I am not a fan of science fiction, but I decided to check out Strange Horizons, an online publication of speculative fiction, poetry, articles, reviews, and art. The first two stories bored me but the third was engaging, and I was hooked. I read a bunch of them.
“Counting Cracks” by George R. Galuschak, published in the November 7, 2011, issue is a good old-fashioned tale about a town that has lost most of its residents to the nefarious Hum. A small, motley group of people in various states of medical disarray challenge the spygers who are protecting the supermarket where the Hum is busy humming and wreaking havoc on all and sundry. It is an entertaining story with excellent tongue-in-cheek humor.
“Souvenir” (August 15, 2011) by Genevieve Valentine is a decidedly haunting tale about “touches,” people who work for the homicide division of a police department who get telepathic visions when they touch dead bodies. The story focuses on two touches who were once involved with each other and their struggle to maintain a normal life in a world that views them as abnormal. They are after another “touch” who may be a serial killer.
From October 17, 2011, “Librarians in the Branch Library of Babel” (with apologies to Jorge Louis Borges) by Shaenon K. Garrity is about “a library of infinite size containing all possible books.” And since it is infinite, it can never, logically speaking, become fully organized. The librarians have enough work ahead of them for an infinite number of lifetimes. Unfortunately, the City Council wants to close the library. What are the librarians going to do? Oh, dear… Being left brained, it fascinates me that people can come up with these ideas.
My favorite story was “The All-Night Truck Stop Polka Band” (in two parts: June 13 and June 20, 2011), another one by Shaenon K. Garrity. This was an absolutely delightful tale told with considerable humor. It’s about a thirty-one-year-old woman who is visited by her old band mates who say they were abducted by UFOs years ago and now they have superpowers. Unfortunately, the earth is going to explode within a week and they intend to prevent it—as soon as they come up with an idea. Meanwhile, they’ll crash at her pad and drink some beer.
This magazine also provides bizarre and wonderful art and poetry, along with book, television, movie, and music reviews, plus columns and articles, and much, much more, all current or residing in the archives. It’s one of the more impressive websites I’ve seen. By all means, pay it a visit.