Monday 27 May 2024

Micro-interview with Mahaila Smith

And this week we’re joined by Mahaila Smith, author of the poem “Manipulating the Light” in The Future Fire #69, to talk about solarpunk, climate crisis and future work.

Art © 2024, Fluffgar

TFF: What does “Manipulating the Light” mean to you?

Mahaila Smith: I wrote “Manipulating the Light” after reading The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. This book made me think about the specific impacts of the climate crisis in India and the technology being adopted in response. I find it important to read and write solarpunk in settings where the climate crisis is experienced most severely. The poem centres around a sapphic relationship which, as a queer person, was significant for me to include.

TFF: What are you working on next?

MS: My novelette in verse, Seed Beetle is forthcoming with Stelliform Press in 2025. This story explores themes of eco-dystopia, feminism, social organizing and the relationship between marine life and outer space. It is set in a Southern Ontario community that has experienced widespread desertification and loss of land to industrialization. The community looks to a robotics corporation to heal the land through its megafaunal automated beetles, however community members are harmed by exploitative labour practices and non-consensual brain implants.


The open skylights lance
drops of sunlight that slip
through prisms and bounce
off mirrors, leaving a spill
of colour and light
at the altar of the temple.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the writing or art in this issue at

Monday 13 May 2024

Micro-interview with Katharine A. Viola

Katharine A. Viola, artist of “Sunrise over Neo-Tokyo” in TFF #69, joins us for today’s micro-interview on her work in this issue and other art.

TFF: How did you go about illustrating “Sunrise over Neo-Tokyo”?

Katharine A. Viola: The author made great use of imagery when describing the city’s relationship with nature. I really enjoyed how the two concepts meshed together and the picture I painted represents the image I had in my head while reading the story.

TFF: If you were able to draw a map of a real or imaginary place, what would that be?

KAV: Map of the universe!

TFF: What would be the most important thing for you to hold onto if civilization started to break down in your city?

KAV: Morals and integrity, though I would imagine it would be difficult as very little is ever black and white.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the writing or art in this issue at

Friday 10 May 2024

Micro-interview with L.E. Badillo

Please welcome L.E. Badillo, artist of “Space Gardens” in The Future Fire #69 (and cover artist) for today’s brief chat about illustrating and artistic medium.


TFF: How did you go about illustrating “Space Gardens”?

L.E. Badillo: L. J. Lacey wrote a great story that was easy to work from. The feeling of loneliness and a repressed need to fill that place in one’s life played a huge part in my approach. A feeling of desolation, duty, and the perseverance of age.

TFF: What's the most unusual or challenging medium you can imagine working with?

LEB: I’d love to fully commit to working in oils. That’s an area I’ve never been able to put real time in. I find the amazing works of Bram and Patrick J. Jones equally intimidating and inspiring.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the writing or art in this issue at

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Micro-interview with Lae Astra

We welcome Lae Astra, author of the poem “Sunrise over Neo-Tokyo” in The Future Fire #69, to join us for a brief chat about their work and the future.

Art © 2024 Katharine A. Viola
TFF: What does “Sunrise over Neo-Tokyo” mean to you?

Lae Astra: Being able to imagine a better future is such a necessary and beautiful thing. I wanted to tell the story of one possible future that bloomed vividly in my mind while writing, one where we coexist peacefully with the fellow beings who share our planet.

TFF: What are you working on next?

LA: I am currently on a break from writing, but I hope to dream up more stories and pieces of art that connect to hopeful futures.


At the observation deck of Skytree 22,
we sit waiting for hatsuhinode,
the first sunrise of the new year.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the writing or art in this issue at

Monday 6 May 2024

Micro-interview with Katie Kopajtic

We’re delighted to welcome Katie Kopajtic, author of “Terranueva” in The Future Fire #69, over for a quick chat.

Art © 2024 Melkorka
TFF: What does “Terranueva” mean to you?

Katie Kopajtic: “Terranueva” is how I honor my experience marrying into a Puerto Rican family. My wife's hometown of Dorado has earned a reputation for an increasing number of wealthy continental American residents, as the government continues to spend on development to encourage further gentrification.

It is also a love letter to cross-generational relationships in a family, and to the jibara lifestyle as a means of resistance against colonization. Jibaro is simply the term used to describe a laborer of Puerto Rico's mountainous regions, but it can also be wielded as an insult, synonymous with country bumpkin, hick, or someone who is uneducated. But a new generation of Puerto Ricans have reclaimed jibaro as a culture to be honored, and worth preserving, especially as resort development continues to threaten the island's natural landscapes and working class.

TFF: What is the oldest memory you have?

KK: My oldest memory is of being a toddler and watching my immigrant grandfather Mirko play the accordion while my grandmother sings Croatian ballads. Mirko was a proud Yugoslavian, and a jibaro in his own way. His ‘old world’ ways and nostalgia for the village had an impact on my father and his siblings, and it continues to inspire me.

TFF: What are you working on next?

KK: My next project is completing my feature length documentary Heritage Fantasy, which tells the story of a struggling actress's journey to connect with her Croatian heritage and overcome her self-doubt: Believing that making a film about her roots will help with her brand and overall marketability, she travels to Croatia and interviews three generations of her family, uncovering themes of escapism, longing, and the artist's struggle. But when her film fails to solve her problems, she must confront her own expectations of what success means.


Even with a healthy brain, Marisol would not have recognized her old neighborhood. Turf grass yawned from the wrought iron gate to the ocean, crisscrossed with glittering quartz pathways that led to identical cream condos. She stared at The Ritz Bungalow #4 (‘Pearl’), supposing that the concrete walls, at least, hadn’t changed.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the writing or art in this issue at

Friday 3 May 2024

Micro-interview with L.J. Lacey

L.J. Lacey, author of “Space Gardens” in The Future Fire #69, joins us for today’s micro-interview.

Art © 2024, L.E. Badillo
TFF: What does “Space Gardens” mean to you?

L.J. Lacey: “Space Gardens” reflects two concepts that are critical to me as a writer and thinker. First, we must embrace knowledges from throughout the world, and prioritize life over profits in the ways we implement those knowledges. Second, we need more and many representations of older people, especially women and nonbinary folks, who can inspire us to see a worthwhile future, both for ourselves and for our planet.

TFF: What are you working on next?

LJL: I am in the midst of two longer projects. My eco-fantasy novel is in the final stages of revision, and my newest project is a solarpunk novella.


Rita swept the small porch for a third or fourth time, glancing up to scan the rocky landscape for Ana’s ambling form. It had been an unsettling day and Ana’s absence only added to Rita’s feeling that things were off. Seeing nothing but the setting sun spreading a glow across the mountainside, Rita sighed and made the “ssspppss” sound that let the cats know dinner was ready. She kept the broom handy in case Vali was lurking about and gave a stern look to the small pack of dogs lazing in front of the house. A few rumbles of annoyance emerged from the dogs at the feline swarm taking over the side of the house, but they had already been fed and were content to stay put.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the writing or art in this issue at

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Micro-interview with Ellis Bray

Ellis Bray, artist of “Sun-Dappled Sheets of Methane Rain” in The Future Fire #69, joins us for today’s micro-interview celebrating the release of the hopeful SF issue.

TFF: How did you go about illustrating “Sun-Dappled Sheets of Methane Rain”?

Ellis Bray: I actually created a couple of pieces for this one. The first one was a view of Saturn through a rain-streaked visor but I felt like it didn’t get the full feel of the story, which had a sense of longing to me. So I found a reference photo of someone staring off into the distance in a field, and used a combination of Procreate and NASA’s free images to build up the painting, using the reference to add our main character to the scene.

TFF: What famous work of art would you like to hang over your bed?

EB: It’s probably cliche, but I’m in love with Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

TFF: What's the most unusual or challenging medium you can imagine working with?

EB: Marble. Bernini’s ability to create flesh from hard rock is witchcraft, I’m pretty sure.

TFF: Can you tell us about an artist whose work you're particularly enjoying at the moment?

EB: I really love watching the adventures of Lisa Snellings’ poppets, which are handmade ceramic tiny dolls that she then professionally photographs in unusual situations. It’s so creative, and the poppets are eerie and gorgeous.

TFF: What else are you working on now?

EB: I’m in the early stages of a tattoo career, so I’m finishing up the last parts of the training before I can start taking clients. It’s a huge leap in mediums but everything else (color theory, composition, style) is roughly the same, which helps a lot.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the writing or art in this issue at