2014 recap: April fiction

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

Next up in our 2014 recap: April!

Art © 2014 by Jeff Ward

And what have people said about these ones?


Christina at Fairy Skeletons liked it:

"Snakebit" by Amanda Downum is a haunting, gritty speculative short story, on the long side for quick fiction but very worthwhile all the same. This selection is another one from Strange Horizons - I find that I really dig what they publish. "Snakebit" specifically has a deeply rooted sense of wistfulness and place. Its atmosphere and descriptions are superb, and the hints are gorgeous, just subtle enough to not be confusing but not horribly obvious.

Here's Lois Tilton's discussion:

An ambiguous fantasy. There’s no real evidence of anything supernatural in Lanie or her family; the reference to snakebite would seem to be something like a psychological disorder, or perhaps only metaphorical. Except that Lanie immediately sees that Jonas Crow is a killer, and possibly more. The author hints. Is the man older than he ought to be? What does he feed on? But nothing beyond hints. Readers may wonder; we’re meant to wonder, but not to know. What we don’t see is the conflict inside Lanie. We see her past traumas, her past wildness. We see her present discontent – but not to understand it. This only give credence to the supposition that her curse is something tangible and real, that her problems are more than human ones.

And Alicia Cole had mixed feelings at Tangent:

“Snakebit” by Amanda Downum paints a Texan gothic palette. Lanie, the protagonist, is the survivor of a snake-bit clan: wanderers and murderers, the lot of them. She’s left holding on to her bucolic life – raising horses and children – longing for the ghost of her brother Cody and the truth behind his disappearance. Downum’s writing is beautiful, but her vampiric twist falls flat. I was hoping for a different conflict – southern gothic vampires are a bit too en vogue as of late. The story arc holds the right note – southern speakeasy juxtaposed with the stale safety of the homestead – while the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist doesn’t ring completely true, nor does his part in the denouement. Lanie’s finale is a hard breath of smoke. The prose drips honey and whiskey over an opened wound. Lovers of southern gothic and vampire tales will enjoy this story.

The Final Girl

Alicia Cole really liked this one:

Who is the Final Girl? In the hands of Shira Lipkin, she is the perennial feminist survivor. While the speculative arc looms off camera – a dystopic culture hinting at atrocious violence, potentially not much different from our own – the bulk of this third person narrative takes place in group therapy sessions. Similar to Virginia Woolf’s insistence that the female writer seeks out “the pools, the depths, the dark places where the largest fish slumber,” Shira Lipkin tackles the dark subject matter of subjugated survival. The backdrop of the story remains fascinatingly vague. The foreground is sharply attenuated by the stressful memories and triggers of a final girl: after her survival, in the midst of her struggle, in the process of the author’s elocution, still falling. A must-read of speculative, feminist literature. Highly Recommended.

Charlotte Ashley at Apex was impressed:

The story is deeply upsetting, and it should be. The reader is left feeling guilty and complicit in the continued suffering of a narrator who isn’t even just one poor girl, but an infinite number of girls who have all been sacrificed to the same search for the sublime. Lipkin gives us horror via empathy, drawing us in to an inescapable space that the reader will not enjoy occupying. Hers is a powerful entry into a growing canon of similar narratives that include Damien Angelica Walters’ recent “Grey in the Gauge of His Storm”(Apex Magazine #53) and “Abomination Rises on Filthy Wings” by Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine #50). The point is not to enjoy the story, but to listen to a voice which is necessarily hard to listen to in our search for answers to difficult questions.

But Lois Tilton was less taken with it:

A sort of unnumbered list story, very short, on the phenomenon of serial killer survivors – the particular sort of serial killer who preys on young women. There are suggestions here that this might be the cinematic sort of killer, but the pain described is real. In any case there seem to be enough of these that their survivors – their last survivors – can form support groups. There are no names here, and “the final girl” seems to refer both to all such survivors and one in particular who never stands out as a person, who doesn’t have an actual story here but only stands for the phenomenon, a pain that never ends.

Pavlov's House

This, on the other hand, worked for Lois Tilton

Strong and effective tale about the human costs of survival in combat, even if the survivors aren’t entirely human. Sokolai’s confusion, his occasional regression into a fugue state, is quite convincing, both as human and dog. But only the human in him could come to believe he was created to be a monster, and want to be otherwise. It’s notable that Sokolai’s stress is greatest under conditions that normal people would call normal, but he can only find sanity by fleeing back to the battlefield.

Rich Horton wrote this one up for the print Locus, and also liked it:

Strange Horizons in April features "Pavlov's House" by Malcolm Cross, a fine SF story about "uplifted" (more or less) dogs who were created to be soldiers. The protagonist cannot adjust to civilian life -- a familiar theme that's given a stark edge by merging these issues with those arising from his unusual origin.

And Alicia Cole thought it was pretty good as well:

There is much left unanswered about gengineering, what the dogs themselves are, and the fascinatingly gruesome strain of biowarfare introduced at the beginning of the story, which keeps the world building from grasping the reader as thoroughly as it could.  Still, as a portrait of a traumatized soldier, engineered to a robotic killing-machine level, and his hunt for his own emotional core, this story is gripping; the titular concept is well fleshed out, Sokolai being the dog who responds to the toll of warfare.  Not recommended for those with combat-related PTSD. 

If you enjoyed our April stories, please consider donating!

Stranger Horizons, October 2014

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

Time for our regular round-up of what SH contributors have been up to elsewhere, possibly with some subliminal promotion of the fund drive. And we have all sorts of things this month, starting with…

Editing news! A few SH alums have new projects underway. Zen Cho will be editing Cyberpunk: Malaysia for Fixi Novo. Sofia Samatar will be co-editing (with Mikki Kendall) Hidden Youth: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History (a YA follow-up to this year's Long Hidden) for Crossed Genres. And Jessy Randall is looking for monster poems for the February 2015 issue of Snakeskin.

A piece of awards news: Emily Jiang's children's book Summoning the Phoenix: Poems & Prose about Chinese Musical Instruments won an Eureka! Honor Award [PDF link] from the California Reading Association. This award recognizes excellence in children's nonfiction books.

New books: You can't possibly have missed this one, but just in case Ann Leckie's Ancillary Sword, sequel to the everything-winning Ancillary Justice, is out now (US and UK. I mostly mention this in case you haven't noticed that one of our fund drive stories is a new one set in the Ancillary-verse, and that if you want to read it you should donate! Elsewhere: Tina Connolly's latest novel is Silverblind, third in the Ironskin trilogy, and is out now from Tor. Lavie Tidhar's latest is A Man Lies Dreaming, out from Hodder in the UK (and available as a fund drive prize). Lawrence Schimel's translation of Aleix Saló's graphic novel Euronightmare: Someone Devoured the Middle Class has just been published by Penguin Random House -- see a book trailer here. Cecil Castellucci's latest book is a joint project with Nate Powerll -- The Year of the Beasts, which alternates chapters of prose and graphic novel. O.J. Cade is having a prolific year, with a third novella published. The Life in Papers of Sofie K is a fantasy biography of the Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya, "sort of maths meets magical realism." Michael R. Underwood's The Younger Gods, a new supernatural thriller, is just out. Wendy Rathbone's new collection, Beneath the Blue Dusk and the Sea, includes both stories and poems. Lisa Bradley's The Haunted Girl (Amazon) is the latest Aqueduct Conversation Piece, also featuring both poems and stories (and it's another one you might be able to pick up by donating to the fund drive -- in fact there will be two available, because both Lisa and Aqueduct have donated copies). Daniel Ausema (who has work forthcoming in SH) has a collection, Spire City: Epidemic, set in his serialised steampunk setting, out from Musa Publishing. Two Joel Best collections are on Smashwords: Timeline, a collection of flash pieces, and Twelve White Lies, another flash collection, but free!

What about new stories? Carmen Maria Machado's "The Husband Stitch has been published at Granta. Usman T. Malik's "The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family" -- originally published in Qualia Nous, which is (wait for it) available as one of our fund drive donor bundles, just saying -- has been published at Medium. Natalia Theodoridou's "When They Come Back" appeared in Crossed Genres this month. Charlie Jane Anders' "The Time Travel Club" is reprinted in Paul Guran's new anthology Time Travel: Recent Trips, along with stories by Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Liu, Vandana Singh and others. Daniel José Older's Dust appeared in Lightspeed. Laura Price's "Hauntings" is in the latest issue of Penumbra. Rich Larson's "Capricorn is in the latest Abyss & Apex. A.C. Wise's "And the Carnival Leaves Town" appears in Ellen Datlow's latest anthology, Nightmare Carnival, along with Genevieve Valentine's "The Lion Cage" and many others. Marie Brennan's "Daughter of Necessity" was published at Tor.com. Sarah Pinsker's "very very short story" "Notes to My Past And/Or Alternate Selves" is in Unidentified Funny Objects 3. In other flash news, James Dorr's "School Nights" is in Gothic Blue Book 4: The Folklore Edition, from Burial Day Books. Not up at the time of compiling, but due on 31 October when this is published, is Karen Munro's story "The Cure", at Midnight Breakfast. Hannah Strom-Martin's "The Burned Man" is in the latest Beneath Ceaseless Skies. And a bit of translation news: Aidan Doyle's "Hokkaido Green" (first published here in 2010) has been translated into Galician and published in Nova Fantasia.

New poetry: David C. Kopaska-Merkel's new chapbook of SF poetry, SETI Hits Paydirt, is out from Popcorn Press. "A lively collection of thought-experiments focused on the Three Ss: surrealism, science, and starships -- sometimes all at once!" Rose Lemberg's "Dualities" appeared in Mythic Delirium (we've got a Rose Lemberg-Emily Jiang collaboration coming up in our fund drive issue as well … in case you hadn't noticed). Alexandra Seidel has two poems in new anthology Superpow. Neile Graham's "On the Excarnations of the Gods" was in the latest Apex, along with Sonya Taaffe's "The Excavation of Troy. And 7x20 featured two Halloween micropoems by Peg Duthie: one and two.

Non-fiction: Jenn Grunigen is working on a list of vulpine science fiction and fantasy: Storyfox. Recommendations are encouraged, and you can read an introduction to the project here. Adam Roberts reviewed Lavie Tidhar for the Guardian. Abigail Nussbaum posted an essay on Outlander: "Not Like Those Other Girls." And that, I think, is it.

2014 recap: March fiction

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

Onwards in our revisiting of 2014 stories, to March:

Art © 2014 by Khale McHurst

And on with the reviews; just Tangent and Locus for this month:

Such Lovely Teeth, Such Big Teeth

For Lois Tilton at Locus this didn't quite work:

It’s also a coming-of-age story. The part about Reagan’s transformation linked with her growing sexuality is well-done. Alas, the ending comes on a heavy didactic and moralistic note, too sadly common in YA.

But for Clancy Weeks at Tangent it's recommended:

Carlie St. George’s story, on first glance, appears to be an updated re-telling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” but as the protagonist, Reagan, makes her way through adolescence it begins to look more and more like a coming-of-age tale about a confused and traumatized little girl. Reagan, you see, was once eaten by a wolf and then saved by the Hunter. All the elements are there—the Wolf, the Grandma, the Hunter, and Little Red herself—all much as they were, but placed in the modern world where evil has become more concept than tangible danger. Whether as an updated classic, or a simple coming-of-age with horror overtones, “Such Lovely Teeth, Such Big Teeth” transcends both by the end to become something entirely new.

There are enough overlapping ideas to keep the reader busy with nuances of perceived reality for days after finishing. Recommended.

The Mountain Demon's Ballad

Clancy Weeks mulls it over for Tangent:

"The Mountain Demon's Ballad" is a well-worn tale of the trickery of demons. Never trust a demon, especially one who grants wishes. Ah, but where would it leave the reader if everyone heeded such advice? This is a very short story created as a set of mini-stories told in succession: the blacksmith, the advisor, and the fool are all connected, but do not create together a narrative whole. And yet… there is an arc to this story that requires the presence of each to make a complete lesson.

If the reader has trouble understanding the lesson, they can always ask the demon. It is said he grants wishes.

And Lois Tilton sums it up for Locus:

A very short, neat piece about good intentions, patience, and truth. And the deviousness of demons.

And onwards, too, in our fund drive. If you enjoyed the March stories, please consider donating!


posted by Niall Harrison on 28 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

We've reached the next fund drive milestone, and so we've published our next piece of bonus content: a new story by Alex Dally MacFarlane, "Because I Prayed This Word" (podcast here):

The city appears between the pillars of the cloisters like a dream of an embroidered wall-hanging: more gold thread than is ever available for the Sisters, more precisely tidy stitches than Perrette will ever manage. For a moment she sees it on the edges of her vision, and though she thinks of telling her Sisters, she does not. She assumes it is the fast. She walks on.

She keeps seeing it.

Read on here.

Also in this week's issue:

Three weeks left in the fund drive, and we're about a third of the way to our total. If you haven't donated yet, you can do so here. Thanks!

2014 recap: February fiction

posted by Niall Harrison on 27 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

Continuing our look back at stories published so far this year:

Art © 2014 by Cedric Fiumara

Art © 2014 by Tory Hoke

And what has been said about these ones?

21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One)

You can read a bit more about the background to this story on LaShawn's blog; and in reviews, it was a recommended story for Lois Tilton at Locus:

Obviously, a list story. These have become a hard sell for me. This one, though, I like, with its light tones of irony and wit. ... This is also a story about family. Isa’s family has strong characters and weak ones, and one whose staircase only appears at her funeral. I have to wonder what epiphany Isa’s mother would have found at the top of her staircase, and what its unusual construction would have been revealed to mean. Even a totally self-sufficient person might sometimes do with a bit of an epiphany, even if she doesn’t believe it.

Charlotte Ashley discussed it in her Clavis Aurea column:

... a beautiful piece; an honestly, hilariously told meditation on enlightenment, as the title suggests. Here, enlightenment comes at the top of a spiral staircase, a rather mystical place where the literal change in perspective often results in a thoughtful change in perspective. To whom these epiphanies are available, how and when, is the focus of the story. ... By showing Momma is not only her own staircase, but Isa’s, Wanak shows us where opportunity—and enlightenment—really come from. Not spiral staircases or moments of epiphany, but through the ongoing fight for the privileges that allow us to pursue our opportunities.

A.C. Wise included it in her June "women to read" round-up for SF Signal:

it presents the fantastic as mundane, with spiral staircases made of wood and crystal and bone appearing out of nowhere to offer enlightenment. Rather than reacting with shock, the characters simply choose whether or not to climb the staircases. Sometimes enlightenment is something grant, like a glimpse into the future, steering someone away from a bad relationship. Sometimes it’s simple, like the perfect grilled cheese sandwich recipe. There are touches of whimsy in the story, perfectly balanced with more serious fare – issues of race, the gap between parents and children, and the idea of taking responsibility for your own life and happiness. It is a story about growing up literally, but also about coming to have a more grown-up outlook on life regardless of age.

M. Bennardo was impressed:

I love this imagery. It’s the kind of thing that seems obvious in retrospect, but really it takes a smart observer to come up with something so elegant and natural-feeling. And it takes a deft writer to keep it from feeling too “on the nose”. But Wanak keeps changing perspectives on the spiral staircases — offering points and counterpoints through the experiences of various characters — so they never become a magical cure-all. They’re just another tool that only works as well as the person wielding it.

Jamie Lackey at Tangent had perhaps more mixed feelings:

The spiral staircases in "21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One)" by LaShawn M. Wanak appear to people when they need distance and perspective. Throughout the story, Isa climbs three staircases—one as a teen, one that appears to her doubting mother, and one that she troops up with her family at her grandmother’s funeral. Each one gives her new insight on her life. The elements of magic realism work well, and the descriptions are lovely. I found the second person construction to be distancing, but the relationships that the story explores do resonate.

And recently Bogi Takács picked it for eir diverse stories Twitter review:

And it was recommended by Geekfeminism.

Lysistrata of Mars

Three reviews for this one: Nicky Drayden loved it:

Okay, Tory Hoke. Who are you and how did you get into my brain? Seriously, this piece was practically written for me. The aliens are amazing. The writing is charmingly snarky. The depth of the message is spot on. ... This is a great story about personal boundaries–not just setting them, which sometimes can be a feat in and of itself–but also sticking to them, fortifying them as necessary when others try to tear them down. It speaks directly to women, but can be broadened to a human lesson in general.

Jamie Lackey at Tangent liked it:

Kay traveled to the colony of New Plymouth for a fresh start, but she ends up taking a job as an exotic dancer to pay her rent. But when a high-end client demands services that she refuses to perform, the whole colony ends up embroiled in her problems. Kay learns the value of holding her ground, and along the way, she learns her own value as well. “Lysistrata of Mars” by Tory Hoke is a solid story with a strong protagonist, and the ending was satisfying.

And Lois Tilton found it:

A story of self-respect and solidarity. The outcome is awfully optimistic, but the characters are strong.

The Suitcase Aria

Jamie Lackey liked it on balance, particularly the setting:

The protagonist in “The Suitcase Aria” by Marissa Lingen is a soprano maschio in the Berlin opera house who uses his magic to keep the crowds from noticing him. But he has to take action when corpses start turning up in the canals under the opera house, and he finds himself stepping into the spotlight. The opening is a bit exposition-heavy, but the character’s arc is fulfilling, and the setting is neat.

As did Sara Norja:

The setting in this story isn’t something you see in every other specfic: it’s a weird eighteenth-century Berlin opera house. The strangeness in this nix story is nicely subtle.

And Lois Tilton is broadly on the same page as well:

The interest here is in the details of 17th century opera, such as the suitcase aria, which sounds like something well got rid of.

(Tangentially, Kat Goodwin used the story as one example in a discussion of exposition in short fiction.)

Current fund drive total: $4,206. Next bonus content is a new story by Alex Dally MacFarlane, at $4,500. Donate here!


posted by Niall Harrison on 24 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

A quiet day today, but a good day yesterday, takes us to just over $3,500 in donations! Our next bonus content is a story by Alex Dally MacFarlane, when we reach $4,500, so why not donate over the weekend?

(And if you're looking for something to read over the weekend, don't forget our book club launches on Monday with a discussion of Patricia McKillip's Ombria in Shadow -- we'd love you to join the discussion.)

2014 recap: January fiction

posted by Niall Harrison on 24 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

One of the things we like to do during the fund drive (well, we did it last year and it seemed like a good thing, so here it is again) is to look back at the stories we've published in 2014. In January, for instance:

Art © 2014 by Paula Arwen Friedlander

Some reviews!

The Serial Killer's Astronaut Daughter

Hana Frank is to the point:

Another fantastic story on Strangehorizons. I should make a donation to this wonderful magazine this year.

(Now's your chance, Hana!)

Jamie Lackey for Tangent Online:

Damien Angelica Walters’ "The Serial Killer's Astronaut Daughter" follows an astronaut after a reporter reveals that her absent father is a convicted serial killer. After learning of her existence, her father reaches out to her in a series of emails and offers to tell her (and only her) details about crimes he hasn’t yet confessed. In the media circus that follows, she has to decide if she’ll speak up or remain silent, but neither choice offers much promise for her future. The prose is a bit exposition-heavy for my taste, but Walters captures a strong voice, and the protagonist is a compelling character in an interesting situation. The feminism in the piece is overt, but genuine and thought-provoking.

Overt feminism! Lois Tilton also had thoughts about that at Locus Online:

A feminist work – about which I have misgivings. The workers on the station are constantly referencing female space heroes like Ripley as role models for the nameless daughter. And between the daughter and the female commander, there is a consensus that males get away with this kind of negative publicity when women don’t. I’m not sure that applies in this case. What if the serial killer’s secret child has been a man? I suspect he would be the subject of even more distrust than a woman. After all, serial killers are almost always men. A son would probably resemble his father more closely than a daughter, and the media would be likely to press such a resemblance. On the other hand, it does seem that the killer is victimizing his daughter as a way of harming one final woman, who are his preferred victims. I think the strength of this piece lies more in seeing how this person deals with a devastating personal crisis than generalizing it into an ideological issue.

On the other hand, there's this long review by Janet Nicolson:

She is going out on her terms, whatever it means. She is more than the serial killer’s astronaut daughter. She is a call to society to look at itself and realize that by judging the narrator and those like her, they are finding her guiltier than her father, who has committed murder. Her crime is being born and becoming the person she is in present, and no more. The narrator’s story concludes before she speaks to the camera, because nothing more needs be said. The act of speaking, alone, ties together the frame and sees her transition from being the vulnerable Ripley to the immune Vasquez.

It was a pick for the Science is Magic podcast:

You would think our astronaut would have an easier time of it, being in space and all, but no – the author does a nice job conveying just how vexing low-res video feeds and an email account can be. There were a lot of great ideas about identity floating around in this story and I am glad they came together into such a solid piece of literature.

Finally, Nicky Drayden:

This piece uses a unique situation to point out some of the double standards that threaten to follow us into the future if they aren’t addressed head on. There are a ton of references to the Alien movie franchise, in which Sigourney Weaver is the supposed measuring stick for all badass women astronauts, and a ton of f-bombs are dropped, so if either of those things don’t appeal to you, you might give this one a pass, but if twentieth century pop culture and sailor-mouthed astronauts are you thing, take half an orbit with this story. I think you’ll enjoy it.

The Innocence of a Place

Just the regular review 'zines for this one, so far as I can tell. Rich Horton in the February Locus:

Strange Horizons in January has a nice atmospheric horror story by Margaret Ronald, "The Innocence of a Place". It's told at a distance, by a historian studying the disappearances of the 15 girls at the Braxton Academy for Young Girls during a flood in 1911, along with a few older people, such as the lawyer who had opened his house to them when the Academy threatened to be submerged. We can see from the start what sort of thing is going on ... What works is the distancing, the historian telling the story decades later, mainly using the diary of an adolescent who witnessed ... some things ... from their window. Of course, maintaining their distance will prove problematic for both chroniclers.

Lois Tilton mostly liked it:

A well-done work that is, at the end, psychological, as revealed through the narrator’s voice, which we increasingly recognize as unreliable. As she tells us herself, people make up stories to justify what has happened, to justify their own reactions to what has happened, to what still may be happening. I only wish the author had omitted the metaphorical parallel storyline about the narrator’s partner and their estrangement. I really weary of that device.

And Jamie Lackey was positive for Tangent:

The speculative element in "The Innocence of a Place" by Margaret Ronald is subtle, like the sense of dread that grows as the story progresses. The epistolary form, which can often be distancing and distracting, works perfectly in this story. The main character spends her time researching a tragedy that claimed the lives of fifteen girls and their caretakers, and as she submerges herself in history, her grip on the world around her grows more tenuous. Overall a beautiful, haunting story that is well worth your time.


Lois Tilton wasn't so keen on this one:

There’s a lack of focus here. The author spends too much time on the very standard-issue future dystopian setting, the privileged center of which, we may suppose, Nim entered as an experimental “volunteer”. I’m also not buying the idea of obtaining large numbers of bodies from the “wild” for mind transplant; feral humans would be likely to have diseases, deformities, and other physical flaws, making them unsuitable hosts for members of this society, who cringe at body hair. Another problem is that Nim succeeds in his quest far too easily, as if guided by the provident hand of the author.

Jamie Lackey also had mixed feelings:

In “Palimpsest” by Anders Åslund, the wealthy live in a floating dome far above the crumbling city below. When their bodies wear out, they take people from the lands outside the city, wipe their minds, and move into their bodies. The main character helped with that process, but decides to leave to chase mysterious flashes of memory. The prose is lovely and evocative, but the setting and the character both felt distant and vague. The main character’s main motivation is curiosity – there’s no sense of guilt or implication that how the wealthy live is wrong, and though there was some worry that the people from the crumbling city would resent him (or her), that never felt like a real danger. The ending worked beautifully, but it felt hollow, and I was left wishing that I cared more.

Fund drive update: $3,411. Donate here!

$3,000! (and a bit!)

posted by Niall Harrison on 23 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

We actually hit this milestone yesterday, but I'm only getting a chance to blog it now: we've passed $3,000 and unlocked our next bonus content, Arkady Martine's wonderful poem "Cloud Wall"! Here's how it starts:

The city does not love you as you wanted to be loved.

Don't be surprised.
These ways are inhuman ways:
no midnight phone calls,
no possessive hand curved on your waist
when you stood on the pier
and took the sea-wind full in the throat.
Nothing of the city is only and ever yours.

Read the whole poem here.

Next up in our fund drive issue is a new story by Alex Dally MacFarlane (plus podcast), "Because I Prayed This Word." We're at $3,263 now, and the story will be unlocked at $4,500. Thanks to everyone who's donated so far, and if you've been meaning to get round to it, here's the link to donate.

This week's issue...

posted by Niall Harrison on 20 October 2014 | Comments (0) »

The new issue is up, and what do we have for you this week?

  • "Dream Cakes", a story by Kelly Jennings (with podcast reading by Anaea Lay)
  • "Seeds", a poem by M. Sereno
  • Our latest poetry podcast, featuring work by (deep breath) ric Otto, Yoon Ha Lee, Pamela Manasco, Saira Ali, Catherine Butler, Penny Stirling, and M Sereno
  • And in reviews, later this week Sofia Samatar on Kuzhali Manickavel and Alix E. Harrow on Lauren Beuekes, but first up Phoebe North on Genevieve Valentine

Of course, because this is a fund drive week we also have a new batch of prizes to tempt you to donate -- books by Mitchell, Ramirez and Gladstone! Book boxes selected by Justin Landon, Liz Bourke and Ana Grilo! A scarf knitted by former SH editor-in-chief Susan Marie Groppi! The current fund drive total is just under $2,700, and we'd really like to hit $3k and publish Arkady Martine's poem "Cloud Wall" ... so have you donated yet?


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?

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