Friday, January 17, 2020

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 01/06/2020 & 01/13/2020

Strange Horizons opens with two issues with some strange and stunning fiction and poetry. The works are challenging in that they imagine futures or alternate worlds where things...aren't the way we're used to. Marriage is a book with sometimes-competing authors. The future is a museum plucked from the rubble of humanity as if at random. The poetry explores themes of identity and transgression, choice and fear. It's a new reminder of what to expect from Strange Horizons—stories that take risks while still being careful. To the reviews!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #160

Art by Eduardo García
Well that’s one way for Clarkesworld to open 2020. Following the pulling of their lead story at the request of the author, the publication will also be issuing a statement (at the time of my writing this it’s still forthcoming). I had written a review of the piece, but it’s my policy to remove reviews at the request of authors, and I’m honoring the author’s request to remove the story from publication as a further request to remove my review of it, in this case preemptively. So I will not be posting a review of the story, at least as things stand now. That said, there’s still a lot of issue to get to, and a lot of the stories this month are linked by themes of death and loss, by family, and by mortality and transformation. There are many characters dealing with the line between human and robot, between AI and person, between friend and monster. To the reviews!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Quick Sips - Fiyah Literary Magazine #13

Art by Steffi Walthall
It’s a new year and a brand new issue of Fiyah Literary Magazine meets the new year with a bang! The issues doesn’t have an official theme, but I find that a lot of the works seem to circle around water. Rain, floods, seas, potions, rivers, tearsÑthe stories feature people with connections to water. Who have been transformed by it, who seek to protect it, and who in turn are protected and embraced by it. Like islands in a wide sea, the stories wait for readers to risk the waves and currents to sail from one to the next, drawn by the resilience, the need reflected in the stories and poem to live your truths, to fight for them, and to revel in the wonder and beauty of them. To the reviews!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online January 2020

Flash Fiction Online doesn’t exactly open the year up with the most SFF of issues. But even so, the stories are sharp and feature people dealing with the expectations put on them. The injustices that they are expected to accept and bear. And the ways that they say Fuck That to all the people trying to oppress them, to make them conform and accept the cages designed for them. It’s a trio of defiant, affirming stories, and I’ll get right to the reviews!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus January 2020

January brings a rather long story to GigaNotoSaurus, kicking the year off with an alt-historical sci-fantasy novella. It’s a piece that is intricately built and wonderfully executed, giving the prose the feeling of a play, a ballet, or maybe an opera. The characters and their motivations are clear and messy, the plot one tinged with tragedy but still loaded with hope for freedom and fulfillment. It’s a great look at what makes GigaNotoSaurus so special, it’s commitment to putting out longer works of SFF that might have had a much harder time reaching an audience. It’s a stunning story, and one I’ll get right to reviewing!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Quick Sips - Lightspeed #116

Art by grand failure
January brings the regular round of four stories (all technically short stories, though two are very nearly novelettes) to Lightspeed Magazine. The stories take a look at parallel worlds and lives, at characters caught wondering what if, and at the fallout from people pursuing lives that seem just in reach—but that might be universes away. There’s an interesting mix of moods and tones in the pieces, some focusing on a “hero” who turns out to be anything but, some that take a bit more work to decipher because of a more unconventional take on space, time, and memory. But all of them are well worth checking out, and I’ll jump right into the reviews!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #294

Art by Rytis Sabaliauskas
It’s a new year at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which means a new opportunity to remind people what the publication is good at. First, it’s a well paired issue, something that they excel at. These are two stories of fantasy adventure, with characters having to use their minds as well as their daring and bravery in order to try and thwart the destructive wills of those who have already taken from the main characters. So the characters are out for more than just setting right some wrongs. They’re out for a bit of payback, as well, and it lends an added flare to the prose, an added brashness. And it makes for a very fun look at what BCS does, and I should just get right to the reviews!