Friday, November 15, 2019

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 11/11/2019

Following some technical difficulties, Strange Horizons officially gets into November with a story and two poems that cover difference and roles and danger. In the works, characters are faced with choices. To give into the societal pressures pushing them into their prescribed roles, or to break out of them. Or, perhaps, to bend within them enough to chance them. There are dangers whatever choice is made, though, and the works also explore what happens next, to the people who have to choose, and to the people stuck in impossible situations. To the reviews!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #290

Art by Alexey Shugurov
The two stories in the latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies are (to the surprise of no one, especially given the recent World Fantasy win) very well paired, circling around the ideas of gods and family and sacrifice. The stories find characters who have lived among the gods, or at least around their believers, and who have found their own way of making sense of the world. That might mean taking a more practical approach to divinity or rejecting altogether, though part of that boils down to the gods and their desires. Are they violent and competitive? Or are they part of the natural world, demanding of respect but only truly frightening when provoked? Both stories have veins of humor and grittiness, and before I give too much away, let’s get to the reviews!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #158

Art by Tomas Kral
November brings two short stories and three novelettes to Clarkesworld Magazine, most of them science fictional though some with fantasy elements thrown in there as well. There’s actually a strong focus on survival in this issue, on humans outliving (or not) some ecological or man-made disasters on Earth and having to decide what to do next. Having to decide whether to hold on and milk survival of every last drop of joy (and despair) or to embrace that humanity might be doomed, and that maybe it’s not the ultimate loss in the universe.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

2019 Awards Eligibility Post

Hi all! It's that time again to start to wrap up the year and get ready for...awards season [*shudder*].

2019 has been and continues to be...a challenge, we'll say. But I've managed to have some work out that I'm incredibly proud of, and I've continued my work here at Quick Sip Reviews as well as through my Patreon. I've tried some new things and expanded my coverage of short fiction to review more venues than ever (not an easy feat, given what I'd been doing already). But let's take it in chunks. For your consideration...

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus November 2019

November brings one of my favorite subjects in SFF to GigaNotoSaurus with a novelette all about magical cooking. And it shines a light on the brutal, often toxic atmosphere that dominate in many high end kitchens, where everything is expected to be conducted perfectly every time. The story finds a woman dealing with the prejudices inside the profession, as well as the added complications of cooking with magical ingredients. She’s determined to reach for her dream of being a chef, though, and so she’s willing to press through a lot that is crushing her spirit at the same time it’s helping her get ahead. So without further delay, let’s get to the review!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online November 2019

November’s Flash Fiction Online brings an interesting perspective on different kinds of magic and ownership. In one, both come down to a ritual, to an encircling. In another, they are tied up with memory and relationship, where items following the dissolution of a relationship go to those with more of a connection to them. And one, the ownership is of narratives, of images, and it has everything to do with the violent magic of colonialism. In all the pieces, characters are trying to reach for something, and all are dealing with corruption and power. Some are fighting against it, though, and some are rushing to embrace it. To the reviews!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Quick Sips - The Dark #54

Art by Romolo Tavani
Halloween is over but the darkness continues year round at The Dark Magazine. November brings a pair of stories that are very much about family...and the forces working to break them apart. They look at war and immigration, racism and despair, magic and peace. The characters revealed are struggling against heavy weights that seem poised to crush them, and their ways of coping are...not always the healthiest. But without other options, it’s what they have, and the stories explore what that means, and the cost it has for the characters and their families. To the reviews!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Quick Sips - Lightspeed #114

Art by Christopher D. Park
Three short stories and a novelette round out the November fiction from Lightspeed Magazine. Things kick off with a new story in the Robot Country series, and from there things progress to soul mates and annihilation of worlds, documentaries and punchlines. And a lot of the works have what might be a particular focus on world building, on large stories that unfold even outside the constraints of the stories featured here. Especially with the Phetteplace and Lee stories, these feel more like chapters that will unfold in larger confines, where the stakes are huge but still only a taste of what will be. It's a fascinating collection of fiction, with action probably taking prominence over introspection (by and large, though not without exception) and it's certainly an issue to spend some time with. To the reviews!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Quick Sips - Escape Pod #702 & #704

Escape Pod doubled up in October, with two original releases covering some very interesting future technologies. I almost feel like Jonathan Frakes at the beginning of Beyond Belief. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if memories...could be passed down like grandma's furniture? Or, have you ever looked at a new piece of technology and wondered "am I going to be a machine?" The stories look at the implications of technologies that allow humans added avenues of thought and efficiency. Where people can gain the skills of the dearly departed, but might end up haunted. And where efficiency gives rise to Singularities that have already ravaged the world once, and might again. The pieces carry with them a weight of loneliness and loss, and yet refuse to be bogged down in despair. To the reviews!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Quick Sips - Terraform October 2019

I thought for a minute there that there wouldn't really be much out at Terraform this month, but a few later-month releases mean that there's still some rather sharp SF visions of the future to enjoy. In one, the world is ending and the people looking down the barrel of that possible, even likely extinction have to decide how to meet the end, and how they might leave something that will outlast them. In another, a character enters a novel kind of sleep study and end up realizing that his own biases going in can have very real outcomes coming out, in a nice look at the problems with scientific studies that rely on people to describe their own results. Not exactly the spookiest content, but full of shadows all the same, and well worth checking out. To the reviews!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Quick Sips - Omenana #14 [part 1]

Art by Sunny Efemena
In an unexpected bonus this month, Omenana is back with a brand new issue! And, well, it’s big! So big that I think what would be best for me is to break it up across two review posts. So today I’ll be looking at the first half of the issue, at four short stories that cover science fiction set on distant worlds, horror pieces much more terrestrially based, and some fantasy to round things out. It’s a challenging start to the issue, not flinching away from some very difficult truths, and it challenges readers to face some things that most would not choose to. So pay attention to the content warnings and I’ll get to the reviews!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Quick Sips - Tor dot com October 2019

Art by Mary Haasdyk
October opened strong at Tor, and closed out with two short stories and a quite long novelette that mix science fiction and fantasy in interesting ways. There's a new Wild Cards story that picks up from an earlier one released on the site, so fans will definitely want to check that out, as it's fun and (dare I say) rollicking. The other two stories are a bit more somber, though, dealing with human fragility and resilience. Finding people coping with some huge issues of survival and ethics. Questioning how to make personal decisions and live responsibly when there are larger societal demands, and blurring the line between what's good for the whole and what's good for the individual. These are some dense and careful pieces while still managing to capture some wonder and beauty. So let's get to the reviews!