Bulbbul is not a self-proclaimed “feminist film” and, goodness knows, we’ve been disappointed by a lot of those. But the one aspect where Bulbbul is unapologetically feminist is that it is a story of reckoning.
Duncan Lawie: The highlight of my reading year was M. John Harrison's The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again. It is subtle and rich but could also just be the stories of two middle aged people failing to cope with their lives. The intent to remain uncategorised is core to the pleasure—and discomfort—of reading and thinking about the book. Indeed, an interview with the author at the release of his 2020 collection Settling the World was equally fascinating, with his own perspectives on his long career in fiction. Another complex delight was War of the Maps by Paul McAuley, which uses a Dyson sphere for a fantastical planetary romance reminiscent of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun and, indeed, of McAuley’s own Confluence trilogy.
Dan Hartland: I’m sure I’m not alone in having found it difficult to settle down with fiction this year—or, in all honesty, to settle down at all. It is equally and perhaps consequently true that some of my fondest memories of 2020 are of reading, but it may nevertheless be a function of my relative focus on non-fiction, TV and doom-scrolling this year that my SFF highlights of 2020 all relate to awards.
I might also hope, however, that—after some seriously fallow years for literary SFF gongs (don’t @ me)—2020’s range of heartening prize-related news suggests both a shift within the field and in how those outside view it.
It has become a tradition to begin a new reviewing year by asking the Strange Horizons reviewers to tell us a little about the other things they've been reading, watching and playing during the previous year. Despite everything else that has happened, we're continuing that tradition as we move into 2021. During 2020 most of us have leaned harder than ever on books, TV, and games of one sort or another to fill our time, so here's what's caught our interest. I'm writing this on the last day of 2020, with no clear idea as yet what 2021 is likely to bring us.
So far I’ve dodged the question of “what is weird fiction?” because the stories themselves have defined the term, simply because they seem, for the most part, to represent a particular, personal kind of engagement with the supernatural.
Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, and art. For more information, see our about page. All material in Strange Horizons is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission.