Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Quick Sips - Shimmer #36 [March stuff]

The March offerings from Shimmer Magazine certainly aren't the brightest of stories. Delving into human and non-human desperation and loneliness, the pieces show the lengths that people will go for hope. For the desire to get out of a bad situation. For the chance to start fresh. These are stories that build up some interesting worlds, some very close to our own, some…very not. But both have a taste of the sea to them, the sound of crashing waves and the spray of mist. Both show people pushing through hardship and catastrophe to find something beautiful and to pass it along to future generations. These are some shocking and lovely stories that I should just review already!

Art by Sandro Castelli

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus March 2017

March is here and for GigaNotoSaurus that means another excellent piece of SFF that ranges a bit on the long side. It’s a novelette this month, long enough to sink your teeth into but not so long that it drags. No, this story is a dense story that takes place in the American Southwest and tastes like country music, sugar, and rot. It’s a piece that explores a relationship in all its complexity and messiness. That looks at bargains and death and recrimination. And it’s just another fine example of what makes GigaNotoSaurus worth returning to, month after month—a SFF tale of magic, tenderness, and most of all, humanity. So yeah, to the review!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 03/06/2017 & 03/13/2017

It's another dense two weeks from Strange Horizons, with a novelette cut into two parts, two poems, and a nonfiction piece from the videogame-centric Metagames. Which means that there's a lot to see and experience. The publication doesn't often do multi-part stories, but I'm certainly glad it's made that decision here, presenting a tale that's wrenching and bleak but with a vein of hope and faith. The poetry is all about scope and perspective, about what is hidden, and how we can reveal it. And the nonfiction takes a look at the different reasons people have for playing video games. The different ways that people can engage with the idea of challenge and flow. It's a great pair of issues and I'm going to jump right into my reviews!

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Monthly Round is up!!!

The Monthly Round is now live at Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together. Check out my favorite short SFF stories of the month paired with reviews and delicious (and alcoholic) beverages. Check it out!

As ever, for those who don't want to enjoy the full commentary, here is just a rundown of the stories.

Tasting Flight - February 2017

"Finity" by Elaine Atwell (GigaNotoSaurus)
"Extracurricular Activities" by Yoon Ha Lee (Tor)
"Can Anything Good Come" by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (The Dark)
"The Revolution, Brought to You by Nike" by Andrea Phillips (Fireside Fiction)
"Queen of Dirt" by Nisi Shawl (Apex)
"Later, Let's Tear Up the Inner Sanctum" by A. Merc Rustad (Lightspeed)

Shots
"Curiosity Fruit Machine" by S. Qiouyi Lu (Glittership)
"We Are Still Feeling" by Karen Bovenmyer (The Sockdolager)
"Thursday in the Ice Fortress of Zelatharia the Terrible" by Sarah Crowe (Mothership Zeta)

Cheers!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #126

It's a pretty standard month from Clarkesworld Magazine for March, with five original stories including a great novelette in translation. Indeed, the four short stories all come in within about 500 words of each other and all of them are science fiction pieces. More connective than length, though, these pieces are concerned with new forms of intelligence and with the end of the world. Or maybe just with the end of certain aspects of it. But at least two of the stories are more specifically apocalyptic, and many besides are about doubt and depression, anxiety and seclusion. These stories show people closing themselves off from the rest of the world—out of fear or hurt—and then having to decide whether to open up again. It's a wonderful issue and it's time to review!

Art by Sergei Sarichev

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Quick Sips - Nightmare #54

The March issue of Nightmare Magazine certainly doesn’t skimp on the stories. Though it’s only the usual pair of tales, the lengths are rather impressive (the shorter is still over 7000 words) and the complexity is amazing. These are stories that don’t really follow the conventional slasher-style tropes of horror. No, instead what we find are familial tragedies, stories of sons betrayed by their fathers, of young people trying to find some way forward even when their lives and their worlds have been poisoned against them. These are stories about old wounds that won’t seem to heal, and about the power necessary to go forward when everything seems broken, ugly, and dark. These are pieces that made me think and made me feel, and I’m just going to get to my reviews.

Art by ilonareny

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #220

Sometimes an issue comes along that really focuses on a central theme, and the first March issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies does an amazing job of exploring the devastation of war. Not just the costs in human life but in human conscience. Because the characters in these stories are war criminals, responsible for things that cross the line from murder into atrocity. And the stories dig into the minds of these characters not to sympathize with them (in my opinion) but to show what is left afterward. To show the empty guilt and shame and doubt. To show the lingering harm that has been done, that they have done, and show that there are some things you cannot heal from, should not be healed of. It’s a difficult and excellent pair of stories that I’m going to get right to reviewing!

Art by Ward Lindhout