Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #268

Art by Tyler Edlin
It’s a pair of stories about decline and confrontations with gods in this first Beneath Ceaseless Skies issue of 2019. Both pieces feature villages that have suffered great losses, that have been transformed by what they’ve had to do in order to survive. And both find themselves faced with a situation where they must put themselves in the power of a god (or godling) in order to try and save as many people as possible. More than that, though, both villages have to rely on their own very mortal humanity in order to stand up to the tyranny of gods who have lost their way and role. To the reviews!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Quick Sips - Anathema #6

So I might have missed when this latest issue of Anathema dropped on the last day of the year. My apologies! I’m super glad I caught it, though, because it’s an amazing bunch of stories, featuring six different works that explore grief, loss, and a palpable powerlessness. The characters are dealing with things that cannot be changed (or that seem like they cannot be changed) and finding out what they can do about it. That sometimes means learning how to accept things and try to move on, though that’s complicated by grief, by pain, and by the fear of losing more. It’s an emotional and often devastating read, and I’ll get right to those reviews!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus January 2019

January brings a short story full of magic, dancing, and...trolls to GigaNotoSaurus, where a young troll comes against the prejudice of humans and the pressure to conform to stereotypes. It’s a piece that looks at art, and the acceptable ways that people are expected to perform—the emotions and characteristics they are allowed to conjure to their audience. And the strength and bravery it can take to break out of those roles and refuse the conventional portrayals and wisdoms concerning different groups. It’s a piece with a breath of the forest, of the damp earth and cool air of a mountain hall, and a troll who wants nothing more than to fill the world with dance. To the review!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Quick Sips - Serial Box: Ninth Step Station [episodes 3-4]

Good news, everyone! Ninth Step Station is available now from Serial Box! So for this exciting release day I’m looking at two more episodes of the sci fi mystery series (be sure to check out my reviews of the first two episodes here). The series mixes near-future political science fiction with police procedural-style mysteries and it’s just a lot of fun. After a strong (if rocky) start to their relationship…well, Miyako and Emma are still definitely trying to figure out how to work together. But split allegiances and outright lies aren’t really helping things. Throw in some invisible men and serial killers and this represents a very tense pair of episodes. And before I can give to much away, let's get to the reviews!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Quick Sips - Fiyah Literary Magazine #9

Art bDustin Bolton
A new year means a new issue from Fiyah Literary Magazine. Which comes with some news. Namely, that co-executive editor Justina Ireland is stepping down and leaving the publication and DaVaun Sanders is stepping up into that role. The issue also steps back from the tradition of centering around a specific theme, though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few that sneak in. Namely, a lot of the works look at infection, disease, and affliction. They map the devastation that pandemics create, whether the plagues are medical, magical, or moral. And they find characters who are faced with the sicknesses draining their worlds and have to decide what to do about it. Fight back? Seek a cure? Flee? Or weather the storm as much as possible? It’s an issue full of defiance and strength, though it recognizes that sometimes even that isn’t enough. There’s four short stories, one novelette, and two poems to get to, so let’s dive right into the reviews!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online January 2019

Art by Dario Bijelac
Kicking off the year with an issue full of food and drink, Flash Fiction Online opens 2019 with three stories that explore the comforts, fears, and griefs of cooking. From a couple who use food in intimate and foundational ways to a young woman trying to connect to a dead relative through a special libation to a pair of chefs searching Mars for a vital ingredient, the three pieces all show the power of food and drink to bring people together. To connect people through flavor and through labor, through joy and through sorrow. It’s a story full of strangeness, and the danger of dissolution, but also full of the love of food, and family, and all the flavors of home. To the reviews!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Quick Sips - The Dark #44

Art by grandfailure
January 2019 seems a great time to remind readers by The Dark Magazine is named, well, The Dark. Because it sets a course for visceral horror and does not waver as it sails directly for it. Through a quiet, almost somber tone, it takes readers on a descent, through the crust of the earth to the roiling innards and deeper, deeper, cutting through the societal niceties and norms and finding a raw and bleeding heart crying for change. The stories feature characters trapped in many ways by their roles, by their jobs, and by their responsibilities to their families. They take two very different paths, but both works explore what lurks beneath the surface, and what darknesses can come back up when people dip down and try to rise.