Size / / /

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(Step 1)

Do not forget
your crimson cloak
hanging by the door,
whose stains you now alone
must wash in the dust-pregnant
air.

No mother
to see you through.

The red,red color will drive
the wolf into a frenzy.
It will hide
the evidence.

(Step 2)

Make it a sunny day, so you might watch
the blood mist and cast a red-hued sheen
where it drips upon the dry,dry earth.
Only clouds abound?

Burn them.

Burn them away and pick the sun out
of the sky. Make it attend to you
as you prowl the woods
to find your wolf.

(Step 3)

Carry a basket filled with sweets,
with ripened jams, with the thin blades
you sharpen in the gloaming
lit only by the sparse flame you keep
in the hearth of a home which shouts
its tomb-like silence until, ears covered,
you enjoin with it your own
lonely scream.

(Step 4)

Hum a melancholic tune
as you slow to a meander
through woods both dark and deep.

This is Wolf Country.

Let your song rise on twisted breezes
and wash like lurid propositions
over your wolf.

(Step 5)

Notice when your wolf begins to stalk.
Lure it further from its den,
further from the village,
further from all hope.

(Step 6)

The wolf will come to you then.
It will come to you
as Mother-Father-Sister-Brother.
It will prance a merry jig,
cavorting in their clothes,
their gnarled hair still twined
in its blood-stained grin.

The wolf will take you up in dance.
It will take you up in danger.
It will take you up
in ecstasy.

(Step 7)

This  is where I leave you.
This  is where you make your choice.
This  is where you skin your wolf,
where you kill the thing which haunts
you, which has always lain beneath
your bed when night thickens about
your body,
which left
you
alone,
a child, a loss,
a feral creature of the wild
in your own right.

Or, you let the wolf take you.

You unbutton your dress.
The wolf sloughs off your skin.
You scoop out your eyes.
The wolf claws out your heart.
You break off your fingers.
The wolf takes out your soul.
It gobbles you whole.
You join with it,
with Mother-Father-Sister-Brother.

You become
one more dance,
one more costume,
one more trick it plays
to prey upon the living,
but you are no longer alone.
You are no longer alone.

You are no longer alone.



G.E. Woods (they/she) first ran into the arms of horror as a 5-year-old working in haunted houses. Queer, nonbinary, and invisibly disabled, they are a poet, memoirist, and writes SFF/H short fiction and novels. Her short fiction is published in Your Body is Not Your Body and Moonflowers & Nightshade. They talk to the trees near their home outside Chicago. Find her on IG & Twitter @gewoodswrites.
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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2 Jan 2023
Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
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Issue 28 Nov 2022
By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
Issue 21 Nov 2022
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