People, this is going to require a grown up drink. Because, well, because we get into some stuff that’s fairly common in horror but that Goosebumps hasn’t as a rule gotten into so much. So I’m drinking a whole pint of German IPA from Lazy Monk Brewing, a local favorite right here in sunny Eau Claire. Because this book. Oh this book. I guess let’s begin...
Friday, June 28, 2019
So if you measured my slow descent into madness through my reading of the Goosebumps series, this book marks a new twist in an already interesting experience. In some ways it reminds me of The Girl Who Cried Monster in the way that it takes its speculative core and doesn’t even bother pretending that it isn’t real. But unlike that read, which was very much about the horror of not being believed, of something terrible hiding in plain sight, this book...well...huh. I’m not sure I’d call it a horror at all, despite the cover, which really brings to mind all the terror evoked by the sea and other deep waters. It’s actually about...uh...mermaids. And sweet Christmas, where’s my drink?
Oh right, drinking. So I recently came across a brand of seltzer that had names I could not resist. And one of them is Mermaid Songs. Which is...weird. Like, I’m not sure if mermaids are known for their songs, but whatever. Given that this book is similarly weird, though, I figured slapping some gin into the mix would make for an appropriate fuel for this review. So yeah, let’s get started!
Thursday, June 27, 2019
|Art by Ora Xu|
Four short stories and a poem make June's Fireside Magazine a wonderful buffet of short SFF, with works tackling ancient myths to futures post-apocalyptic. From noodle shops and court intrigue to strained familial relationships and diasporas. A lot of the works here deal with masks, with people playing roles in order to try and make their lives run smoothly. Only sometimes these masks are prisons, holding them back by trapping them in roles they aren't suited for. It's a rich and lovely look at short SFF, and I'll get to the reviews!
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
|Art by Galen Dara|
June sees a new issue from Strange Horizons and a new issue of SFF-in-translation from sibling publication Samovar. Together they offer up three short stories and two poems, all that carry a heavy edge of weird with them. The stories are rarely straightforward, taking innovative approaches to time, voice, and setting, weaving tales that blink across year or unfold in the nebulous space of dreams. They are full of strange characters, dark secrets, and small watchful eyes. For all that they also seem to reach for justice, and if not for hope than for something deeper and darker. It's a rather difficult pair of issues to describe, but I'll give it my best as we get to the reviews!
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
|Art by Victoriya "Anda" Shamykina|
Monday, June 24, 2019
Friday, June 21, 2019
|Art by Joey Jordan|
Thursday, June 20, 2019
|Art by Galen Dara|
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
|Art by Alexandra Petruk /Fotolia|
It’s a tightly paired issue at Nightmare Magazine, with two short stories looking at the power of storytelling itself. Which is always an interesting metatextual choice, using the form itself to examine the methods and strengths of stories to inspire and distract, to explain and to obfuscate. The piece shows a woman using stories as a sort of promise and prayer, and another using stories as confession, as a final explanation at the end of the world. Both stories are layered, revealing both a world that has becoming increasingly bleak and one where maybe things…aren’t okay exactly, but where relief is possible, and a laying down of burdens. It’s a difficult issue, and I’ll get right to the reviews!
Monday, June 17, 2019
|Art by Jereme Peabody|
Friday, June 14, 2019
Thursday, June 13, 2019
|Art by Victoriya "Anda" Shamykina|
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
|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
|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
|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
|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
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
|Art by Gregory Manchess|
Well what started as a large month at Tor.com sort of tapered off quickly, with only one short story and one novelette in May. Both works are linked by being part of larger series, though, the first one of the Mongolian Wizard cycle starring Ritter and Freki, the other one a new work in the Wild Cards universe. Both do interesting things with the settings and characters, featuring people on missions that…aren’t quite what they seem. If that means a journalist who ends up uncovering a story he wasn’t prepared for or a detective solving a crime that never happened, the pieces are all about the unexpected. My role in all of this isn’t, though, so as usual, let’s get to the reviews!