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Freedom Lies in Being Bold Wendy Nikel

Here in the United States and among our northern neighbors of Canada, many are gearing up once again for their annual celebration of freedom. Barbeque grills are being filled with charcoal, apple pies are browning in ovens, and communities are planning parades and firework displays, all accompanied by the fervent fluttering of flags.

It’s only fitting, then, that our stories this month involve characters fighting for their freedom. Not freedom from a tyrannical government or freedom from physical incarceration, but the kinds of personal freedom that we all too often take for granted. The bold sisters-in-arms you’ll find in these stories strive to embrace their power and fight back against that which would snatch their freedom away – whether it’s a controlling relationship, societal expectations, or their own potentially deadly magic.

In “Gathering” by Jonathan Duckworth, our bold protagonist has a peculiar power in her artwork, and this dreamy, surreal story will have you simultaneously cheering on her and hoping that someone stops her before it’s too late.

Sunyi Dean’s “—Good,” explores the dynamics of freedom, consent, and duty within a marital relationship in a heart-crushing near-future sci-fi story.

In “Untimely Frost, Unlikely Bloom,” author Hayley Stone gives us a dark fairy tale about a woman whose freedom is snatched away by a mother’s well-intentioned wish, and whose own freedom brings about the suffering of others.

And finally, our reprint this month is “If We Live to Be Giants” by Allison Mulder. In this lovely fantasy tale, which originally appeared at Fireside Fiction, a pair of sisters strive for the courage and freedom to be themselves, despite their grandfather’s prejudices.

Before you dive into that patriotic fruit salad or light up your box of sparklers, we hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy with us these four delightful and thought-provoking tales. Let freedom ring!

© 2021 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 Analog, 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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