Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 01/01/2018 & 01/08/2018

After a brief break for the holidays, Strange Horizons returns with its first two issues of 2018, each with a new story and new poem to enjoy. The pieces are wonderfully paired, story and poem working together to provide interesting and complex one-two punches. It’s something I very much appreciate as a reader, the issues holding together and complicating the individual pieces, allowing for a deeper reading than would otherwise have been possible. The first issue seems more about magic and growth, of children learning the dangers of the world and trying to overcome them. The second issue is more about refugees, from either wars or climate, people displaced and vulnerable, preyed upon and in need of kindness and rest. It’s a strong start for the year, so without further delay, the reviews!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Quick Sips - Apex #104

Apex Magazine kicks off the new year with a continuing tradition—treating readers to an extra big issue as thanks for the success of last year’s subscription drive. Which means six original stories (including a fantastic translation) and the return of poetry (for this issue only)! The prose runs the gamut of what Apex puts out, giving people an excellent sampler platter of dark SFF that leans a bit sci fi but still has an eye for the strange and magical. The stories range from hopeful to abyssally bleak, but even when the stories lack hope, they tend to reveal something compelling and devastating. Gladly most of the works _are_ hopeful, pulling progress and healing from the jaws of predation. There’s a whole lot to experience in this issue, from monsters in the Wild West to twins in the farthest reaches of space. So without further delay, to the reviews!

Art by Daniele Serra

Sunday, January 14, 2018

THE SIPPY AWARDS 2017! The "There's Something in My Eye" Sippy for Excellent Making Me Ugly-Cry in Short SFF

The 3rd Annual Sippy Awards keep right on moving! That’s right, the SFF awards that no one asked for and few pay attention to is back! I’ve shipped my favorite relationships, and I’ve cowered in fear before my favorite horror stories. Which means that it’s week it’s time to reduce myself to a small puddle of tears somewhat resembling a functioning human being. yes, it’s time for...

The “There’s Something in My Eye” Sippy Award 
for Excellent Making Me Ugly-Cry in Short SFF

I’m something of an emotive reader, which means that there are times when reading that a story just hits me right in the feels and I need to take a moment to recover. These are stories that, for me, are defined most by their emotional weight. By the impact they have, the ability to completely destroy all the careful emotional shields we use to keep the rest of the world at bay. These are the stories that pry open the shell of control I try surround myself in and leave me little more than a blubbering mess. So joining me in smiling through the tears and celebrating this year’s winners!

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Monthly Round - December 2017

This is the last one, as I'm starting a new monthly recommendation/review column at Book Smugglers called X Marks the Story (the first of which will be out next Wednesday). But please join me for the final Monthly Round over at Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together.

As, for those who just want links...

Tasting Flight - December 2017

“When The Night Blooms, An Artist Transmutes: A Three-Act Play” by Nin Harris (The Dark)
“The Weight of Sentience” by Naru Dames Sundar (Shimmer)
“The Birding: A Fairy Tale” by Natalia Theodoridou (Strange Horizons)
“The House at the End of the Lane is Dreaming” by A. Merc Rustad (Lightspeed)
“An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried” by Debbie Urbanski (Terraform)
“The First Stop Is Always the Last” by John Wiswell (Flash Fiction Online)



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Quick Sips - Flash Fiction Online January 2018

January is off to a hot start at Flash Fiction Online, with three stories that explore identity, erasure, and embracing the present. In each of the stories, a character finds themself poised at a frightening moment where the rules they are used to living under are taken away. For one, the rules are protective, while for the others the rules are stifling and harmful. The stories all explore how these people meet this moment and find a way to embrace the world without these rules they were so used to. The stories range from science fiction to fantasy to just slice of life, but they all are interesting and compelling and I should just get to the reviews already. Let’s go!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Quick Sips - Fiyah #5 (Ahistorical Blackness)

The first 2018 issue of Fiyah Literary Magazine is themed around "Ahistorical Blackness." In this case, the theme seems to aim the issue toward historical fantasy and more contemporary looks back at history and tradition. Given the history of blackness in America and beyond, it's probably no surprise that the stories all have an edge of violence to them. Whether the actual blood of revolution and rebellion or the legacy of violence in the form of inheritance and family history, the stories don't erase the pain or torture that have been the foundation for a great many nations and powers in the West. Instead, they reveal where this violence has led and where it might have led, challenging the dominant narratives about freedom, democracy, and civilization. These aren't easy reads, by and large, but they provide some excellent visions into what was and what might have been. To the reviews!

Art by Trevor Fraley

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Quick Sips - The Dark #32

2018 brings a fresh pair of stories to the Dark Magazine, focusing on family and the gravity of loss and grief. Both stories feature characters who find themselves in a bad situation, in a place where pain and sorrow seem to be a given. Where, try as they might, there seem to be no good options. And the stories follow what these people, what these women, choose to do. What they try to do. And for both, how their choices cannot bring them completely free of the dangers and hungers stalking them. But that there are still choices to make, and perhaps still a life to live. To the reviews!

Art by grandfailure