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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
30 Jun 2020

Finding your community can feel like finding home and family
Something knocks on the door. Esther, dreaming, would like to ignore it. Instead, she blinks awake and grabs her shotgun, because dead things typically call for bullets, not spell work, and whatever wants inside her home is certainly dead.
By: Carlie St. George
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Carlie St. George's “Monsters Never Leave You.”
Beep, she thought, and then said it aloud because she had a beeper and why the hell not. “Beep. Beep.”
By: Janelle C. Shane
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Janelle C. Shane's “68:Hazard:Cold.”
And on the terrace: Célia. Dark fur shining like tar in the moonlight, snout long and wrinkled.
a quake fractured my wall, / but my portraits didn’t fall. / They disappeared one by one
in the name / of Mercy / I wished a wish―which the Universe soon granted―
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents the poetry from the June 29th issue.
By forming their own chosen family as the Sea Salt Trio, Roxas, Axel, and Xion are eventually able to fight for their own lives and purpose.
Issue 22 Jun 2020
By: Neha Maqsood
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Neha Maqsood
Issue 15 Jun 2020
By: Remy Reed Pincumbe
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Preston Grassmann
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Jun 2020
By: Kathleen Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Keaton Bennett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Jun 2020
By: Sheree Renée Thomas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 1 Jun 2020
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Strange Horizons
Issue 25 May 2020
By: Dana Wilde
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 18 May 2020
By: Johnny Compton
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jong-Ki Lim
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 May 2020
By: Gabriela Santiago
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ashley Bao
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 4 May 2020
By: Vida Cruz
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Raimo Kangasniemi
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Apr 2020
By: Tamara Jerée
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: L. D. Lewis
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: L. D. Lewis
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