Thursday, June 22, 2017

Quick Sips - Uncanny #16 [June stuff]

Well it’s another busy month at Uncanny Magazine, with three original stories, two poems, and five nonfiction pieces. I was very tempted to just skip the nonfiction, I will admit, because of time concerns, but once I saw it was about Star Trek, food, resistance, and revolution, I kinda had to look at it more in depth. What’s here this month has a great focus on self-determination and strength and stories. About the ways that we write ourselves out of struggles in order to relieve the burden of having to act and the ways that we need to counter that. The stories focus on people being confronted with narratives that don’t leave room for them, where they are often ignored or marginalized, and how they seek to recenter and decolonize these stories to present a more just and more complete vision of the world. And the pieces all do this by subverting tropes and familiar structures and ideas to present wholly new and revolutionary messages. Time travel is revealed as more crutch than cure. Vampirism takes on wholly new levels when crossed with gender and transition. Narrative structure and voice itself is blurred as character and author and reader meet. It’s a lovely collection of works and an amazing call to arms for SFF readers who want to act and fight back against what perhaps is becoming the darkest timeline. So yeah, review time!

Art by Galen Dara

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #227

The latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies brings a pair of stories about relationships and conflicts, betrayals and healing. In each of the stories women seek to live in a world that is hostile, that doesn’t really let them be in peace. Whether it’s because of a long-standing conflict that they have to try and live through or an unjust government that they have to live under, the settings are drenched in the threat of violence and erasure. And only through coming together, helping each other, and trusting one another, can these women find strength in their love and security in the families they make of and with each other. These are stories of women getting shit done and taking on the systems of oppression in open and interesting ways, having faith in their partners and their own abilities to shape a more just and healthy world. So yeah, it’s review time!

Art by Jeff Brown

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Quick Sips - Shimmer #37 [June stuff]

June has arrived at Shimmer Magazine and it’s a month of relationships and yearning, distance and growth. Both stories focus on a central relationship and the power it has over those in it. For the first piece, it’s a budding relationship that brings meaning and nourishment for the people experiencing it, for the people unable to be together but still drawing nearer and nearer, more and more intimate. For the second piece the distance between the characters means that they can never really know what they might have had. And for all that it pushes the characters forward, inspires them and in some cases protects them, it’s a more haunting kind of relationship, defined by absence and not potential. Both are beautiful to watch unfold, though, and each offer their own flavors of hope, even when its bittersweet. To let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Sandro Castelli

Monday, June 19, 2017

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 06/05/2017 & 06/12/2017

Strange Horizons kicks off their first two weeks of June with a pair of stories and a pair of poems. I have to say, the stories probably couldn't be more tonally different if they tried, but both broach on some heavy themes of loss, hope, and movement. The first, however, does so with a frenetic, almost saccharine cheeriness, and the second with a stark bluntness that drips with grief and pain. Both are beautiful in their own ways, but be prepared for perhaps some fictional whiplash. The poems resonate as well with feelings of having power wrested away, of being subject to another's whims only to perhaps take back some measure of control. Or at least expose the damage done. It's a challenging two weeks of content but, as always from Strange Horizons, very rewarding. So yeah, to the reviews!

Art by Rachel Khan

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Monthly Round - May 2017

The Monthly Round is up over at Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together.

As always, it features my favorite SFF short fiction paired with booze and tasting notes and topped off with reviews. It's great. For just a list of the stories, here you go:

Tasting Flight - May 2017

“Carnival Nine” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
“They Will Take You From You” by Brandon O’Brien (Strange Horizons)
"The Heart's Cartography" by Susan Jane Bigelow (Lightspeed)
“Read Before Use” by Chinelo Onwualu (Uncanny)
“The Stars that Fall” by Samantha Murray (Flash Fiction Online)
“Bear Language” by Martin Cahill (Fireside Fiction)

Cheers!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #129

Okay, so it’s a very full month of content from Clarkesworld, with five original stories, all but one of them a novelette. And seeing as how many of the stories have something of a slower pace, this is an issue that might take people a while to get through (it certainly took me some time). he good news is that even if some of the stories are a bit slower and more ponderous, they are still very much worth spending some time with. The focus of the issue for me seems to be the aftermath of great harm and what responsibility the individual has in the face of collective cruelty, corruption, and violence. Each of the stories take a run at this core idea in different ways, from looks at the end of the world to more intimate apocalypses, but they are all emotionally resonant and interesting. So let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Matt Dixon

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus June 2017

Weighing in at a rather long novelette, the story from this month’s GigaNotoSaurus, is full of old hurts and distant stars. Unfolding in a space where things are lean and mean, it features a cyborg with a lot of emotional baggage and a plot that mixes action with some deep emotional beats. There are thuggish villains, corrupt space cops, smug conmen, and for those looking for a fast and fun adventure, it has exactly what you’re looking for. So let’s get to the review!