Friday, July 30, 2021

Quick Sips 07/30/2021

Well I knew that this was going to be a bit of a smaller week for reviews compared to last week, though that doesn’t mean much given last week. I think I did end up slightly under average, but I did still get to quite a bit, rounding up a lot of the month’s releases. Luckily for my schedule, it seems like the Escape Artists aren’t doing many originals lately at PodCastle or Escape Pod, so that helped me catch up on Cast of Wonders and Pseudopod, as well as making sure I got to this month’s GigaNotoSaurus, which I would normally have read sooner. I also got to check out the new Diabolical Plots, The Deadlands, Fireside Magazine, and Omenana, as well at the latest week’s Strange Horizons, so a lot of ground I covered, all told, even if the total number of pieces covered isn’t huge. It leaves only a few things (I hope) to catch up on for next week (namely Mermaids Monthly, Tor, and another issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies). I am sort of catching up on reading, but also not. So it goes.

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Quick Sips 07/23/2021

So a new week brings a bunch of reviews, and some special coverage. Namely, I’m looking at a spinoff of Reckoning, a special anthology of poetry and nonfiction (with one story) all about creativity and the coronavirus. It’s a timely thing, and while I’m not looking at the nonfiction, there’s a lot of poetry to look at in it as well. Kaleidotrope has a new quarterly issue, and The Future Fire put out their third issue of the year. Baffling Magazine also had a quarterly issue full of queer short SFF, and I tried to quick catch up on Strange Horizons, as well as the latest from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Mostly short stories and poetry aside from the BCS issue, which was two novelettes. And just rather busy for me.

Next week I’ll try to catch up on the various Escape Artist podcasts, and probably try to get Diabolical Plots, The Deadlands, Mermaids Monthly, and another else I can think of. I’m running on empty but I’m still running on.

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Quick Sips 07/16/2021

So no new publications this week. I swear I’m trying to reign myself in. We’ll see how well it goes. There’s still a lot to get to, and Flash Fiction Online is back on original fiction after taking June to focus on reprints. Uncanny and Apex both have their bimonthly issues, and Fiyah their quarterly (and themed this time!) issue. Which leaves The Dark as the other monthly publication I’m covering. I’m taking a quick break from weekly publications and will likely double up my Strange Horizons coverage next week and catch up on what I might have missed from the Escape Artists podcasts. We’ll see, though. Still a punch of issues to check out, including July’s Baffling Magazine, The Future Fire, and Kaleidotrope, and regular content from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Diabolical Plots, Mermaids Monthly, the Deadlands, and more. Also kinda expecting Translunar Travelers Lounge to drop a new issue. And catching up on Decoded Pride and ahhhhhhhh. Whoops, gotta bottle that back up. Anyway, I am determined! Next week will probably be a big one if life can stop getting in the way!

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Quick Sips 07/09/2021

So turns out I’ve probably bitten off more than I can chew when it comes to reviews. Sigh. But given the fact that I’m just getting to July reviews now and given just how many I have to get to this month, it’s possible that I’ll have to make some adjustments in the future. Maybe not. It’s possible that some venues are closing, or will go off output for a while, but that’s always something of a gamble, and given all I want to cover…well, we’ll see. For now, I’ll do my best to keep up and just hope that I don’t fall apart too thoroughly. Like I said, this month is still a bit of June, with Tor and Strange Horizons, and then lots of July with F&SF (never sure when to count these as they release a month before the cover says?), Lightspeed, Nightmare, Fantasy, and the latest Beneath Ceaseless Skies. No rest for weary short SFF reviewers, I guess.

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, July 2, 2021

Quick Sips 07/02/2021

Despite the tick over into July, I’m still very much on June publications, looking at six different issues today that cover over thirty SFF works. It’s only the second time I’m reading The Deadlands and Prismatica, and both deliver some powerful fiction and poetry. Mermaids Monthly also packs a punch, and is entirely queer authored and edited this month (though I mean the edited part is every month). Strange Horizons Diabolical Plots both put out strong issues as well. And once against I’m adding new things, this time with Zooscape. And…yeah, I mean, I’m probably already overbooked this month with things to read. I have Pride Decoded to get to now that I’ve ironed out actually accessing the stories, and I’m a little behind in general because of how much I choose to read and review. But.

I do care about trying to get to as much as I can in short SFF. And as wide a coverage as I can give. And that means stepping outside what most consider the “core” of short SFF in part of question what the core really is. Or, more likely, to try and destroy the idea that there is a core at all. Short SFF is vast, yes, and subject to far too many people trying to narrow it because they want to feel that it should be “manageable.” Which in some ways I understand. As someone with a collecting urge, there’s certainly a part of me that wants to be comprehensive. That wants to read Everything. And I know I can’t, so it might be tempting to say that something doesn’t count as a way to claim that actually I do read Everything. But that’s bullshit.

The short SFF I do not read or review still exists, and I’d likely enjoy a whole lot of it. It’s my loss that I don’t read it. But I do have limited time, and I have to decide what I read. There’s no real “fair” way to do it, but I try my best to be inclusive and eager. I’m not saying that the stories I don’t read aren’t worthy of my time or attention, just that I have to make the call what to cover, and I’ll own that. I’m adding Zooscape because I like furry media, and because I do think it often gets overlooked and pushed out of SFF because people are embarrassed about it. I’m excited that the publication is looking to raise its payrates to become an SFWA qualifying market, and I wish them all the best in that. And I’m happy to add them to my short SFF coverage. Onward!

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Quick Sips 06/25/2021

So this is technically my last review post for this year’s June, and so I’m about halfway through the year. As such, please, if you haven’t already taken this survey about Quick Sip Reviews, please do. It would help me out immeasurably. Otherwise, I’m catching up a bit on Beneath Ceaseless Skies after kinda missing an issue, and moving through the big issue of Shoreline of Infinity, the quarterly Future Science Fiction Digest, the June Fireside Magazine, and some weekly content from Strange Horizons and the Escape Artists. Pretty standard as weeks go.

But now that I’m halfway through 2021 (kinda sorta) I can look at my number a bit closer. Right now I’m sitting at 581 short stories, 51 novelettes, 8 novellas, and 181 poems I’ve covered (minus a few whose reviews I didn’t publish because I didn’t want to). That makes 821 on the year so far, which means if I maintain this pace I’ll hit…over 1600?! Shit. Well, I mean, I know I’m reading more. Still, that’s a lot. Over the life of QSR that means I’ve covered 5005 stories, 1061 poems, and 126 nonfiction works, for a total of 6192. Another big number. Never let anyone say it can’t be done, thoughtfully and relentlessly, for years. Not that it’s easy, but I’m okay with being walking, talking proof that it’s not impossible. Let that be only more clear the longer I do this.

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Quick Sips 06/18/2021

And like always, there’s a lot to get to this week. Most of it is regular monthly/weekly stuff, though there’s a new issue of Hexagon as well as a new Driesch story that I had missed from earlier. The week is almost entirely short stories, too, which isn’t incredibly odd but two poems (and only 2 novelettes) means that short stories are far and away the majority of what I’m covering. Taken over the year so far things are a little more balanced, with 554 short stories, 49 novelettes, 8 novellas, and 174 poems. I have a few more novellas to read (mostly from Neon Hemlock) coming up, but otherwise I think the mix is about right. Honestly I think it would be difficult to really increase novelettes and novellas without taking on more of the digests, and at this point I’m not in a place to do that. I don’t have flash fiction marked out, either, though I’m sure that’s pretty well represented as well, given trends. Indeed!

NOTE: This will be a recurring note that will run with every Quick Sips. First, please note that I don’t necessarily mention every story or poem out in an issue. I am giving myself permission to either DNF stories, or else finish and just not comment on them. Please don’t assume it’s because I disliked the work! There are many reasons I might chose not to comment on a piece, and I reserve the right to do just that. Second, you might notice the notations at the end of the micro reviews and wonder what the [c# t#] is. These are for the Scales of Relative Grimness and a full explanation of them can be found through the tab at the top of the page or through this link. With that said, let’s get to the reviews!