Friday, October 23, 2020

Quick Sips - Diabolical Plots #68

Art by Joey Jordan
The October Diabolical Plots brings two new short stories with a nice twist of horror, perfect for the season. First up, a transcript of a video channel that’s…not quite right. That shows a certain enthusiasm but not so much a…certain wholesomeness. The second story delves into the horror of shopping, and the horror of shopping culture. It’s a sharp look at consumerism and corruption, and manages a nice creepy atmosphere throughout. Both of the stories mix a bit of spookiness, a healthy dose of strangeness, and enough awkward adorableness amidst pervasive terror that they complement each other well. And if you need more convincing, let’s get to the reviews!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Quick Sips - Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World that Wouldn't Die (Neon Hemlock) [part 2]

Art by Grace Fong
It’s time for part two of my review of the Glitter + Ashes anthology, published by Neon Hemlock and edited by dave ring, with a look at another seven stories. The pieces range a bit longer in the meaty center of the book, and there are less very short works to break things up. That said, the anthology is really punching above its weight with every piece, with beautifully rendered and stunningly complex takes on queer life and love after and in the face of the end of the world. And the stories show that what people cling to when the world is falling apart says a lot. The stories find characters who have the option of acting selfishly, of saving only themselves, and who choose instead to help others, to try and retain art, and expression, and of course love. It’s a wonderful collection of pieces, and I’ll get right to my reviews!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Quick Sips - Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World that Wouldn't Die (Neon Hemlock) [part 1]

Art by Grace Fong
At first I was planning on doing a Quick Collections post for this anthology, recently put out from Neon Hemlock (ed. dave ring). But a confluence of circumstances made me reconsider, and now I’m just going to be doing a full review of all 26 stories. A Lot. So I’m not going to be doing them all at once. Rather, I’m going to be breaking the anthology up into 4 parts, and reviewing them as I have convenient spots in my posting schedule. First up, the first seven stories! There’s a mix of lengths and elements, but the promise of queer stories about resilience in the face of the end of the world is front and center, delivered on beautifully. To see what I mean, let’s get right to the reviews!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Quick Sips - Nightmare #97

Art by Andrey Kiselev / Adobe Stock Image
The October issue of Nightmare Magazine doesn’t really go full-on spooky, though that doesn’t mean it skimps on the horror. Rather, the horror here is...quiet. Slow. Careful. Methodical, even. And it looks at aspects of the human experience that can sort of sink into something grim and terrifying. Marriage, especially when it rots. Academia, especially when the pursuits turn out to be sinkholes, traps. The stories show people who are on the cusp of something shadowed and deep, something there’s no turning back from after a certain point. One of the characters thinks to try and escape. The other plunges right in. It makes for an interesting and well balanced issue. To the reviews!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Quick Sips - Uncanny #36 [October stuff]

October doesn’t really bring a great deal of spooky material to Uncanny Magazine, but it does bring some stories that are very aware of isolation, of oppression, and of transformation. Of characters caught under the weight of their trauma, their wounds, their fears and hurts. Seeking ways to escape, to slip free, to get out from under the crush of historical abuses and more contemporary and intimate ones. Finding the power of moving in unexpected ways, of reaching for affirmation and comfort in the midst of conflict, war, and strife. It’s a difficult month of fiction and poetry, but it’s also a lovely selection of works that flow wonderfully together. To the reviews!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 10/05/2020 & 10/12/2020

Art by Helen Mask
The first two issues of October Strange Horizons bring the regular two short stories and two poems, but (as always) it’s rather difficult to call them “regular.” Except that (as always) the quality is high, the emotions are shook, and the experience is, well, strange. From extra eyeballs growing all over a person’s body to time travel that’s not really time travel, from surveys about being a dragon to the pitfalls of recommendations, the works cover a lot of ground. Fantasy. Science fiction. Some breathtaking poetry. There’s a lot to get to, a lot to enjoy, and probably a lot to kinda low key cry about, so I’ll get right to the reviews!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #169

Art by Francesca Resta
It’s another Big issue of Clarkesworld Magazine, with four short stories and three novelettes. And there’s perhaps a theme that runs throughout the pieces, that of family. Explored in some interesting ways, the pieces all seem to circle around what makes a family and what might tear it apart. The stories are not always incredibly happy, many of them unfolding in post-disaster scenarios, but that’s not unusual for the publication, nor is the fact that this is once more an entirely-science-fiction issue. It makes for a lot of possible worlds, a lot of future we’d probably do best to avoid. And it’s just a lot of strong work, so I’ll get right to my reviews!