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Dr. Sexpot in the Rose Garden

Dr. Sexpot walks the glowing paths of the midnight garden
heavy with ynth. We don’t feel ynth yet. But Dr. S is from

the future, and her ynth is strong like a dark star. Today a
space laser broke on her shift. Then she lost a drone in the

Gone Zone. And let us not speak of Tedward Kent. Ted Kent
is a dank pit. Dr. S drops to sit on a city bench. All around,

roses glow in nebula tints. Nothing can touch this ynth.
She’s tried sexercise. A tryst with that Venusian sexpat.

A sextragalactic sexodus to the seaside. Dr. Sexpot fingers
her ray gun, wonders if its handle will fit up in her. She

attempts it. Her ynth only deepens. What is ynth? It is a
many-mouthed monster named Mothmeat disguised as a lost

child. It’s that time someone you trusted bit your lips to
shreds. It’s a punch-pink rambler rose snaking up from the

rich soaked mulch of sheer regret. Dr. S re-sheathes her
gun. Galaxy patterns flower across her skin, an unbearable

itch. A story her mother used to tell began: “Three sisters
were witches, but one of them wasn’t.” To be the unwitched

sister is to know ynth. To be a spacesuit filled with blood on
a planet filled with spacesuits filled with blood. Dr. Sexpot

looks up. Stars wink. The moon’s a gibbous slit. It pierces
the asteroid shard of her heart. It inks an arc to her gut. She

clasps her stronger hand with her weaker hand till it hurts.
She stuffs her fist in her mouth. She gnaws her fist till it

cracks. Then she stops. It was plunging into cosmic dust.
It was earthshine rush, being drenched in Ted Kent. She

takes a step. Another step. Dr. S walks the paths of the petal-
strewn park on the earth of her world in the dark of her dress.


Dr. Sexpot and the Snails of Saturn

Dr. S stops at a stand of emerald roses the color of her hair.
She strokes a rose lightly with her red nails. Its toxic thorns

engorge. The air is still, but the rosebush rustles. She whips
to a defensive stance. Three snails inch from the innards of

the roses. They’re the size of finches half-eaten by cats.
We are the snails of Saturn, the smallest one says. We were

drawn by the intensity of your ynth. Dr. Sexpot picks it up.
It swells from her palm to the inside of her wrist. Another

snail slides from the guts of the bush. Its eyestalks gleam
softly. Ynth begins with us, the smallest snail says, gliding

its way upward. When we colonized earth’s parks, spores of
ynth came with us, concealed in the whorls of our shells.

Two more snails surge from the bush, more snails than roses
now. The smallest one crosses the moons of her breasts. It

moves up her neck to her ear and curves its snout inside.
Dr. Sexpot’s throat gets tight. It is good to be touched.

Your ynth is vast and sweet, like rosehip jam and ruin,
the snail says. It undulates back down her neck. We snails

have built up a resistance. Our ooze lessens the effects of
ynth until it leaves you for another host. More snails pop up

near the base of the bush. They are coming up out of the
ground. Dr. S plucks the smallest snail off her neck with a

wet smack. She slips it in her mouth and squishes it like
strawberry candy. She sucks and sucks, but nothing happens,

and Dr. Sexpot sees she has been deceived. Ynth feels
worse than you can imagine, but you’ll know soon enough.


Dr. Sexpot at the Roller Rink

Dr. S rolls solo in the midst of the crush like a circling
goldfish in her glitter skates, the only human in the universe

too sad for Saturday night. That old familiar sense of going
nowhere, too fast to stop. She glides by lovers, tangled

together like thorns. Near the snack stand, a child beams at
a blazing cake. She skates past Thunderfunk, who smiles

down at her from the DJ booth. Her traitor heart leaps. She
looks away. Thunderfunk is a mistake in waiting. But his

his voice on the mic smiles still: This goes out to a lady
who doesn’t know how loved she is
. A song comes on, a

song released the year of Dr. Sexpot’s birth, the year of the
apocalypse novel, the hero throws his girl to the rats. It all

comes back to ynth. And yet: breathing people spiral out
from the center of the rink like the open arms of a galaxy,

and Dr. Sexpot is part of the galaxy, isn’t she? Just as much
as any dark matter, isn’t she? Hold me now. Hold my heart.

Thunderfunk’s cut spins like the wheels the stars appear to
be from where we are. Dr. Sexpot accelerates. She laps the

lovers. She zips so fast the jeweled gels of the rink lights
become a warp speed blur, the disco ball splinters like a

doomed moon in a fool’s song, until she is lightyears away,
until the big chill, the big crunch, the big split, until ynth is

just the last luckless mollusk adrift in the blast that’s the
end of the ‘verse: melting away as it’s moving along.

Sarah Kathryn Moore holds an MFA in Poetry and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Washington. A former Hugo House Fellow, her work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Electric Lit, Poetry Northwest, The Journal, and elsewhere. The Dr. Sexpot universe is expanding—sign up for updates to follow her into the great beyond.
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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