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At Strange Horizons, we have always relied on the kindness of friends. It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that our donor's choice special issue for 2021 is titled—simply—Friendship.

Friendships come in a multiverse of shapes and forms, but at the heart of it all, they allow us—if only for a few moments—to beat back the loneliness of the world. Friendships can take different hues and colours, but at their best they are uncommodified sanctuaries in a world in which even the social, and not just the economic, must ceaselessly battle capitalism's drive towards commodification. And if the task of speculative fiction, as Le Guin taught us, is to imagine alternatives to how we live, then ideas of friendship must always be at the centre of our speculative projects.

The stories, poetry, and non-fiction in this issue explore the meaning of friendship in different ways. The first two poems also embody the idea: the second was commissioned as a companion - or a friend - of the first.

We hope, friends, that you will enjoy them.


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.
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17 Jun 2024

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