Sunday, January 21, 2018

THE SIPPY AWARDS 2017! The "Time to Run Some Red Lights" Sippy for Excellent Action!!! in SFF

Welcome back to the Third Annual Sippy Awards! Some part of you might be wondering, “why?” The answer: to celebrate short SFF across different styles that make excellent use of various elements to shine as examples of why I love this field. There’s no panel of judges or voting population, just me and my inflated ego and love of short SFF. Given how most short SFF awards focus on length, I wanted to look instead at how stories use different elements to stand out and be powerful. This year I’ve already shipped some excellent relationship, cowered before some excellent horror, and bawled from the some emotionally devastating reads. Which means today it’s time to put the pedal to the metal with...

The “Time to Run Some Red Lights” Sippy Awards 
for Excellent Action! in Short SFF

The name comes courtesy of the outrage that followed the original release of The Fast and The Furious. No joke, I remember a bunch of articles about how, upon leaving the movie, people were basically much more likely to speed and engage in...not good decisions. Likewise, I’ve seen studies about how listening to music effects how we drive. So I wanted to find the stories that left me feeling amped up. That made me to go fast and take chances. In a weird sort of surprise, most of them are from the very beginning of 2017. Not sure what that means, but there you are. In any event, please make sure your seat belts are securely buckled and that your tray tables are in their full and upright position. In 3...2...1...GO!!!!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus January 2018

Weaving together nostalgia, storytelling, and the magic of the Big Top, the January short story from GigaNotoSaurus offers a walk down a memory lane that is in danger of crumbling to nothing. It follows a man who defines himself by what he used to be, who has lost a bit of himself as he has lost the role that gave him meaning. Without it, he is fading in some ways. Until someone finds him in order to give him what he gave others—a shot at immortality. It’s a story that blends styles while evoking a very specific voice in speculative fiction. Before I give it all away, though, to the review!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #242

Beneath Ceaseless Skies opens up its 2018 fiction with a duo of musical and magical pieces. Focusing on harmony and discord, inspiration and creativity, the two pieces find characters whose professional ambitions are somewhat at odds with how their society treats them. They are good at what they do, driven by the art and the joy of music and yet finding that at every turn they need the patronage of powerful men in order to be taken seriously. In order to be safe. And both stories explore what happens when being safe stops being motivation enough for staying silent, and what happens when the right song bursts forth into the world. To the reviews!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

X Marks the Story - January 2018

X Marks the Story is now live at The Book Smugglers. This is the spiritual successor to The Monthly Round and covers five recent short SFF stories that I loved from late 2017/early 2018.

So thrilled to have my column go live. Please go check it out at The Book Smugglers! Links to just the stories are below:

“When The Night Blooms, An Artist Transmutes: A Three-Act Play” by Nin Harris (published in The Dark Magazine #31, December 2017)
“The Weight of Sentience” by Naru Dames Sundar (published in Shimmer Magazine #40, November/December 2017)
“The House at the End of the Lane is Dreaming” by A. Merc Rustad (published in Lightspeed Magazine #91, December 2017)
“The Heaven-Moving Way” by Chi Hui, translated by Andy Dudak (published in Apex Magazine #104, January 2018)
“The Epic of Sakina” by Shari Paul (published in Fiyah Literary Magazine #5, January 2018)

Cheers!
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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!