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for my grandmother

The oranges come in little red bags, like Christmas, like comfort, like a country, burning, like the bags a woman carries her country in, and in my brother’s hands is an orange, bursting, and in a soldier’s hands is a woman, opening, and the bags promise that the oranges are seedless, that they are soft, and clean, and dead, and all I can think of is how you told me that after the war, when the men were done with the women, they’d collect their bodies in fields of bags, bulging, ripening, ready—for what are bones if not seeds waiting to be planted, what are bodies if not secrets promised, what is war if not a waiting harvest—and O sweet mother, you watch me and my brother eat, you watch our soft untouched bodies, and we will grow strong, we will forget, and you will remain, remembering—before you, your husband is prostrate in prayer, his body ablaze, and he looks to you, a country in his eyes, his arms reaching, his hands two oranges—

Lydia Abedeen is a rising second-year MFA+MA poetry candidate at Northwestern’s Litowitz Graduate Creative Writing Program. Her scholarly research resides in studying power structures of cults and the depiction of monstrosity and femininity in literature. She is a 2021 Tin House Scholar and a 2021 Bucknell Summer Undergraduate Poetry Fellow, and her writing has been supported by the University of Iowa. She has been published in The Rumpus and is forthcoming in Poetry Online. You can follow her on Twitter @lydia_abedeen.
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
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Strange Horizons
2 Jan 2023
Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
Issue 2 Jan 2023
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Issue 28 Nov 2022
By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
Issue 21 Nov 2022
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