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When I think of Strange Horizons, I think of rejection. This word, rejection, sums up the magazine’s value to the field. These horizons are strange, glittering, and uncompromising. To reach those peaks, those fabled indigo regions, you have to work.

When I think of Strange Horizons, I remember the many rejections I received from the magazine’s editors when I was starting to write short stories. Some of these memories make me cringe. What must they have thought of the almost novella-length, terribly predictable, vaguely Beowulfish thing? What about the thing with the factory? The one about the dogs? These stories were exercises and I sent them to the magazine in a flush of hope. Certainly, I was cast down when they were rejected. But I was never made to feel I should not try again.

I was made to feel that the only solution was to keep writing.

I would read the stories in Strange Horizons. How they beamed toward me over the distance. Such different concepts, sources, and styles—yet they shared a certain crispness, a tension, a magic. I knew I belonged here. My best belonged here.

Rejection: sometimes, a tender word.

Sofia Samatar is the author of the novels A Stranger in Olondria and The Winged Histories. She is the recipient of the William L. Crawford Award, the John W. Campbell Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award. Her first short story collection, Tender, is now available from Small Beer Press.
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