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It’s possible, you know,
despite what Carl Sagan said
for life to survive in such an inhospitable place,
in such a barren and noxious landscape.
The knowledge to do so is kept secret,
passed down through maternal lines—
mother to daughter,
with each successive generation becoming unwilling keepers of ancient techniques.

The first trick is to make yourself small,
so small that you’re not even a shadow of your former self.
You see, it’s all about surface area ratios,
so when temperatures are hot enough to melt lava
the heat will pass right on by
without touching you.

The next trick is the most vital to remember:
when immersed in that sulfuric acid atmosphere,
don’t try to speak,
ever.
It will always be the wrong answer,
and there’s too much carbon dioxide in the air
waiting to poison you.
Instead, train your vocal cords to forget how to function,
teach them how to forget to form words—in time, they will close of their own accord.

Side-note: if at first you struggle with this technique, biting your tongue may help.

Why would anyone want to live on Venus, you ask?

Well, it wasn’t always like this.

Back before the atmosphere grew thick,
it was nice—
there were oceans of life-giving water
offering promises of a beautiful future.
And if it weren’t for all the clouds,
I could show you proof of those ancient shorelines—
forever etched like scar tissue in the terrain.
Endless years of volcanic activity transformed Venus from habitable to hell.
But it’s not Venus’s fault;
it’s doing the best it can.
You’ll have to adapt.

Oh, one last thing before you go:
years are shorter on Venus,
225 days to Earth’s gentle 365.
Should you choose to stay,
make sure to adjust your life expectancy accordingly.



In elementary school, Symantha spent recess reading and writing poems.  She's the first in her family to attend college, graduating with a B.A in English Literature and went on to earn an M.F.A in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.  She's now a writer in the video game industry.

Current Issue
21 Sep 2020

The day the last qawwal was killed, my childhood city, already known for its lethal silence, for its censorship of words, for its refusal to listen, went into a deep deep quiet.
By: Aqdas Aftab
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Aqdas Aftab's “Quiet.”
You like that every single word, image, and idea in my poetry has meaning and is put there for a reason, so when you ask about the plant in my poem and need to know more about it. . .
By: David Clink
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents David Clink's “Back Story.”
Friday: The Supernova Era by Cixin Liu, translated by Joel Martinsen 
Issue 14 Sep 2020
By: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Blackford
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Sep 2020
By: Catherynne M. Valente
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Bethany Powell
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bethany Powell
Issue 31 Aug 2020
By: R.B. Lemberg
By: Julia Rios
By: Sonya Taaffe
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: R.B. Lemberg
Podcast read by: Julia Rios
Podcast read by: Sonya Taaffe
Issue 24 Aug 2020
By: Leslie J. Anderson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Leslie J. Anderson
Issue 17 Aug 2020
By: Emma Törzs
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liz Adair
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Aug 2020
By: Anya Johanna DeNiro
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Laura Cranehill
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 3 Aug 2020
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Issue 20 Jul 2020
By: Ranylt Richildis
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: JD Fox
By: JD Fox
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: JD Fox
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for our Mexico Special issue, which will be published at the end of November 2020!
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons lanza su convocatoria en busca textos narrativos para su Especial de México, que se publicará a finales de noviembre de 2020!
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