Apologies for the lack of updates here this week -- as you'll have seen if you have checked the fund drive status, things have been ticking along, and we released the next bonus material from our special issue a couple of days ago: A. T. Greenblatt's story, "Dido, Retold." Here's the opening, to tempt you in:
Act I: The Curse, Such As It Stands
Why not read the rest?
We're also getting close to our next tier of content -- in fact at the time of writing we're only just over $100 away from it -- which is an interview of Garth Nix by Aishwarya Subramanian. If you want to see that unlocked, you know what to do!
And in fact, there's an opportunity here for your support to count double, because we are adding a Patreon-specific goal! We currently have 250 patrons; as and when we reach 300, we will publish Lawrence Schimel's translation of "Terpsichore", a story by Argentinian writer Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría. So if you support at Patreon, it will count towards unlocking that and towards unlocking the regular bonus content.
Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría is both a university professor with a doctorate in philosophy and the direct of the Center for Science Fiction and Philosophy in the Research Department of the Human Vocation Foundation. She has published articles and stories in numerous periodicals and anthologies, including Axxón, Buenos Aires Próxima, Cuá'sar, Fición Científica, and others. Her novelette Memory is published by Upper Rubber Boot books and was reviewed for us by K. Tait Jarboe in July ("a work that is at once lovely and terrifying in its implications"). You can find her blog here; and just to whet your appetite, here's how "Terpsichore" begins:
From Vasilyevsky Island (above the park located right in front of the Naval Museum and between the two rostral columns that marked the Neva's bifurcation), the Terpsichore's static motors deafened all of St. Petersburg. The city was ready for its beloved daughter to make the first non-motile journey in history: the ship, which would never leave the city, would traverse half the galaxy.
And now, milestone #2: we've raised $3,000 (woo!) and published Adam Roberts's review of Apocalypse by Frederick Turner. What is that, you wonder? Well:
It might surprise us that a firm like Baen
Go, read. And then what? Well, we've another $12,000 to raise to hit our main goal, and another $19,000 to hit all our stretch goals and add translations and interactive fiction to the magazine -- but more immediately, when we reach $4,500 we'll publish our next bonus content, which is a new story by A. T. Greenblatt, "Dido, Retold." If you haven't donated yet, here's the link. Thank you!
This year's fund drive seems to be off to a slightly slower start than last year (you'll want to support at Patreon for an exclusive weekend GRAPH update), but we've just reached $1,500 and published the first material from this year's special issue.
Next up in the fund drive special, at $3,000, will be a review by Adam Roberts -- of a novel about climate change, written in verse, and published by ... Baen. So obviously the review is in verse as well.
If you want to read it, you know what to do. (Thank you!)
If you're a fiction writer interested in submitting to us, you may have noticed that we've been closed to submissions for an unusually long time, more or less since the end of the Our Queer Planet call, and that we haven't announced a date for re-opening. You may be wondering what that's about.
The simple answer is that it's been one of those years. Since everyone who works on Strange Horizons is a volunteer, real life inevitably takes precedence now and then; indeed that's one of the reasons the magazine is structured the way it is, with multiple editors in each department. It gives us as an organisation a certain amount of resiliency, and us as individuals the chance to have a break when we need to. For the fiction department, in various ways, real life in 2016 has been demanding, and over the course of the summer it's become clear that things are not returning to an even keel as quickly as we would like.
We are therefore delighted to announce that Vajra Chandrasekera is joining us as a Fiction Editor, working with Lila Garrott, Catherine Krahe, and An Owomoyela.
If you've been reading Strange Horizons recently, there's a good chance that you recognise Vajra's name and if you do, I suspect you're as excited as I am about him joining the magazine's staff. As a book club participant, occasional reviewer and regular columnist, he has contributed some of the most insightful critical thinking we've had the pleasure of publishing in the last year. And as an author—with July's "Sweet Marrow", and this week's "Applied Cenotaphics in the Long, Long Longitudes"—he's contributed two wonderfully elegant and thought-provoking stories. Put another way, by far the biggest downside of him joining the magazine is that we won't be publishing very much by him for the foreseeable future!
In organisational terms, this should mean that we will be able to re-open to fiction submissions in the near-ish future—although authors, we'll still need you to bear with us for a few more weeks. It also means that the workload for each fiction editor will be reduced, and that it will be easier for individual editors to take breaks as and when needed. (These will be indicated on our masthead as they occur.) Most importantly, though, in creative terms, I think Vajra's input can only be a good thing for the magazine, and I can't wait to read the stories he brings to our pages.
