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You walk briskly through the middle of a wide plain. You’re satisfied. You’re making good time. The air is crisp, but pleasant as your body warms with exertion. Hard-packed gravel extends to the horizon, but you sense the right direction, a faint incline in the ground. As the hours go on, then the days, the flatness slowly begins to slant. Gravity calls you, draws you back as the slope steepens a little more, imperceptibly, with every step. Finally, you glimpse a great ridge extending across the plain. When you reach the top, you rest at last. Above you, a vast blue sphere circles. You shudder at the thought of its hideous uniformity. Every position the same, without corner or edge. Without reference. Any point may as well be another. A person would walk endlessly there, lost as in a tangled thread. Its surface is a pretense, a mockery of flatness. Its open mouth laughs at you. Turning this way, turning that way. Blasphemy. A sphere is a synonym for deceit.

Peter O’Donovan is a scientist and writer living in Seattle. Originally from the Canadian prairies, he completed his doctorate studying computer science and graphic design from the University of Toronto. He received the Guy Owen Prize from Southern Poetry Review, and his work has appeared in New Ohio Review, The Malahat Review, Tiny Molecules, The MacGuffin, and elsewhere.
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25 Sep 2023

People who live in glass houses are surrounded by dirt birds
After a century, the first colony / of bluebirds flew out of my mouth.
Over and over the virulent water / beat my flame down to ash
In this episode of  Critical Friends , the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Aisha and Dan talk to critic and poet Catherine Rockwood about how reviewing and criticism feed into creative practice. Also, pirates.
Writing authentic stories may require you to make the same sacrifice. This is not a question of whether or not you are ready to write indigenous literature, but whether you are willing to do so. Whatever your decision, continue to be kind to indigenous writers. Do not ask us why we are not famous or complain about why we are not getting support for our work. There can only be one answer to that: people are too busy to care. At least you care, and that should be enough to keep my culture alive.
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