Friday, October 1, 2021

Quick Sips 10/01/2021

And the reviews just keep on coming. At the time this is posting publicly, October will have officially begun and there will only be a quarter of the year to go! Which…scary! But also, light at the end of the tunnel! This week I’m getting kind of all over, catching up on a bunch of smaller issues, mainly, as well as some novellas that came out a little while ago. Yay! That means I’m still in September (or earlier) territory, checking out this month’s The Deadlands and Clarkesworld. Plus the latest Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Strange Horizons. Plus all the Escape Artist episodes I’ve been behind on. So yeah, an eventful week hopping around, and lost of great short SFF to cover!

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!

The Deadlands #5 (2 short stories, 4 poems total)
  • “Two Reports From a Falling City” by Ewen Ma (poem) - A piece that speaks to me of...not revenge, exactly, but a kind of fitting turnabout. A person showing a disregard for a dying woman. A condemned woman perhaps, who they will not try to save. But on the other side of that, this person or power seems to need something in turn that is denied. Needs action now to help something but is met with the same sentiment they carried. That nothing can be done to save anything. That the work is only going to start when it’s too late for so many. When the city falls. When the woman dies. Leaving nothing left but a ruin, a loss, and those who might have done something about it, and didn’t. A great read!
  • “They Call It Hipster Heaven” by Lauren Ring (short story) - A piece that finds the narrator in the alley behind a gallery. Or a club. Or an afterlife. Or some sort of mixture of them all. The piece also finds the narrator grieving, caught in that grief, in the loss they feel for the person they originally came to this hipster heaven with. Their partner. Because the first time they came here there was an accident on the way home, and... The piece looks at the shattering impact of loss and the place it leaves the narrator. Trapped outside of what happened, trapped away from the person they loved. It’s a tragic and moving read! Clubs, Dancing, Art, Alleyways, Relationships. CW- Accidents, Afterlives, Blood. [c3 t4]
  • “Chang and Eng” by Henry “Hank” Greenspan (poem) - This piece speaks to me of the...pain of living without someone who seemed a part of yourself. The narrator is speaking of surviving, of surviving the Holocaust it seems, and trying to describe that to young people who must ask, essentially, what it was like. The answer is an analogy that is gutting and rather horrifying, describing the death of a conjoined twin, where the other is alive for however long. A few minutes maybe. But for the narrator is stretches out, and there’s a power in that comparison, a weight that is revealed that they’re carrying, and oof, yeah, it’s a resonating and amazing read!
  • “Inanna 1” by Bethany Fine (poem) - A strange piece that finds a narrator speaking about a historical/archeological find, but also about their own beliefs, their own connections to body and excrement. Decreation. And there’s something just odd and sinking about this but sublime all the same, a contrast of beauty and ugly biology that finds something holy in its midst. For me, the piece finds someone connecting to a forgotten god, to a thought or feel or idea that sparks in them, though for others it might seem repulsive. For them there’s something there, something astonishing, and it makes for a compelling read worth spending some time with!
  • “What Remains to Wake” by Jordan Taylor (short story) - A strange and rather haunting story that for me seems to take on some of the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty or maybe Snow White, or maybe just leans on the tropes of them. A woman marrying a prince. A sinister mother-in-law. A prophecy and a curse. Only here there is more, is a tale of the princess having an affair, having children from it, and being found out by the mother-in-law, who decides to seek her own terrible retribution for that. It’s a grim read that finds the princess moving through time yet timeless, cheating death yet not really getting to live. The result is something that waits, that rots, that is both buried and always returning, magical but not active, and it makes for a drawing and yearning read, and a rather lonely and lovely story! Fairy Tales, Transformations, Sleep, Family, Twins, Talking Animals. CW- Death, Poisoning, Cannibalism(?). [c4 t4]
  • “What it is to be a dybbuk who has traveled from Somerville to Brighton” by E. Lev Arbeter (poem) - There’s a great sense of embodiment in this piece, or perhaps I should say that it does a great job of complicating the idea of embodiment. That this being, this dybbuk, is moving, but they can’t really move through the world directly. They are tied to people, to places, and so their movement seems to come through the movement of another, though who is in control, who vessel and who pilot, is a little up in the air. And that introduces a nice creepiness here, something that adds layers to the act of walking, capturing it in this deeper and more complicated way. A great read!
A new issue full of death. Yay! And it is a rather strange and haunting collection of stories and poems. All are obviously heavy with death but most explore quite different things, from myths and fairy tales to much more contemporary magics surrounding death and dying, all linked by guilt and persistence. A great issue!

