Thursday, March 31, 2016

Quick Sips - Tor.com March 2016 Part 2

After a breakneck pace during the first two months of the year, March slows things down only marginally for Tor.com, which still released five original fiction stories. The second half of the month has been dominated by clever twists on genre classics and a sense of loss and hope. In each of the stories there has been great pain, great loss, both personal and more sweeping. Wars and catastrophes and paradigm shifts. But there is something that remains, something aching and human and hopeful, something that stares into the heart and feels empathy, a bond that cannot be broken. It makes for a rather sad but beautiful set of stories that I should just review already.


Art by Yuko Shimizu

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Quick Sips - Terraform SF March 2016

Uh...well this is awkward. I've been waiting to post this review of Terraform SF's March offerings because...well, I was hoping there was going to be more than one. Especially after last month's amazing array of stories I was quite looking forward to seeing what was next, but it seems like output has been slightly down. But hey, a story's a story and this one is certainly rather entertaining and fun and well conceived and executed. And hopefully next month there will be more to look. To the review!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quick Sips - Plasma Frequency Q1 2016 Part 2


I'm back looking at the first issue of Plasma Frequency Magazine's triumphant return. Last month I featured the first seven stories of the quarterly issue, and this month I'm cleaning up the final six. And I must say that I think I like the second half of the issue even more than the first half. Most of the stories are fairly short, but there's a nice balance to them, some flash fiction and some a bit longer. There's a good balance to the tone and mood of the pieces, as well, from much darker and more psychological stories to ones that bring the fun and left me smiling. Above all, these are well-crafted speculative stories. There's murky contemporary fantasies and political science fictions and it all comes together nicely, making Plasma Frequency's return a happy thing indeed. To the reviews! 

Art by Tais Teng

Monday, March 28, 2016

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #195 Science Fantasy Month 3

The month of Science Fantasy continues with another extra-large issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. These stories take things in a slightly different direction. They're about land and about family, about growing up and digging in and trying to find a better way, even if it doesn't always mean an end to violence. The stories are complex and haunted—by ghosts, by intentions, by the land itself. The past returns in these stories and helps to inform a future that might be brighter, that has the hope of changing things, ending or at least easing oppression. It's another great issue, and I'm just going to jump into the reviews!
Art by Sung Choi

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Quick Thoughts - Updates! March 2016 Edition

I swear at some point I'll get back to having intelligent(ish) things to say about short fiction, but my brain just hasn't had much room for anything aside from reviewing recently so I'm not even going to try. Luckily I'm still get stories out and some of them even accepted so I figure I'd take some time to annoy you all with what's coming up in the land of me.

April:

I'm actually really excited about April for a number of reasons. My erotic M/M Thor/Loki short story will be appearing in Torquere Press' A Fool for Love anthology (and will available for purchase as it's own thing as well). It is probably one of the funnest things I've ever written and ridiculous but (I hope) rather awesome as well. I also have my second speculative poetry publication in Eye to the Telescope with "Ey Who Kissed the Sun." It's actually the third part of a five part longer poem that I'm now not sure what to do with, but I'm super excited to have another poem out there. It's…well, it's sweet and I think it works all right on its own. I'm rather terrible about my poetry, so I'm glad this one worked out. I guess I'll see what I can do with the rest of the poem this came from.

May:

I seem to be plodding along at about two publications a month, it seems, which is amazing really compared to my output any other year. May will see the release of "A Million Future Days" at Lackington's Magazine. There will be art paired with the story and I am so stoked about that. The story itself is…not particularly happy but is technically a story about the city I live in. Eau Claire is never named exactly but much of the details are there and it deals with social safety nets and charity and possible alternate futures and I'm rather proud of the story and very excited to be appearing in Lackington's. May is the release of the issue for sale. People wanting to read for free might have to wait a few extra months. May will also see the release of "Beta Tester" in the Theory of Love anthology from Torquere Press. This is another M/M erotica and my first strictly science fiction bit of smut, about immersive video games and a game tester and his manager/friend. There's dancing and hopefully a fun feel without being too shallow. Indeed.

