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Today marks the final Strange Horizons issue of 2022. In accordance with tradition, we will all take a break on the last Monday of the year, and come back in 2023.

Strange Horizons has now been 22 years in existence. This year—as always—we have brought to you a new issue every Monday. Three out of four Mondays every month we have published original fiction, and the fourth Monday has been dedicated to non-fiction (essays, columns, interviews, and round-tables). Every issue has carried two poems, and three critical book reviews. Our four annual special issues (on criticism, Southeast Asian SFF, extractivism, and music), published on the fifth Monday of the months that have it, have added to our word-count, as have the pieces published as part of our annual fund-drive.

This is a lot of words, and none of it would be possible without the contributions of the several departments that (anarchically) work together and make Strange Horizons what it is: articles, art, fiction, poetry, reviews, copy-editing, accessibility, podcasting, and web. We are a team of 80+ volunteer editors, spread across seven countries in the global North and the global South, from one end of the International Date Line to the other, and located in more than thirty different cities: an anarchic confederation, if there ever was one!

Our work would not be possible without the funding that allows us to keep every Strange Horizons issue open access and free, along with two decades' worth of archives, online and freely accessible. Most of this funding comes from our annual summer fund-drive, which you, our readers, have always been very generous with. And this coming summer we will, no doubt, be calling upon your generosity once again.

We are already looking forward to 2023, and excited about what we are planning to bring to you. Other than our weekly programming, we have planned special issues on Caribbean SFF, Wuxia, and child-bearing in SFF. This January, we will also bring to you a special issue dedicated to the life, work, and memory of Maureen Kincaid Speller, our head of reviews who tragically left us earlier this year. And 2023 will also mark the first time that we move towards getting a merch store off the ground, and a physical book in stores: we can’t promise a deadline, but watch this space for further information.

While acknowledging that award lists are subjective and inevitably prone to bias, we also love to do an end-of-the-year highlight of work that caught the attention of juries, peers, readers, and voters. At the magazine level, Strange Horizons was a Hugo finalist in the semiprozine category. In a roiling magazine landscape, with so much great work being put out, this is the tenth straight year that we have been in the final six for a Hugo Award, and we are - as always - very grateful all the readers who continue to think of us as worthy of that distinction. We are yet to win, but perhaps that too will happen some day! Strange Horizons was also a finalist in the annual Locus Awards, in the magazine category. Again, at the magazine level, our former Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Rose Phin and current co-ordinating editor Gautam Bhatia were shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award in the non-professional category. As we clarified at the time, we treat this nomination not as an individual nomination, but as a nomination for the magazine as a whole.

At the individual level, Varsha Dinesh’s short story “The Demon Sage’s Daughter” was a finalist at the World Fantasy Awards. Melanie Harding-Shaw’sData Migration” won this year’s Julius Vogel Award. Lorraine Wilson’sBathymetry” won at the British Fantasy Awards. Nadia Shammas’ The Centre of the Universe” (part of our Palestine SF special issue) was a finalist at the Ignyte Awards. In addition, P.H. Low’s The Loneliness of Former Constellations,” Varsha Dinesh’s The Demon Sage’s Daughter,” Nadia Shammas’ The Centre of the Universe,” and B. Pladek’sAll Us Ghosts” were on the annual Locus Magazine’s recommended reading list. We are so very grateful to all these writers for trusting us with their work.

On to speculative poetry! Jack Kin Lim’s “Kuala Lumpur Urban Legends” and Arden Eli Hill’s None of the Star Trek Ships are Named After Confederate Generals” were both finalists at this year’s Ignyte Awards. Maria Zoccola’s dry land” received an Honorable Mention at the Rhysling Awards (short form), while P.H. Low’sOde” and Audrey Zheng’s “Adam-Ondi-Ahman” were finalists. Morgan L. Ventura’s Dispatch from a Ruin in Mitla, the Town of Souls” was a finalist in the long-form category. And finally, Yuna Kang’sFuneral for a Star” and Merie Kirby’sMother” were finalists at the Dwarf Star Awards.

At Strange Horizons, we take genre non-fiction as seriously as we take fiction. We were thrilled that two of our pieces were nominated for the Ignyte Award in Creative Non-Fiction: Monte Lin’s Where Will You Place Us When We Are Dead” and Fargo Tbakhi, N.A. Mansour, and Rasha Abdulhadi’s Palestinian Speculative Roundtable.”

Our editor, Maureen Kincaid Speller, won the Karl Wagner Award for services to the genre, awarded by the British Fantasy Society. Maureen left us soon after, and she remains much loved, and much mourned, by everyone at Strange Horizons, and in the genre community beyond.

We are always proud and grateful for the recognition that the genre community extends to the work we publish. But what has always been—and continues to be—the centre of our work is the desire to engage with genre in all its diversity. Our globally distributed editorial collective reflects that, and our proudest moments come when we are someone’s first sale, when we publish writers from outside the global North, and when those two things intersect. This year, our magazine was visited half a million times, by people from 216 countries. And while there is, of course, a long way to go—both for ourselves, and for the genre—when it comes to genuine inclusivity, we hope to be a part of that progress.

With that, we bid farewell to 2022, and welcome 2023. May it bring us many more beautiful SF stories, poetry, art, conversations, and critique.

Gautam Bhatia is an Indian speculative fiction writer, and the co-ordinating editor of Strange Horizons. He is the author of the science fiction duology, The Wall (HarperCollins India, 2020) and The Horizon (HarperCollins India, 2021). Both novels featured on Locus Magazine's year-end recommended reading list, and The Wall was shortlisted for the Valley of Words Award for English-language fiction. His short stories have appeared in The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction and LiveMint magazine. He is based in New Delhi, India.
Current Issue
30 Jan 2023

In January 2022, the reviews department at Strange Horizons, led at the time by Maureen Kincaid Speller, published our first special issue with a focus on SF criticism. We were incredibly proud of this issue, and heartened by how many people seemed to feel, with us, that criticism of the kind we publish was important; that it was creative, transformative, worthwhile. We’d been editing the reviews section for a few years at this point, and the process of putting together this special, and the reception it got, felt like a kind of renewal—a reminder of why we cared so much.
It is probably impossible to understand how transformative all of this could be unless you have actually been on the receiving end.
Some of our reviewers offer recollections of Maureen Kincaid Speller.
Criticism was equally an extension of Maureen’s generosity. She not only made space for the text, listening and responding to its own otherness, but she also made space for her readers. Each review was an invitation, a gift to inquire further, to think more deeply and more sensitively about what it is we do when we read.
When I first told Maureen Kincaid Speller that A Closed and Common Orbit was among my favourite current works of science fiction she did not agree with me. Five years later, I'm trying to work out how I came to that perspective myself.
Cloud Atlas can be expressed as ABC[P]YZY[P]CBA. The Actual Star , however, would be depicted as A[P]ZA[P]ZA[P]Z (and so on).
In the vast traditions that inspire SF worldbuilding, what will be reclaimed and reinvented, and what will be discarded? How do narratives on the periphery speak to and interact with each other in their local contexts, rather than in opposition to the dominant structures of white Western hegemonic culture? What dynamics and possibilities are revealed in the repositioning of these narratives?
a ghostly airship / sorting and discarding to a pattern that isn’t available to those who are part of it / now attempting to deal with the utterly unknowable
Most likely you’d have questioned the premise, / done it well and kindly then moved on
In this special episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, reviews editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland introduce audio from a 2018 recording for Jonah Sutton-Morse’s podcast Cabbages and Kings which included Maureen Kincaid Speller discussing with Aisha and Jonah three books: Everfair by Nisi Shawl, Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan, and The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar.
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By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
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