Diabolical Plots #79 (2 short stories total)
  • “Rebuttal to Reviewers’ Comments On Edits For ‘Demonstration of a Novel Draconification Protocol in a Human Subject’” by Andrea Kriz (short story) - A story framed as a response to feedback (critical, it seems) on a submitted paper to a peer reviewed journal. The subject of the paper is about transforming a human into a dragon, or at least giving a human a dragon body. And what becomes clear as the response to the feedback happens is that, first, the paper is legit and the experiment worked. And second, that as a result the author and test-subject might be taking matters into her own...claws when it comes to making sure this paper gets published so that she can get that sweet sweet tenure. And I like the ways the story is sharp, showing kinda how messed up this system is because it’s so biased and down to the egos of everyone involved. Even for the author (perhaps especially for), the paper represents this big breakthrough, but also a lot of fairly...cavalier science practices, and a lot of cutting corners, too, relying on a bit of fire and muscle to make up for what might be a lack of scientific rigor. Whatever the case, though, the piece is fun and funny and well worth checking out! A wonderful read! Dragons, Papers, Academia, Review, Transformation, Magic. [c1 t3]
  • “A Guide to Snack Foods After the Apocalypse” by Rachael K. Jones (short story) - This piece takes a creepy twist for the issue, with two kids trying to survive the end of the world and an invasion by shadow-dwelling creatures called Ganglies who can open portals to travel and who feed on human bones. For the kids, survival means focusing on other things, on trying to track down and rate snack foods. But as they move, seeking safety and adults, a different truth starts to come terrifyingly clear to me, and I like how the story moves in this rather unexpected and gutting direction. Placing the kids in an impossible situation, alone but for each other and exploited in awful ways. Used and having to go along with it because there is no good choice. But still resolved to try and do something good and right. It’s a chilling and effective bit of post-apocalyptic horror, and a great read! Dice, D&D, Snacks, Ratings, Travel. CW- Death, Eating Humans, Violence/Blood, Slavery. [c5 t4]
It’s a nice one-two this month for Diabolical Plots, starting with a touch of humor but getting rather grim after that. Still, there’s a sense of almost whimsy to both, but twisted. The first by academia bullshit, the second by something hungrier and exploitative. They’re some complex works, though, and present some broken systems without flinching, and with some style and a dash of fun. So yeah, a great issue!

