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Editorial: Facing Mortality Wendy Nikel

There are times in all our lives when we have to face our own mortality. Our bodies are fragile. They age and decline. They grow weary and brittle and weak. They succumb to illness and death. And at the end, they turn to dust. Death is a fact of life on this earth and a lesson that may be felt particularly sharply in recent times.

There are many stories about death. Here at Flash Fiction Online, we see them in our submission pile, as well as in other books and magazines that we read. It’s human nature to mourn the ones we lose and, in those times, to reflect on our own lives and question what will happen at the end. But what, then, makes one story on the topic stand out from all the others? For us at Flash Fiction Online, it’s all about emotional resonance–the ability of a story to evoke an emotional reaction that stays with us long after we read the final words.

Our flash fiction stories this month touch on that fragile time just before (and just after) life slips away. They take a look at both sides of that shadowy veil and the companions who sit with us as we prepare for the journey through. They challenge us to explore our own thoughts and beliefs on the end of life and to reach out with compassion to others when their time is near.

Join in on the grateful commemoration of a life well-lived in Andy Oldfield’s “The Dog Who Buried the Sea” (Nov 5). Sit with an old man and his protege as he passes on important life lessons in Kyle Richardson’s “The Days on Europa Were Long” (Nov 12). Walk with a composer as he faces down his last great fear in “A Time There Was” by Hastings Kidd (Nov 19). And finally, heal from your own griefs alongside the protagonist of Deborah Davitt’s story as she contemplates “A Mother’s Love” (Nov 26).

Within these four short-short stories, you’ll find that grief and sorrow over life’s end takes many forms. And stories–like our lives, our grief, and our sorrows–are worthy of being shared.


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Here at FFO, we’ve been putting together an amazing retrospective celebration and subscription drive leading up to our 100th issue, which will allow us to continue publishing dynamic flash fiction in 2022 and beyond.

To help us meet our funding goals, on September 24, we’ll be launching our 2022 Super Subscription. For the one-time cost of $100, 2022 Super Subscribers will receive perks both during our 100-day countdown…

  • Over two dozen interviews with previous FFO authors, sent directly to your email
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  • Your choice of a FREE ebook donated by one of our authors (selections include ebooks from Marie Brennan, Floris M. Kleijne, Frances Pauli, and others!)
  • A chance to win a $100 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card
  • An opportunity to vote in the preliminary round of the very first-ever FFO Reader Awards

… and throughout the 2022 calendar year…

  • 12 monthly issues of Flash Fiction Online (Jan 2022 – Dec 2022)
  • Newsletters with exclusive interviews, essays, and bonus content from our newly published 2022 authors
  • Access to our monthly Discord chats, Editorial Roundtables, and other special events until Dec 2022
© Wendy Nikel

Meet the Author

Wendy Nikel

Wendy Nikel

Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she’s left her cup of tea. She’s had many of her own stories published in places such as LAnalog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Cricket, and Nature. Her time travel novella series, beginning with The Continuum, is available from World Weaver Press.

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