Size / / /

We were sneezing on haystacks
dry air dusty and spinning with flies
Little Jack was peeling maybugs
like wild kumquats while we lay
intoxicated and warm with our tedium
organic chaise longue under a brushfire sky
stark in a pale field of corn needles.

"We should go," he said
as the dog ran in circles
stirring up his wish mists.

Little Jack sucked his fingers free
of sticky beetle juice.

A while longer resting
fingers now tracing the curves of double-scored
tracks between hunched barns,
counting crows and listening
to cricket whispers in the bone grass.

In the slow creep of delirium
Johnny and Hoagy threatened
to loudly ruin our soft dehydration.
Everything prickled and the dog
draped his tongue, heavy on the side
of his yellow tooth mouth.

Dry summer bad habit
sleeping in the sun
dream shimmer angels
dancing in chalk veils

"We could die if we stay here."

We beat a hasty gingham
blanket, picnic box retreat.

And later
in star syrup darkness
Ra demands
the feverish offering
of our cold water


Copyright © 2002 Lucy A. E. Ward

Reader Comments

Lucy A.E. Ward resides in The Netherlands. Her work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in many publications, including Dreams & Nightmares, Flesh & Blood, Black October, Star*Line, and Elysian Fiction. She is a regular book reviewer for and the itinerant mistress of her own Web site, Little Behemoth's Corner. Her previous publications in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive.

Bio to come.
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.
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By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
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