|Art by Melody Newcomb|
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Quick Sips - Fireside Magazine #83
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Quick Sips - Augur #3.1 [part 3]
And here I am a day later finishing up my reviews of the latest (really big) issue of Augur Magazine. This one has something of a treat, too, because on top of the two short stories and two poems, there’s a graphic story as well, which brings some vivid colors and imagery to look at in all it’s pretty while maintaining that feeling of complex and careful work within SFF. The stories are strong, atmospheric, moody, and creepy at times. The poems are alive with movement and defiance. And the graphic story brings it all home, closing out the issue with a thought on cycles, a fitting end for a publication that will, after all, be out with a new issue in due time. So there is no real end, no real beginning, but it’s all pretty great all the same. To the reviews!
|Art by Lorna Antoniazzi|
Monday, September 28, 2020
Quick Sips - Augur #3.1 [part 2]
More Augur Magazine! Having tackled six SFF works last time, my next installments will cover 5 each. This one takes on two new short stories and three new poems, for works that take on some unsettling and difficult themes but still know how to inspire, challenge, and entertain. The stories tend toward the grimmer side of the works, drawing situations of familial loss, where women are put in situations of having to face old injustices, old wounds, all the while opening news ones. For all the works tend toward bleak, though, I think both do leave room for hope, but a hope that needs to be worked for, that isn’t necessarily going to be easy. And the poetry is a lovely mix of moods and tunes, forms and patterns. But it makes for a continuation on a wonderful issue, and I’ll get right to my reviews!
|Art by Lorna Antoniazzi|
Friday, September 25, 2020
Quick Sips - Diabolical Plots #67
The two new stories in the latest issue of Diabolical Plots are quite well paired, and find people clinging to ghosts. In the first, that’s rather literal, with a character and their ghost dog, and the relationship that has so fulfilled them both coming to a close. In the second, it’s a bit more figurative, but the characters are still clinging to the ghosts of humanity and all the things that humanity destroyed--the way of life that has been lost, replaced with something much more efficient but not quite as comforting. Both stories are emotional and challenging, presenting readers with situations where there no stopping loss. But also showing characters moving forward regardless, picking themselves up and looking towards the future, even if they’re still also looking to the past. To the reviews!
|Art by Joey Jordan|
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Quick Sips - Nightmare #96
|Art by Melkor3D / Adobe Stock Image|
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Quick Sips - Baffling Magazine September 2020
Baffling Magazine there’s just one story to check out, but as it’s a new story by Nino Cipri, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that’s more than enough. And it’s a beautifully rendered portrait of suburbia. The façade of the pristine--the lawns, the cars, the “perfect” families. The bliss of quiet mornings and drives through the empty streets. But under that, something perhaps rotting. Something off. Something wrong. And the story might not find words for it but it provides a stirring and unsettling picture of it, of a boy finding something he doesn’t quite understand, but that he feels with his whole self. It’s strange and more than a little creepy but also powerful, like something is about to break through the shell that he’s been living on the surface of. And what’s coming through...well, perhaps I should just get to the review!
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Quick Sips - Uncanny #36 [September stuff]
|Art by Christopher Jones|
Monday, September 21, 2020
Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #168
|Art by Rodion Shaldo|
Friday, September 18, 2020
Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 09/07/2020 & 09/14/2020
|Art by Thais Leiros|
Strange Horizons’ September kicks off with two new issues with two new poems, a new short story, and a novelette, on top of the usual amazing nonfiction that I don’t cover but definitely recommend. And the pieces are indeed Strange! And…horizon…y. They look at the borders of things, the sort of uncertainty that makes reality malleable, that leaves people broken, alone, their worlds shattered by a casual violence, by the presence of something hungry and stark, mechanical and merciless. The works are unsettling and yearning, and the poetry is (as usual) challenging and wonderful. Once more the publication more than lives up to its name, and I’ll try and do likewise with some reviews!
