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Dear Property Developer, could I have my ceiling fan back?
The throaty creak, rust peeking out beneath that mottled teal paint
and me, tangled in electric cord and puppeteered by the swinging blades.

To them, it never mattered how or why I came to be this marionette, only
that they caught me half-revealed by a flickering bulb in my foreman’s shack
at the mining pool’s edge. Imagine my frustration when the megamall was built—
hard to scare construction workers when you’ve kept them staring at their feet.

Last week, my wife whom you may know (she works by the highway, waiting
for gentle souls to offer help before unhinging her jaw and swallowing them whole)
reported that no one would stop for the old lady who wandered onto the road.
Sports cars like silver boulders just swerving around that unsteady silhouette,
splashing cold grey water on her like the strokes of a rattan cane. By morning
she was found on the retirement centre’s yard; no one quite understood the tale
of a snake-toothed woman cradling her and how dotted road markings look
so much like White Rabbit milk candy from up high.

As for myself? Trapped on your premises, I sprang upon a young man
working late one night and can you believe he couldn’t even speak Hakka?
He came to reset the rat traps, and when I told my wife
how he swept one bloated mother and a litter of dead pups
into his black plastic bag without a second glance or sigh,
we agreed the world was diving into a dark, incenseless exorcism.

Dear Property Developer, from one monster to another:
I’m scared. I have nowhere to hang from but your air-con unit,
and it makes me shiver all night.



Lim Jack Kin is a Malaysian poet, podcaster, and arts writer. He was previously featured in Malaysian Millennial Voices. Jack also founded and led KITA!, an arts-anthology podcast featuring poetry, short fiction, and music from local and regional artists. He tweets, sometimes a bit too much, @JackKinLim.
Current Issue
27 Mar 2023

close calls when / I’m with Thee / dressed to the nines
they took to their heels but the bird was faster.
In this episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Reviews Editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland talk to novelist, reviewer, and Strange Horizons’ Co-ordinating Editor, Gautam Bhatia, about how reviewing and criticism of all kinds align—and do not—with fiction-writing and the genre more widely.
If the future is here, but unevenly distributed, then so is the past.
He claims that Redlow used to be a swamp and he has now brought them into the future before the future. Yes he said that.
My previous Short Fiction Treasures column was all about science fiction, so it’s only fair that the theme this time around is fantasy.
I’ve come to think of trans-inclusive worldbuilding as an activist project in itself, or at least analogous to the work of activists. When we imagine other worlds, we have to observe what rules we are creating to govern the characters, institutions, and internal logic in our stories. This means looking at gender from the top down, as a regulatory system, and from the bottom up, at the people on the margins whose bodies and lives stand in some kind of inherent opposition to the system itself.
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