Clarkesworld #180 (5 short stories, 2 novelettes total)
  • “Yesterday’s Wolf” by Ray Nayler (short story) - This story unfolds in the aftermath of war, in pastures and fields that were once patrolled by killer robots. And in that wake, Elmira is a young woman who has learned as much as she can about programming, about computers, which in some ways become like magic to her family and those around her. Especially after she manages to salvage and reprogram one of those killer robots to act as a sheep dog for her family’s flock. It’s not an easy place, though, or life, and for Elmira there are reminders everywhere about the wolves pacing outside, trying to take what they can. Those on four legs, and those on two. It’s a tense and moving story about place and people and hope. A great read! Sheep, Dogs, Robots, Family, Programming. CW- Death, Blood, War, Rape. [c4 t4]
  • “It is a Pleasure to Receive You” by Ziggy Schutz (short story) - A lovely story that finds Simon a somewhat lonely listener on a satellite, sorting and fixing transmissions out into space. An observer of things, tasked not to interfere until one night, on a whim, he does, and answers a transmission that seems to resonate inside him. The piece is quiet but still finds moments of action to it, and explores the complicated web that Simon is in, his doubts and insecurities, his way of avoiding uncomfortable and difficult things by throwing himself into work. But as he breaks rules he never has before, he finds something that he didn’t know he needed. A home, in people that find him and he finds. A place to just be, and be accepted. And it’s a beautiful and wonderful read! Queer MC, Non-binary NC, Poly Relationship, Satellites, Transmissions. [c1 t3]
  • “Xiaolongbao: Soup Dumplings” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires (short story) - A warm story about family, about two women who lost their mothers to a strange and mysterious illness, and the strength they take from the making of dumplings, from the skills they’ve inherited from their mothers, and from the stories and prophecies they remember and honor. All this around a series of new mysteries and strange lines in the sky, ill omens that seem to indicate that disaster is on the way. But they keep making dumplings, and there’s a bit of magic, a bit of fairy tale almost, that sweeps through the piece, that finds an ending that resolves in joy and community. And it’s a lot of fun! Family, Dumplings, Cooking, Trees, Prophecies, Folds. CW- Death of Parents. [c2 t2]
  • “Dog and Pony Show” by Robert Jeschonek (novelette) - In the world of this story, a dog isn’t exactly a dog, playtime isn’t exactly playtime, and I’m not really sure I want to know what breakfast is, thanks. It’s a mixed up world and Beneathy, the narrator, is deep into it, seeing nothing wrong until something comes in to try and pull him out of it. And the result is something chilling and unsettling, a brightly painted bit of horror that moves nicely and violently and ends with a smile that’s genuine and terrifying. A fine read! Dogs, Bugs, Contests, Play, Family. CW- Death, Violence, Parasites, Death of an Animal/Pet. [c5 t3]
  • “The Winter Garden” by Regina Kanyu Wang, translated by Emily Jin (novelette) - A wrenching story about choice, where the narrator works near a lab that does research into alternate realities, where people can actually travel to other universes. For the narrator, deeply unhappy and without really an prospects, the idea of a universe where she’s somewhere else, somewhere better, is alluring. But the story reveals that choice might make some things different but there is no magic fix. That no matter where you go, you’ll be there. And that assuming the grass is greener on the other side can quickly give way to harsh reality. I do love the strange push and pull the story opens up between the narrator and...herself. And how that resolves is tragic and sad but fitting all the same, bleak in the way that unhappiness is a hard cycle to break free of, especially without help and support. A great read! Alternate Realities, Duplicates, Travel, Choices, Family. CW- Addiction, Death of a Parent, Assault. [c4 t4]
  • “In a Net I Seek to Hold the Wind” by Gregory Feeley (short story) - A strange story that takes place in the space around Neptune, where humans are designing a station and a great project to explore Neptune’s expanse. They’re doing so aided by Minds, creatures that seem to have cohabitated with humans and just let themselves be known, in part through their ability to simulate Figments, artificial memories that play out over years, over lifetimes, without the person experiencing them realizing that they’re in a mental simulation. In that, the story explores intimacy and generational exchange, loss and hope and memory all looping together in a rather tender and beautiful way. It’s definitely a piece to spend some time with, and a lovely read! Space, Neptune, Virtual Reality, Queer Characters. CW- Accidents/Injuries/Amputations. [c3 t3]
  • “Excerpts from the Text of an Explanatory Stele Erected for Our Edification by the Scholars of the Outer Orion Tendril” by Timons Esaias (short story) - A strange piece about an uprising of sorts. Of trash. Of discarded jelly that forms a tide that covers everything in its path. That is met with resistance by humans. Met with anger and hostility. And overcomes it all in a relentless push toward domination, toward dominion, where it destroys almost all organic life on the planet. Humans, destroyed by their own trash and excess. It’s an interesting piece in that, almost funny if not for the horrors it depicts. And the result is a desolation that speaks of what might come next but promises nothing with regards to human survival or resilience. And it makes for a fine read! Trash, Blobs, Movement, Space. CW- Pollution, Death. [c4 t4]
Another full issue from Clarkesworld. One translated story and lots of mostly science fiction, as usual. A lot of the stories seem to deal with change, but especially with rejuvenation and recycling. Not always in ways that are super great for humans, but they show new uses for old artifacts. Trash and damaged good made into something new, used to spur new growth, however strange and terrible that might be. It makes for a good issue!