A Twitter thread this evening by Troy L. Wiggins, which among other things points at this comment on the SFWA blog by K. Tempest Bradford, makes me want to amplify part of our editorial response to the Fireside report that I don’t think has got enough attention: we want to publish more black critics.
I mean, we want to publish more black fiction writers and poets too, and as it says in the editorial, we very much hope that more black volunteers will join our first reader pool. But if you absolutely forced me to rank which of those improvements I want the most -- and I speak for myself as an individual here -- then after first readers, and really only just after, I want us to publish more black critics.
My background is in reviewing and review-editing, and that’s still the role in the field in which I feel most comfortable, even if I don’t do much of it these days. It matters to me. I think the tradition of amateur criticism within the SF field, from Atheling and Knight to Russ and Budrys to Clute and Wolfe to Nussbaum and Bourke is an incredibly valuable strand of SF thought, and it pains me that while this tradition has (haltingly, imperfectly) expanded to incorporate some kinds of feminist criticism, it continues to struggle (visibly, distractingly) to incorporate any kind of intersectional or postcolonial criticism. It seems axiomatic to me that an ambitious and inclusive discourse about SF only supports the reception of ambitious and inclusive SF; that it helps to create the structure within which such work can be understood and be celebrated.
Obviously there have been and continue to be black critics of SF. Samuel R. Delany must be nearly equally lauded as a critic and a fiction writer; N. K. Jemisin and Nisi Shawl do regular fine work in the New York Times and Seattle Times, respectively (although both have to struggle a bit against wordcounts); any non-fiction that Keguro Macharia or Sofia Samatar writes should be taken very seriously indeed. Add your own names here.
But what we don’t have -- I think; please do correct me if I’ve forgotten someone obvious; I at least feel confident in saying we don't have very many -- is the black equivalents of Atheling or Russ or Wolfe or Nussbaum, the readers who review regularly enough and for long enough and in mainstream enough venues that they build up bodies of work that establish and popularise and interrogate critical positions, bodies of work that could and should be collected into books and sit on my reference shelves (between Clute's Look at the Evidence and Cole's Known and Strange Things, or between Russ's The Country You Have Never Seen and Smith's Changing My Mind). Writers who aspire to be reviewers - perhaps not only reviewers, but who understand that reviewing is an art in itself - and aspire to carve out a rhetorical space for themselves and take a stab at writing the first draft of SF history.
Tempest’s comment references “major review outlets that have huge impact on sales and on the industry”; we can’t claim that’s us, but we do (I think) provide a space for serious long-form considerations of SF, and I very badly want that space to be used by as many different voices as possible. I think of the differing reception of Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds by white reviewers who found the gender dynamics of the central romance uncomfortable, and black reviewers who found it radical to have a black woman positioned as the object of desire. Which is of course not to say that white people can never review work by black writers sensitively, and by no means do I want to limit black critics to reviewing black writers; but a field in which 1 in 10 reviews of The Best of All Possible Worlds are by black critics is going to have a very different centre of opinion to a field in which at least 5 of 10 are by black critics, and it’s the latter I want to inhabit.
We’re not starting from zero; our SF count this year wasn’t as bad as it might have been when it came to race. But it wasn’t as good, either (and of course, it counts all critics of colour, and we are here talking specifically about black critics). And yes, this is one of those areas in which we can and will do more direct outreach; but in the meantime, here are our guidelines for reviews, and for other kinds of non-fiction. Please consider pitching us something.
Apologies for the lateness of this update, but let's see what our Strange Horizons contributors have been upto over the last month (and a bit):
New books: Tina Connolly's first full-length short story collection, On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories, is now out from Fairwood Press! Both the title story, and another one ("Turning the Apples") were first published here, as was the poem "Rehydration". Susan Jane Bigelow's book THE SPARK (Extrahumans #3) is re-released from Book Smugglers Publishing. Jeannine Hall Gailey's Field Guide to the End of the World, the winner of the Moon City Press Book Prize. There is a Kickstarter for a deluxe, hardcover edition of Orrin Grey's first short story collection, Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings with a new introduction by Nathan Ballingrud, and new illustrations throughout by M.S. Corley.
