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A thousand Persephones lie bleeding in the Lethe,

a thousand more cross on Charon's armada,

proud brows gleaming, hair windswept,

the first shawls they made once they taught themselves to knit

clutched to their shoulders, flak-jacket secure.

Behind the sandbags crouch the grunts of Hades, primed to feed

a thousand chains of regret through greasy barrels.

We peer through sniper slots

at the enemy's gowned grace,

shudder, rub our hands, wish for breath

to warm our palms, wait sadly for the order

to serve the feast.


His first short story collection, The Button Bin and Other Stories, is forthcoming from Dagan Books, and his first novel, The Black Fire Concerto, is slated to come out from Black Gate. His short fiction has appeared most recently in Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Not One of Us, with more on the way in Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction. Many more of his poems can be found in the Strange Horizons archives.



Mike Allen is president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and editor of the speculative poetry journal Mythic Delirium. With Roger Dutcher, Mike is also editor of The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, which for the first time collects the Rhysling Award-winning poems from 1978 to 2004 in one volume. His newest poetry collection, Disturbing Muses, is out from Prime Books, with a second collection, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead, soon to follow. Mike's poems can also be found in Nebula Awards Showcase 2005, both editions of The 2005 Rhysling Anthology, and the Strange Horizons archives.
Current Issue
26 Sep 2022

Would a Teixcalaanli aristocrat look up at the sky, think of Lsel Station, and wonder—with Auden—"what doubtful act allows/ Our freedom in this English house/ our picnics in the sun"?
I propose that The Expanse and its ilk present us with a similar sentiment, in reverse—a warning that for all the promise of futurism and technological advancement, plenty of new, and perhaps much worse futures are right before us. In the course of outrunning la vieux monde, we may find that we are awaited not simply by new worlds to win, but also many more which may yet be lost.
where oil slurped up out of the dirt, they drink the coffee
Science fiction is a genre that continues to struggle with its own colonialist history, of which many of its portrayals of extractivism are a part. Science fiction is also a genre that has a history of being socially progressive and conscious – these are both truths.
Bring my stones, my bones, back to me
If we are to accept that the extractive unconscious is latent, is everywhere, part of everything, but unseen and unspoken, and killing us in our waking lives, then science fiction constitutes its dreams.
they are quoting Darwish at the picket & i am finally breathing again
Waste is profoundly shaping and changing our society and our way of living. Our daily mundane world always treats waste as a hidden structure, together with its whole ecosystem, and places it beyond our sight, to maintain the glories of contemporary life. But unfortunately, some are advantaged by this, while others suffer.
Like this woman, I am carrying the world on my back.
So we’re talking about a violence that supplants the histories of people and things, scrubbing them clean so that they can fuel the oppressive and unequal status quo it sustains.
Issue 21 Sep 2022
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Issue 29 Aug 2022
By: Cat T.
Issue 22 Aug 2022
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Issue 18 Jul 2022
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