June:

This is as far out as I can see at the moment, and is another busy month. I will have my story, "Medium," out in a super secret project from the Book Smugglers (and I am psyched to be published from them as they are one of my favorite publishers of great fiction and nonfiction). I can't say too much about it but I think I'll have an Inspirations and Influences up at their site sometime around then and the story itself definitely fits into their theme for the year. The announcement will hopefully be coming out soon. Until then, that's all I can say. Also out in June is my longest publication yet, a 12k novelette M/M paranormal romance called "Fieldwork" published as part of Dreamspinner Press' Walk on the Wild Side story-a-day June release. It's set in Chicago and features lots of shifters and pizza and hopefully is very cute. This is a romance story, so no sex, but lots of flirting and aside from the endless rounds of editing it's been very fun. It will also be released on it's own as an ebook which I'm looking forward to. Dreamspinner is probably the biggest of the M/M publishers and pay pretty well on top of being rather popular so there's a chance I might actually make some money on this even though it's just a short story. Here's hoping, at least! [And oh hey, another last minute addition. My M/M/F fantasy erotica "The Colors of Magic" will appear in the Torquere Press antho Time of Your Life. It's kind of a poly adult Harry Potter story with color theory and it's the first erotica accepted that's not strictly M/M, so hurrah!]

Other stuff:

I do still have another story, "Beyond Far Point," accepted but no contract yet so no official announcement. It's a flash and a bit lighter than my usual fare but I'm hoping still interesting. I'm currently hard at work on a number of things, too. Firstly trying to expand a piece of M/M/M erotic fairy tale to fit an upcoming call. It was rejected first time around (hard sell, the M/M/M plus probably a bit more violent—not the sex, but the story in general—than some are comfortable with, but we'll see if I can sell it yet…) but I'm working at expanding it to get it up to the new word count min. May 1st is a big day for smut deadlines with both a Lethe Press steampunk call and a Dreamspinner "celebrity" call that I want to submit to (thinking historical fantasy involving steam-hodags for the Lethe and a contemporary superhero romance for the Dreamspinner). In non-smut projects, I have a story titled "The Death of Paul Bunyan" that I'm rather pleased with but I'm waiting because the places I want to sub for are closed, so I think I'll use it for a new crit group I'm helping to put together. Which is my last project. If you know any spec fiction or poetry writers in or around the Chippewa Valley (in westcentral Wisconsin near-ish the Twin Cities of MN), please send them in the direction of the SPACECATs (facebook page here) or just have them contact me at cvspacecats@gmail.com. And that's about it. Thanks for reading!

All the best,

Charles Payseur

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Quick Sips - The Sun Magazine March 2016

So something a bit different today, as I'm looking at a not-really-spec publications called The Sun Magazine. Or, rather, I'm looking at the piece of fiction it released in its March issue. Why? Well, a few reasons. First, I was asked by the author, whose Terraform SF story I was a big fan of last year. And because I'm in that time of the month where publications are all holding onto one or two stories yet so it's either let a Thursday go with no new review or else pick something new. And I'm quite glad I decided to read this story, as it's challenging and deep and really rather uncomfortable. It's fantasy, or maybe science fiction, but whatever it is the story is a great meta-fictional experience worth checking out. The story is excerpted online and available for free in the digital edition of the magazine. Definitely go read it. For now, though, the review!



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 03/14/2016 & 03/21/2016

It's March and spring is upon us! At Strange Horizons that means stories of water melting and things awakening. Of fairy tales and danger and loneliness. Of the resolve to do something. From a far future where the world has been irrevocably changed to a time much closer to our own when the weight of living might open doors best left closed, the stories are dark and layered, about human interconnections and separation, responsibility and the will to life and death. The poetry takes on almost mythic overtones, setting a few creepy and unsettling scenes, and I apparently have a lot to say on the piece of nonfiction. So yeah, lots to review. Let's get to it!
 
Art by Luke Spooner

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Quick Sips - Fantastic Stories of the Imagination #233

Spring has officially sprung and at Fantastic Stories of the Imagination it means it's time for tales that bend reality a bit. New perspectives, from a woman brushing against a world dark and alluring to a man recoiling from an experience trading away his past. Plus there's an excellent, amazing crash course in SFF history that I'm super excited about diving into. The stories are interesting and complex, the nonfiction invigorating, and the issue has a feel of springtime to it. So let's get to those reviews!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Quick Sips - Nightmare #42

Spring is in the air, but at Nightmare Magazine that seems to mean people being torn apart by voices external and internal. It means correspondence dominated by hate and rage and hurt. It means people struggling under the weight of enormous pain and pressure and not always finding a good way out of it. The stories are unsettling and provocative and strange, but right at home at Nightmare, and without further procrastination I'm going to review them!
 