New stories: Octavia Cade's post-apocalyptic "Kelp" was published in takahē magazine. Sara Norja's story "Creation" is in the August issue of Flash Fiction Online. Steve Case has been busy, with "When I Was Dead" appearing in Mysterion, published by Enigmatic Mirror Press and "Gold, Vine, and a Name" appearing in Threads: A Neoverse Anthology as well as "Bone Orchard" in Hypnos Magazine. Michelle's Ann King's 'God State' came out at Daily Science Fiction this month. Sarah Pinsker has a short story "Talking To Dead People," in the September/October issue of F&SF. Benjamin C Kinney's “The Time Cookie Wars” came out this month in Flash Fiction Online. Richard Larson's "TrashureIsland" was printed in Compelling Science Fiction. James Dorr's "Flightless Rats" about an encounter in 19th Century New Orleans,originally published in T. Gene Davis's Speculative Blog, is included in the "Mocha's Dark Brew" collection by A C Thompson. Mat Joiner's "Imago" is coming out in Uncertainties 2
New poetry: Several works by erstwhile Strange Horizons poets have appeared in Inkscrawl this month - including Naru Sundar's "Shuttlecock", Andrew Watson's new poem, "verdigris" and Ada Hoffman's "Roar". S Qiouyi Li's "Parallax" was also published in Inkscrawl and another of S's poems, "Children of the Geese," came out from Zetetic Record. Lawrence Schimel's poem "Many Moons Ago" is reprinted in Watcher of the Skies: Poems About Space and Aliens, edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright (The Emma Press). David C. Kopaska-Merkel has two poems in The Martian Wave 2016 "Is Mars Dead?" and "Too late, we discovered".
New non-fiction: Aliya Whiteley's article "Lay of the Land: Weird Possibility in the English Countryside" appeared in The Quietus. Carmen Machado's essay about flash "On the Mirror and the Echo" appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly.
New art: Rachel Kahn has launched the preorders for a collection of autobio barbarian comics By Crom!
Let's see what SH contributors got up to elsewhere this month:
New books: Two excellent debuts make it Stateside: Nina Allan's The Race (Dan Hartland was enthusiastic about the UK edition for us in 2014) and Indra Das's The Devourers (Salik Shah praised the Indian edition for us last year). Rose Lemberg's An Alphabet of Embers is "an anthology of unclassifiables" that Karen Burnham said "leaves a lasting impression of weight, survival, and beauty"; it includes work by Sara Norja, Sonya Taaffe, Sofia Samatar, Kari Sperring, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Shweta Narayan and many others. Joanne Merriam's anthology The Museum of All Things Awesome and that Go Boom includes stories by Aidan Doyle, Leonard Richardson, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, and others. (And see the poetry section below for Rose's other book this month!) Stefon Mears's new novel is The House on Cedar Street, a supernatural thriller. Karen Myers's latest novel is Broken Devices, third in her The Chained Adept series. And Michael R. Underwood's The Substitute Sleuth is the fourth in his Genrenauts series.
A busy month for new stories: Charlie Jane Anders, Nalo Hopkinson, Ken Liu, Lavie Tidhar and others have stories in Jonathan Strahan's latest anthology, Drowned Worlds (I particularly liked the Anders, personally). Lawrence Schimel translated "Havana Hemicrania" by Cuban writer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, for Litro. The latest Lightspeed included Genevieve Valentine's "Small Medicine" and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz's "Magnifica Angelica Superable, among others. Nina Allan also had a fresh story at Tor.com: "The Art of Space Travel." Guardbridge Books' Myriad Lands anthologies include stories by Daniel Ausema, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and others. Rich Larson, A. C. Wise, Ursula Pflug and others have stories in Strangers Among Us, "Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts." José Pablo Iriarte has a new one at Fantastic Stories of the Imagination: "Of Unions, Intersections, and Empty Sets." Laura E. Price is in Betwixt with "File 29520: Notes from Immediate Aftermath of Attack by New Villain,'The Daemon'." Alison Wilgus's latest is at Daily SF: "A Wrinkle Ironed Out." Margaret Killjoy can be found at Fireside, with "Imagine a World So Forgiving." L. S. Johnson's "We Are Sirens" is in the World Weaver Press anthology Sirens. At Beneath Ceaseless Skies this month, you could find Rachael K. Jones's The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles" and E. Catherine Tobler's "Ebb Stung by the Flow." Interzone 265 includes Andrew Kozma's "The Inside-Out." And the latest Shimmer includes Natalia Theodoridou's "The Singing Soldier", Nicasio Andreas Reed's "Painted Grassy Mire", and more. James Dorr's "Gold" and Linda Addison's "Finding Water to Catch Fire" can be found in The Beauty of Death: The Gargantuan Book of Horror Tales. Orrin Grey has a choose-your-own adventure story in Swords vs Cthulhu. In audioland, Benjamin C. Kinney's "Sweeter Than Lead" is a Podcastle original, while Michelle Ann King's flash "There You Are, My Love" appeared at Manawaker Studio. And Susannah Mandel's "Three Ladies of the Evening", an ekphrastic story under the byline of Z. Finch, will be in the debut issue of Big Echo, a magazine of "Critical SF" launching this coming week (6 August, to be precise).
New poetry: Rose Lemberg's new poetry anthology Spelling the Hours is a collection "celebrating the forgotten others of Science and Technology", and includes Lisa Bradley's "A Personal History of the Universal History of the Things of New Spain", about the creation of the Florentine Codex, Sonya Taaffe's "The Clock House" and "Philasian Investigations", A. J. Odasso's "The Augr Effect" and plenty more. Neil Graham has three poems in the latest Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet (and Molly Gloss has one, and there's lots else as well). Deborah P. Kolodji's Highway of Sleeping Towns is a collection of haiku and senryu, and her first full-length collection. Star*Line 39.3 includes Davian Aw's "sacrificial virgin", Salik Shah's "Channel Earth", and plenty more. The latest Mythic Delirium includes Ada Hoffmann's poem "Million-Year Elegie: Edmontonia" and Lynette Mejía's "Half in Love with Easeful Death." Jessy Randall has two poems at Eclectica. Akua Lezli Hope is in Rattle ("Endangered"), Yellow Chair Review ("Domesstick"), and New Verse News. And Elizabeth Barrette's poetry fishbowl this month had themes of "is there a word for that feeling? and anything goes.
Not so busy on the non-fiction: front this month, but Carmen Maria Machado's hyperlink essay "The Morals of the Stories" appeared at Tiny Donkey; Peg Duthie wrote about Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" for Vary the Line; Tom Speelman's pieces at Comics Alliance this month include histories of Tarzan and Star Trek comics, his continuing Screen & Page column, and a review of the volleyball manga Haikyu!!; and David C. Kopaska-Merkel's Footprints in Stone, co-authored with Ron Buta, chronicles the discovery, study, and preservation of a 300 million-year-old trace fossil site in northern Alabama.
With apologies for the delay, it’s time for June’s round up of SH contributor news. In the realm of new books, we have: the release of Claire Humphrey’s debut novel, Spells of Blood and Kin, out now from Thomas Dunne books, Brenda Cooper’s Spear of Light (second in the Glittering Edge series) out from Pyr, the ebook release of Jenn Grunigen’s Spyglass from Chromatic Press, D.K. Latta’s Masques & Capes: An Imaginary History, SL Huang's Plastic Smile (fourth in the Russell's Attic series), and Daniel Ausema's Spire City: Unwoven, the third and final title in the Spire City series.
Awards: Octavia Cade's The Ghost of Matter, a tale of grief, ghosts, atoms, and Ernest Rutherford, won best novelette/novella at the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Jenny Blackford's poem "A litre weighs a kilogram" was commended in the W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia.
New stories: Sabrina Vourvoulias' story "El Cantar de Rising Sun" appeared in Uncanny Magazine. Richard Larson published two stories in June; "Define Symbiont" appeared in Shimmer, while "Masked" was published in Asimov's. Charles Payseur was prolific this month as well, publishing "Medium" and "Burning Day" in the Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac and Unlikely Story's The Journal of Unlikely Observances respectively. Heather Morris published "Ship of Fools" in Unlikely Story's Journal of Unlikely Observances. Nicasio Andres Reed's story "Painted Grassy Mire" appeared in Shimmer, while John Schoffstall's "All Your Cities I Will Burn" appeared in this month's issue of Interzone. José Pablo Iriarte (whose fantastic story "Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic" just appeared in SH's 13th June issue) published "Spirit of Home" in Motherboard's Terraform. A.C. Wise's story "The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)" appeared in The Dark. "Clearance" by Sarah Pinsker was published in Asimov's, and Nisi Shawl's The Mighty Phin found a second home at Tor.com as part of their Cyberpunk Week. Rachael Acks' haunting ".subroutine:all///end" was published in Shimmer. Lawrence Schimel had three flash fiction pieces translated into English from their original Spanish appear in Words Without Borders. Finally, Rebecca Ann Jordan's flash story "Thick-Boned" was published at Word Riot, while Michelle Ann King's "A Partial Inventory of Things I Have Loved" and Lora Gray's "Nuclear Daughter" appeared in Flash Fiction Online. On the anthology front, Heather Morris' "Bone Man and the Sleeping Kings" was published in The Great Tome of Darkest Horrors and Unspeakable Evils Vol. 2, James Dorr's "The Good Work" was published in Blurring the Line, and Vandana Singh's novelette "Of Wind and Fire" was published in To Shape the Dark.
