Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Quick Sips - Glittership Summer 2017 [part 2]

I’m looking at the second half of the Summer 2017 issue of Glittership and it’s another great collection of queer SFF. Because of what I got to last time, what’s left is an original story, a reprint story, and two original poems. I must say I’m an especial fan of venues that mix their fiction and poetry, and this half of the issue features outstanding examples of both. All the pieces in this half of the issue seem to follow a theme surrounding repression and fear. The pieces are about characters moving through a world that is openly hostile to them, where they don’t fit in and cannot full express who they are. Because of fear, because of hate, they have to hide a part of themselves, and the action threatens to rot them from within. In some of the pieces this gives way to acceptance and expression, and in some it…doesn’t. It’s a mix of heartbreaking and heart warming, and it’s all very good, so let’s get to the reviews!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Quick Sips - Uncanny #18 [September stuff]

September brings a heavy strangeness to the pages (screen?) of Uncanny, with three original stories and two poems that all are a bit weird in their own ways. Especially the fiction seems to ooze a certain surreal quality that is unsettling even as it’s compelling, revealing worlds where the rules are just a little off, or else mapping areas of our own world where the rules are much different than we might have assumed. There is magic here, but not always the most obvious kind. And there is certainly a pervasive darkness to many of the pieces, a pain at the heart of many of the stories. But there’s also a reach toward empathy, and understanding, and community. Many of the pieces involve a community trying to build a place for themselves, to carve out something from a hostile world where their rules can hold sway. But before I drift too far afield, to the reviews!

Art by Ashley Mackenzie

Friday, September 22, 2017

Quick Sips - Apex #100

It’s time to celebrate because Apex Magazine turns 100 this month! Woo! As a special treat, there’s an extended table of contents to this September issue, but mostly in the form of three reprinted stories. I definitely recommend you check those out, but I’m keeping my eyes on the original works, of which there are a new novelette and short story. The stories are very much about survival, and in particular about girls surviving tragedies that make them orphans and that leave them with lasting scars, either physically or emotionally. And both stories see these characters pushed to confront their pasts in order to prevent new tragedies from unfolding. These are rather uncomfortable stories at times but also carry with them a gripping tension and action and a strong payoff. It’s been 100 issues from Apex and as I get to these reviews I can only hope for at least 100 more!

Art by Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #234

This issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies features two stories about hunting and about violence. In each, there are two sides, hungry and in many ways brutal, who move through the world with certainty in their own worth. Caught between them, though, are legions of victims whose only crimes seem to be being in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught between larger forces who want something. Who want war, mostly, and conquest, whether on a more intimate scale or on the scale of empires and cultures. The stories are dark and uncomfortable, offering no easy answers and really no heroes, just those with power and those who must try to survive being without. These are pieces about victims, and about predators, and I should just get to the reviews already!

Art by Jordan Grimmer

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quick Sips - Shimmer #39 [September stuff]

The editorial in this month’s Shimmer Magazine gives a glimpse into the element linking the stories—ghosts. And both of the original stories for September revolve around hauntings, and around ghosts, and around stories. In each there are people who are misunderstood, people who walk through life but who never really feel a part of the same world as everyone else. That might have to do with their gender and how they are perceived, or it might have to do with their role and their power. But in both stories the characters are confronted with stories underneath stories, with unearthing hurt and violence and trying to bring some closure and healing to a bad situation. And both seem to focus on how the characters reach toward connection through a haze of difficulty, though the disconnect they often feel with other people. These are two strange but touching stories that I should just get to reviewing!

Art by Sandro Castelli

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Quick Sips - Nightmare #60

Nightmare Magazine’s September issue features a nicely paired duo of original stories that explore faith and sacrifice, bargains and power. For both characters, they come face to face with a place of power, with a kind of temple, and have to make some decisions. Do they listen to the voice speaking to them, nudging their feet toward a desired outcome? Do they resist in the face of pain and violence and the prospect of losing everything they have? What does faith really mean to them, and what are distant gods in the face of those that are present, immediate, and loud? These are two stories that take a dark look at gods and power, and it’s time to review them!

Art by Foldyart1980 / Fotolia

Monday, September 18, 2017

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 09/04/2017 & 09/11/2014

Hey! Strange Horizons is running their fund drive! It’s almost over! GO SUPPORT THEM!!! You get things like mugs and shirts and pins and just do it, okay. Strange Horizons is hugely important to SFF, in my opinion, and does amazing work. Case in point, I’m looking at three stories and two poems today that are rather stunning. They look at loneliness and loss, at compassion and patience, truth and love. These are stories that feature characters looking for connection, hoping to save someone, even if that someone is themself. The poetry is moving and haunting and everything weaves together to create a feel of warmth and chill, comfort and grief. It is some fantastic work and I for one want Strange Horizons to continue for a long time to come. So check out the fund drive, give what you can, and get ready for some reviews!