Art by Chris Seaman

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Quick Thoughts - The Downeaster Alexa


So apparently the Dragon’s Roost Press anthology, Eldritch Embraces: Putting the Love Back in Lovecraft has released. I do not have my copy yet but it seems like it would be a chunky tome and I’m super pleased to be included in the collection. The story is “Alexa” and really wasn’t originally written as a “Lovecraft” story, but when I saw the call I made some alterations and here we are.

And okay, so “Alexa” is one of those stories that has a very clear inspiration, though in a few parts. First, it is a story that is part of my continued efforts to get published at Shimmer Magazine. I have been a fan for quite some time and many of my stories are designed specifically with Shimmer in mind. Which tends to work out pretty well for me even if I have never gotten into Shimmer. This one did get a nice rejection and perhaps was part of the reason that mermaid stories are now listed as hard sells. Because it is kind of a mermaid story. Or a merman story?

The second part of the inspiration is the Billy Joel song “Downeaster Alexa,” which is a great song and that I personally find rather creepy and provocative. Like the main character in the song, the fisherman in “Alexa” is living with the reality that fishing is becoming more and more difficult. He wants to keep his boat but he also has responsibilities on land and he’s trying to make a balance. The main character of the story is the person the fisherman meets at sea, the last of a once-great population who fled the encroachment of humanity and its pollution. The story (I hope) is about longing and about price and a bit about the environment. As it has been altered to make it more appropriate for the collection, there’s also a bit more to tie it into existing Mythos, but I think the heart of the story remains.

This is one of the relatively few stories I’ve had accepted that racked up over ten rejections before finally placing, though it did receive very nice notes from Shimmer (as I mentioned), Farrago’s Wainscot, Fantastic Stories, and Lackington’s. I first sent it off in January of 2015 and it was eventually accepted in August of that year. It’s a bit sensual for a non-erotic story, and is probably more explicit than I typically go with my non-smut work, but I loved the idea of telling a slightly erotic tale through the lens of a Billy Joel song (because I am weird). I just quite liked the idea of this guy caught between the pull of the ocean and the land. Salt water and blood. Heteronormativity and embracing his bi-ness.

And okay, it probably doesn’t exactly end all that happily for everyone involved. But then, it’s a story about crushing loneliness and distance and pollution and denial. I still rather like it, and hope that you do too. Unfortunately it’s not available for free online, but a portion of all sales does to help out a nonprofit engaged in animal rescue and no-kill shelters. Which is definitely something to support. Thanks for reading!

All the best,

Charles Payseur

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Monthly Round is UP!!!

The Monthly Round, where I pair my favorite stories of the month with adult beverages, is up now at Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together.

The stories for February are:

Tasting Flight: February 2016

"That Which Stands Tends Toward Free Fall" by Benjanun Sriduangkaew(Clarkesworld)
"The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Bereyyar" by Rose Lemberg(Uncanny)
"The Scrape of Tooth and Bone" by Ada Hoffmann (GigaNotoSaurus)
"The Four Gardens of Fate" by Betsy Phillips (Apex)
"Breaking Water" by Indrapramit Das (Tor)
"Vesp: A History of Sapphic Scaphism" by Porpentine Charity Heartscape (Terraform)

Shots:

"Talking with Honored Guests" by Alexander Monteagudo (Fantasy Scroll)
"Love Letters on the Nightmare Sea" by Rachael K. Jones (Flash Fiction Online)
"Whaling With Clowns" by Chris Kuriata (Unlikely Story)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Quick Sips - Apex #82

This issue of Apex Magazine definitely takes some chances. From a story about leaning heavily on Philip K. Dick to a prose poem about a woman rising from the ground to a dark science fiction piece about death and memory, the issue is filled with pieces that carry with them a certain pervasive strangeness, and darkness. And while most of them I think pay off, with so many ambitious steps it was perhaps inevitable that there was...one, really, that I personally didn't much care for. Still, this is an issue that goes bold, and so I will attempt to be equally bold in reviewing it!

Art by Vincent Sammy

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Quick Sips - Tor.com March 2016 part 1

I'm changing my plans a bit today and looking at the first two Tor.com stories released so far this month. Because of the downturn in a few key publications, I'm a bit short on things to review and adding anything more is not the best of ideas (because certain publications are coming back full force soon enough). Luckily for me there's still plenty to read and I can let some of these reviews breath a little more. The first half of March sees two stories from Tor, both of which highlight difference and hurt and loneliness. They are not happy stories. They are stories about wounds that are never really whole, about losses that can't really be erased. And they're very, very good. So let's get to it!
 
Art by Rovina Cai

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Quick Sips - Uncanny #9 (March Stuff)

March has arrived at Uncanny Magazine and with it comes an interesting look at love and history and oppression and labels. People stuck in bad situations and people in some ways responsible for sticking people there. It's a nice mix of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and there's definitely a lot to read through and enjoy. Much of pairs quite well, too, echoing themes of men as products of their times and places (and how inadequate an excuse that is when it comes to causing harm) to escaping harmful patterns and oppression and labels. As I said, there's a lot to read, so I'm going to jump right into the reviews!
 
Art by Katy Shuttleworth

Monday, March 14, 2016

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #194 Science Fantasy Month 3

March marks Science Fantasy Month 3 at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which means an extra story in this issue and a "You got chocolate in my peanut butter" convergence of two things that I quite enjoy. The stories pop with a unique feel and blend and with an energy that is infectious. There's a movement to all of the stories, a pursuit to them, a purpose. But just as these three stories all show characters running toward something, they are also stories about running away. About being afraid and fleeing to some perceived safety. And the stories work, are at turns hopeful and happy and tragic and doomed. It's a special month and it hits its mark beautifully. To the reviews!

Art by Sung Choi

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Quick Thoughts - State of the Blog


I've been in a weird place, head-wise, with the arrival of an early spring to Wisconsin and a rather full plate of things to do, but I thought it might be a good idea to take a breather and sort of take stock where I am with the blog and all. I figured I would start that by looking at what I read and review here and how and a little bit more than that. So below is a list of the publications that I review here at Quick Sip Reviews (hopefully I'm not forgetting any). The new year has brought a little bit of a slump in things to read with Crossed Genres gone and Urban Fantasy, Book Smugglers, Omenana, and Farrago's Wainscot all MIA so far in 2016. Of course, it means that I've added a few publications with GigaNotoSaurus, Orthogonal SF, and Mithila Review (plus Mothership Zeta started rather late in 2015). I've noted next to the publication both how I read the content (mostly to be transparent about where my money goes and who actually sends me review copy). Here we go:

Monthly:

Apex (I subscribe)
Beneath Ceaseless Skies (2 issues) (I read for free online)
Clarkesworld (I read for free online)
Crossed Genres (shuttered) (I read for free online)
Flash Fiction Online (I read for free online)
GigaNotoSaurus (new to 2016!) (I read for free online)
Lightspeed (I subscribe and receive review copy)
Mithila Review (new to 2016!) (I read for free online)
Nightmare (I receive review copy)
Strange Horizons (weekly content) (I read for free online/donate)
Terraform SF (weekly content) (I read for free online)
Tor.com (weekly-ish content) (I read for free online)
Urban Fantasy (on hiatus?) (I read for free online or buy individual issues)

Bimonthly:

The Dark (I receive review copy)
Fantastic Stories of the Imagination (I receive review copy)
Fantasy Scroll (I read for free online)
Shimmer (I review half each month) (I receive review copy)
Uncanny (I review half each month) (I read for free online)

Quarterly or Other:

Book Smugglers (I read for free online)
Farrago's Wainscot (on hiatus?) (I read for free online)
Lackington's (I read for free online)
Mothership Zeta (I receive review copy)
Omenana (I read for free online)
Orthogonal SF (new to 2016!) (I receive review copy)
Plasma Frequency (I subscribe)
Unlikely Story (I read for free online)

And well shit, when lined up like that, that's a pretty nice sized stack of things. Obviously not everything, and probably not even most things (on account of not reading the digests or Daily Science Fiction…or at least not reading them regularly or reviewing them), but I try to read as widely as I can. Part of what this shows me is what I actually plop money down for, which is kinda important (Apex, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Plasma Frequency) and who sends me stuff for free (Lightspeed, Nightmare, Shimmer, Fantastic Stories, The Dark, Mothership Zeta, and Orthogonal SF). Now, I don't really ask for review copy (I have all sorts of weird feels about asking for free things), but I do much appreciate all the places that have offered (most of them because they were aware I was already reviewing their stuff from when it was released online for free but a few because they were new and wanted me to review their publication and/or the stories were not available for free online). The vast majority of what I read is put up for free online, which is amazing because all you need is access to the internet to have so much great fiction at your command. I feel a bit guilty that I don't pay for more of the stories I read, but then I can't afford that much (am pretty maxed out now) and I hope that maybe the reviews make up for not being able to give all the money to all the places. Maybe?

