Strange Horizons Saved Me a Bunch of Money on Car Insurance and Cured My Astigmatism!

Okay, no, it didn’t. I don’t even have a car. I just wanted to get your attention.

It might seem odd that in the wake of the Clarkesworld sale, I’m talking about Strange Horizons. Both magazines need donations, actually. But SH is nearer and dearer to my heart in many ways, because a) my first pro-level sales were to SH, and b) I made two of them. (When I sell two stories to Clarkesworld, I’ll like them more too.)

Although this is SH’s fundraising drive season, they’ve asked people not to simply beg for money, but to talk about what SH means to them. So here goes:

To me, simply, SH means change.

I love the speculative fiction genre, but it’s sick. Not dying — that’s crap — but not healthy either. The problem is societal, but because SF is the genre of society’s idealism, the symptoms of the sickness tend to be more visible here than in mainstream fiction. The cure for this sickness is, IMO, for the genre to take some collective purgative and restorative measures, like jettisoning old business models that don’t work and old attitudes that are actively harmful, and try something new.

SH represents this newness. They’re a new-paradigm speculative fiction market in every sense of the word: online not print; nonprofit not commercial; collaborative and not One Single Editor’s vision; weekly not monthly/quarterly/whenever the people involved get around to it. They actively seek out voices within the SF community that don’t get heard enough, whether those voices be newbies or PoC or writers from non-Western countries or literary writers or socialists or whatever. The fact that they’ve managed to stick around this long, in an era when SF magazines are dropping like flies, speaks volumes to me about the sustainability of their model. They offer a desired service to the community, ergo they’re still in business. And the fact that their authors (and the magazine itself) keep winning awards speaks to the quality of their work.

This, to me, is what an SF magazine should be and do.

This is also quite apart from the fact that I enjoy their stories. I can’t keep up with them — too busy to read every week — but every time I go there, there’s fresh content and it’s usually content I like. If I don’t like the stories, I like the reviews. If I don’t like the reviews, I like the articles. Or the art. Or whatever.

So even though it’s free, and even though I don’t read it all the time, I’ve been donating to SH for the past few years. I want it to stick around. I want the change they represent to succeed.

So send them money, dammit!

ETA: And if you donate today, John Scalzi will match your donation!

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