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The nights there in the mountains
were cool, almost cold
and we spent the summer
tilling, churning, and sipping
moonshine and sweet sable wine.

One night we got an old
TV-VCR combo working
and watched My Cousin Vinny
four or five times
and laughed at all the jokes
and at the way things used to be.

We never talked about the war,
but instead nailed it to an aspen
near the latrine and regarded it
sometimes, warily in passing
our tragedies kept neatly
on the shores of conversation,
sealed safe in the half-dream
mumbles of predawn waking.

Still on quiet evenings,
you could almost hear
the world falling out there
somewhere, everywhere
beyond the sunset.

We knew that the bugs
would find us eventually,
the signs were all around us:
the bird cherries turned black in spring,
swarms of salmon flies
dropped dead out of the sky,
the body of a malformed doe
not two miles from camp
her left flank half a-comb
of dripping hive honey.

And one night,
Rache even woke
to find creeping upon her leg,
the nine-inch form of what might
have once been an insect,
orchid-like and bleeding color;
sipping ichor, incepting her veins
with its own nymph dreams
and infectious spotted fever.

After Sadie crushed it with her Bible,
its remains resembled half a mantis,
half a shattered hard drive.

It belonged to no army we knew
(we knew no armies under our rock)
the rogue run off the beaten path,
its serial, logo, and man.date were to us
like all the world beyond the woods,
mangled, mutant, and indiscernible.



Mack W. Mani is an American poet and author. His work has appeared in various magazines including Neon, NewMyths, and The Pedestal Magazine. His screenplay “You and Me and Dagon Makes Three” won Best Screenplay at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in 2018.
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
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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
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