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Happy Monday! Below you'll find the third installment in our series of personal essays by Strange Horizons authors discussing what the magazine has meant to them. Enjoy!


Some people write poetry. Other people write fairy tales. I write stories about civic infrastructure. About public records; about sewage plants; about local government administration; about how regulations are written; about who regulates the regulators; about how people divide resources in a time of scarcity; about paperwork. Sometimes my stories have magic, other times they have spaceships, but I’m fundamentally preoccupied with bureaucracy.

I am the least cool person alive.

But I am a professional writer, because in 2014 Strange Horizons bought a story of mine that I nearly didn’t submit. It had magic in it, and a friendship, and a lighthouse: but for the most part it was about the infrastructure of the mind, and why that matters. I've since sold another dozen stories on similar themes, including two more to Strange Horizons, and I’m still grateful. Not just for asking me to contribute, nor just for giving me my first pro sale, although they did, but for saying: you’re a weirdo but we like you. Your stories have a place, and so do you.

Iona Datt Sharma is a writer, lawyer and the product of more than one country. Their first short story collection, Not For Use in Navigation, was published in 2019. Their other work can be found at and they tweet as @singlecrow.
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