Size / / /

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gut-shot soldiers take half a day to die. I’ve seen them, walking around with their bowels in their arms like dirty-washing.—Arthur Shelby (Peaky Blinders)

May flattens into vegetation. I plow the hour. unearth cassava
stalks. the fuming starch, imploding at chest-level—
they strain the elasticity binding my lung.
breath, spilt with gunpowder.

I walk the cyborgs to their slaughterhouse:
alien, gunning them to a killed posture—in poisoned surrender.

the heat solves their core into chemistry.
I dust the formula off the tough ground,
& science rewards me with black temper.
I dare death to harbor me.

a boy is at best—a harmless fricative; than a movable gerund.
grief only italicizes the suffering, to match skin.
styles the bone into font, where blood warms up to longing.
rib, throbbing towards light.

the cyborgs damage my person.
calls me: sin in jumpsuit, escorting a nanobot to hang.
plastic accomplice—short circuited.

I dress the humming corpse. body, pulsing ambergris.
we’re flammable with each passing breath.

when my heart skips a beat, It doubles over with loss:
force, acting on impulse—to erase nuclear force.

I bend the law. crack the spine of cactus & passerine birds.
stir stamina into stamen. flaws, toned to flora.

I wish to drag my loin past the wrath of lightning.
my arm—electrocuted in the belief.

I awake, full of shouting.
unfurl into an orchard of failed sciences.
I, lab rat: puppet for self-discovery.
I—evolutionary biology, going nowhere.



[Editor’s Note: Publication of this poem was made possible by a gift from Elizabeth R. McClellan during our annual Kickstarter.]

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English and literature from the University of Benin. He is the author of the chapbook Nature knows a little about Slave Trade, selected by Tate N. Oquendo (Sundress Publication, 2023). His works have been previously published or are forthcoming in FIYAH, Fantasy Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, The Deadlands, Timber Ghost Press, Haven Spec Magazine, Utopian Science Fiction, Penumbric Speculative Poetry & Fiction Magazine, and elsewhere. He is a three-time Best of the Net and six-time Pushcart Nominee. He tweets @Samuelsamba10.
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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