Editorial: What Counts as Consent?

Without consent, taking someone’s jewellery is theft. With consent, it’s an inheritance or a gift. Without consent, entering someone’s home is trespassing. With consent, it’s social congeniality. Without consent, performing surgery is physical abuse. With it, it’s gladly received. 

It seems to me that consent and power dynamics go hand in hand. Each of our stories this month explores the impact of power on what counts as consent. 

Our first story, Fae Magic on a Friday Night by Sheila Massie, is a confronting tale about consent. It’s an intimate portrait of an ordinary night out on the town in New York, where Fae magic is available for the taking. (TW: assault)

In a change of pace and style, our second story, Grin Minus Cat by Rich Larson, is Noir flash at its best. Cynical, fatalistic and morally ambiguous, set in a gengineered future, where murder and love are on the menu. 

Our third offering, Gently Creaking Boards by Kat Day, circles back to issues of consent. This tale is both a mash-up of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and a “what happened to the house?” story with a dash of SF added to spice up what happens when consent is disregarded. 

Finally, our reprint this month, We Are Not Phoenixes by John Wiswell, is a phoenix story that is all heart. This retold folktale explores the cost of being true to oneself, and it will linger long after you finish reading.