Friday, December 3, 2021

Quick Sips 12/03/2021

So I was hoping to get to more than this, but time makes fools of us all. Plus, I just might be trying to swing something super secret at the moment and it’s eating a lot of my time. That said, though, it’s not like I didn’t get to anything. There’s two weeks of Strange Horizons, an issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, an anniversary issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, November’s Flash Fiction Online and GigaNotoSaurus, and the latest from khōréō magazine. Plus I’m trowing in a review of a Neon Hemlock novella that I was fortunate enough to get the chance to blurb. All told, quite a few works covered!

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, November 26, 2021

Quick Sips 11/26/2021

Still kinda struggling to catch up here, but that’s not to say I’m not getting to a lot. This week I’m mostly in November releases, though I do dip back to pick up an October issue I missed (October was really fucking full). First it’s two weeks of Strange Horizons, then the November Clarkesworld. Then back to pick up October’s The Future Fire. Then November’s The Deadlands, a Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Diabolical Plots. Alas, I’m not caught up on either Strange Horizons or Beneath Ceaseless Skies, to say nothing of the Escape Artist releases, but I’m trying. Well and truly. I’ll get there eventually.

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

2021 Awards Eligibility Post - Charles Payseur and Quick Sip Reviews

In many ways, 2020 was supposed to be my swan song. I was planning to cut back and give myself more time for other projects that weren't reviewing. In that, dear readers, I failed. Miserably. Instead, I've made 2021 the busiest year to date for me and reviewing. I've already covered over 1500 works of short SFF, and by the end of the year I expect that number will be over 1700. So...it's still I guess rather front and center that I make an eligibility post both for my work as a writer (more on that in a bit) and as a fan writer. To that, I am eligible for...

The Hugo Awards - Best Fan Writer - Charles Payseur
The Hugo Awards - Best Fanzine - Quick Sip Reviews

Any other award that covers blogging, reviewing, or similar

Now, for this my body of work is most evident here at Quick Sip Reviews, where every week this year I have covered a whole slew of works, plus added commentary on life and other things that I'm doing, watching, reading, etc. I also write on my Patreon, for free and exclusively for Patrons. I had five X Marks the Story posts at The Book Smugglers. I have done a number of interviews. To say at this point that I am prolific in my fan work is not to understate things. Being Midwestern, it's easy to think humility is to downplay the work I've done but to be honest, give that the year has nearly broken me in ways I wasn't even expecting, I do want to say that what I have done is perhaps without precedent. Not only over 1000 reviews, but well over that mark. It's...a lot. 

And that's not even all this year. I also had a number of stories out, mostly in my collection, The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories. Which itself is eligible for awards that honor collections. Plus I'm not an editor! Eep! But first for writing, I am eligible for...

Short Story Awards - "Just Toonin'" in The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories
Short Story Awards - "Door Thirteen" in The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories
Short Story Awards - "Little Blue Men" in The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories

Collection Awards - The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories (Lethe Press)

And finally, as stated, I'm now series editor for We're Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction so I should say that I'm eligible for...

Anthology Awards - We're Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2020 ed. C.L. Clark, series ed. Charles Payseur (Neon Hemlock Press)

Short Fiction Editor Awards - C.L. Clark & Charles Payseur (We're Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2020)

And there you have it. Consider my hat officially in the ring for all the things. Thank you for your time and consideration!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Quick Sips 11/19/2021

So it’s another busy week of reviews, if not quite so full as the week before. But I’m done with October for the most part so it’s all November issues I’m looking at today. I start with Lightspeed and things get grim as I look at Nightmare, The Dark, and Apex one after the other. Things get a little brighter (though there’s perhaps a death theme moving through the field this month) with Uncanny and Fireside Magazine. There are all issues that send my review copies, which I super appreciate, and which means I can get to them a little earlier. Next week I’ll try to hit the latest Clarkesworld as well as catch up on Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, the Escape Artists, and more. Stay tuned!

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Quick Sips 11/12/2021

Well I can’t say I’m not firing on all cylinders this week, as my review load just to get through the October content I hadn’t covered already meant I had to do a lot of reading and reviewing. It also means that yeah, I only cover October content this week, despite it being decidedly November. But I did get through all the October Escape Artists original offerings (except the special, which honestly, I have no idea how to cover, so I might just skip that for now). But that’s three episodes of Cast of Wonders, two each of Escape Pod and Pseudopod, and a special flash fiction edition of PodCastle. Plus the Fund Drive issue of Strange Horizons and the latest from Samovar. Plus October’s Diabolical Plots, Tor, and Mermaids Monthly. And if all that weren’t enough, Omenana released a late issues as well, and seems to be planning to release another before the end of the year. So yeah, any hopes of breezing into 2022 are pretty much gone. Still, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. Onward.

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, November 5, 2021

Quick Sips 11/05/2021

So I’m back from vacation but I’m not exactly back up to speed yet. And my brain is apparently all over the place, because I jumped into November reads before realizing that there’s still a bunch of October stuff that I haven’t gotten to yet. Shit! But so it goes, I guess. This week I’ll be covering the October The Deadlands and Shoreline of Infinity and then jumping ahead to November’s Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine. If I had been clever I would have done October’s Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Escape Artist podcasts like I had planned, but alas, I did not. Those will have to wait as I scramble to locate my brain going forward. Good times!

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Quick Sips 10/29/2021

2021 didn’t really go to plan. I feel like that’s probably the case for a lot of people, but for me I was hoping that it would be a year to recharge and refocus. I was going to cut back on my reviews, and I was going to get more written. That…really didn’t shake out. Instead, while my individual reviews got shorter, I added so many stories to what I was covering that it was more or less a wash. 200,000 words in reviews isn’t exactly cutting back, not in any meaningful way, and while I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished in this seventh year of short SFF coverage at Quick Sip Reviews, it’s not at all what I wanted it to be.

So, some guidance going forward, and a sense of what’s to come. I hope to close out 2021 as I’ve been doing it. Which is to say, change is coming, but I’ll probably still work myself into the ground until the new year, just to have that clean breaking point. I do this in part out of sheer stubborn pride, because I don’t want to be the reviewer that just walks away without any sense of closure or plan. 

After that? Currently my plan is to pretty much stop with most of my reviewing work on QSR. I will still be running my weekly Sip of the Week reviews/recommendations. I will still be collecting up stories for my monthly Some Queer Short SFF lists. I will still be reading as widely as I can for We’re Here. And I’ll probably keep blogging on QSR, moving my work to broader coverage of short SFF and maybe including more links to releases, other people’s reviews, and short SFF news like open submission calls. We’ll see. As of now I’m giving myself permission to do basically whatever I need to in order to take care of myself, as I’m absolutely terrible at that and 2021 has been the opposite of successful in that regard.

As I move into areas other than dedicated short SFF reviewing, I do want to take the time to thank everyone for their support not only now but since I started Quick Sip Reviews. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done without a lot of people, and I’m incredibly honored by the recognition and love I’ve seen for this weird little project that began and continues to be me just throwing my opinions on stories at the internet.

And thank you all for your patience as I try to figure out what will work for me going forward. It’s a strange, scary path for me, because some days it feels like not doing Way Too Much is letting people down, and that’s just a head space I need to move out of…somehow. Meanwhile, I’m doing what I can. My week off was interesting, though more stressful than I would have liked because of home repairs/roof work going on that ate far too much time and energy. So I didn’t get any of the reviewing done I wanted to. Luckily, I had worked ahead some, so am not in a terrible place. But yeah, I’m trying. 

In other media, I watched some shows, finished up what was there of Shetland (meh, though the co-parent slash is strong and I’m here for the Jimmy/Duncan). Watched the two new Vera episodes and loved them. Watched all of McDonald & Dodds, which was mostly fun, though somewhat strange, especially because it actually acknowledges covid. And now we’re rewatching Wallander, which is fairly meh as well but maybe that’s just the first few episodes. At least it’s got Loki? But yeah, it goes. Just…hanging in there. And I’ll be back next week with more reviews, so cheers!

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