Size / / /

for Diana Wynne Jones, 1934—2011

Is it enough to claim I am your daughter?

I have some twenty books, remembered laughter,

my index-finger callus, ink, and paper.

I have my smirk at others' fear of author/fathers,

all my shame

at putting my words next to yours in the world's eyes.

Not grief enough to break the thought of after—

no personal acquaintance to cause pain—

only pain

beyond all hubris. (Hubris lies.)

My inheritance is shadows on the water,

swirls of vapor,

the cast of mind that turns my words to fire.

Is that enough to make me truly yours?

Since you and I have always shared a room.

I share shelf space with my mother.

Isn't that the voice of doom?

Over and over women hear our mothers are

swallowing swelled selves, made into vampire

by that endless need for us to be not-other.

If you'd ever borne my body,

you could never be my mother.

Or is that another lie, from Freud, or Bloom,

incestuous snarls of academic boors?

You'll never see the books I want to write you.

I will still write.

The snaking plot, the masking and unmasking

of my self in print will be, in part, your work,

beloved influence, still with me for the asking,

and also dead.

I hope that is all right.

My grief and love cannot drive me to fight you,

or make you less than mother in my head.

The things I have from you are all I had.

Your words are still the way I know your voice.

The instruments I could consult agree

the day you died

no page of yours was changed.

You're still exactly where you were to me.

Except—the books became estranged

from everything behind them, from the choice

of name and weight-word, villain, worldview, glad

fierce glory of the act of writing

when you died.

No loss is free.

We lost your doors.




Lila Garrott lives in Cambridge with her wife. Her hair is blue and her eyes are brown. She recently completed a project in which she read and reviewed a book every day for a year. Her poetry has appeared previously in this magazine and others, and her fiction and criticism in wildly scattered venues.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?
Tuesday: Genre Fiction: The Roaring Years by Peter Nicholls 
Wednesday: HellSans by Ever Dundas 
Thursday: Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052-2072 by M. E. O'Brien and Eman Abdelhadi 
Friday: House of the Dragon Season One 
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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