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

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