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Strange Horizons

Entry updated 24 April 2023. Tagged: Publication.

US Online Magazine launched in September 2000, and published weekly ever since. Originally devised and edited by a team headed by Mary Anne Mohanraj (the first editor-in-chief) and Jed Hartman. Since then there has been a succession of editorial changes. Mohanraj stepped down at the end of 2003 to be replaced as editor-in-chief by Susan Marie Groppi with associate editors Karen Meisner and Brian Peters. Niall Harrison succeeded as editor-in-chief in 2010. Jed Hartman stepped down in July 2012 and Brit Mondelo became senior fiction editor. Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde succeeded Niall Harrison as editors-in-chief in April 2017 until March 2019 and were succeeded by Vanessa Rose Phin. The current Co-Ordinating Editor is Gautam Bhatia, with Romie Stott as Administrative Editor [for the full editorial team, see the Masthead page on the Strange Horizons site under links below].

When it began, along with Sci Fiction and soon after The Infinite Matrix, it was one of three magazines that established the internet as a vehicle for a regular science fiction magazine. Because of its shrewd revenue streaming it is the only one of the three still operating. The magazine continues to be run on a donor-funded nonprofit basis, with an all-volunteer staff.

Each weekly issue includes short fiction, an article or column, poetry, art and reviews, though the magazine has also been known to feature cartoons and comics. It is an eclectic mix and the quality has been varied, but the magazine has steadily attracted an impressive roster of contributors, including fiction by Elizabeth Bear, Eliot Fintushel, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Lavie Tidhar, Tim Pratt and Liz Williams, and nonfiction by John Clute, L Timmel Duchamp, Adam Roberts and Sherryl Vint among others. Following the demise of Ellen Datlow's Sci Fiction, Strange Horizons is probably the most successful of the online magazines, certainly in terms of quality and originality, and has only recently been challenged by Clarkesworld and Lightspeed. Stories and poetry that first appeared in Strange Horizons are regularly selected by Best of the Year anthologies and appear on awards shortlists. The magazine has a broad definition of Speculative Fiction and it has run some unusual stories that have attracted wide attention, such as "Two Dreams on Trains" (3 January 2005) by Elizabeth Bear and "The House Beyond Your Sky" (4 September 2006) by Benjamin Rosenbaum.

Stories from Strange Horizons won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award in 2013 and 2014: Molly Gloss's "The Grinnell Method" (3-10 September 2012) and Sarah Pinsker's "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss" (1-8 July 2013). Two stories from the magazine have also won the World Fantasy Award: "Das Steingeschöpf" (12 December 2016) by G V Anderson and "The Birding: A Fairy Tale" (18 December 2017) by Natalia Theodoridou. The magazine itself won the World Fantasy Award in the non-professional category in 2010, though the magazine pays professional rates under SFWA requirements. A selection of the most representative material from the magazine's first year is Strange Horizons: Best of Year One (anth 2003) edited by Mary Anne Mohanraj.

Strange Horizons has published the first or early stories of many writers including, in order of discovery, Nnedi Okorafor, John Scalzi, Jason Stoddard, N K Jemisin, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Marguerite Reed, Mary Robinette Kowal, Genevieve Valentine, and Lara Elena Donnelly.

Over the years Strange Horizons has run a number of special issues, most of them being the annual fundraising special. More recently it has produced several theme-based issues, many relating to cultural or ethnic-based fiction. These include the Arab diaspora (30 October 2017), fiction from India (30 April 2018), Nigeria (29 April 2019) and Brazil (30 September 2019). In fact Strange Horizons is well known for publishing fiction from around the world and in March 2017 it launched a quarterly sibling magazine, Samovar, specifically to publish international fiction both in English and indigenous languages. Also of interest in this respect was the fifteen-part series by Geoff Ryman, "100 African Writers of SFF" which ran irregularly from 27 February 2017 to 12 March 2020. Other special issues have included trans/nonbinary contributors (29 January 2018), work by black writers and people of colour (30 July 2018), Climate Change (30 March 2020) and chosen families or communities (29 June 2020).

Strange Horizons reached its 1000th issue on 27 January 2020 and on 9 November 2020, with its 1040th issue, passed Analog as the magazine with the most published issues. [MA/PKi]


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