Strange Horizons 09/20/2021 (1 short story, 1 poem total)
  • “Motivation Augmentation” by Clara Ward (short story/flash) - This piece reveals both a rather aching love experienced across space, across a divide of debt and distance, as well as a possible nightmare, a betrayal, a doubt that the final lines open up about what’s happening. To Jaysee, they’re just working off their debt for their new body, one that allows them to survive but that put them into debt. A hundred cycles and they’re supposed to be free. Free to return to the lover they left behind. That is why they do what they do, why they don’t rise up against the pain and oppression of their situation. And that’s powerful in some ways. Except that it might also be a lie, and the specter of that, that love might be a tool used to keep them indentured, used to distract them from the reality that they’re never getting out...well, that’s pretty awful. The piece is super short but in that small space manages to tear a pretty big hole in my heart so...yay? It’s a wonderful read very much worth checking out! Augmentations, Queer MC, Love, Memory, Decontamination. CW- Debt/Aggressive Capitalism, Pain/Slavery. [c3 t3]
  • “The Little Death After the Apocalypse” by Courtney Skaggs (poem) - This piece looks at the end of the world, or imagines one, where the narrator and the guy they’re with are cast as the last humans, the last survivors. And the poem follows them as they transform and come together, as they become bats, as their flight transforms the whole world. Andn for me the piece looks at freedom and regret, taking a plunge rather than staying in one place. Seeing the moon and the sky and the stars and not wanting to see the ground, the earth with its problems and its deaths and its loss. And through it all the pair stay together, tucked into a dance that might echo from the title in a maybe-naughty way that is still sensual and alive. A great read!
A very quick issue from Strange Horizons, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to read into a tease apart. The works are brief but they have a depth to them that beckon readers to fully engage and experience them. The longing and the feeling of them, the tragedy and the love. A fantastic issue!

PodCastle #695 (1 short story total)
  • “Black Wings, White Kheer” by Rati Mehrotra (short story) - A warm and moving story about a woman, Sarita, who cut her wings off to escape a life of conflict, of being hunted by creatures who killed her mother and injured her grandmother. Now, thousands of miles away and with a family of her own, she’s finding that no matter how far she goes, she can’t escape who she is. And, more importantly, she shouldn’t. The piece is tense, weighed down by the secrets that Sarita has kept over the years. The way that’s isolated her from her past and those around her. And her, at last, she is coming to terms with it, opening up about it, and maybe ready to embrace the part of herself she rejected so long ago. A wonderful read! Wings, Cooking, Family, Rituals, Secrets. CW- Self Harm, Death of a Parent, Child in Peril. [c3 t3]
Everyone knows I’m a sucker for food in SFF, and so this fantasy piece exploring identity and family through food is right up my alley. It’s a fun piece with moments of action and danger but much more about honesty and being able to be who you truly are, and it’s as magical as the dish it describes. A great episode!

Pseudopod #774 (1 short story total)
  • “Vanity, Vanity” by Dan Fields (short story) - This is a strange story that takes place in a pastoral setting where a town burns and from the ashes of that two children emerge to stay with their aunt and her husband, a local priest. The children, though, carry within them a seed of something dangerous and violent, though, and as the priest tries to steer them in a godly direction, they move in another. It’s an unsettling read that finds the children the heart of a cycle of terror and sin, and nature itself playing a role in how they move through the world. It’s not a happy read, either, the end bringing neither a promise of relief nor any kind of happiness. Rather, it’s a story that recognizes taht evil takes many forms, and is helped along by whole communities more often than lone sinners. A fine read!
Definitely a creepy read, with a pair of evil children making sure that things stay grim and disturbing. More than that, though, I like how the story looks at how people react to evil, how people ignore it and allow it, and know very little about how to actually confront and defeat it. A fine episode!

