Your cart is empty. Go to Shop

Editorial: Monsters of Our Own Making Wendy Nikel

What does it take to make a monster?

The world is full of terrors: creatures that stalk and pounce and tear to pieces; perpetrators that prey on the weak and vulnerable; and all those other strange and unsettling things that lurk on the edge of our vision or whisper into our ears. Look back into history, and you’ll find man-eating beasts and ruthless killers and cruel tyrants around the world. And fiction has its own versions of these in its Draculas, dragons, Godzillas, and giant squids. They frighten us because of their seemingly randomness — the impression that anyone could fall victim.

But there’s another set of monsters as well: the ones that don’t choose their victims based on chance or opportunity, but whose victims are, in fact, the very ones responsible for their existence. These are the Frankensteins or the creatures of Doctor Moreau, killer robots or the superintelligent sharks of Deep Blue Sea. These are the monsters that are created through carelessness, through cruelty, and through the hubris of humanity. These are the monsters that never asked to be brought into this world or put into these situations and who, oftentimes, are just trying to survive the best they know how, even if it means destroying the ones who made them. 

It’s this second type of monster we’re featuring in this month’s issue. Race against the clock and an experiment-gone-wrong in Andrew Kozma’s “The Ecology of the Engineered Oyster” (May 7). Become something new and powerful in Saswati Chatterjee’s “I Wrote to My Queen” (May 14). Balance the needs of the dead and living in Peter S. Drang’s “My Lakeside Graveyard” (May 21). And survive long enough to destroy it all in Steven Fischer’s “A List of Forty-Nine Lies” (May 28).

And ask yourself, as you read these tales: Who’s really the monster here, anyway?


  • We have brand-new Patreon tiers with new benefits, including an exclusive Facebook group, monthly “ask me anything” chat sessions with our editorial staff, and exclusive editorial notes for each of our original stories. Sign up for our LIGHTNING or SUPERNOVA level before May 30 and receive a personalized postcard from our editor-in-chief!
  • We’re cheering on our alumni authors who have made the finalist lists for the 2021 Hugo Awards! Check out the list HERE!
  • Love the stories we publish? Help us boost our Amazon presence by leaving a review! Check out all our 2021 issues HERE.

© 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support Flash Fiction Online

Flash Fiction Online is a free online magazine that pays professional rates. So how do we make that happen? It’s due to the generosity of readers like you.

Here are some ways you can help:

Become a Patron.

Sign up to become a monthly donor and gain access to exclusive Patron rewards like manuscript critiques, insider submission statistics, the Editors’ Wishlist, free downloads of our current issue, and Ask Me Anything chats with the FFO staff. Read more…

Subscribe to FFO.

Never miss an issue! E-reader formats delivered to your inbox. Available from

Buy our issues & anthologies.

Each of our issues and anthologies are available in convenient e-reader formats (epub/pdf). Available from the Flash Fiction Online Store and WeightlessBooks.


Consider a one-time gift that fits your budget.

Spread the word.

Love one of our stories or articles? Share it with a friend!

%d bloggers like this: