posted by Niall Harrison on 17 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

Time for another fund drive update, and as the subject line above states, we've just reached $2,400. This is the highest total at this stage of the fund drive since I took over the magazine, and by a healthy margin -- our previous-quickest fund drive was $1,582 at this stage in 2012. So it's going brilliantly, and thank you to everyone who's donated so far; it's so much less stressful when we get off to a good start.

But there's still a long way to go. For the last few years we've made our stretch goals as well as our primary goals, which always means that last year's stretch is this year's primary. So we're aiming for $13,500, and that's our highest-ever target, and it means we still have $11,000 to raise from here. If you haven't yet donated, in other words, now would be a good time.

What do you get for your donation? You get another year of Strange Horizons, for starters, ad-free and open to all: thirty-six weeks of original fiction (all with podcasts, twelve of them with original art), five curated reprint stories, fifty poems, one hundred and fifty reviews, twelve articles and interviews, and thirty regular columns. You get entry into our donors prize draw, which already includes books by Adam Roberts, Sarah Tolmie, Lavie Tidhar and Elizabeth Bear that you need to read. And you get to help unlock the content in our special fund drive issue -- next up is a poem by Arkady Martine, and then later in the drive we'll be publishing stories by Alex Dally MacFarlane and Ann Leckie, an interview with Iain Banks, more reviews, and more poetry.

Everyone here at SH is a volunteer, so all of your donations go to our contributors or to the running of the magazine. Your $30 donation covers a review or poem, $40 covers a column, $50 covers an article, and $300 (ish) covers a story. And we like getting better each year, so we've set another stretch goal, at $15,000. If we hit that, we'll be bringing you more fiction -- longer stories, throughout the year. We'd really like to be able to do that.

So, it's been a good start, but we're not there yet. Help us keep up the momentum?


posted by Niall Harrison on 14 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

We've reached the first milestone in this year's fund drive issue, so here's our first bonus content! Adam Roberts reviews Jeff VanderMeer's recent trilogy, Southern Reach:

Trying to think what one word best describes Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy. I could go with "masterpiece," since it is so clearly a major achievement in SF/Fantasy/Weird writing—since it accomplishes so many of the things it sets out to do, since it is so beautifully imagined and written, since it will clearly scoop all the awards next year and remain a touchstone text in the genre for a long time. But that's an evaluative word, and I'm interested (for reasons that will become more apparent) in the descriptive space outside evaluation.

Read on here. If you haven't yet, consider donating here! Next up, at $3,000, will be Arkady Martine's poem, "Cloud Wall".


posted by Niall Harrison on 14 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

Twelve hours into this year's fund drive, and we've raised our first $1,000 - thanks to everyone who's donated so far! Our first bonus content this year will be at $1,500, and will be Adam Roberts' review of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy. Here's a teaser:

The trilogy is science fiction on the haunted, fantastic side of the genre; often brilliantly spooky and uncanny. And VanderMeer has, I suppose, a reputation as Purveyor of High Quality Weird to the Refined Reader. But I remain unconvinced as to the coherency of "weird" as an aesthetic descriptor; and certainly weird-for-the-sake-of-weird (a coinage along the lines of l'art pour l'art—l'étrange pour l'étrange, I suppose) is really not what Southern Reach is about. One of the things that makes these novels so readable is the air of absorbing mystery that VanderMeer flawless evokes; but what makes them so satisfying as a whole is that they are not content simply to evoke that mystery, to make the tiny hairs at the back of the reader's neck stand up. They are not just mood pieces. Indeed, after I had finished I found myself wondering if what these books are doing is reconfiguring pastoral for a new century. So that's the one word I'm going with. Southern Reach are strange pastoral.

To read the whole thing, donate!

2014 Fund Drive underway!

posted by Niall Harrison on 13 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

This week's issue (as well as having the conclusion of Alyssa Wong's story, a poem by Penny Stirling, Renay's latest column, and reviews) sees the launch of this year's fund drive!

We're hoping to raise $13,500 this year, with a stretch goal of $15,000 to increase the fiction budget, if things go well. As usual, everyone who donates will be entered into our prize draw (new prizes added each week!), and we'll be publishing bonus content as we raise money (Poetry! Reviews! Iain Banks interview! Stories by Alex Dally MacFarlane and Ann Leckie!).

If you can donate this year, then thank you! Every donation is appreciated. If you can't, but want to support the fund drive, please tweet or tumblr or blog about us -- spreading the word is a huge help. Thanks!

Stranger Horizons, September 2014

posted by Niall Harrison on 30 September 2014 | Comments (0) »

Crowdfunding first, this time: Sabrina Vourvoulias directs our attention to the Latino/a Rising Kickstarter, which is aiming to fund the first collection of US Latino/a science fiction, fantasy and other speculative fiction. It will be edited by Matthew David Goodwin, and feature stories from (among others) Sabrina, Carmen Maria Machado, and Daniel José Older. Read more about the project here in English, and here in Spanish.

New stories: Carmen Maria Machado has published a choose-your-own-adventure story at Yalobusha Review: "Ekphrasis." The new Hieroglyph anthology edited by Kathryn Cramer and Ed Finn includes Vandana Singh's novella "Entanglement", about which you can read a little here, and Brenda Cooper's "Elephant Angels", which you can read about here. GigaNotoSaurus featured Laura E. Price's "The Curator's Job". Daniel José Older's "Animal" appeared in Nightmare (also in that issue: Sunny Moraine's "Singing With All My Skin and Bone"). Two new stories by Seth Dickinson: "Economies of Force" in Apex, and "Anna Saves Them All" in Shimmer. Liz Argall's "Soft Feather Dance" appeared at Apex, while AC Wise's "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" is also in Shimmer. Rich Larson's "Dreaming Drones" appears in AE. Sarah Pinsker's "No Lonely Seafarer" appeared in the September Lightspeed, while Beneath Ceaseless Skies included Stephen Ramey's novelette "Seeing". Neil Clarke's new anthology Upgraded includes work by Elizabeth Bear, Tobias S. Buckell, Rich Larson, Mari Ness, Genevieve Valentine and others, while new Haikasoru anthology Phantasm Japan includes among its non-Japanese contributors Tim Pratt and Alex Dally MacFarlane. Margaret L. Carter's erotic paranormal romance novelette "Romantic Retreat", in which a married couple facing the husband's retirement from a Navy career stumble on a supernatural solution to their disagreements about their future, is out as an ebook from Ellora's Cave. Francesca Forrest's "Andy Phillips and the Jones Sisters" appears in Not One of Us #52, along with work by Sonya Taaffe, Liz Bourke, Finn Clarke, and Adrienne J. Odasso. And three flashes to finish: Michelle Ann King's fantasy, "Waiting to Burn"; Cat Rambo's flash fairytale, "The Mouse and the Moon", in Daily Science Fiction; and Natalia Theodoridou's sacrilegious flash piece, We Call Her Mama", in the third issue of Flapperhouse.

What about new books? Adam Roberts' new novel Bête is out from Gollancz in the UK ("'Moo', said the cow, arching one hairless eyebrow.") Octavia Cade's novella The Don't Girls is out from Masque (and if you haven't read Trading Rosemary yet, do). Tina Connolly's Copperhead is out in paperback (ahead of Silverblind in October). William Alexander's new middle-grade SF novel Ambassador is just out. Adrienne J. Odasso's second poetry collection, The Dishonesty of Dreams, is out from Flipped Eye Publishing. The second volume in Stefon Mear's "Telepath Trilogy", Immoral Telepathy is out from Thousand Faces Publishing. Joel Best has released The Dogs Are Gone, a collection of flash pieces, through Smashwords. Aliya Whiteley's post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novella "The Beauty" is out from Unsung Stories. And Jenn Grunigen's post-apocalyptic novel Skyglass is being serialised at Sparkler Monthly -- start here, or read the latest chapter here.

On the poetry front: The inaugural issue of new 'zine Liminality, edited by SH alums Shira Lipkin and Mat Joiner, includes JC Runolfson's "Sea Widow", Sofia Samatar's "Make the Night Go Faster", Adrienne J. Odasso's "The Word for Love", and work by others including Lynette Mejía, Gemma Files, Lisa M. Bradley and Erik Amundsen. Meanwhile Mat has one of his own poems, "The Bryomancer", in the aforementioned Not One of Us #52. Virginia Mohlere's found poem "Tilda Swinton Has a Life" is the latest entry in Sliver Birch Press' Celebrity Free Verse poetry series. Peg Duthie is featured poet at The Houseboat, with ten poems and an interview. David C. Kopaska-Merkel's poem "Curiosity Reports a Comet" appears in The Martian Wave: 2014, edited by J Alan Erwine, while Jenny Blackford has two poems in A Slow Combusting Hymn, a collection of work about Newcastle (the Australian one) and the Hunter Region, edited by Kit Kelen and Jean Kent. Jessy Randall's "A Different Kind of Stupid" appears in the October-November Asimov's. The latest Ideomancer features "The Glass Men" by Alexandra Seidel. And Elizabeth Barrette's September poetry fishbowl theme was "healing and growth."

Nonfiction! The September NYRSF includes Ursula Pflug's "Around the Gyre", an essay on Ruth Ozeki's novel A Tale for the Time Being. Lawrence Schimel translated "Exilium Ergo Sum", an essay by dissident Cuban author Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo (whose Abandoned Havana is forthcoming from Restless Books), for Words Without Borders. L. Timmel Duchamp has put a new essay online: "Real Mothers, a Faggot Uncle, and the Name of the Father: Samuel R. Delany's Feminist Revisions of the Story of SF." Adam Roberts has been busy at Sibilant Fricative, with reviews of Memory of Water, Europe in Autumn, Howard Jacobson's J and more. Nina Allan has some thoughts on J in comparison with David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks. Dan Hartland is blogging his way through this year's Booker Prize contenders. In the latest Clarkesworld, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro interviews Ann Leckie. Meghan McCarron has an essay at The Toast: "Awkwardly Dapper: The Strange Exhilaration of Buying, and Wearing, a Suit." And Abigail Nussbaum has posted an essay on "The Problem of Mike Peterson: thoughts on Agents of SHIELD and Race."

A Brief Hiatus

posted by Niall Harrison on 29 September 2014 | Comments (0) »

Very brief, in fact: this is just to note (and say sorry for the fact) that there is no issue of Strange Horizons this week, 29th September, and to say that we'll be back as usual next Monday. The glitch is due to a combination of factors, but it is a glitch, and we don't anticipate it happening again any time soon. So -- see you next Monday!

A Last-Minute Boost

posted by Niall Harrison on 16 September 2014 | Comments (0) »

Where does the time go? I've been meaning to blog about Accessing the Future all month, and suddenly there are only 13 hours (at the time of writing) left on the crowdfunding clock.

So: this is the next Future Fire anthology, following on from We See a Different Frontier. It will be edited by Future Fire editor Djibril al-Ayad along with Kathryn Allan, who has previously edited Disability in Science Fiction (reviewed here by Aishwarya Subramanian). Together they will:

... call for and publish speculative fiction stories that interrogate issues of disability—along with the intersecting nodes of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, and class—in both the imagined physical and virtual spaces of the future. We want people of all abilities to see themselves, as they are now and as they want to be, in our collective human future.

I trust the editors, and I'm interested to see what stories come out of this project, so I've supported the book. The good news if you're still considering it is that the project is already funded, and now ticking off stretch goals -- as I write, they need just over $250 to hit their next target, internal B&W illustrations.

Some related blog posts, if you're on the fence:

EDIT: And now that the anthology is officially funded, here's the call for stories.

News From Reviews

posted by Niall Harrison on 15 September 2014 | Comments (0) »

As you may have seen in this week's editorial, we're preparing for some changes in the reviews department. Current Reviews Editor Abigail Nussbaum is stepping down at the end of the year, and she's in the process of handing over the reins to a new team. So far that team includes Maureen Kincaid Speller, Aishwarya Subramanian, and Dan Hartland (and we're looking for one more person to join them -- details here).

So it's also a good time to reach out to potential new contributors. We always like to see submissions from new reviewers, but from time to time it's worth putting out a dedicated call. So are you interested in writing reviews for Strange Horizons? Then read on!

You can see our pay rate ($30) and get a sense of the kind of reviews we're looking for by reading our guidelines; you may also want to read some published reviews. The short version is that we're looking for serious engagement with speculative work -- what does the work do? How does it do it? Why does that matter? -- by people who can write engagingly and creatively.

Beyond that, we don't have a house style. Our regular reviewers include readers, writers, academics, fans, and people who wear several of those hats all at once; and we have contributors who've been reviewing for decades, and contributors who've published their first reviews with us. What we want is to hear your voice and your perspective.

As with all our other departments, we're particularly interested in hearing from potential contributors whose perspectives are under-represented within the SF community. As our annual SF Count shows, there's still a lot of work to be done to improve representation in the critical discussion of SF, as well as in SF itself, and we want to help with that. So we'd love to hear from more women, reviewers of colour, queer reviewers, and international reviewers (among others!).

If you're interested, contact us at reviews@strangehorizons.com with the subject line "REVIEWER: [your name]". Tell us:

  • What sorts of material you're interested in reviewing
  • How often you'd be able to review
  • A bit about yourself

Please also include some samples of your writing (or links to samples), and feel free to ask us any questions you might have. We'd love to hear from you.

Dwarf Stars

posted by Niall Harrison on 11 September 2014 | Comments (0) »

The SF Poetry Association has announced this year's winners of its Dwarf Star Awards, and first and second place have been taken by SH poems! The Dwarf Stars are for short speculative poems up to 10 lines long.

So, congratulations to Mat Joiner for first place for "And Deeper Than Did Ever Plummet Sound", and to Mari Ness for second place for "The Loss."

(Also published in the accompanying anthology is another SH poem, "I Am Learning to Forget" by Dominik Parisien, and many other fine works, so check it out.)

(Also of interest: the Elgin Awards for poetry collections and chapbooks, won this year by Bryan Thao Worra and Helen Marshall, respectively.)

Stranger Horizons, August 2014

posted by Niall Harrison on 31 August 2014 | Comments (0) »

A quick apology first: I meant to write a proper report on Loncon 3, honestly I did, and yet somehow it has not happened and seems unlikely to happen any time soon. Thus I direct you to the flickr tag, to Martin Wisse's big Loncon 3 links post, and within that in particular to Julia's writeup of the SH brunch party (thank you to everyone who came! It was lovely to put faces to names, and to meet new faces and names) and Abigail's con report. So far as the Hugo results go, many congratulations to all the winners, in particular to Sofia Samatar for taking home the John W. Campbell Award, Kameron Hurley as Fan Writer, A Dribble of Ink in Best Fanzine, XKCD's "Time" in Best Graphic Story, and Ancillary Justice in Best Novel; and to Lightspeed, the winner in our category of Best Semiprozine. It turns out we ran them close (16 votes, the stats show!), so thanks to everyone who voted for us or ranked us high in their preferences.

And with that out of the way, on to this month's news.

Let's start with new stories: Victor Fernando R. Ocampo's "I m d 1 in 10" appeared in The Future Fire -- an homage to Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae, written partly in SMS-speak and partly in a Filipino-English argot called Jejemon. This year's iteration of "Twelve Tomorrows" -- the now-annual MIT Technology Review SF special -- includes work by Christopher Brown and Pat Cadigan, among others. Issue three of Lackington's features many delights, including Alexandra Seidel's "A Quest for Fire", Sonya Taaffe's "In Winter", Yukimi Ogawa's "Not Her Garden", and Bogi Takács' For Your Ultimate Hookboarding Experience." An Owomoyela's "Undermarket Data" appeared in Lightspeed. Ian Whates' new anthology Solaris Rising 3 includes work by Ken Liu, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Adam Roberts, Benjamin Rosenbaum, and Nina Allan. Octavia Cade has a new story in The Dark: "Tommy Flowers and the Glass Bells of Bletchley." Sara Norja's flash "Wind Chimes" appeared in 365 Tomorrows. Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, features stories by Orrin Grey and A.C. Wise, among others. And a couple of reprints: Jason Erik Lundberg's "Taxi Ride" was reprinted in Starry Island: New Writing from Singapore, the latest issue of Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing; James S. Dorr's "No Place to Hide" has been reprinted in Fantastic Stories Presents: Science Fiction Super Pack #1; and a number of SH contributors have stories in The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies Magazine: Year Five, including Seth Dickinson, E. Catherine Tobler, Alex Dally MacFarlane, and Matthew Bennardo.

Some games writing! Rachael Acks has written six episodes for the fitness game Superhero Workout.

A few new books: Nina Allan's first novel, The Race, was launched at Loncon and is available from Newcon Press. Also having a party at Loncon was Kaleidoscope: An anthology of diverse contemporary YA fantasy, co-edited by SH fiction editor Julia Rios, with Alisa Krasnostein; spoilers for the new stories section, but this includes work by William Alexander, Amal El-Mohtar, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, and others. Benjamin Parzybok's new novel, Sherwood Nation, is out from Small Beer Press: "As drought-stricken Portland, Oregon falls apart, a new city rises from within..." Ursula Pflug's collection Harvesting the Moon is available from PS Publishing, with an introduction by Candas Jane Dorsey. Ben Peek's new fantasy The Godless is out from Tor in the UK and Thomas Dunne in the US. Faith L. Justice's new collection Slow Death and Other Dark Tales is out in ebook, with print edition to follow (details at the link). Jenn Grunigen's SF novel Skyglass is being serialised at Sparker Monthly, with chapter three up now. And, though it's less likely these will have flown under your radar, John Scalzi's latest novel Lock In and Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire are both getting positive reviews.

Poetry: David C. Kopaska-Merkel's "Mom says son should get a haircut and a real job" appeared in Star*line issue 37. Jessy Randall has five Mother Goose poems in this month's matchbook. Deborah P. Kolodji has two poems in Frogpond, the print journal of the Haiku Society of America. Peg Duthie read four Anton Yakovlev poems for Poetry Storehouse. Jenny Blackford's "Its fur so shining-smooth" won third prize in the Australian Catholic University Literature Prize. And the theme of Elizabeth Barrette's Poetry Fishbowl for August was "flexible truths."

And finally, non-fiction: Two new reviews collections feature many pieces that appeared in these pages: John Clute's Stay, from Beccon (which also includes a complete reprint of The Darkening Garden), and Adam Roberts' Sibilant Fricative, out from Newcon press. Vandana Singh posted an essay on Women and the Destruction of Science Fiction. Matthew Cheney wrote about Octavia Butler's 1978 novel Survivor. At the LA Review of Books, Dan Hartland considers Simon Ing's Wolves. And oh, what the hell, here are a few more Loncon (and in some cases Nine Worlds) write-ups from SH contributors: Liz Bourke; Aishwarya Subramanian; Fran Wilde; and JY Yang.

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