Friday, March 22, 2019

Quick Sips - Diabolical Plots #49

Art by Joey Jordan
Two new stories featuring religion and the afterlife round out the March fiction from Diabolical Plots. The stories are heavy with their implications and with the feeling of change and fear. The characters are caught between the status quo they have known and the future they’ve been working toward. And now that that future is at hand, the reality isn’t what they thought it would be. For some, it gives them pause in the face of what could be their greatest adventure. For others, there are things to overcome first more than doubt. For both, though, the situation calls for faith. Not necessarily in a higher power, but in other people, in compassion and hope. So let’s get to the reviews!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Quick Sips - Nightmare #78

Art by Yupachingping / Fotolia
March brings a pair of rather chilling tales to Nightmare Magazine even as spring arrives to the Northern Hemisphere. The stories look at broken systems, broken worlds, that push people into places where they can only participate. Where they can only choose how much they want to be victims or perpetrators. Where opting out isn’t really possible. This might take the form of a legacy and a world that bring about drastic and violent changes, or a criminal justice system where the justice part has been shattered entirely. The stories provoke and challenge, putting the characters in impossible and horrifying situations and forcing the readers to sit there with them, experiencing those no-win scenarios first had. It’s effectively done, and before I give too much away, let’s get to the reviews!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #273

Art by Flavio Bolla
The first Beneath Ceaseless Skies issue of March features two stories (one short and one novelette) about boys fighting back against the traumas and restrictions of their pasts. Seeking to gain some semblance of freedom from the harsh realities that seem to require their suffering and subjugation. And yet both resist the pressure to conform to the toxic and abusive cycles that they are unwilling parts of, seeking instead to break the systems and free themselves and those with them to reach for something better than they were given. These are two rather dark stories made light by the hope the characters manage, and the cages they escape. To the reviews!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Quick Sips - Glittership Summer 2018

A new Glittership is out and super queer!!! Now, though the cover says Summer 2018, these are all original to 2019, which means that people nominating for awards should consider these very much eligible as 2019 releases. That said, there are three original stories and three original poems, as well as three reprints (two of which I’ve reviewed when they originally came out, I think). And the stories are wonderfully defiant, full of characters dealing with systems and settings where they are oppressed, where they are criminalized, and where people try to bend them to fit into what is comfortable and allowed. But even facing the threat of violence and erasure, these characters manage to reach for the unknown, for space where they can be safe and free. Not all of these are incredibly happy, but they are all driven by hope in the face of tyranny, and they are all amazing. So let’s get to the reviews!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Quick Sips - Uncanny #27 [March stuff]

Art by Christopher Jones
Three short stories and two poems usher Uncanny Magazine’s March offerings in with style, revolution, and heartbreak. The pieces move around survivors. Not people who have outlasted others, but those who are surviving their own personal hells and oppressions, their own personal griefs and losses. They are survivors by necessity, their worlds condensing in a squeeze of despair that makes everything seem impossible. And yet at the same time, these stories work to show people helping people. Showing main characters able to move to more active resistance and freedom because they are not alone, because they have the support they need to make their stories about more than just enduring the hardships they face, but rather excelling in the face of them to find healing and hope for the future. So yeah, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 03/04/2019 & 03/11/2019

Art by Helen Mask
Two short stories and two poems open up Strange Horizons’ March content. The fiction shines with magic and with beings who are a bit different than humans, passing through a world where they are set apart by their passions and their hungers and their hurts. Looking for ways to find expression and acceptance. The pieces swirl around love and art, meaning and freedom, and the poetry adds some excellent layering to the themes, revealing people and feelings ripe with longing, uncertainty, and, as always, strangeness. To the reviews!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Quick Sips - Apex #118

Art by Aaron Jasinski
Despite editor Jason Sizemore’s continued health issues (hope there's improvement, Jason!), Apex Magazine definitely isn’t slowly down, with three original short stories and a new novelette, all looking at history and memory, violation and revelation. The stories explore the ways that people build prisons, for themselves and for others, and how much it hurts to have to inhabit those places, barred in and often cut off from hope. They run the gamut from historical fantasy to humorous science fiction, showing that humanity casts a long shadow on history, and in that shadow all manner of greater darknesses can lurk concealed. It’s a gripping, rending issue, and I’ll get right to the reviews!