In the world of poetry: Brenda Cooper had two pieces appear in Abyss and Apex, "Visitors" and "Extinction". Jessy Randall's poem "Suicide Hotline Hold Music" was published in Verse Daily. Neile Graham published two poems this month: "Pyrrha" in Eternal Haunted Summer, and "Selene Dresses the Darkness" in Polu Texni. Sally Rosen Kindred also had two poems published, both appearing in Cold Mountain Review: "She Tells You a Story" and "Of Crows".
Non-fiction: Carmen Maria Machado's essay about Lois Duncan, "I Know What I Read That Summer", appeared in The New Yorker. A collection of Orrin Grey's movie reviews, "Monsters from the Vault: Classic Horror Films Revisited", was published by Innsmouth Free Press. David Kopaska-Merkel (with Ron Buta) published "Footprints in Stone" with the University of Alabama Press.
To finish with a piece of crowdfunding news, SH's own Senior Poetry Editor, A.J. Odasso, will have the story "Feet of Clay" appear in the anthology Hidden Youth: Speculative Stories of Marginalized Children, which just met its funding goal through Kickstarter on 6th July.
Strange Horizons has a nomination for best magazine/periodical and Kari Sperring's Matrilines column has a nomination for best non-fiction.
The full shortlist is available on the British Fantasy Society's website.
What are we doing to foster joy and welcome to this community? What are we doing to cultivate its health and vibrancy? What are we doing to create an environment in which imperfect people (as all people are) can feel encouraged and supported to take the risk of a misstep, perhaps learn from it, and come back refocussed and re-energized, eager to try again?
There are many people who do good in this field, who perform small and large actions of kindness and welcome every day. I'd like to encourage more of that.
I'm starting an award, an annual kindness award to recognize five people and groups who in the previous year have done something that makes positive change in science fiction community. It might take the form of printed certificates, awarded and announced with little pomp or ceremony; perhaps via a press release. There need not be a monetary award, but it'd be nice to give the recipients a tangible token of recognition. Should enough people commit to donating a few dollars every year, such that there is an annual pot of $2,000, that would be enough for five monetary awards of $300 each, with $500 left over for administration. $3,000 per year would be enough for each recipient to receive in addition a physical award.
When life gives us lemons, we can make lemonade. I'm calling the award the Lemonade Award, not because of Beyoncé's excellent recent album, but as a reminder of what the spirit of the award is.
People will be able to nominate others for the Lemonade Award, but the final decisions won't be based on numbers, but will be up to a jury that changes every year.
I just came up with the idea a few days ago, so there are details to be worked out. Sherryl Vint, my colleague in the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Programme at the University of California Riverside, has volunteered to manage the nomination/adjudication process. I'll be doing fundraising, because even a non-monetary award has some costs. I figure I have enough energy to keep my part of it up for two years. If it takes off, I'll be looking for someone else to take on that aspect of it, while I remain involved in the capacity of keeping the award to its original spirit. If you're so moved and so able, please help in any way you can. You can email us at email@example.com. I think that we can infuse this community even more with something juicy and nourishing.
UPDATE: If you'd like to donate to the Lemonade Award, you can do so through the Speculative Literature Foundation. Here's the process:
a) Email a note to firstname.lastname@example.org, informing us how much you're donating. Don't skip this step. It's the only way the Spec Lit Foundation will know that the donation is for us, not them.
b) You can donate via cheque (make it out to SLF) or PayPal (preferred). Donation information is on this page: http://speculativeliterature.org/donation-info/
-- Nalo Hopkinson