My dad’s not so sure that building flamethrowers and rockets in the driveway is such a good idea.

14 June 2018

Our kickstarter was featured on the Barnes & Noble Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog, at the bottom of a post on 13 Queer Speculative Short Story Collections and Anthologies to Read Right Now!

Broad Knowledge has two very different stories of kidnapping: Therese Pieczynski’s “Three Days, Two Nights,” in which adolescent deaf girls are taken for ransom, and Rebecca Jones-Howe’s “Election Season,” in which a woman hiking is kidnapped by a fellow hiker and Trump fan who doesn’t like her politics.

While the plots, and the motivations and behavior of the kidnappers, are very different between the stories, both stories illustrate how a little ingenuity can save us.

Rebecca Jones-Howe writes:

“Election Season” is about none other than the US Presidential election of 2016. I wrote the story during the heat of the polarizing debates and added in the final details before election night on November 8th, when everyone was still convinced that Hillary would win.

The story is a bleak one. It’s a trope kidnapping story, a Lifetime Original where I curated all my frustration with the American political system. I hoped the ending would hold up, regardless of the election results. Then the worst-case scenario game show host won and I wasn’t so sure what my tale really meant to me, or to others.

Honestly, I don’t know what the future holds at this point. I’m a Canadian and I’m scared of the political climate (because we’ve got our own corrupt stuff happening up here, too). Talking about it all makes me uncomfortable because I have family, friends, co-workers who don’t think like I do. I have to respect that, at the very least. It’s easy to want to yell and scream and throw the middle finger to the people we disagree with.

Politics is a drastically polarizing landscape. Since 2016 I have found myself stepping away from heated discussions (especially online). It’s too draining, too exhausting. I find solace in the stories I write. I find it more constructive, and overall, easier to digest.

In Jones-Howe’s story, the kidnapper takes advantage of the protagonist’s politeness to put her in a vulnerable position (“I didn’t like him touching me, but I ignored the unease because I didn’t want to be rude.”) and she must figure out a way to escape. This is a dark, upsetting, necessary story paralleling the 2016 presidential election with kidnapping and rape.

In Therese Pieczynski’s lighter and more hopeful story, the girls (deaf, and adolescent, and, well, girls) are presumed to be completely helpless by their captors (“‘He thinks that because we’re deaf that we’re not smart,’ she signs.”), but tap into their knowledge of chemistry to change the odds against them:

Muriel and I are very smart. We’re also brave. You’d be surprised how many kids are afraid of the flame thrower my mom helped Muriel and me build. My mom’s an engineer and a science buff. She says that the thing about science is that you can’t just read about it. You have to do stuff. That’s how you understand it. You can read about a fire tornado, or a bomb, or a rocket, but until you make one yourself it’s hard to understand how one works. That’s why she helps us build stuff.

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About the Authors

Rebecca Jones-Howe is the author of the short story collection Vile Men. Her work has been published in [PANK], Punchnel’s, and Pulp Modern, among others. She lives in Kamloops, British Columbia and is currently at work on her first novel. She can be found online at

Therese Pieczynski has published in Asimov’s, Daily Science Fiction, River City, the anthology Imagination Fully Dilated, and in 2012 with Nancy Kress in New Under The Sun as part of the Stellar Guild series brought out by Arc Manor.

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