Friday, June 14, 2019

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 06/03/2019 & 06/10/2019

Two stories and two poems open up Strange Horizons’ June offerings, and they feature a fascinating mix of horror and trauma. In both of the stories released, people cope with the realities of their lives, the magic and the hurt that they never chose, but that has very much shaped their worlds and their futures. For the characters in the stories, there is a choice to be made, to either continue being passengers in their own lives, defined by the journeys and desires of others, or to take control of themselves and try to steer towards a future where they don’t have to carry the burdens of their pains any longer. It’s a difficult and wrenching mix of works, but beautifully told and rendered. To the reviews!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #279

The latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies features two very different stories that both revolve around romance, monsters, magic, and healing. Both the main characters are women seeking change, though how they’re seeking that is a bit...misplaced at first. What they need isn’t something they’ll find in the healing of a preacher or the absolution of a mermaid, but rather a chance to really embrace who they are and explore the future with a kindred spirit, a person they can share with and who can help them heal and embrace who they really are. That’s not without risk, though, and both stories show how the main characters must fight in order to break free or through the forces trying to keep them from what they want. To the reviews!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #153

Art by J.R. Slattum
It’s another big issue from Clarkesworld, with five short stories (including one Korean translation) and one novelette. And a lot of the stories deal with colonization and death, religion and intolerance. The characters are often faced with people who are different, and must decide how to approach that. With fear and hatred? With distrust? With a hunger for exploitation? At their most hopeful, the stories imagine a future with humans among the stars, embracing a vast community and cooperation. At their bleakest, they reveal people victimized and destroyed by dogma and fear. All in all, though, it’s a rich and complex issue full of big ideas and careful character work. To the reviews!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online June 2019

Art by Dario Bijelac
June brings three new stories to Flash Fiction Online that deal with meetings and relationships. Not all of them are romantic, but they feature people trying to navigate their lives and facing intrusions into that space. A sphinx who appears in the garden. A pain that comes from outside a person’s body. An intruder on the moon. The pieces explore how these things are faced, confronted, and either defeated, endured, or integrated into a new status quo. The pieces are heavy with loss and longing but bright with hope and possibilities. To the reviews!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Quick Sips - The Dark #49

Art by Jonathan Simard
The June issue of The Dark focuses on systems and being stuck in them. It finds two characters who have been pulled into a situation they didn’t chose and don’t want. Where they are pressured into becoming an instrument of death, a pawn in a hunger they don’t want to have. They have two very different paths through these troubled waters, though. Because not all hungers can be refused, and not all chains can be broken, even if sometimes hope and family are enough to reach for freedom. To the reviews!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Quick Sips - Lightspeed #109

Art by Grandfailure / Fotolia
It’s a rather weighty issue of Lightspeed Magazine this June, with four stories all over 5000 words. The pieces are eclectic, following far future bureaucracies and fables full of gods and jinn. All the stories feature women dealing with situations they didn’t really chose, though. Systems that are not exactly built for justice. The worlds they grow in are touched in profound ways by darkness and corruption, and yet they all seek in different ways to bring in some light, some hope that people can do better, and find happiness. To the reviews!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Quick Sips - Serial Box: Alternis [s01.03 & s01.04]

After a pair of episodes penned by the same author, these two new installments of Alternis from Serial Box come from different sources. The authors do a good job of flowing the style and feel of the world and characters, though, creating a mostly seamless transition and exploring the world of the game further. And it is in many ways about the shock of a rather idealistic creator finding out exactly what her game is being used for, facing the criticism from people who have very different styles of play, priorities, and stakes. All while keeping things weird, charming, and tense. To the reviews!