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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
20 Sep 2021

Jaysee reported to decontamination, wondering why there hadn’t been a revolt by the augmented long before.
By: Clara Ward
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
In this episode of the Strange Horizons fiction podcast, editor Kat Kourbeti presents Clara Ward's "Motivation Augmentation."
"When we die again, I want to come back as a little brown bat," / I tell the only other person alive.
Art by: Courtney Skaggs
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Courtney Skaggs' “The Little Death After the Apocalypse.”
Issue 13 Sep 2021
By: Steve Castro
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Sep 2021
By: Yuna Kang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Yuna Kang
By: B. Pladek
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 30 Aug 2021
By: Ian Goh
By: Andy Winter
By: Yong-Yu Huang
By: Sunny Vuong
By: Natalie Wang
By: Mark Dimaisip
By: Yvanna Vien Tica
By: Jack Kin Lim
By: May Chong
By: P. H. Low
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Ian Goh
Podcast read by: Yong-Yu Huang
Podcast read by: Sunny Vuong
Podcast read by: Natalie Wang
Podcast read by: Mark Dimaisip
Podcast read by: Yvanna Vien Tica
Podcast read by: Jack Kin Lim
Podcast read by: May Chong
Podcast read by: P. H. Low
Issue 23 Aug 2021
By: Hannah V Warren
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Aug 2021
By: Bryce A. Taylor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bryce A. Taylor
Issue 9 Aug 2021
By: P. H. Low
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 3 Aug 2021
By: H. Pueyo
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
By: M. Regan
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 26 Jul 2021
By: Mary Soon Lee
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Mary Soon Lee
Issue 19 Jul 2021
By: Ian Rosales Casocot
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Nora Claire Miller
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nora Claire Miller
Issue 12 Jul 2021
By: Dante Novario
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Dante Novario
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