Cast of Wonders #464 (1 short story total)
  • “Cats of Fortune” by Ivy Grimes (short story) - A warm and lovely story about a girl growing up without a lot in the way of money but with a lot in the way of love, and of cats. Lucky cats! Perhaps magical cats! And really, it’s about class and about frugality and about how that can really get into a person in ways that seem necessary but aren’t. Because not all things can be saved against a rainy day. Not all things can be put off in the name of saving them for later. Some things have to be embraced, and if they bring joy and if they bring happiness then they probably shouldn’t always be deferred. Every person needs to know they are valuable, too, and the story does a wonderful and moving job with that. A great read! Cats, Luck, Growing Up, School, Family. CW- Bullying, Strokes. [c3 t3]
Cats of a possibly magical nature! A win! And I love the lightly speculative touch here, how the magic might be just sort of thinking that you deserve something to make you happy. Something for yourself when everyone treats that like it’s a sin. A vanity. And I just really like how the story wraps together all its moving parts. Especially the cats. A lovely episode!

Cast of Wonders #465 (1 short story total)
  • “In Real Time” by Avra Margariti (short story) - A wonderful and heartwarming story about people who can freeze time. Two non-binary people who use it as a way to escape the pain of a given situation. The overwhelmingness of things, to spend Frozen Time wandering and being free from the perceptions and misconceptions of others. It’s something the narrator, Bee, thinks they have more or less to themself, until they meet Ant in Frozen Time. And it starts off something that is incredibly meaningful for them both. Where Bee, who is more closeted IRT, begins to come to terms with that, with how they’ve avoiding taking steps IRT to be comfortable and authentic. And it’s just a beautiful and super cute story about these people meeting and falling for each other, and navigating the messy space of their own fears and traumas. A fantastic read! Non-binary MC, Freezing Time, College, Candy. CW- Misgendering (mentioned). [c2 t3]
A super cute and romantic story between two queer characters with the ability to manipulate time. And I like the vulnerability the story exposes and the way that it brings the characters together despite their fears and hangups. It’s a wonderful story with a lot of heart and definitely worth checking out!

Cast of Wonders #466 (1 short story total)
  • “Badass Neon Sparkle Powers” by Cara Masten DiGirolamo (short story) - A story about superpowers...and losing them. About not walking by something bad going down. But also about learning from powers and powerlessness. Learning to walk into situations with a little more than confidence and a willingness to take damage. And it’s a brash and bold story that features Mic, a narrator who knows how to make bad decisions, but also knows that sometimes those are the right decisions all the same. Because otherwise things might be too bleak. For herself and her family. For the future. For the world in general. People have to fight, even if the odds aren’t good. And it’s a fun and wonderful read! Superpowers, Art, Family, Employment. CW- Violence, Assault, Abuse, Rape, Harassment/Stalking. [c5 t4]
This episode certainly doesn’t pull its punches. Indeed, it wades right into some difficult and uncomfortable situations swinging away, knowing that some things that aren’t confronted are encouraged. And it’s a story that looks at conflict and danger and doesn’t back down, and it makes for a defiant and rather triumphant read!

