Size / / /

Content warning:


To all the desk did Rock announce,
“I’m taking myself a bride!
Fair Paper shall my true love be,
And never leave my side.

“I’ll hold her, as her paperweight,
Her restlessness I’ll soothe.
She’ll wrap me in her soft, white form
And make my roughness smooth.”

But Scissor snapped her steel and cried,
“She does not love you true!
She’ll wrap you tight and hold you fast
And surely smother you.

“Oh, Rock, how do you not recall
The music we had made
Each time your roughness danced with me
And honed my singing blades?

“Be mine, my Rock, give me your strength
And I’ll make you a pledge:
It’s you alone whom I shall love,
Who need not fear my edge.”

But Rock would hear no more of this.
He said, “I spoke in truth.
And I’ll take Paper for my wife,
Who makes my roughness smooth.”

The wedding morning came, with vows
That bound the leaf and stone.
Rock beamed his love and sang his joy.
His bride beside him shone.

And Scissor watched, and Scissor wept,
But no one paid her mind.
When bride and groom embraced, she sighed,
“Was ever love so blind?”

The guests began to dance and sway
A fine and sweeping sight!
Around her husband Paper spun
And wrapped him up so tight.

Poor Scissor, she could bear no more
This cruel romantic lapse.
She fell upon her darling Rock
And cut his love to scraps.

“Remember what I was to you,
Remember now my pledge.
I’ll not lose you to Paper’s wiles.
She should have feared my edge.”

He took her by her handle red,
A coldness in his heart.
He smashed against her blades and hinge
And shattered her apart.

His spirit broken, doubly so,
Rock on his tears did choke.
He tossed himself from off the desk
And on the floor he broke.

To wastebasket were all consigned
That very afternoon.
Rock lay upon on his lover’s corpse,
With his beloved’s strewn.

’Til Paper rot and Scissor rust
They lie with Rock entombed.
Destruction sought, destruction found,
Three lovers sadly doomed.



Jessica Lévai has loved stories and storytellers her whole life. After a double major in history and mathematics, a PhD in Egyptology, and eight years of the adjunct shuffle, she devoted herself to writing full-time. Her first novella is a vampire romance written in Pushkin sonnets. Check out her website, JessicaLevai.com, for links and more.
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.
Issue 23 Jan 2023
Issue 16 Jan 2023
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
Load More
%d bloggers like this: