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In a deciduous maze,
little Lego wakes up
after a millennium
of cowardice.

His timid, minifigure self, constructed to be a toy,
annealed mixture of
bias and xenophobia,
escaped to the dreamland
in a storm, an evolution swept his nation
Malus Domestica.

Wild plastic blossoms
have flourished. Promiscuous
pomes have divided and conquered
every interlocking spaces. Strayed
in a retrograde amnesia, his memory
is coming back as bits and pieces.

"The Genesis is over,
You have no more chances."
With an apple falling on his head
he hears Iðunn's giggle
and turns wide awake

and runs through the barricade
of pedicels and vines, swings his
short arms and forky hands. His spiritus,
combusting, nervous,
antsy respiration kindles
the white LEDs under his feet, when he comes close
to his old home, an antique city built inside
Citrus Sinensis.
At the end of the road
a wide world opens in front of him:

light, pollens, hexagons
anti-gravitating in the air.
Miss Halictida,
are dancing with satin skirts
in the halo of carpenter bees.
"A rule of creative destruction,
he can never learn to embrace."

Sitting by his honey kylix
Osmia Lignaria, The Wise Bee of Alveus,
greatest skald of the Eusocial, sarcastically
depicts in his fiction, 1734,
during the industrial revolution,

and the Pollinator Protest.
"With the conservative belief
he is back to hibernation, in despondence
for another thousand years."




Liu Chengyu came from China nine years ago and is currently living in San Diego. He loves poetry and doing research on proteins. You are welcome to read his previous works in Strange Horizons, Aphelion, Grievous Angel, Silver Blade, and Abyss & Apex.
Current Issue
27 Mar 2023

close calls when / I’m with Thee / dressed to the nines
they took to their heels but the bird was faster.
In this episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Reviews Editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland talk to novelist, reviewer, and Strange Horizons’ Co-ordinating Editor, Gautam Bhatia, about how reviewing and criticism of all kinds align—and do not—with fiction-writing and the genre more widely.
If the future is here, but unevenly distributed, then so is the past.
He claims that Redlow used to be a swamp and he has now brought them into the future before the future. Yes he said that.
My previous Short Fiction Treasures column was all about science fiction, so it’s only fair that the theme this time around is fantasy.
I’ve come to think of trans-inclusive worldbuilding as an activist project in itself, or at least analogous to the work of activists. When we imagine other worlds, we have to observe what rules we are creating to govern the characters, institutions, and internal logic in our stories. This means looking at gender from the top down, as a regulatory system, and from the bottom up, at the people on the margins whose bodies and lives stand in some kind of inherent opposition to the system itself.
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By: Catherine Rockwood
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Issue 23 Jan 2023
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