Thursday, April 27, 2017
There's another two weeks of content from Strange Horizons and it's...actually rather manageable. One new story (and a flash fiction at that) and two new poems make for a fairly quick read, but the content is still in keeping with the high quality expected from the publication. The fiction is heavy with the weight of tragedy and hope and scarcity and hunger, and the poetry is reaching toward different worlds, toward things that seem and perhaps are out of reach. These are pieces about the distance between pain and numbness, between hope and despair, and the pieces all explore how people can keep going despite bitter circumstances. So let's get to the reviews!
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
As always, there’s a lot to see in the latest issue of Mithila Review, which seeks to look a bit at visual arts. For original fiction, there’s one flash, one short story, and one novelette, and there are nine different poems, not to mention a reprint and a load of nonfiction that I will leave you to discover on your own. What’s here, though, and what I’m looking at in my review, does an amazing job of showing people coming into contact with the unknown. Shows people who assume based on the narratives they have been told about the nature of the world. And who find that they can’t accept those narratives. That only by challenging the stories that other people tell about the world can its nature truly be revealed. The poems expand on this as well and everything works together wonderfully to create an issue that is cohesive and sharp. But I guess I should just get to the reviews!
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
The two stories from Shimmer’s April offerings are heavy with grief and the weight of the past. The weight of expectations. The weight of the family business. These are stories of people finding themselves swept away by the tides of other people’s lives and deeds. Subject to them and wounded by them, unsure if they can set those old hurts aside, unsure how to escape the hooks of the past and the obligations heaped on them by the generations that came before. For both main characters a time has come to both face the past and the future, and these stories do a wonderful job of capturing that moment with hope and despair, magic and possibilities. To the reviews!
|Art by Sandro Castelli|
Monday, April 24, 2017
It’s another full month of SFF from Uncanny, and another month full of pieces that look rather specifically at resistance. At least, the three nonfiction pieces all revolve around the idea of resistance and how SFF can be an invaluable tool to bridge between cultures, people, and experiences. There’s a bit of a surprise novella in among the fiction, paired with a flash work, and both look at the profound impact that loss can have, that disaster can have, on a person and their life. How it can make an ambivalent person dedicated. How it can make a peaceful person a killer. And the people it equally beautiful, exploring the boundaries between religion and consent, history and human folly. It’s a well rounded issue, and I’m going to get right to the reviews!
|Art by Julie Dillon|
Friday, April 21, 2017
It’s a special guest-edited issue of Apex Magazine this month, with Maurice Broaddus in the driver’s seat. And people, poetry is back for this special occasion! It’s a full issue with four stories (three shorts and a novelette) and two poems. And the pieces all seem to center on narrative and voice. These are stories that look at how we pass along roles and expectations. How we prepare people to accept being abused and tortured, and how people still manage to find ways to stand up and take back their names and their voices and their skins. These are stories that center acts of violence and pain and fear, and seek for ways to bring justice and healing and hope back to people who have little reason to feel them. It’s a wonderful and challenging issue of dark fiction and poetry, and I’ll get right to the reviews!
|Art by Angelique Shelley|
Thursday, April 20, 2017
The April stories in Nightmare Magazine do a great job of capturing a sense of darkness and magic in settings that don’t seem too different from our own. Where, for all the violence and all the strangeness and all the eerie beauty, there are links too to the mundane and the common, to the chore of visiting a sick relative and the insecurity of being in a new relationship. The stories reveal characters being confronted by strangers and making decisions they might have reason to regret. But these are also stories where, for all their violence and betrayal and weirdness, also hold on to a lifting hope. And before I spoil anything more, to the reviews!
|Art by Dusan Kostic / Adobe Stock|
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The stories in this issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies both have an almost video game appeal to me. In one, the conventions of gaming and fantasy are definitely in full swing, revealing a world where Fate is capitalized and an adventuring party are nearly at the end of their mission. In the second, a person travels a blasted landscape killing gods with a special weapon. From these beginnings, though, the stories branch into newer territory to tell stories of people made into victims and reacting to that. Finding that they are unwilling to stay down and accept what’s happening. In both there is a sense of community and broken promises, and in both there is a moment when the main character has to face a sudden revelation. The pair is nicely matched and creates a moving, magical experience. So to the reviews!
|Art by Ward Lindhout|