Changing the Guard
By Niall Harrison
19 March 2012
A changing of the guard is always bittersweet. What makes a community—and among other things Strange Horizons is, I think, a community—is the people in it, and when people come and go there's always going to be some uncertainty. What happens now? What will things be like now? The feeling is more pronounced when change follows a long, stable period.
Over the last few months, we've said goodbye to fiction editors Karen Meisner and Susan Marie Groppi, both of whom have made an immense and probably incalculable contribution to Strange Horizons over the last decade or so. It's been a privilege to work with them and—crucially—read the stories they edited for the magazine, and I'd be lying if I didn't feel a twinge of uncertainty when they told me their plans. What happens now?
We recruit new fiction editors.
This is not an easy task. Communities are made by ideas as well as people, and there are some pretty important ideas shaping Strange Horizons. A belief in the radical potential of speculative fiction, in its ability to help us understand our past and imagine our future by showing us how things can be otherwise. A belief that, in the twenty-first century, speculative fiction must be a proudly global, inclusive tradition, and that Strange Horizons in particular should showcase work to challenge and delight by new and established writers from diverse backgrounds and with diverse concerns.
Which is why I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that the newest member of the Strange Horizons fiction team is Brit Mandelo. You may have read her critical writing on Joanna Russ and queer sf; you may be aware of her forthcoming Lethe Press anthology, Beyond Binary; you may also have read her fiction or poetry. Either way, you can find out a bit more about her on her website. But in everything she's done, you can see Brit's commitment to the ideas that underlie what we try to do here at Strange Horizons.
So there's a changing of the guard—and we're still planning to recruit more editors; if you're interested, the details can be found here—but there's also continuity. With Brit's input, the stories we publish probably won't be quite the same as the stories we've published in the past. But I have no doubt that they'll be Strange Horizons stories, that they'll continue to expand our field's boundaries and challenge its conventions.
And I can't wait to read them.