Size / / /

This poem is part of our 2016 fund drive bonus issue! Read more about Strange Horizons' funding model, or donate, here.


Content warning:


We changelings measure cost in plastic spoons
(for silver burns, and iron locks the joints
and no enchantment, pills, or fairy runes
can kill our pain for good). When we anoint
with scented balm, beware of lungs, ill-made,
that try to shift to gills or leaves, go tight
and wheeze their fight with air. For we have paid
the price of seeming mortal. Late at night
we'll wonder if our wish was worth the aches,
frustration, glassy-eyed fatigue; the meds,
the minds that struggle, stumble, make mistakes,
the fragile bodies, boring days in beds.
Each precious spoon of living has its price;
for fairy deals are sweet, but never nice.




Shweta Narayan was born in India and has lived in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Scotland, and California. They feel kinship with shapeshifters and other liminal beings. Their short fiction and poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Mithila Review, Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana, We See a Different Frontier: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology, An Alphabet of Embers: An Anthology of Unclassifiables, Lightspeed: Queers Destroy Fantasy, and Clockwork Phoenix 3, among others. Shweta was the Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship recipient at Clarion 2007 and was shortlisted for the 2010 Nebula Awards.
Current Issue
23 Jan 2023

Strange Horizons is looking to add a social media editor to our editorial collective. 
Listening to the radio, I heard that the star Regulus is 79 light years from the Earth.
The ghosts you hear across / the blackened fields are only smothered stars
Lion City is Ng’s attempt at situating Singapore’s postcolonial hybrid identity through his work forces readers to pause and reconsider Singapore’s place in the world before further progress is made.
Reverse extractivism is a colonial fever-dream, one that the reveals the colonist’s ultimate desires through its uncanny logics If extractivism is empire’s removal of resources from the periphery without industrial development or fair compensation, reverse extractivism is the imbrication of the colonizer into the very being of the colonized, such that resources don’t need to be removed to be exploited for the benefit of empire.
I might write only one story in a month, but I'll make sure that it has five times the strength and the effect.
One of my favorite flavors of science fiction is the far-future space adventure where we explore an interstellar society through the lens of a personal, character-driven story.
Friday: Rosebud by Paul Cornell 
Issue 16 Jan 2023
Friday: The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman 
Issue 9 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
2 Jan 2023
Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
Issue 2 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
Issue 19 Dec 2022
Issue 12 Dec 2022
Issue 5 Dec 2022
Issue 28 Nov 2022
By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
Issue 21 Nov 2022
Issue 14 Nov 2022
Load More
%d bloggers like this: