Imagine yourself as a sword fighter, a vigilante hero and upholder of justice. Imagine you are a xia in the world of jianghu—whether a solitary traveller on a mission, an outlaw on the run, or a member of a powerful sect or dying clan. Or imagine you are a Daoist cultivator, soaring across the sky atop swords and clouds, with a story that stretches across realms and even lifetimes.

Welcome to the Wuxia & Xianxia Special, fellow walkers of the jianghu.

Many of us have become fans of wuxia and xianxia fiction ever since we first encountered eminent wuxia and xianxia authors like Jin Yong, Gu Long, and Huan Zhu Lou Zhu. Others among us fell in love with these genres through films from the Shaw Brothers Studio, Pili puppet shows, drama adaptations, RPGs, manhua, and other kinds of popular media. 

Over the past decade, there has also been a new and revived interest in the xianxia genre with the rise of web novels, and more recently, through the lens of danmei, as shown by the popularity of dramas like The Untamed.

For this special issue, we are interested in:

  • Traditional and new approaches to wuxia and xianxia fiction  
  • Stories full of action, conflict, drama, and intrigue 
  • Rich, diverse, colourful, and nuanced worldbuilding, whether featuring the jianghu, a xianxia world, the imperial court, or other kinds of setting
  • Unique approaches to classic wuxia themes like honour, free love, good versus evil, and individual choice versus fate
  • Re-imaginings of what these genres look like in the 21st century 
  • Works that experiment with, subvert, and reinvent genre tropes, including in combination with other Sinophone literary traditions such as danmei, chuanyue (time travel), gong’an fiction (court case), and beyond 

The editors for the Wuxia/Xianxia Special invite you to submit fiction, poetry, translations, and nonfiction

We welcome writers who are new and experienced. The submissions call is open to BIPOC and racialised writers ONLY, and we especially welcome writers of the Sino/Chinese diaspora who grew up with Hong Kong and Taiwanese serials, with web novels or folktales in translation. We ask writers to be mindful of cultural appropriation. Yellowface is not allowed.

Editorial Team:

Ms. Mia Tsai (she/her) and Ms. Yilin Wang (she/they) for Fiction (2,000 – 7,000 words; please query if longer); Poetry (of any length or complexity); Translations of fiction and poetry from Chinese into English. 

Mx. Joyce Chng (she/they) for Non-Fiction (2,000 – 3,000 words).


Mia is looking for fresh takes on wuxia and xianxia, with new or blended settings that can be historical or contemporary–or set elsewhere. If you have xianxia with a science fiction twist or a science fantasy wuxia, please do submit.

Yilin is interested in stories that take innovative and genre-bending approaches to wuxia and xianxia, especially stories that feature danmei elements, time travelling, and fresh unconventional worldbuilding. 


Yilin is looking for poems that feature elements or themes from wuxia/xianxia literature and from the myths and folklore that have influenced these genres. She encourages submissions that play with form, language, and genre, including works that pay homage to the long tradition of xia poetry written in Classical Chinese. 


Yilin welcomes unpublished translations of wuxia/xianxia fiction and poetry that have been first published in Chinese. She is especially interested in translations of both overlooked classical works that inspired the formation of the wuxia/xianxia genres (such as xia folktales and Tang dynasty “frontier poetry”) and in representative or innovative works by established or emerging wuxia/xianxia writers. 

When you submit, please also include a letter from the rights holder confirming the availability of English translation rights. 


Joyce wants new perspectives on wuxia and xianxia. Essays on intersectionality, the interplay of different cultures and diasporic interpretations are most welcome.

Instructions for Submitting

The submission window for the Wuxia/Xianxia Special Issue will run from 2nd January to 1st March.

Submit to We accept only RTF, DOCX or DOC files in standard manuscript format. Times New Roman, font size 12.

In the SUBMISSION TITLE in Moksha, please write [WUXIA SUB] before the title/name of your work.  You are strongly encouraged to include the name of the editor who you are submitting work to. An example would look like this:

[WUXIA/Fiction:  __(title of story)__ - editor’s name]

Please address the appropriate editor in your cover letter. You can address us by given name, but if you use honorifics, please use the proper ones.

If you would like to include content warnings for your submission, please list them in your cover letter. 

Please email for clarification on any questions and concerns you may have, except for whether or not you will be rejected. We’ll probably just tell you to submit it anyway. Do not self-reject.  Likewise, use the email for queries only. DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR WORK THERE.

Please note: we do not allow simultaneous submissions or reprints for this issue. We also do not allow multiple submissions. (Three poems per submission is allowed). To clarify: We only allow each writer to submit in one category. 

Writers with outstanding Strange Horizons submissions can still submit here.


We look forward to reading your works.



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.
Issue 23 Jan 2023
Issue 16 Jan 2023
Issue 9 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
2 Jan 2023
Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
Issue 2 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
Issue 19 Dec 2022
Issue 12 Dec 2022
Issue 5 Dec 2022
Issue 28 Nov 2022
By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
Issue 21 Nov 2022
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