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #312
Both of the stories in the latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies are about bargains and the people who facilitate them. Who trade in the power to get things done. To realize dreams. Or to respond to hurts. Both people, though, find that there are hurts they seem incapable of really seeing to. And in some ways that regardless of what they do, things seem to get worse, people they care about are hurt, and they end up increasingly alone. It’s a nice one-two punch of grim and gritty stories involving magic and desire. But there’s hope there as well. Stuck in, and shadowed by the pain that’s been caused, but present all the same, for those willing to look for it. To the reviews!
|Art by Vladimir Manyukhin|
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus September 2020
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online September 2020
Monday, September 14, 2020
Quick Sips - The Dark #64
|Art by Vincent Chong|
The latest issue of The Dark Magazine focuses on monsters, on beings who might be gods, beings who are making some unfair bargains and fully expect to get away with it. And, well, they’re not necessarily wrong to think that, as the stories are also visceral and intensely grim. They offer no real relief from the crush of injustice and the descent of time. But then, the publication isn’t called The Happy. So it’s a rather appropriate issue, if also a rather devastating one. To the reviews!
Friday, September 11, 2020
Quick Sips - Anathema #11 [part 2]
|Art by Bex Glendining|
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Quick Sips - Translunar Travelers Lounge #3 [part 4: Charon Blend (Dark Chocolate Rooibos)]
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Quick Sips - Translunar Travelers Lounge #3 [part 3: Dione Blend (Assam)]
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Quick Sips - Lightspeed #124
|Art by Grandeduc / Adobe Stock Image|
The September Lightspeed Magazine brings out three short stories and one novelette, many of them tinged with a level of meta-commentary, whether through an author literally self-inserting into the text or through a fictional author confronting themselves through a series of revision notes. There’s a blurring of form, of reality and fantasy (or science fiction), and the result is a selection of stories that provoke and challenge. That aren’t always a joy to read, but that question narrative structure, time, and do a lot of interesting things. To the reviews!
Monday, September 7, 2020
Quick Sips - Augur #3.1 [part 1]
|Art by Lorna Antoniazzi|
Finally I’m getting to the end of my initial reviews of things released on the last day of September. There will definitely be spillover into at least next month, but today I’m looking at the first part of the extra-huge latest issue of Augur Magazine, which has been quiet on the release front since December. They make up for the absence with 16 different pieces, spread over fiction, poetry, and graphic fiction. Today I’m looking at the first three stories and three poems, which build up a rather grim thematic feel centering loss and grief. With characters who are imprisoned in various ways, either literally or more metaphorically. It’s not an easy bunch of works to approach, and readers will do well to mind the various content warnings posted before the stories. But it’s a beautiful start to what is shaping up to be a fantastic issue, and I’ll jump right into my reviews!
Friday, September 4, 2020
Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 08/31/2020
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Quick Sips - Omenana #15
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Quick Sips - Anathema #11 [part 1]
|Art by Bex Glendining|
It’s time for a new issue of Ananthema! I’m breaking the issue up for I’m-very-tired reasons, but that still means I’m looking at two stories and a poem (I’ll be back for the other three stories and a poem next month). The works are vivid and full of characters willing to take chances. It might be to pursue their dreams. It might be to escape an abusive situation. But the characters are motivated, pushing themselves to exhaustion and beyond, and reaching for something affirming and beautiful. It’s never easy, but getting to the future never is, and the works explore how these characters survive and thrive despite dangers and those that want to see them fail. To the reviews!
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Quick Sips - Tor dot com August 2020
|Art by Mary Haasdyk|
August brings two short stories and one novelette to Tor dot com. The works are by no means easy, dealing with issues of historical erasure and genocide, sexual assault and toxic gender roles, and capitalist exploitation and ecological devastation. There’s a mix of deep space science fiction, more terrestrial or near-terrestrial climate science fiction, and a touch of contemporary fantasy thrown in for good measure. And characters have to face their own roles in the problems they face, the abuses and injustices that are going on around them. That they are often victims of, even as they become co-opted into continuing the harm. It’s a solid bunch of works, and I’ll get right to the reviews!
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