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I’ve always heard that a place is the people you meet. True words, but after co-editing this issue of Strange Horizons, I know truer ones: a place is the stories you tell. Like the authors in this issue, I am a person of color, with roots deep in the Southeastern USA. One of the beauties of this kinship is that as I read their work—and the work of the many brilliant writers whose stories we were unfortunately not able to include in this issue—each word brought me back to my family’s stories and to my own.

These are not the stories told from the outside, that fetishize pain and appropriate joy, mock accents and deride culture, and seek too often to absolve a nation of its deepest sins by denigrating a people and place who know them better than anyone. No, these are the kinds of stories that stay with you, challenge you to think about who you are, make you laugh and cry and rage and always, always, leave you sated but somehow wanting more. They are stories that are not always told and too often ignored, and I am overjoyed that you have the opportunity to read them here.

While the stories in this issue share a deep and common thread, they offer themes and approaches as rich and diverse as the cultures of the South itself. Some confront the history and legacy of slavery—Malena Crawford’s “The People Who Sleep Beneath the Waves” takes a journey in the cramped hold of a slave ship while honoring what came before, and, as importantly, what can be lost and found along the way, while Christopher Caldwell, in “Hide Me in the Shadow of Your Wings” takes to the air, soaring as it examines what it truly means to be free. Others uplift the bonds that tie families and communities together, whatever comes—in “Strange Mercy,” Christopher Alonso eloquently gives voice to a community forged in equal measures by mistreatment and kindness and Troy Wiggins’s “Dying Lessons” paints a picture of a family legacy that is at once modern and magical, unexpected and all too familiar. Others bring culture to life in a new way, with Inda Lauryn’s “Venus Witch’s Ring” composing a piece that rings so true that it seems to cross the line from fiction to biography and Eden Royce cooking up a mouthwatering treat in “Every Good-Bye Ain’t Gone” that mixes love, death, and a little bit of magic to deliver a tale that touches the heart as much as the taste buds.

Each of these stories is special, inventive and beautiful in the way that lingers in your mind long after your eyes have left the page, but if editing this issue has taught me anything—other than a profound respect and gratitude for my co-editors, the Strange Horizons staff, and every single writer who submitted a story to us—it is that they are just the beginning. There are so many stories still to be told, by black and indigenous writers, writers of color, writers from the Southeastern USA, and writers who are all of the above. If you are one of those writers, please, keep writing and keep submitting, keep sharing your work with the world. Your words are important and invaluable, in no small part because they are yours, and we cannot wait to read them.



Erin Roberts is honored to have been a co-editor for this special issue. Her fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, The Dark, and PodCastle, and her essays and reviews have been published in People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy, People of Color Take Over FSI, Cascadia Subduction Zone, and Tor.com. She is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program and the Odyssey Writing Workshop, an Associate Editor for Escape Pod and Pseudopod, and the winner of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s 2017 Diverse Worlds and Diverse Writers Grants. For more, follow her on Twitter at @nirele or visit her at writingwonder.com.
Current Issue
18 Jan 2021

Splinters, old and new. How else can the skin remember the tree? If it hurts, that is the point.
By: Fatima Taqvi
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Courtney Floyd presents "Secrets of the Kath' by Fatima Taqvi. The full text of the story is available here.
Soft Shoulder speaking softly / quick-stop-tongued lanky cur dog / lisping languid in jeans
By: Zach Ozma
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Zach Ozma
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Zach Ozma's “Soft Shoulder (Excerpt)” with a reading by the poet.
The way I see it, this story is full of symbolic touchstones, visual elements with layers of meaning that are not always obvious, or even accessible, to the reader.
Wednesday: Bulbbul 
Issue 11 Jan 2021
By: Ryu Ando
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Nikki Caffier Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 4 Jan 2021
By: Maya Beck
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Burt
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Stephanie Burt
Issue 21 Dec 2020
By: Octavia Cade
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Meep Matsushima
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Meep Matsushima
Issue 14 Dec 2020
By: ML Kejera
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Brigid Nemeton
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Brigid Nemeton
7 Dec 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for the Palestinian Special issue! The issue, edited by Rasha Abdulhadi and Basma Ghalayini will be published at the end of March 2021. We are open for submissions from now until January 31, 2021. Don't wait till the end to send your work!
7 Dec 2020
تقديم الطلبات مفتوح من الان و حتى تاريخ 31 يناير 2021. قدم/ قدمي عملك عاجلا و ليس آجلا!
Issue 7 Dec 2020
By: Toby MacNutt
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Anna Cates
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Dec 2020
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Ateri Miyawatl
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Adam Coon
By: Vraiux Dorós
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
By: Luz Rosales
Translated by: Andrea Chapela
By: Libia Brenda
Translated by: Allana C. Noyes
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast read by: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast: Bromelia (English) 
Podcast: Bromelia (Español) 
Issue 23 Nov 2020
By: Michael Bazzett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Michael Bazzett
Issue 16 Nov 2020
By: Cat Aquino
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Michael Chang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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