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Text: Our ancestors discovered it centuries ago. Now it is a tourist attraction, Image: A roadside billboard reads, "Visit the Bottomless Pit, 10 miles." Poem by John Johnson. Art by Bob Hall. Text: they put bumper stickers for it on your car if you park too long in nearby towns, it's a hole in the ground. Like a round black pupil. Surrounded by a concrete iris rim. There is no guard rail. It would be easy for someone reckless to leap across. Image: A drab green field contains a cracked concrete circle around a black hole like a staring pupil. Text: But it truly is deep beyond imagination…a tunnel going down endlessly. Current operators say it was built for entertainment, but it's much older than that. And it doesn't go out the other side of the world, so it must end somewhere. Image: Planet Earth surrounded by its atmosphere, a mirror image of the hole circled by concrete.

Text: There was a small crowd of vacationers milling about. Bored, standing too close, I thought, like people too close to the tracks in a subway, like they didn't believe it was dangerous. There was a toddler, a little girl. I watched as the mother unbelievably became distracted, just for a second. Image: Tourists of all ages gather around a hole the size and shape of a well, leaning over the edge to take selfies, dangling their feet in. A toddler in flip-flops perches on the lip of the hole while a woman holding a shopping bag looks at a small dog. Baby feet twist into the air as the child tumbles forward. Text: I didn't have time to yell. Image: The toddler's frightened face and outstretched hand as the child falls into darkness, a loose flip-flop beside the child's contorted body. Text: The child peered over and tumbled in.

Text: I still think about her falling. I try to believe the experience was so unusual for her she didn't process it as fear, but rather as the sensation of floating, the rushing air a wind, pushing her back to her mother. Image: Four vertical white lines show different stages of the child's fall. The child is halfway down, then lower, then lower, falling, twisting. Text: To plummet like that, on and on, unknowing, it would be a kind of freedom. One night, I dreamed there was a soft landing, just a little ways down, a sunny, grassy, bottom, where she tumbled, alive and happy… Image: The moment of impact—the child landing on her bottom in a patch of grass, bare feet waving in sunshine. Final Text: …with all the other fallen children. Final Image: The child smiles gently as she is greeted by two dozen enthusiastic children of varied ages and races. One boy turns toward her with a ball in his hands. Another child waves from a climbing tree. Another holds his arms wide, inviting a hug.

John Philip Johnson has work in Rattle, Asimov’s, F&SF, Apex, Mythic Delirium, The Pedestal, Phantom Drift, Ted Kooser’s newspaper column, “American Life in Poetry,” and the Poetry Foundation, with Pushcart, Best-of-Web, and Rhysling noms. He would love to live on Mars. His comics are from his new comic book, The Book of Fly, which is graphic poetry in Twilight Zone-like episodes. Available at
Current Issue
30 Mar 2020

The Strange Horizons team presents new speculations with climate at its heart.
The Wi-Fi is shallow, a miracle drizzle that broke the heat wave blockade. They say in 10 years the internet will never flow here again.
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Porpentine Charity Heartscape's “Dirty Wi-Fi.”
If half my kindergarten cohort was dead by the time I hit sixth grade, I would be mopey too.
By: Jason P Burnham
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Jason P Burnham's “Cairns.”
“I’m Rosie,” she says. But I just call her the kid.
By: Tara Calaby
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Tara Calaby's “Three Days with the Kid.”
Fixing my pipes, for the plumber, / is a simple thing. He whistles gently as I tell him / about the yellow eyes I saw last night.
Between us, there are threads of doubt, unwinding spools like spider webs across the scalded earth
what the map said was once a buffalo jump
By: Kaily Dorfman
By: Camille Louise Goering
By: Brian Beatty
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kaily Dorfman
Podcast read by: Brian Beatty
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents poetry from the Climate special issue.
Solarpunk reminded me that growing your own food is a thing, that we can make or grow something rather than buy it, that technology can help us redirect the trajectory of the world.
Thursday: Bridge 108 by Anne Charnock 
Friday: Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters edited by Sarena Ulibarri 
Issue 23 Mar 2020
Issue 16 Mar 2020
By: Lisa Nan Joo
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Thompson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
100 African Writers of SFF - Part Fifteen: Ghana
Issue 9 Mar 2020
By: Leah Bobet
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Emily Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Mar 2020
By: Innocent Chizaram Ilo
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Cam Kelley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
By: Dante Luiz
Issue 24 Feb 2020
By: Mayra Paris
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 17 Feb 2020
By: Priya Sridhar
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: E. F. Schraeder
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Feb 2020
By: Shannon Sanders
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 3 Feb 2020
By: Ada Hoffmann
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: S.R. Tombran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 27 Jan 2020
By: Weston Richey
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
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