Friday, August 17, 2018

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 08/06/2018 & 08/13/2018

Two short stories and two poems flesh out the first two weeks of Strange Horizons' August offerings. And, to be honest, the pieces would have to be really trying to be more thematically different from one another. The fiction starts off with something lighter and fun and then veers sharply into the bloody and horrific. The poetry is a bit more linked, circling around relationships, the first blush and long contentions and the hope and the way that society sometimes gets in the way and fucks things up. It's a varied and interesting collection of short SFF, showing how such disparate works can be united by the speculative and the strange, in every shape that takes. To the reviews!

Art by Shel Kahn

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Quick Sips - Apex #111

It’s a special Zodiac-themed double issue of Apex Magazine this month, guest edited by Sheree Renée Thomas (who also just guest edited the SEUSA Strange Horizons special issue in late July). There’s A LOT of fiction and as with most of the Apex special issues, poetry is back! There’s actually six short stories and well as six poems in this issue, making it perhaps the biggest I’ve read from the publication. And it all swirls around the idea of the Zodiac, of divination, of astrology. Not always literally, though the actual signs and horoscopes make an appearance or two. Instead, the stories look very much at the stories that we tell. At the ways these stories then become everyone’s stories, our minds making them personal, intimate, and topical. Because our lives have a way of getting into the stories we tell and the stories we take in, and then we might mistake our pulling them out again like a bit of magic and mysticism. But there’s a lot of different takes on stories and truth to find in these SFF works, and I should just quit talking about reviewing them and get to reviewing them!

Art by Stacey Robinson

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

X Marks the Story - August 2018

My monthly short SFF review column, X Marks the Story, is up now at The Book Smugglers, and features a host of ghostly stories to check out. For those wanting to find out all my thoughts on the spectral and haunting stories, definitely go check it out. For those just wanting the list, it's below. Cheers!


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #143

Three short stories (including one translation) and two novelettes round out Clarkesworld’s August, with a bit more fantasy that I was expecting. Or what would have been more fantasy than I was expecting, except that a number of the stories this month play with that in subtle ways, slowly revealing that what seems like magic is actually something different, something much more technological in nature. Not that the issue is completely sci fi, but I feel like the uniting thread is more that each story plays with expectations in interesting ways, and leading the reader through worlds where they must piece together the rules, only to occasionally find that the final piece of the puzzle is a leap of faith. It makes for an interesting bunch of stories, which I will review...now!

Art by Luis Carlos Barragán

Monday, August 13, 2018

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus August 2018

August brings a short story to GigaNotoSaurus, though a fairly long one. And it’s a piece that looks very candidly at pain and at trauma. Unfolding after a devastating war, it looks at two survivors in particular, and the ways that they’ve been touched by what’s happened. It’s a piece that explores ways to keep moving, to relieve the pain that comes with being in one place for too long, and before I give too much away I guess I should just review it!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #257

I am sorely tempted to guess that the link between the two latest stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies is that their both authored by a Christopher. Because, at first glance, these two pieces are very different in terms of character, tone, and theme. Looking closer, though, and the stories seem paired not because of how well they work in harmony, but in how well they contrast, showing two sides of the same coin. On one, we get to see a man on a quest realize that he’s in danger of losing something of himself and pause, take stock, and find comfort and guidance in another person. In the other story, though, we find a man who has fully embraced his quest, regardless of who he needs to destroy or hurt. Both stories feature mostly conversations and philosophy, but in one a lesson is learned, and in the other it is utterly destroyed. So yeah, let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Piotr Dura

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online August 2018

I wasn’t sure if I was going to review this issue of Flash Fiction Online, because it is entirely made up of reprints. But because these reprints are from Flash Fiction Online, making up something of a “Our Favorites” issue chosen by the editorial staff, and because I don’t want to skip the publication this month, I’m going to do ahead and review the stories that I haven’t already reviewed (all of them but the Samantha Murray piece, which I did very enjoy). Many of the stories are about families or children, though in very different ways, and many of those feature a focus on the ways that adults impact young people, for good and for ill. So yeah, let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Dario Bijelac