I will say that most of the places that I review I found through either Ralan (basically checking out places I'd like to submit stories to) or Twitter (where I see stories by people whose writing I really enjoy and who I follow). At this point I do feel rather hesitant to add more venues, though if something really awesome comes along who knows. I shoot for 4-5 reviews a week plus my Quick Thoughts on Saturdays and the occasional Quick Links on Sundays. Which means that I average about 6 posts a week. That was exactly my average in 2015 and so far in 2016 I'm probably about there or slightly over (January had an above-average amount of posts because of the Sippy Awards). This is…doable, I guess, though it doesn't leave an awful lot of time for other things. Ideally I'd drop down to a steady 5 posts a week but I fear there's just too much I really want to read and review that pending some sort of disaster I'll probably keep up at 6.

I am rather happy about most aspects of the blog. I hope, at least, that people find it useful and/or entertaining. There's a part of me that wonders if I shouldn't cut out my weekend material as it's sort of just me rambling into the abyss, but it's basically the most regular journal/writing diary I've had in a long time and I do like a lot of my Thoughts, so I'll probably be back every Saturday to bother people. Anyway, that's all for this week. Thanks for reading!

All the best,

Charles Payseur

Friday, March 11, 2016

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 02/22/2016, 02/29/2016, & 03/07/2016

Wow, sometimes I forget just how much content Strange Horizons comes out with in a month. I'm only looking at three weeks, but there are two stories, four poems, and a few nonfiction pieces that are definitely all worth checking out. Both fiction pieces look firmly to the stars to tell their tales while the poetry brings things back home in very powerful ways, and the nonfiction looks at things from a truly global perspective. Lots to enjoy, lots to review!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quick Sips - Shimmer #30 (March Stuff)

It's the start of spring (not really here in Wisconsin, but it's the start of meteorological spring at least), and at Shimmer Magazine that means a time for stories about death and rebirth. About oppression and devastation leading to something...well, perhaps not entirely better, but new at least. A chance and a hope of doing something good, of right wrongs and healing old wounds. Of fighting. The stories are deep and dark and strange (delightfully so) and we worth sinking into. It's review time!
 
Art by Sandro Castelli

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Quick Sips - Lightspeed #69

This month's Lightspeed Magazine comes hot out the gate and doesn't really let up. The four stories are on the slim side for a typical month of the publication but it gives them a faster feel, a breath of energy and life. The stories are not, by and large, the happiest of things, but they have an energy and a punch to them, an electricity that sizzles and a power that lasts well after the last word is read. A nice mix of science fiction and fantasy, these stories are mirrors to our own world, showing things that are not always comfortable but that need to be examined. Now, to the reviews!
 
Art by Reiko Murakami

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #114

Spring might be in the air, but at Clarkesworld this month things aren't quite jubilantly hopeful. Not that the stories are incredibly gloomy, but there is a certain loneliness to the stories this month. A longing and a loss and an isolation that is cut a bit by family and care, but often the losses in these stories are not ones that are recovered or recovered from. The characters in these stories are all alone and trying to figure out what to do with that, trying to figure out how to go on. Their answers are all different, all interesting, and all worth checking out. To the reviews!
 
Art by Waldemar Kazak

Monday, March 7, 2016

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus March 2016

This month's story at GigaNotoSaurus is the longest of the year to date (though it being March that's not saying too much) and tackles the complex nature of language. It is nice to read more longer stories, especially ones that really delve into the world building as this one does, providing a vivid picture of a breathing world. It's one of the reasons that GigaNotoSaurus is such a treat to check out, because these are world where the reader can linger a bit, with this single story enough to chew on for an entire month. So let's get to that review!
 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Quick Thoughts - A List of Thing I Can't Do (Right Now) Because Time

Smut reviews – of all the things, this is at the top of my list, both because I love writing and reading smut and because it's the least likely of being attainable. But wait, what? Least likely? Yes, not because it doesn't deserve doing, and not that I don't have thoughts on it, but because this would be a huge commitment. Like reviewing short SFF, I'd want to really dive into it, and that's…well, I'm stretched a bit thin as it is. Also I guess there are quite a few nice review-blogs and organizations out there for smut. Now, I'd focus on SFF smut because that's what I like, and there are much less of those, but still, if it's a choice between short SFF and SFF smut, I will stick with what I've been doing. If ever I was paid and could do whatever I wanted, I'd definitely read and review more smut. For now I'll settle for doing my Not For the Faint of Heart on Goodreads and the occasional smut review elsewhere.

