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Hallo dearest and most strange fam. Today we are going to listen to the final instalment of the Scream trilogy by Wally K Daly. Now, I’m not saying that anyone cares, but supposing they do, here is what this story contains so far:

  • Dudes being captured by aliens and then given sixth sense powers by said aliens and sent back to earth. We are currently invested in one of these dudes named Tom Harris.
  • These dudes then attempt to harness this power and teach others how to do this so the aliens can’t take over.
  • This leads to the creation of psychotic kids who Tom Harris is responsible for, but he says he isn’t responsible for them because he’s an ass.
  • Then Tom Harris’s baby Sam got his mind infiltrated by the aliens. And the psychotic mindreading kids were sent into orbit where they are just hanging around I guess.

As we can see, ANYTHING could happen in part three. So here we go, this is With A Whimper To The Grave. It’s an hour and a half long fam so gird all available loins.


Unfortunately, the proceedings have opened with Sam the creepy baby.

It’s the most horrible baby voice I have ever heard in my life. And that’s including that kid from Vivarium.

You know, I kind of love the fact that the aliens sound like old English dudes.

MEANWHILE! The prime minister proposes to disband the magical group of sixth sensors because the aliens never came anyways.

I forgot about the aliens not coming! Seems like that would be something one would mention in a recap, no?

Tom Harris has now decided that it is the correct time to enter his son’s mind.

I would be very scared of going anywhere near this baby.

Tom Harris is now having feelings, mostly about the psychotic kids in outer space, and how they became psychotic.

His wife Sally says it’s not his fault but bro, it kind of is.

MEANWHILE! The consensus in the prime minister’s gang is that we are free of the aliens and the psychotic kids which means we won.

Anyway, the aliens are apparently in the back of the creepy baby’s mind and they have strict instructions not to destroy Tom. YET!


For the past three days, Tom has been inside his kid’s head while his body seems to be dead.

Sally is like, no Tom is still alive he’s just inside my baby’s mind talking to the aliens.

We have just received news from the new lady PM that all the primary sixth sense dudes from all over the world are in the same state as Tom.

Have they all gone inside the minds of nearby babies?

Now what is happening? I think two government officials named Silken? and Jeffrey are talking to each other.

One of them just referred to the Religious Manifestation Division of the Ministry of Defence, which I’m absolutely sure was in Harry Potter.

All these British civil servants sound very bitchy.

Anyway, Silken is going to send Jeffrey on some mission to get Tom’s body and bring it back.

Why though?

Silken has given Jeffrey a necklet, which is not a necklace, and which will block Sally from reading his thoughts.

Oh, I think he’s going with AP Smith, that guy who kept making people admire his ID photo.

Back home, Sally is just hanging out with a corpse basically and the doctor is telling her not to do that.

Sally is literally throwing the doctor around with her mind wtf, Sally don’t do that!

I think she just threw him out the window.

Sally you are better than that.

That sound we are now hearing is Harris, who seems to be in a tremendous amount of pain.

He has no body though. So what this pain is we don’t know.

A broken heart perhaps? Disillusionment? Gas?

We are now back with the PM gang, who informs us that the whole world is incinerating all the catatonic sixth sensor bodies before their minds have a chance to come back. Which seems kind of mean.

The plan is for Jeffrey and AP to grab Tom’s body after luring Sally away with …  walk.

It’s not the greatest plan bros.

In other news, the alien has revealed its true form to Tom. It is a sparkle.

It’s a little disappointing, to be honest.

Actually, it’s very disappointing, I was hoping for something with teeth growing out of its eyeballs or something.

Jeffrey and AP have decided to send creepy baby Sam away to his grandmother’s so that Tom can’t come back again via the baby brain.

Imagine you’re just having your own little out of body experience and while you’re gone, someone sets your body on fire. So rude.

The aliens seem to be shocked that Tom Harris is having a lot of trouble with this having-no-body-talking-to-aliens thing.

Aliens, I am shocked you find this shocking.

In order to make the experience easier, they have re-created Tom Harris’s best day ever in his head, and appeared as his dead dad.

Y’all could have done this without the dead dad imo.

Guess what guys! The aliens are being super-vulnerable with us right now, and saying how they were doing all this kidnapping-dudes-sixth sense stuff to save Earth!

How exactly this helps Earth I don’t know.

Anyway, they’re not into that idea anymore and have a new idea now.

The new idea is to have the sixth sensors oversee the end of humanity.

Oh wait! The aliens have just discovered that all the primary sixth sensor bodies have been incinerated. Everyone except Tom, that is.

And now because the creepy baby has been taken away, Tom is stuck in … wherever he is stuck in.

Did I mention that the baby kept saying Dada when it was taken away? It was the worst.

Frankly I am impressed that I can keep track of anything going on here.

I’m not saying I’m keeping track correctly of course.

So remember how AP and Jeffrey were supposed to lure Sally out for a walk? For some strange reason, this has actually worked. And she’s basically showing off her powers to AP now.

AP tells her that she put that doctor in the hospital, you suck Sally, you really do.

So what happened means Sally realises she can’t read Jeffrey’s mind, she finds out that he has taken Tom’s body away, so she strangles him, and his necklet falls off, and all is revealed to Sally.

AP didn’t know about any of this either and now he is like Jeffrey you have tarnished my honour!

Everyone hates Jeffrey right now.

So Tom is on his way to be incinerated but then the incinerating dudes noticed something amazing happening but they won’t tell us what it was.

Tom seems to have disappeared from the having-no-body state too and the alien is sad.

In an effort to regain his honour, AP has asked Sally for some sixth sense powers.

Ok so if I understand things correctly, when they tried to incinerate Tom’s body, he just floated untouched in the flames, so they are bringing Tom back home because what else to do with him

They are going to drop a neutron bomb on the house.

What if he floats around untouched in the explosion though?

AP now has all the sixth sense powers and has used Jeffrey’s mind to go find Tom.

Why, I couldn’t tell you though.

AP is inside Jeffrey’s mind and hesitating to go beyond the vale to see the aliens. Go on AP, it’s not so bad.

I did forget about all the pain that happens, sorry bro.

The alien council wants to meet AP. It’s just going to be a bunch of sparkles I guess.

Sally seems to have lost her powers!

Ok, so the alien council has revealed to AP that humanity is in fact a failed experiment and we are going to be terminated.

How you ask? In nine months, they are going to wipe us out via mass sterilisation.

Well, there are worse ways to go.

Oh and they’ve taken back all the sixth sense powers.

So no good news all round.

There goes the bomb I guess, bye everyone.

Wait, they don’t seem to be dead.

You know why? Because Tom became alive, like with a body and all, and he dismantled the bomb, left it in the middle of the kitchen table and teleported AP, Sally, and himself out of there.

This is like a ’70s Tamil movie.

Well, all seems to be well. Tom et al are reunited in an underground bunker. And the creepy baby is saying hello to some new aliens who are going to come when the old aliens leave. Good to know!

Fam, I have so many questions. Like, why isn’t anyone more concerned about the whole mass sterilisation thing? What about the psychotic kids in space? Did they lose their powers too? In which case, did they just fall out of orbit? Shouldn’t y’all be a little more concerned about them even though they were psychotic? I guess I could listen to this again to find my answers, but I am absolutely not going to do that ever. Anyway, join us next time where we will explore another oldish radio play and express all our feelings about it. Bai dears.

Kuzhali Manickavel's collections Things We Found During the Autopsy, Insects Are Just like You and Me except Some of Them Have Wings, and chapbooks The Lucy Temerlin Institute for Broken Shapeshifters Guide to Starving Boys and Eating Sugar, Telling Lies are available from Blaft Publications, Chennai. Her work has also appeared in Granta, Strange Horizons, Agni, Subtropics, Michigan Quarterly Review, and DIAGRAM. She used to blog at She's now at
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.
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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?
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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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