Friday, November 17, 2017

The Monthly Round - October 2017

The Monthly Round turns 3 today over at Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together. Go check it out. For those just interested in knowing my favorite short SFF reads of the month, the list is below. Cheers!

Tasting Flight - October 2017

“Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny)
“Barbara in the Frame” by Emmalia Harrington (Fiyah)
“To Us May Grace Be Given” by L.S. Johnson (GigaNotoSaurus)
“My Struggle” by Lavie Tidhar (Apex)
“Claire Weinraub’s Top Five Sea Monster Stories (For Allie)” by Evan Berkow (Flash Fiction Online)
“The Whalebone Parrot” by Darcie Little Badger (The Dark)

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Quick Sips - Lackington's #15 [Diseases]

Lackington’s is back with a new issue, and this one’s all about diseases. Ick. And yet for an issue devoted to sickness and corruptions of various sorts, the stories are as beautiful as I’ve come to expect from the publication, with prose that sings and stories that provide some complicated and lovely views of disease and those effected by disease. As much as the stories are about sicknesses, too, they are also about conventions, about the ways that we are taught to treat disease, and how effective (or not) those treatments can be. Often times, the stories show that diseases are but symptoms themselves of deeper maladies, ones that cannot be easily excised, that must be confronted and dragged into the light, dissected and examined and exorcised. My diagnosis? Review time!

Art by Gregory St. John

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #238

I will continue to say that Beneath Ceaseless Skies impresses me nearly every issue with how well it puts together stories that amplify each other. That resonate. That enrich each other. And here I find a pair of stories very much about pageantry and theater, about masks and masquerades. About playing different parts, and about theft, and about freedom. About people finding places to belong and people to belong with. And fuck is it a joyful, beautiful issue that makes me want to cry for how amazing it is. I know, I’m known as something of a positive reviewer, but if all stories were as fun as these, all issues as healing and hopeful as these, then I think any reviewer would be hard pressed to be negative. So let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Veli Nyström

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus November 2017

November brings a rather kickass novelette to GigaNotoSaurus, filled with magic, cooking, and family complications. I love pieces that look at food and how it’s used in speculative situations, and this is a wonderful spread of tastes and smells and spells. It moves quickly, part mystery and part action, an urban fantasy that adds a dash of romance and a heaping helping of fun. And it features characters dealing with the weight of what their parents want from them, walking the difficult path toward a future where they can be happy and themselves. It’s a path made easier, and safer, when not walked alone. So yeah, before I give too much away, let’s get to the review!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #134

November seems a rather experimental month for Clarkesworld, with five stories that are all a bit weird in some ways. They are five very different stories, about progress and about loss and about wonder. They feature settings deep in space or on Earth’s very different from the one we know. And really, for me, what binds them together is memory. The stories all deal with characters looking back on events, trying to form a picture of what’s happened and being confronted with the story that time has told. For some, it’s a way of moving on from the past and reaching toward the future. For some it’s about mapping a present that’s a closed loop, where progress is impossible. For some, it’s about tracing the paths of harm and hope to try and make sense of a present that is uncertain. But these are stories of time and memory, and I’ll get right to the reviews!

Art by Jonas De Ro

Friday, November 10, 2017

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online November 2017

The November issue of Flash Fiction Online takes on the theme of being thankful with three original stories that all revolve around ideas of finding kindness in the heart of struggle and hardship. In each of the stories the main characters find themselves in a bad situation, faced with being a witness, participant, and victim of pervasive conflict and loss. In the face of this, they all face questions of what to do, whether to turn away from the struggle and try to find an easier road for themselves, or to face the larger issue and resist it. The stories show characters finding small ways to push back, even when it seems hopeless, even when it seems useless. It reveals the power of hope, and how helping even one person makes a difference. So yeah, to the reviews!

Art by Dario Bijelac

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Quick Sips - The Dark #30

The Dark Magazine brings a pair of original stories to their November issue that have a lot to do with hunger and with death. With souls and with moving on. In each the main characters face settings that are characters in themselves, places that define the rules of their lives—and the rules are as corrupt as the surroundings are fetid and worn. Survival isn’t the only dilemma, though, and in many ways it’s the least worry, almost an impulse. The real conflict is finding ways to try and make things better, to try and thrive despite the oppressive nature of the setting, and the cruelty of the other people living (or dying) around them. These are stories that balance tragedy and hope and try to reach for some way for the characters to remake themselves, and in doing so remake a bit of their world. To the reviews!

Art by Tomislav Tikulin