Short SFF Review Organization – again, this is both something I would love to help make a reality and something that, likely, would take way too much time for me to set up. Even if it meant setting up a database and having some sort of cross-promotion available and resources for people wanting to get into reviewing, I think it would be really neat to do. But again, this would be a rather large commitment because list wrangling and reaching out to people and trying to make something useful and not just a lot of noise and air would be rather difficult. I would certainly support someone or someones else doing this or trying to do this but as it stands now I just don't have an awful lot to give toward it.

Short SFF Interviews – I've been playing around with this idea for a while and I still rather want to do this. Time once more is a factor, though less of one. More at play is my terror at having to ask people questions because I'm an introvert and have no idea what to ask writers and other SFF people. It would totally be called Quick Questions, though, and would be able to appear either on Fridays when I don't have review content or Sundays, which is often an off day for me. Probably these would be fairly short, just five questions or so about various short SFF things plus maybe some random. Once I get over my fear and figure out exactly how I want it to work I will hopefully start reaching out to people.

Drunk Goosebumps Reviews – I am doing this. Nerds of a Feather just announced that they'll be running tiny reviews some days and I want to do a monthly (or so) series of drunk reviews of the original Goosebumps books. I will call it Liver Beware! and it will be glorious! Goosebumps was my jam growing up and really was responsible for me reading and reading SFF "horror." I've gone a few times back to the Goosebumps pool (and I've tracked down each of the original 62 books from thrift stores) and it just makes me want to do this more. This is happening, but as Stine is a straight white guy it's not happening until at least next year. But look forward to that.

Collaborations – I love the idea of collaborating more with people for SFF/review things. There are so many great people out there doing short SFF things and oftentimes I feel a bit cut off just sort of doing QSR (introversion rearing its head again). Part of that is perhaps my overly-ambitious review load here, but that might just be an excuse. Collaborating is fun and, I believe, prompts better thoughts on stories. I wish I had more time to figure out how to work out some different collaborations, but for now this remains something I hope to do more if in the future.

And yeah, that's sort of that as far as projects that I wish I had some more time for. As is, I'm quite pleased that I've managed to keep up with QSR. It might be a lot of work but it's also a lot of fun. Some of these I'm definitely going to get to, though. So some things to look forward to. Thanks for reading.

All the best,

Charles Payseur

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online March 2016


It's march and spring is sort of in the air. Not really here in Wisconsin, but in the latest issue of Flash Fiction Online there is a sense of the season, one of revolutions and rebirth. The stories this month are incredibly different, from far-off wars and atrocities on imagined planets to strange visions of the people stuck in their situations here on Earth, to the tenuous strands that link the two, that whispers that we are all made of stars, linked in a great chain that cannot be broken. It's not exactly a happy collection of stories, but there is a strength to them. To stand. To learn. To transform. And this is the season for it. So let's kick off March right with some reviews, shall we? 

Art by Dario Bijelac

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quick Sips - Mithila Review #1

I'm pleased to look at the debut issue of the Mithila Review today, which is a home for fiction and poetry from the margins, from the borderlands of imagination, experience, and justice. The issue is a mix of original stories and poetry with reprints of both as well, and as such I have to make a decision about what I'm going to be looking at (my normal policy is to not look at reprints because of time restraints). But as I seem to have a moment and this is the debut issue I'm going to be looking at the reprint fiction and poetry (except the one I already reviewed last year) as well. And, after all, it's all quite good, moving and deep and dense, about resistance and place and violence and resolve. It's all worth checking out, and so that's what I'm going to do. So hold on tight, it's time for some reviews!

Art by Steve McDonald

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Quick Sips - Terraform February 2016

Okay yes, wow, I will admit that the February Terraform stories are damn good. These are not always cheery views of the future, but they are complex ones and well constructed ones and, at times, freaky-as-fuck ones that are fascinating and rather startling and intensely satisfying. From stories about privacy to family to wasps out to transform humanity, there's a lot of different takes on what the future might look like. But whatever the vision, the stories are moving, funny at times and heartbreaking at others. So time for some reviews!