José González Vargas was born in Maracay, Venezuela and works as a freelance journalist in Spanish and English. He currently runs interviews for Viceversa magazine. In 2015, he was a runner-up in Solsticios, one of the first SF/F short story contests in Venezuela.
Rose Victor grew up in a book-infested house and enjoyed it greatly. She loves words, people, yarn, and classical music – as well as the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and, more recently, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She has some experience with gerbils, mostly positive.
Ethan Chua is a Chinese-Filipino spoken word poet, physics nerd, and occasional shower singer. He’s also the cofounder and literary editor of Ampersand, a literature and art journal for Philippine youth. His work is either forthcoming or published in major Philippine newspapers, The Philippine Graphic, Moledro magazine, and Eunoia Review. Read his work at medium.com/@ezlc327.
Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. Her two latest books are from opposite ends of the poetry spectrum: Elemental Haiku, containing haiku for the periodic table (Ten Speed Press, 2019), and The Sign of the Dragon, an epic fantasy with Chinese elements (JABberwocky Literary Agency, 2020). After twenty-five years, her website has finally been updated: marysoonlee.com.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, and art. For more information, see our about page. All material in Strange Horizons is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission.