Monday, August 3, 2020

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #309

Art by Alexander Ostrowski
The two stories in the latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies deal with magic and family, and more specifically with magical companions that threaten to wreck the fragile peace and safety that the narrators of the stories feel they have achieved. In one of the stories, though, that threat is very real, and very deadly. In the other, it only seems a threat, but is really the key to unlocking something much better than what the narrator currently has. The works are very different, but their focus on younger women struggling against the roles and fates decided for them unite them in a rather wonderful way. To the reviews!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Quick Sips - Tor dot com July 2020

Art by Rovina Cai
Tor was not joking around this month. Two short stories and four novelettes makes this the biggest release month they’ve had in a while, and the works range from tie-ins to larger settings to some very stand alone. Fans of Tamsyn Muir and Seanan McGuire (of which there are many, I know) will be happy that they return to popular series, and there’s some interesting works interrogating uploaded consciousnesses, mythical games, and the deteriorating nature of reality itself. There’s a lot to enjoy, and a lot to get to, so I’ll cut this short and just jump into the reviews!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Quick Sips - Fireside Magazine #81

Fireside Magazine closes out July with four new stories that deal with family and with bargains. Often with bargains that don’t exactly go as planned. A faerie queer who kidnaps a child only to find herself getting involved in the life of the mother. Spice traders opening up a new market in the shadow of colonialism. Workers trapped in a place where they are always outsiders, exploited, making connections no one expects. A magical being of water making a bargain much deeper than the words used to contain it. The works look at how bargains are often made with one side trying to cheat the other, and how that can be avoided, and how sometimes it can’t be. It's a lovely bunch of stories, and I’ll get right to my reviews!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 07/20/2020 & Samovar 07/27/2020

Art by Mateus Manhanini
So it seems that Strange Horizons had a surprise in store for me this month, as it stepped back and a new issue of Samovar dropped instead of a regular issue. So instead of one story and two poems, I’m looking at three stories (one of them a long novelette) and two poems, and that’s not really a complaint. Because the works are interesting and deep, with an eye on history and quiet desperation. Oppressive environments wrought by human intolerance and corruption. And people trying to make their way through it, trying to find some beauty amidst the danger. To the reviews!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Quick Sips - Glittership Spring 2020

New Glittership!!! That’s right, there’s a brand new issue packed with queer short SFF! Three short stories and three poems to be precise, with lots of reprint work as well that I definitely recommend you check out! The stories and poems run a nice range of themes and genres, from fantasy to science fiction to horror, and I love the way the authors weave identity and queerness into the works. Always deliberately. Always carefully. Always with respect and compassion. And they find such joy in the ways they bring their characters out from the grim expectations put on them and to places where they can live authentically and free. To the reviews!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Regular Sip - A Fledgling Abiba by Dilman Dila (Guardbridge Books)

Today I’m back looking a new novella, this one from Guardbridge Books, which I’m not super familiar with but who looks like they do some great work. I’m a bit more familiar with the work of Dilman Dila, who, on top of making some fantastic SFF films, has put out some great SFF short fiction over the years (most recently in the Dominion anthology I just reviewed last week). This story takes the somewhat familiar trope of the magical child entering into a whole larger magical world that most people aren’t aware of, but instead of a boy with a scar in a wealthy boarding school there’s a girl who farts fire in a city plagued by illness, violence, and magical conspiracies. To the review!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Quick Collections - Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (Volume One), ed. Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald

I’m back looking at a short fiction anthology that brings together thirteen works of speculative fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora. Domunion, edited by Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald (and published by Aurelia Leo), doesn’t limit itself to just one kind of genre, or even one kind of form. It includes science fiction and fantasy and horrors and blends of all of the above. It includes a poem, as well, and stories range from fairly short to quite long. The lack of a specific theme, though, doesn’t mean that certain elements don’t recur.