Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Quick Sips - Diabolical Plots #56

Art by Joey Jordan
The two stories that round out the latest issue of Diabolical Plots look at futures both bleak and bright. Or, well, mostly bleak, but with their moments of warmth and hope brought about by an awareness of the power of humanity to inspire each other (and maybe some pandas?). It features characters who in some ways are agents of the status quo. Someone responsible for enforcing a system that exploits originality. Someone responsible for getting pandas to follow through on their supposed biological imperatives. And it finds these characters pushed to examine their own methods and beliefs, to doubt that their way is the only way. It's a mix of styles and voices, but two rather neat stories that I'll get right to reviewing!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Quick Sips - Nightmare #85

Art by Elena Schweitzer / Adobe Stock Image
The stories in October’s Nightmare Magazine a quite different, though both are definitely horrifying in their own way. In one, a woman deals with being the final girl, the one left to the end of the massacres. The one who has survived twice but is now considered cursed, and has to figure out where to go from there. The other story looks a different kind of random horror, though not the kind that stalks or targets its victims specifically. This one lies in wait for a person to pass along and open themselves unknowingly to…something. It’s an interesting one-two punch, and I’ll get right to the reviews!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 10/07/2019 & 10/14/2019

It's always nice when I can make a little less work for myself, and having a new story up at Strange Horizons means that I'll only be looking at the other story and two poems from last two issues. I will still hope that maybe people check out my story, "The Sloppy Mathematics of Half-Ghosts," but otherwise the issues focus on magic and revenge, the afterlife and how we tell stories. There is a great edge to the pieces, and especially to the fiction, that twists expectations when it comes to how a person can seek and accomplish vengeance. One that recognizes and actually utilizes the cyclical nature of harm and violence. So buckle up, and let's get to the reviews!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #288

Well the anniversary issue is over and it’s back to business as usual at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which in this case means back to two stories about distance and isolation, memory and transformation. In one, a man looks back on his life and especially his youth, preparing himself for a new kind of adventure. In the other, a boy finds that he can’t remember his life, and that as a ghost he only gets to interact with the living world one day a year. Both are slow and winding stories, serene but ruled by sadness and yearning. Both find characters who are looking to move on, and might finally have found a way to do just that. It’s a somewhat sorrowful issue, and I’ll get right to reviewing it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Quick Sips - Disabled People Destroy Fantasy! part 2 (Uncanny #30 [October stuff])

Art by Julie Dillon
Disabled People Destroy Fantasy! wraps up with these three short stories and three poems from Uncanny Magazine. Once again it’s a very eclectic mix of stories and styles, from a romantic fairy tale (with a great twist) to a dream-like piece featuring someone continually burying the dead. From a very different kind of portal fantasy to a slew of poems about disease, body image, and safety. There’s a lot to read and experience, and it’s been a phenomenal special issue that you do not want to miss. To the reviews!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online October 2019

Halloween month finds Flash Fiction Online in a rather horrifying mood, with three new stories to delight and terrify. Now, not all of the stories are scary, but 2/3 ain’t bad when it comes to getting into the spirit of the season, with rituals involving the dead (and undead), and an old stuffed animal who just wants some love. The pieces deal with children or teens and their families, and what they have to do in order to help those they care about, or how there are forces trying to lead them astray into ruin and shadow. There’s a lot to see, so make sure the lights are on and prepare yourself for a few quick jaunts into nightmareland. To the reviews!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #157

Art by Beeple
It’s a fairly large October issue from Clarkesworld, with four short stories, one novelette, and one novella. As usual, the stories lean more science fiction than fantasy, and deal with people struggling with loss, with grief, with death, and with the prospect of ruination. The stories find characters who have been through Some Shit, and are dealing with that in various ways. Veterans, star ship captains, drug addicts, the narrators and main characters face situations beyond their experience, where they must look into a new frontier, an alien face, and decide what to do next. Some of the reactions are violent, some tender, and all are worth checking out. To the reviews!