Monday, September 21, 2020

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #168

Art by Rodion Shaldo
September’s Clarkesworld Magazine is big. Four short stories (1 translated) and three novelettes remind me that this is the longest publication that I cover. And in some ways it’s an almost strange month for the publication, featuring stories that dip more into the fantasy side of things, though with plenty of science or at least mechanical elements that mean that the focus still isn’t really on magic, exactly. The pieces run from historical weird to far future colonization, from intimate stories unfolding in the human mind to conflicts that span countries and beyond. There’s a lot to get to in this issue, so I won’t waste any more time. To the reviews!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 09/07/2020 & 09/14/2020

Strange Horizons’ September kicks off with two new issues with two new poems, a new short story, and a novelette, on top of the usual amazing nonfiction that I don’t cover but definitely recommend. And the pieces are indeed Strange! And…horizon…y. They look at the borders of things, the sort of uncertainty that makes reality malleable, that leaves people broken, alone, their worlds shattered by a casual violence, by the presence of something hungry and stark, mechanical and merciless. The works are unsettling and yearning, and the poetry is (as usual) challenging and wonderful. Once more the publication more than lives up to its name, and I’ll try and do likewise with some reviews!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #312

Both of the stories in the latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies are about bargains and the people who facilitate them. Who trade in the power to get things done. To realize dreams. Or to respond to hurts. Both people, though, find that there are hurts they seem incapable of really seeing to. And in some ways that regardless of what they do, things seem to get worse, people they care about are hurt, and they end up increasingly alone. It’s a nice one-two punch of grim and gritty stories involving magic and desire. But there’s hope there as well. Stuck in, and shadowed by the pain that’s been caused, but present all the same, for those willing to look for it. To the reviews!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus September 2020

The latest GigaNotoSaurus pushes things to novelette length and spins a tale of gods and desire, betrayal and faith, all wrapped around one person who really just sort of wants to be left alone. When their god suddenly develops an intense (and entirely unwanted) desire for them, though, being left along is off the menu. What follows is a strange and careful story that spins around a blossoming friendship, the desire for safety, and the shattering reality of the abuse of power. It’s not an easy read, for all the fantasy elements are interesting and the characters are rather fun. The situation is grim, though, and the atmosphere creeping, alive with violation, and lacking a clear path forward. Before I give too much away, though, let’s get to the review!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online September 2020

September brings three stories to Flash Fiction Online that deal with...change and compromises. That find two people navigating a situation where they have to decided how to move forward when the path before them seems to be leading into conflict, separation, and destruction. For the first two stories, that touches on the divine, finding beings with supernatural powers faced with how to use those powers. Even the last story, though, deals with a force that is a greater magic, and how people relate to it, how people run from it and hide it. The stories all find the characters having to deal with big changes to their little worlds, and trying to make their decisions based on empathy, compassion, and trust. To the reviews!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Quick Sips - The Dark #64

Art by Vincent Chong
The latest issue of The Dark Magazine focuses on monsters, on beings who might be gods, beings who are making some unfair bargains and fully expect to get away with it. And, well, they’re not necessarily wrong to think that, as the stories are also visceral and intensely grim. They offer no real relief from the crush of injustice and the descent of time. But then, the publication isn’t called The Happy. So it’s a rather appropriate issue, if also a rather devastating one. To the reviews!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Quick Sips - Anathema #11 [part 2]

Art by Bex Glendining
And I’m back to finish up my review of the August issue of Anathema Magazine, this time looking at the second half--three short stories and one poem. And there is a sense here of broken connections. Of characters whose ties have been severed in important ways. Ways that leave them seeking things. Revenge, in a few cases. Or closure, at the very least. To break free from cycles of violence. Or to continue them. To push back against silence, but also to express grief and loss and all the messy, complicated emotions that people can feel. It’s a wonderful collection of SFF work, and I’ll get right to my reviews!