Friday, June 22, 2018

Quick Sips - Apex #109

The pair of stories that appear in the June Apex Magazine are very much about possession and bodies. About being coerced into doing something with your body and dealing with the aftermath The physical and emotional ramifications of what happens, when those consequences couldn’t have been known ahead of time. Because in both cases judgment has been impaired—through alcohol of through a sort of alien touch that can effect human emotions. Neither story offers the most in the way of light takes on the matter, but the heaviness of the stories fits with the gravity of the real world abuses they are dealing with. And by wrestling with them and the darkness they carry, a better idea of justice and consent can be approached. To the reviews!

Art by Sin and May

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Quick Sips - Nightmare #69

June brings a pair of stories to Nightmare Magazine that certainly aren’t squeamish about blood, or guts, or scale. Both stories confront the reader with visions of blood and violence, though not always involving humans. Still, they are lessons in empathy and the shock of seeing something—someone—pulled apart. Both look at the way that such a confrontation can make someone numb to it, and the ways that there’s still some horror lurking under that acceptance. More, the stories look at scope in terrifying ways, revealing darknesses so vast that it seems to consume light and hope and joy. What remains is somewhat up to reader to contextualize. Good or bad, right or wrong, the stories are often bleak and draining, and yet there’s something of a warning to them as well, that people can confront their demons in stories and learn their lessons without the gore and violence spilling over into the real world. To the reviews!

Art by Andrey Kiselev / Fotolia

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

X Marks the Story - June 2018

Hi all! June is many things (Pride, my birthday month, summer where I live) and to celebrate I have a new X Marks the Story up at The Book Smugglers. Go check that out!

For those just wanting the sweet, sweet links, here's the six stories that I feature:

“I Sing Against the Silent Sun”, A. Merc Rustad and Ada Hoffmann (Lightspeed #97, June 2018)
“Leviathan Sings to Me in the Deep”, Nibedita Sen (Nightmare #69, June 2018)
“The Cook”, C.L. Clark (Uncanny #22, May/June 2018)
Susurrus on Mars by Hal Duncan (Lethe Press, 2017)
“Salt Lines”, Ian Muneshwar (Strange Horizons, May 2018)
“What the Skeleton Detective Tells You (while you picnic)”, Katherine Kendig (Shimmer #43, May/June 2018)

Cheers!


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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Quick Sips - Uncanny #22 [June stuff]

Uncanny meets June with three stories and two poems and a decidedly dark tone. In these pieces people struggle with big issues. With systems and environments that are broken, that are hungry for blood. Where monsters and demons lurk. And they are settings where the characters are expected to accept their victimization, where if they struggle it will only hurt them more. Only, of course, these characters don’t accept that. Instead, they push back against these environments and when they meet someone who might have the power to change things, they seek to use that power. To convince it or take it in order to remake the world. Or to right a wrong situation. The stories are often violent, and uncomfortable, but they also shine with resilience and with care, and with the hope that things can get better. To the reviews!

Art by Julie Dillon

Monday, June 18, 2018

Quick Sips - Shimmer #43 [June stuff]

Relationships move to the foreground for the June stories from Shimmer Magazine. Whether just beginning, in the case of a certain skeleton detective and the guy she meets in the forest (not as creepy as it sounds, tbh). Or at the possible beginning of the end, as in the case of a woman dealing with a partner trying to “fix” something that isn’t really broken. In both situations, one of the people involved has something that sets them apart and that makes them vulnerable because of how people might see them. And in both, the characters make steps toward seeing themselves as not broken, as worthy of decency and respect. And before I give too much away, to the reviews!

Art by Sandro Castelli

Friday, June 15, 2018

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 06/04/2018 & 06/11/2018

The first two weeks of June’s Strange Horizons brings a pair of stories and a pair of poems. The fiction is a mix of fantasies, one with magic and ghosts and monsters and the other with a looser grasp on reality. Both feature characters charged with watching over a space through. For one, it’s through elaborate ritual. For the other, it’s by house sitting. In both, there’s a feeling of something being trapped, of something being infested, and of the characters having been wronged. The poetry deals with myths, with mythical creatures, and with longing and endings and beginnings. And all together it makes for a rather lovely but haunting collection of short SFF. To the reviews!

Art by Kelsey Liggett

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #141

June brings three novelettes and two short stories to Clarkesworld, with an interesting look at humanity, alien worlds, and human connection. For each of the stories, the setting is another character to contend with. Either in the form of an oppressive state, a far-flung world, the cold of space, or even an Earth that-might-have-been. And the characters in the story must navigate these worlds, surviving the many dangers, seeking to find connection where there seems only hostility. It’s a goal that is not always successful, and is occassionally laced with tragedy, but there’s also some hope to be found as well. That sometimes, even against the most overwhelming of situations, people can find each other. By and large it’s not a very cheery collection of stories, but it’s an interesting mix and I’ll get right to reviewing them!

Art by Sean Andrew Murray