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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
18 Jan 2021

Splinters, old and new. How else can the skin remember the tree? If it hurts, that is the point.
By: Fatima Taqvi
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Courtney Floyd presents "Secrets of the Kath' by Fatima Taqvi. The full text of the story is available here.
Soft Shoulder speaking softly / quick-stop-tongued lanky cur dog / lisping languid in jeans
By: Zach Ozma
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Zach Ozma
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Zach Ozma's “Soft Shoulder (Excerpt)” with a reading by the poet.
The way I see it, this story is full of symbolic touchstones, visual elements with layers of meaning that are not always obvious, or even accessible, to the reader.
Wednesday: Bulbbul 
Issue 11 Jan 2021
By: Ryu Ando
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Nikki Caffier Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 4 Jan 2021
By: Maya Beck
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Burt
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Stephanie Burt
Issue 21 Dec 2020
By: Octavia Cade
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Meep Matsushima
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Meep Matsushima
Issue 14 Dec 2020
By: ML Kejera
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Brigid Nemeton
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Brigid Nemeton
7 Dec 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for the Palestinian Special issue! The issue, edited by Rasha Abdulhadi and Basma Ghalayini will be published at the end of March 2021. We are open for submissions from now until January 31, 2021. Don't wait till the end to send your work!
7 Dec 2020
تقديم الطلبات مفتوح من الان و حتى تاريخ 31 يناير 2021. قدم/ قدمي عملك عاجلا و ليس آجلا!
Issue 7 Dec 2020
By: Toby MacNutt
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Anna Cates
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Dec 2020
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Ateri Miyawatl
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Adam Coon
By: Vraiux Dorós
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
By: Luz Rosales
Translated by: Andrea Chapela
By: Libia Brenda
Translated by: Allana C. Noyes
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast read by: Ateri Miyawatl
Podcast: Bromelia (English) 
Podcast: Bromelia (Español) 
Issue 23 Nov 2020
By: Michael Bazzett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Michael Bazzett
Issue 16 Nov 2020
By: Cat Aquino
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Michael Chang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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