Friday, September 22, 2017

Quick Sips - Apex #100

It’s time to celebrate because Apex Magazine turns 100 this month! Woo! As a special treat, there’s an extended table of contents to this September issue, but mostly in the form of three reprinted stories. I definitely recommend you check those out, but I’m keeping my eyes on the original works, of which there are a new novelette and short story. The stories are very much about survival, and in particular about girls surviving tragedies that make them orphans and that leave them with lasting scars, either physically or emotionally. And both stories see these characters pushed to confront their pasts in order to prevent new tragedies from unfolding. These are rather uncomfortable stories at times but also carry with them a gripping tension and action and a strong payoff. It’s been 100 issues from Apex and as I get to these reviews I can only hope for at least 100 more!

Art by Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #234

This issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies features two stories about hunting and about violence. In each, there are two sides, hungry and in many ways brutal, who move through the world with certainty in their own worth. Caught between them, though, are legions of victims whose only crimes seem to be being in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught between larger forces who want something. Who want war, mostly, and conquest, whether on a more intimate scale or on the scale of empires and cultures. The stories are dark and uncomfortable, offering no easy answers and really no heroes, just those with power and those who must try to survive being without. These are pieces about victims, and about predators, and I should just get to the reviews already!

Art by Jordan Grimmer

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quick Sips - Shimmer #39 [September stuff]

The editorial in this month’s Shimmer Magazine gives a glimpse into the element linking the stories—ghosts. And both of the original stories for September revolve around hauntings, and around ghosts, and around stories. In each there are people who are misunderstood, people who walk through life but who never really feel a part of the same world as everyone else. That might have to do with their gender and how they are perceived, or it might have to do with their role and their power. But in both stories the characters are confronted with stories underneath stories, with unearthing hurt and violence and trying to bring some closure and healing to a bad situation. And both seem to focus on how the characters reach toward connection through a haze of difficulty, though the disconnect they often feel with other people. These are two strange but touching stories that I should just get to reviewing!

Art by Sandro Castelli

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Quick Sips - Nightmare #60

Nightmare Magazine’s September issue features a nicely paired duo of original stories that explore faith and sacrifice, bargains and power. For both characters, they come face to face with a place of power, with a kind of temple, and have to make some decisions. Do they listen to the voice speaking to them, nudging their feet toward a desired outcome? Do they resist in the face of pain and violence and the prospect of losing everything they have? What does faith really mean to them, and what are distant gods in the face of those that are present, immediate, and loud? These are two stories that take a dark look at gods and power, and it’s time to review them!

Art by Foldyart1980 / Fotolia

Monday, September 18, 2017

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 09/04/2017 & 09/11/2014

Hey! Strange Horizons is running their fund drive! It’s almost over! GO SUPPORT THEM!!! You get things like mugs and shirts and pins and just do it, okay. Strange Horizons is hugely important to SFF, in my opinion, and does amazing work. Case in point, I’m looking at three stories and two poems today that are rather stunning. They look at loneliness and loss, at compassion and patience, truth and love. These are stories that feature characters looking for connection, hoping to save someone, even if that someone is themself. The poetry is moving and haunting and everything weaves together to create a feel of warmth and chill, comfort and grief. It is some fantastic work and I for one want Strange Horizons to continue for a long time to come. So check out the fund drive, give what you can, and get ready for some reviews!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Monthly Round - August 2017

The Monthly Round is live right now at Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together. Do please go give it a read. It features my favorite short SFF reads from August 2017 and pairs them with tasting notes, drink pairings, and reviews. It's quite fun. Anyway, for those wanting a taste of what this month's list features, here's the run down. Cheers!

Tasting Flight - August 2017

"The Library of Lost Things" by Matthew Bright (Tor)
"Avi Cantor Has Six Months To Live" by Sacha Lamb (Book Smugglers)
"The Wanderers" by Ian McHugh (GigaNotoSaurus)
"unfurl/ed" by Jes Rausch (Strange Horizons)
"If a Bird Can Be a Ghost" by Allison Mills (Apex)
"Our Secret, In Keys" by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Fireside)