Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #284

Art by Noah Bradley
Two nested stories make for a nicely dense and meta issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Both are framed as found texts, stories that have been uncovered that give added context to some mysterious events. They provide their settings with more history, with more philosophy, and with some deep truths to grapple with. Both look at the ways that narratives can influence the ways people view history. Can erase people, or ensnare them. And how scholarship can be necessary to see the difficult truths and seek to fix persistent problems. These are stories with layers and nested narratives that invite readers to dig deep after justice. to the reviews!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Quick Sips - Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #41

Art by Jereme Peabody
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly brings three stories and two poems in their latest issue, and the works mix fast action, wrenching tragedy, and a pervasive grimness. The stories are by and large dark, exploring situations ripe with death and danger, with damage and hard decisions. The characters are out to do violence, to put an end to their enemies. But somehow it doesn’t work out how they thought. Something interferes, or their victory is stolen from them, turns to ash and blood in their mouths. Whatever the case, the stories and poems each introduce carefully built and interestingly imagined worlds to explore, and it’s a very strong issue. To the reviews!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 08/05/2019 & 08/12/2019

Art by Em Allen
Two stories and two poems open up August's Strange Horizons content, and they swirl around isolation, distance, and a spot of magic. Both stories unfold in a mostly-contemporary setting and focus on relationships between women. Romantic or not, generational or not, the relationships bring into focus what each person has been lacking and how they're attempting to find in someone else a cure to that lack. The pieces are lovely but touched with melancholy and sadness, hopeful but still recognizing the burden of societal expectations and values, especially when they don't meet up with how the characters need to live. It's a lot of stunning work, and I'll get right to the reviews!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Quick Sips - Uncanny #29 [August stuff]

Art by Julie Dillon
Three short stories and two poems make August rather standard in amount of content for Uncanny Magazine. The quality of the work, though, makes it another stand-out issue, though, that looks at family and history, magic and love. It’s a mix of science fiction and fantasy, from a story about religion and dragons to one about an exploitative Magician to one featuring the distant origins of a lunar colony that wants to break free of colonization. Add in poetry that echoes back with notes of war and love, and the entire issue flows quite well, leaning a bit grim at times but resolving into beauty and community. To the reviews!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #155

Art by Roman Kuteynikov
It’s another full issue from Clarkesworld, with six stories (four short stories and two translated novelettes) that cover a wide range of pasts, presents, futures, and never-wases. The stories are mostly science fictional, though there’s one fantasy and one alt-history, and they examine hope and progress, what makes a person human or makes them...different. It features naturalized aliens, uploaded consciousnesses, artificial wombs, and colonies on Neptune. And through it all it remains fairly philosophical, wrenchingly visceral, and intimately emotional. There are spills and chills, laughs and more than one heartwarming moment, so let’s cut the chitchat short and get to the reviews!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online August 2019

The stories in the August Flash Fiction Online deal with family in different ways. And time, and memories. They find people in a moment of distress and doubt. Of loss and uncertainty. Where each person is faced with something of a choice. To accept the world as they have known it, as it has been sold to them, or to question it, and try and find their own way forward. For many, it means having to go against what their family might have wanted for them, but it also means being true to what they believe in, and reaching for a future and a home where they might belong. It might mean addressing past harms, or dealing with grief and guilt, or trying to find comfort in the unknown. But I should just get to those reviews!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #283

Art by Artur Zima
This issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies brings two stories that embrace the weird and magical. That find characters struggling with their desires of freedom and peace even as they are a part of a military system that thrives on order and, most importantly, the sacrifice of the “expendable” so that those with power can maintain it. Both feature monsters to fight against but also to twist in service of the state, and characters trying to use those creatures as a tool to do some actual good. So let’s get to the reviews!