Strange Horizons is a good thing

I feel the need to point this out because they’re entering the final stages of their yearly fund drive.

I sometimes write for Strange Horizons. This year I have a review in their bonus fund drive issue (the full issue can be found here) and a piece in their forthcoming issue on Indian science fiction. But when I linked to the fund drive a couple of weeks ago on twitter, I said that while I would like the magazine to continue as one of its occasional writers, it’s as a fan that I’ve found it most vital to me, and it’s as a fan that I’m speaking of it here.

Other people have written about the fiction that the magazine publishes, and obviously a lot of it is very good (See this and this and this). Lots of places publish good SFF short fiction though*. What I really value about SH are the nonfiction parts–the reviews, articles and columns, which are often brilliant. (I’ve been unforgivably late with my own reviews for them in the past, simply because having a standard to live up to is unnerving and makes me want to curl up and read fanfiction instead).

SH is the sort of place that will review mainstream literary fiction which has elements of SF, or epic fantasy from a major publisher, or self-published work, or academic work on SF, or translated fiction, or My Little Pony (before it became a Thing), or the occasional video game, and it is always taken for granted that all of these are worthy of serious thought, and that engaging with things is an enjoyable activity. Sometimes they publish academic work. Recently a review linked to a cat gif.

It’s also the sort of place where it is almost taken for granted that lots of contributors (both fiction and nonfiction) will be from outside the USA, will come in skin colours other than white, and gender identities other than male. Conversations about diversity within fandom often make me feel uncomfortable; here, I don’t particularly stand out and it’s great.

There isn’t any single conversation around books and films or other media on the internet or off it; it’s always a set of overlapping sub-conversations (stating the obvious here, sorry). The set of conversations and (I just wrote “reader-book interactions” and deleted it because *shudder*) that make up Strange Horizons has felt sometimes like coming home. I’m rarely sure of my ability to contribute something of value to the conversation, but this is a literary (and fannish?) culture that I value and want to be a part of.

I spend a lot of time on this blog trying to think through half-formed ideas, and feeling inarticulate and not very bright. If you don’t read Strange Horizons and you do read this blog, and if any of the sort of writing I want to be doing is coming across at all, it’s possible that you will also find SH valuable and important.

Plus, there are prizes to be won.

 

*Or so I assume; I’m very lazy about reading short fiction.

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