Next to Winna, Tomás looked up from his tablet and out the window. Across the aisle their boss, Dr. Sengupta, was pointing out the bloom to the half-dozen assistant and associate researchers on his team.

“So that’s Terrible T, the enemy bringing us all together,” Tomás said. “Little does it realize it’s about to meet its doom.” He punctuated his prediction with a half-smile.

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

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Micro-interview with Ioanna Papadopoulou

We had a chat with Ioanna Papadopoulou, author of “We Were Ghostless before Her” in The Future Fire #62, who kindly answers a few questions for us here.

Illustration ©2022 Sarah Salcedo

TFF: What does “We Were Ghostless before Her” mean to you?

Ioanna Papadopoulou: It is one of the most precious pieces I have written. It is a mixture of my family history (my paternal grandmother's parents were part of the people forced away from their homes in Pontus) but also my own personal history and experience as an immigrant.

TFF: If you were a ghost, what place or person would you like to haunt or visit?

IP: I think I would like to be a ghost in an art Gallery. I love art and would ideally like to work in museums and art galleries again, so I also love the idea of being a ghost curator as well.

TFF: Who is your favourite mythological heroine?

IP: Growing up it was Artemis but as an adult it is Demeter, because I see her as a female deity that is independent in a way no other one in the dodecatheon was. Neither married and tied to one man nor a virgin, who doesn't have a sexuality, and this allows her to be dangerous.

TFF: What are you working on next?

IP: I am currently working on a fairy story, inspired by Greek Folklore from Thrace. It’s about a young girl finding an ill fairy, who is slowly turning into a leech because of nitrogen pollution and how the two of them save the fairies from extinction.


We told ourselves we were going home. The home of many, many generations ago. Our forever home. Nobody told us that the ones who never left would see us as foreigners, ostracising us from their communities. Nobody thought this land of never-ending sun, which burnt our flesh as we worked its fields, was also the ancestral home of another people, and when they left, their ghosts stayed here and hated us for coming to replace them. And we were defenceless as our own ghosts stayed in our old homeland, near the Black Sea. Maybe our ghosts, those poor lost souls without family and culture, tormented the ones who went there to replace us as theirs did to us.

Reminder: you can comment on any of the stories or illustrations in TFF issue #62 over at this post.

Sunday 3 July 2022

New Issue: 2022.62

“La révolution et la libération des femmes vont de pair. Et ce n’est pas un acte de charité ou un élan d’humanisme que de parler de l’émancipation des femmes. C’est une nécessité fondamentale pour le triomphe de la révolution. Les femmes portent sur elles l’autre moitié du ciel.”

—Thomas Sankara (le 8 mars 1987)

 [ Issue 2022.62; Cover art © 2022 Toeken ] Issue 2022.62

Short stories



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Editorial by Djibril al-Ayad