Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Quick Sips - Escape Pod #722-725

It's another full month of original fiction at Escape Pod. And not gonna lie, it's a bit of a strange month of stories as well, with tales of artificial lives and discoveries on distant moons, augmented veterans looking to live in a world of peace and people who've become unstuck in reality. There's a general...trippiness(?) to these stories, to the situations they reveal. People building wings and flying over an alien landscape. People trying to change the laws that govern multiple realities. People fighting back against a violent oppressive state with more violence. People seeking enlightenment through the advancing technology. But there are no shortcuts to be found here. Perhaps that, more than anything, links them all. There's no getting around the difficult truths and choices out there. But there are ways through, for those willing to put in the time and effort. To the reviews!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #300 [part 1]

Art by Flavio Bolla
There’s no rest for the wicked reviewers out there as a third special issue in a row drops at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, this one celebrating the milestone of issue #200! The first half alone is over 36k words all told, so I’m definitely going to be breaking the issue up into two parts. Covered here are stories that look at stories that are anchored by change and upheaval. By complicated politics that intersect with messy family situations. And they feature characters with missions. Some rather humble--to finish a miniature-and some very large--to find a city of the gods. There are spills and chills aplenty, and so much to get to, so let’s dive right in to the reviews!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 03/16/2020 & 03/23/2020

March isn't quite over, and I hear tell that Strange Horizons has a big special issue planned for next week. So before that buries me in all the things to read and review, I'm catching up on the last two issues of the publication, featuring a new original story and two new poems. The works look at some rather heavy topics, from climate change and the loss of a(n adult) child to the misfortune that multiverses might imply. For all that they feature some lingering grief, though, they also seem to be about finding new ways forward, new methods of dealing with situations that aren't exactly good or hopeful, and continuing on regardless. It's a beautiful two weeks of content, and I'll get right to the reviews!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Quick Sips - Mithila Review #12 [translated poetry]

Art by Theobald Carreras
Well oops! Looks like when I was reading the last issue of Mithila Review, I overlooked two translated poems. My bad! I’m fixing my mistake now, and I must say the poems do not disappoint. There’s great skill on display both from the poets and the translators, and the works take on ideas big (alien refugees and possible global catastrophe) and small (laboratory experiments thrown off by something miniscule and overlooked). Together the pieces offer a nice one-two punch, and make for a great way to close out what was a huge and excellent issue of SFF fiction and poetry. To the reviews!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #299 [part 2]

Art by Andis Reinbergs
The science fantasy goodness continues as I finish up my look at the latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which hits a bit above its weight with over 20,000 words of fiction. The stories deal with unfairness in very meaningful ways, finding characters who want to break free of systems that have them trapped. That are hungry for their death and suffering. That are punishing them for something they don’t understand. The pieces are visceral and bloody at times, but through all that they also hold to hope, that even the more powerful of systems can be dismantled, though that doesn’t mean it will be easy. To the reviews!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Quick Sips - Nightmare #90

Art by Patila / Adobe Stock Art
Both of the stories in the March Nightmare Magazine deal with urban legends. With how they might start, and how they spread. And both of them rather directly examine the power of the darkness, the dangers that come from speaking into it seeking an answer. The issue is superbly paired to infect and spread, the nature of urban legends made a kind of contagion that can leap from person to person. Where even if a legend started its life as pure fiction, something can happen to it, believe fleshing it out, giving it very real teeth. It’s a creepy, a series of warnings, but let’s just walk past the boldly printed signs saying “Stay Out” and see what the reviews bring!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Quick Sips - Diabolical Plots #61

Art by Joey Jordan
The two original stories in March's Diabolical Plots feature new takes on older settings and ideas. From the size-changing potions of Alice in Wonderland to the horrors of Lovecraft. Neither piece exactly allows those texts to exist without complication or challenge, though, and the focus for me is on providing new lenses through which to examine some of the failings and problems of those older texts. And in doing so the stories seem to offer some commentary on generational shifts and changes in attitudes, and the ways that the older generations can fail the younger. So yeah, to the reviews!