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #339 (2 short stories total)
  • “In Case You’re the One to Devour a Star” by Tamara Jerée (short story) - A lovely and warm story about a narrator who channels fire. Who holds it, gifted from an interstellar dragon, and who falls in love with a poet who seems to understand some of the draw to that heat, that fire. Even if it will also kill them. And the piece builds this world achingly and lovingly, finding in it a fear of dragons as well as a draw to them, to their story of travel through the stars, and the promise of their long life and memory. There’s a sense of sharing going on in the piece, between the narrator and the dragon, between the narrator and their wife. Between everyone and the future, and the hope and flame of it, that doesn’t go out with one person, but burns on. It’s a wonderfully evocative story, and a fantastic read! Dragons, Marriage, Poetry/Song, Fire, Bargains, Space. CW- Death, Scars/Burns. [c2 t3]
  • “A Bird in the Window” by Kate Francia (short story) - A story that unfolds in an abbey where two young women are both being hidden away. One for a pregnancy that wasn’t her choice and the other, the narrator Marguerite, because of visions she has, a power that rises in her, that seems to be something speaking to her, or through her, wanting to heal and help. In this world, though, it would label her heretic, might get her burned. So she hides, except that this new friend, this ally, Beatrix, coaxes her out of her hiding, her isolation. Invites her to share things between them, to have someone they can confide in. And Marguerite’s visions become more powerful, and seem to swirl around Beatrix, and the piece does a great job of showing their friendship and the messy, vulnerable place both are in. And how, together, they might be up to facing it, to surviving it. It’s a wonderful read! Abbeys, Bells, Visions, Angels, Birds, Healing. CW- Pregnancy, Rape(implied?), Injury, Blood. [c4 t4]
A great issue featuring two short stories, both of which focus on a close relationship between two people who are otherwise somewhat isolated. And through this relationship they gain an appreciate for themselves and for each other. They are able to embrace the parts of themselves that others try and get them to suppress. And it’s a really well paired and beautiful issue!

  • And What Can We Offer You Tonight by Premee Mohamed (novella) - This piece opens with a murder, and a resurrection, all in a very upscale House (big H) of pleasures. The main character and narrator, Jewel, is an eleven year veteran of the House, and tries her best to keep everything running smoothly, to help who she can, to stay alive herself. But that’s a difficult thing, especially when you pull some bad luck. And her friend, Winfield, has been killed. Then not. And when not, she’s back with a vengeance. To right what has been wronged. Or get as close as she can. And it’s up to Jewel to decide where she stands in all of this. To try and keep her head down and go along with the people who murdered her friend, who would murder her just as easily, or stand up to it, however she can. And the story explores how murky that line is, how difficult it can be and ultimately how there are always lines to cross. Ethical and personal ones. But often what matters most is how you treat people, how you try. It’s a moving and beautiful story for all it reveals a deep ugliness in the setting, in what might be a future we’re heading towards. And it’s a wonderful read! Sex Work, Revenge, Parties, Employment, Queer Characters. CW- Death/Murder/Blood/Abuse, Aggressive Capitalism/Slavery. [c4 t3]
The first novella from Neon Hemlock’s 2021 series is out and I’m a bit late in covering it. Sorry! But it’s amazing, full of characters navigating a messy and deadly web of intrigues and personalities. Caught in a place without power, dehumanized but at a certain point unwilling to be unpersoned. And it’s a stirring, often fun, but also often difficult story about death and power and a bunch of sex workers trying to survive, or something like it. Do check this one out!

  • The Necessity of Stars by E. Catherine Tobler (novella) - The story about a diplomat working for the UN, a woman who as the story unfolds is old, whose memory is failing, but whose resolve and tenacity is still very much intact. An old woman who most people think of as outdated and useless, but who manages to make contact with a being who came to Earth fleeing predators. Predators that might have finally caught up with them. All this on a planet that is ravaged by climate change and flooding. Where hope is hard to come by. But it isn’t dead yet. And I love the sweep and feel of the piece, confined almost entirely to a single garden. To a small revolution and change, a meeting that sparks something that might spark more. A way not exactly to fix things, but to change with a changed world. It’s a wonderful read! Aliens, Trees, Gardens, Queer MC, Diplomacy. CW- Memory Loss, Climate Change, Violence/Drowning/Blood. [c3 t4]
Another novella from Neon Hemlock and another great one. This one finds an older protagonist that has largely been written off, who is struggling with losing memory, with losing hope in a harsh and breaking world. But who still has some gumption left, and who still has the resolve to keep trying. A great novella!

