Friday, August 23, 2019

LIVER BEWARE! You're in for a Drunk Review of Goosebumps #22: GHOST BEACH

Right, so, ghosts. The Goosebumps series has already featured a number of ghost stories so far, including the very first installment, Welcome to Dead House (though let's not forget Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, too). This book dives back into the idea but with a very key twist. It takes place...on a beach! A GHOST BEACH! Get it? Haha—kill me now...

Anyway, to celebrate this incredibly clever idea, I'm drinking. As much as possible. To stay on theme, I'm having some Ghost Ship, a white IPA from Capital Brewing (based out of Madison, WI). It certainly fits the theme and hey, it's booze, so it makes everything just a little bit easier. That out of the way, let's dive right in!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Quick Sips - Diabolical Plots #54

Art by Joey Jordan
Two stories round out Diabolical Plots' August offerings, with two rather twisted takes on familiar tropes in SFF. The first takes a look not only at inspiration but at corporate culture as well, revealing a novel way of looking at innovation and greed. The second takes aim at zombies, tying them explicitly to colonization and then complicating them further with a deconstruction of belonging, identity, and isolation. Both works definitely work with some grim themes, though they often find strange moments of beauty tucked into the gritty realities they expose. Before I give too much away, though, let's get to the reviews!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Quick Sips - Nightmare #83

Art by Dominick / Adobe Stock Image
The stories from August’s Nightmare Magazine are all about growing up. About rituals that come at the dawn of adulthood, during those awkward teen years. When people aren’t children but don’t know how to be adults yet, and are still dealing with all their shit, with the expectations and realities that they don’t want or need but have to deal with anyway. The stories are dark but carry with them a certain beauty, as well, and a yearning for things to be better. Most of all, they carry with them the knowledge that things should be better, and that tradition is no reason to pass along abuse and damage generation after generation. It’s a great dark issue, and I’ll get right to the reviews!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #284

Art by Noah Bradley
Two nested stories make for a nicely dense and meta issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Both are framed as found texts, stories that have been uncovered that give added context to some mysterious events. They provide their settings with more history, with more philosophy, and with some deep truths to grapple with. Both look at the ways that narratives can influence the ways people view history. Can erase people, or ensnare them. And how scholarship can be necessary to see the difficult truths and seek to fix persistent problems. These are stories with layers and nested narratives that invite readers to dig deep after justice. to the reviews!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Quick Sips - Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #41

Art by Jereme Peabody
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly brings three stories and two poems in their latest issue, and the works mix fast action, wrenching tragedy, and a pervasive grimness. The stories are by and large dark, exploring situations ripe with death and danger, with damage and hard decisions. The characters are out to do violence, to put an end to their enemies. But somehow it doesn’t work out how they thought. Something interferes, or their victory is stolen from them, turns to ash and blood in their mouths. Whatever the case, the stories and poems each introduce carefully built and interestingly imagined worlds to explore, and it’s a very strong issue. To the reviews!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 08/05/2019 & 08/12/2019

Art by Em Allen
Two stories and two poems open up August's Strange Horizons content, and they swirl around isolation, distance, and a spot of magic. Both stories unfold in a mostly-contemporary setting and focus on relationships between women. Romantic or not, generational or not, the relationships bring into focus what each person has been lacking and how they're attempting to find in someone else a cure to that lack. The pieces are lovely but touched with melancholy and sadness, hopeful but still recognizing the burden of societal expectations and values, especially when they don't meet up with how the characters need to live. It's a lot of stunning work, and I'll get right to the reviews!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Quick Sips - Uncanny #29 [August stuff]

Art by Julie Dillon
Three short stories and two poems make August rather standard in amount of content for Uncanny Magazine. The quality of the work, though, makes it another stand-out issue, though, that looks at family and history, magic and love. It’s a mix of science fiction and fantasy, from a story about religion and dragons to one about an exploitative Magician to one featuring the distant origins of a lunar colony that wants to break free of colonization. Add in poetry that echoes back with notes of war and love, and the entire issue flows quite well, leaning a bit grim at times but resolving into beauty and community. To the reviews!