The Best of Strange Horizons 2017

written by David Steffen

Strange Horizons is a freely available online speculative fiction zine that also publishes nonfiction and poetry.  Their editors-in-chief are Jane Crowley and Kate Dollardhyde.  Their senior fiction editors are Lila Garrott, Catherine Krahe, An Owomoyela, and Vajra Chandresekera, and their podcast is edited, hosted, and usually read by Anaea Lay.  They publish a variety of styles of stories and have regularly attracted award nominations in recent years.  All of the stories and poetry in the zine are published in the podcast.  This list covers all of the stories published since the last Best of Strange Horizons list posted here on November 9, 2015.  In that timeframe, Strange Horizons published about 53 stories (it’s hard to get an exact count because the poetry podcasts are mixed in the same feed).

This year they posted extra episodes as part of a Resistance special issue after the US presidential inauguration in January, and hosted a special issue in October for Arabic translations.

This year they added a new feature when they reached a fundraising goal to add Spanish translations.

Stories that are eligible for this year’s Hugo awards are marked with an asterisk (*).


The List

1. “Krace is Not a Highway” by Scott Vanyur*
An AI designed to monitor highway repair conditions keeps on going, doing its best, after societal collapse.

2.  “Utopia, LOL?” by Jamie Wahls*
A person woken up in the extreme far future where humanity is organized by a benevolent AI master, guided by one of the few humans still coherent enough to guide him.

3.  “Oshun, Inc.” by Jordan Ifueko*
Goddesses who live by eating shards of people’s souls try to find ideal candidates.

4.  “Owl Vs. the Neighborhood Watch” by Darcie Little Badger*
A young modern-day Apache woman who is visited by Owl as a harbinger of unspecific disaster does her best to guard her neighborhood against it as best she can.

5.  “Three May Keep a Secret” by Carlie St. George*
Two teenagers help each other fight elements of their past that are literally haunting them.

Honorable Mentions

“Sasabonsam” by Tara Campbell*

“The Dead Father Cookbook” by Ashley Blooms*

“Only Calculate the Motion of Heavenly Bodies” by Marcia Richards*