Works read this year to date: 997 stories, 293 poems (+21 stories, +5 poems)

So I decided to change things up a little this week. I was cruising through the middle of the week, and got toward the end and was having to decide whether to push right into October stuff, or whether to reach back and try to cover a few things that have fallen through the cracks. So instead of looking at the few places where I have advance copy already for October, I’m covering a few novellas. Which means something of a down week when it comes to sheer number of reviews, but honestly the reading is still up so whatever. And hey, it means that I’m just shy of crossing the 1000 mark for stories and 300 mark for poems. I’m guessing, then, that I’ll definitely pass the story mark next week. No question. The poem mark will be more of a longshot, because I’m not sure of any poetry venues (aside from one from Strange Horizons) that I’ll be checking out. Hmm…Maybe if I do Fantasy and Nightmare and they both are heavier than normal on poetry. But don’t hold your breath. Or wait! Mermaids Monthly is probably coming out in time for me to include it next week. So maybe! The chances just went way up!

Anyway, that excitement aside, life continues. I am…eh…not really doing well, but also probably not doing as poorly as I could be. Writing is difficult, but I did manage to send some brand new poems into the It Came From Beneath the Ink call for a Goosebumps/R.L. Stine tribute anthology. I do not care that it is for no pay, I am here for the idea and the poems were super fun (especially the erotic one involving the mud monsters). If I don’t get them in, I’ll probably just share them with my patrons (you lucky ducks) because I’m not sure there’s a different market for that.

And I’ve gotten together a SFF romance/erotic romance collection that I’m about ready to see what to do with. Did you know that I’ve been published at six different presses specializing in queer romance/erotica? Did you know that all but one of them basically closed, some of them owing me money I’ll never see? It makes this project a little loaded, but I’m also rather proud of my smut, so I do want to do something with it. Sigh. Just hard sometimes. The collection will have twelve stories (9 short stories, 3 novelettes). Unlike, my regular short SFF, romance and erotica is something that’s harder to fit into very short stories, so despite being only twelve stories, it’s longer than The Burning Day by a little bit. There’s a mix of “sweet” romance and rauchy erotica, but I assure you it’s all very on brand for me.

What this doesn’t include is my superhero romances, as I want to do a separate book of those at some point. We’ll see? But it will include 1 stories originally in the Nasty antho, 1 story originally at Circlet, 1 story originally at Less Than Three, 2 stories originally at Dreamspinner, 3 stories originally at Lethe, and 4 stories originally at Torquere. So yeah, at some point look forward to that.

In order news…I’m tired! I media, Matt and I finished watching through what was up for Grantchester. Still of mixed opinions of the show in general, but I mean I’d watch more of it if it was there. Probably slightly preferred over Father Brown? Might rewatch and finish that series, though, to firm up my mind. We’re back on the Mallorca Files now, which is a weird show. But Winter, the doof German, totally embodies being a bisexual disaster and I love him for it. If only the show let his character be bi. He really does ping. But anyway, it’s another ehhh show. We continue to wait for the complete new series of Vera to be up so we can watch it when we have some time together. Very much looking forward to that!

In reading, I’m through the Cross Time Caper in Excalibur and it was definitely A Thing. The transition away from that, with Galactus and then the Doom in Limbo storyline, has been something of a whiplash, though I’m still here for it. They really need to resolve this Megan, Brian, Kurt thing by making them all get together but I can’t see Brian going for that so sigh. I did manage to go back and read some of the one-shots including the team forming issue that I hadn’t realized I had missed. The Lockheed afterlife/rhyming issue was bizarre. Just random thoughts at this point. Kitty in English boarding school becoming a cheerleader was…something. I do like that Kitty and Kurt are rather pissed, seeing the X-Men alive during X-Tinction Agenda. I’m also getting closer to where Unlimited doesn’t have more issues of the series. Boo. Not sure what I’ll do then. We shall see. But that’s about it for now. Cheers!


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