Magazine: Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is not a magazine in the traditional sense, with monthly or quarterly issues.  It’s a website with weekly issues, each containing one short story along with other types of content, such as poetry, articles, and reviews.  I selected roughly a month’s worth of issues, from March 20 to April 17 of this year.

Seeds by Margaret Wack.  After an unidentified apocalypse, some girls try to sail to Svalbard to get at the seed vault.

Lacuna by Lane Robins.  A lecherous priest tries to build himself a girlfriend out of discarded nude-dancer-golem parts.

Love Pressed in Vinyl.  Some gay guys, a magic record, and very little plot.

Terra Nullius by Hanus Seiner.  Instead of summarizing this story, I’ll post the notes I scribbled as I was reading it.  I think that will give you a more authentic experience.

  1. A SCUBA diver gets swallowed by a fish whose guts are a planetarium.
  2. Soldiers are scared of something in the treetops.
  3. Inside a second fish, the diver finds a simulation of a burned-out village.
  4. I guess the soldiers are trying to sneak inside one of the fish, and maybe some of the above storylines took place six months before.
  5. The fish are alien invaders conquering earth.
  6. Fish biology is described.  The large fish are females, who act as simulators to train the young.  The smaller males come back at adulthood and biologically program a female to simulate whatever they’ve seen and survived.
  7. Inside another fish, the diver finds a simulation of an office building.  Using a computer terminal there, he types a message to the fish to pretty-please quit killing all the humans.
  8. There’s some stuff that’s less clear than everything above.
  9. Is one of the soldiers a kidnapped sim-human from inside a fish?
  10. They’re still trying to talk the fish into playing nice with the humans.
  11. The end.


  1. Okaaaay…

    Sounds like you have a real winner on your hands with this!

    1. I’ll post first-round magazine rankings in January or February. You can probably guess where this one will end up.

      1. Hahahahahaaa, ayep!

  2. Huh. Thanks for sticking your neck out for us. I’m not sure I’d survive this experience in person. Or my laptop.

    1. We may need to get a priest in here, and see if I’m some form of undead.

  3. Wow, that last one sounds fishy.

    1. comment for the win!

      1. I had to revisit, but I remember that post.

  4. I’m intrigued by the pieces here. The fish story sounds, at least, imaginatively weird.

    1. The fish story did at least have a true sci-fi idea behind it, which is something I’d like to see more often. I would have liked more exploration of the idea, fully thought out.

      Instead we got a few common (and to me, annoying) tropes: trying to be overly mysterious at the start, jumping around in time, etc. I also think what I read was a translation, so that probably didn’t help with clarity.

  5. […] to this cluster:  Analog, Asimov’s, Daily Science Fiction, Diabolical Plots, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Uncanny, and Worlds Without […]

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