Saturday, August 8, 2015

Causes Worth Fighting For: The Future Fire Fundraiser @thefuturefire @BleedingChrome
 So we have some bonus guests this month. We've learned a lot about The Future Fire in the past, as Kathryn Allan, co-editor of The Future Fire, has graced us with her presence last year with the awesome anthology "Accessing The Future", which highlights Science Fiction that's not only feminist, but inclusive.

LGBTQIAP, Disability and Intersectionality need to be in the conversation of SF, and The Future Fire exhausts it's efforts to make sure that happens.

So as they're nearing their 10 Year anniversary of The Future Fire, we thought it'd be cool and help get the word out about their IndieGoGo Fundraiser, to help make sure they can go another 10 years strong!

Kathryn Allan joins us again, to talk about why The Future Fire is so important to the state of Science Fiction right now, and what we can all do to help!

Q: How did you first get involved with The Future Fire? What is the first story you can remember buying for the zine, and what did you love about it?

Kathryn Allan: I met Djibril during a #feministSF chat about cyberpunk on Twitter. He seemed to like what I like, and his avatar is a cat’s eye—it was an excellent first impression. Eventually, after several such exchanges, Djibril invited me to read some TFF slush, and by the next year I was on-board with TFF as a Reader and Associate Editor.

While it wasn’t the first story that I gave the thumbs up to, the first story that springs to mind as one that I love is Jack Hollis Marr’s “Always Left Behind.” Djibril and I had just started talking about the possibility of co-editing a disability-themed SF anthology together (what became Accessing the Future) when he sent me Marr’s story to read with a note of something along the lines, “this is the disability story you are looking for.” And he was right! “Always Left Behind” has a nuanced, three-dimensional characterization of a disabled protagonist, who is one of the “imperfect” people left behind on Earth as the rest of humanity goes to the stars. It’s beautiful and gritty and feels quite real.

Q: Why do you think it is a good idea to have a printed anthology for an electronic publication?

KA: I quite love this question because it addresses the transitional moment we are living in when it comes to the actual medium of the media we enjoy. Paper or digital? Each medium has its own positives and negatives, but I think that there remains something special about a printed anthology. Personally, I’m unlikely to spend time revisiting a digital document; I still prefer the tangible nature of a paper book (to flip through, to have as a visible, physical piece in my library). When it comes to something like an anniversary issue of an online zine, I feel like you are giving the stories another time and space to be enjoyed in. I’m definitely #teampaper for the TFF anthology.

Q: How do you assess a story and decide whether to publish it or not?

KA: On the first read through, I’m simply reading for pleasure: does the story entertain me or capture my attention in some way? I can overlook some writing issues if the narrative is well-structured and engaging. I also consider they types of representations going on in the story—is the author (un)intentionally being racist, ableist, homophobic, or harmful to marginalized peoples and situations in some way? I like stories that provoke, but I am turned off by ones that demean or are pointlessly gross and violent. Finally, I consider the style of the prose itself. I appreciate a wide-variety of writing styles, but I do look for consistency and some sort play with language.

Q: What sort of stories would you like to see more of in TFF in the future? (Or, what do you want to see less of?)

KA: I like the current mix of stories we have in TFF, so I’d be happy to receive more of the same type of politically engaged and challenging narratives. But, and I feel this way about SF in general, I would love to see more exploration of utopias. While I totally understand why we are producing so many dystopic visions of the future, I find myself curious about new imaginings of the best possible futures. I love many of the early feminist SF utopias from the 1960s and 1970s, but they do feel dated now. Give me more queer love stories, new familial arrangements, diverse language communities, radical medical practices based on the respect of all bodies… I want all that pie-in-the-sky (but totally realizable) imagination. We’ve a pretty good idea of what a crappy future looks like. What about an awesome one?

Q: Tell us a bit about your own work. What’s the next big thing for you?

KA: Now that Accessing the Future is in the wild, I finally have time to start writing the book I’ve been planning for the past couple of years that will further bring together disability studies theory and science fiction. Part of that book will be informed by my Le Guin Feminist SF fellowship archival research—the next few months will have me diving into the correspondence of Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree, Jr., as one of the chapters I’m writing deals with the feminist SF of the 1970s and its contribution to transforming our understanding of the “normal” body. This book is going to be the biggest challenge I’ve set for myself, so I’m alternating between excitement and terror. (basically, the usual feelings when it comes to writing something that feels important).

Q: Tell us more about the TFF tenth anniversary anthology and fundraiser?

KA: As one of the rookies on the TFF team I’m really honoured to be part of this milestone. We’ve a lot of special stuff planned for this anniversary anthology—The Future Fire 10 (TFFX). There will be so many great stories and illustrations (both reprints and newly commissioned material) that are the trademark of TFF. We’re running a crowdfunding project at to raise fair pay rates for our contributors, and our stretch goals include increased pay for “Fae Visions of the Mediterranean” horror anthology, and increased pay for TFF magazine for 12 months.

You can pre-order the anthology, or pick up e-book or paperback copies of our previous and forthcoming books, and, while you’re at it, pick up some other great perks like story critiques, customised art, personalised knitted zombie dolls! I hope that all of this will help us reach a new audience who might even be new to the SF zine scene. The fundraiser will run throughout August, so please help us spread the word.

 Isn't Kathryn awesome? You know how we could all help out? By sharing this post, even if you cant afford to donate, sharing it to those who can, and making sure it's known all, will help get it the visibility it deserves!

To make things sweet, if you share the contest link on social media, it's worth 5 entries as opposed to one!

You read that right! All it takes is a share to gain more entries in our month long giveaway!


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