Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #251

It’s a rather quick issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, with two stories linked in a way by their length (neither of them over 2500 words, which is unusual for the publication). But it lends both stories a sort of impact, and a feeling of anticipation. In the first, that means having to wait for the results of a very important test. In the second, that means having to wait for the results of a very important confrontation. In both, there are certain indications that might guide readers otwards guessing what happens next, but both times it’s left up in the air what _actually_ transpires after the final stories end. What it is certain is that both look at characters struggling to solve tricky problems, ones where they have been made culpable of a misstep and are desperate to find a way forward. So yeah, to the reviews!

Art by Jereme Peabody

Monday, May 21, 2018

Quick Sips - Shimmer #43 [May stuff]

It’s a rather dark May for Shimmer Magazine, with two original stories that explore the idea of home, sacrifice, pain, and death. Of course, for those similarities, the stories themselves are very different, the first a contemporary fantasy with Norse gods, sex, and cycles of abuse while the second is a science fiction story about distance, longing, and the annihilation of self when confronted with the alien. Both feature people reaching to reconnect with something that seems to have changed in their absence. When, really, what’s changed is them, and the nostalgic vision of their homes that have got them through so much ends up being not enough when it’s finally reached. These are two beautiful stories, so let’s get right to the reviews!

Art by Sandro Castelli

Friday, May 18, 2018

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 05/07/2018 & 05/14/2018

Strange Horizons launches into May with two stories and three poems (hey, bonus poem!) that deal with myth and pain and narratives. That trace the ways that people struggle and push back against the weight of inertia and tradition. The way that people need to struggle and push back against the ways in which abuses and harms are accepted and passed down. Because without standing up to them, without fighting to make things better, the world slides into a very dark, very violent place. The stories find characters trying to change things, trying to invent new ways of thinking and acting in order to face the increasingly dire state of things. It’s a strong collection of works, and I’ll get right to the reviews!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #140

May finds Clarkesworld back down to four original releases, though the word count still tops out around 40k of new work. Two short stories, a novelette, and a novella make for a weighty issue, which to me swirls around fate, injustice, time, and struggle. In each, characters push against the frustrations of a world that doesn’t really live up to their expectations. They are let down, hurt, perhaps even nearly destroyed, and in the face of that it might be easy to embrace bitterness, despair, and violence. And yet the characters here mostly just want to be happy, to find ways to survive and maybe work to fill the holes inside themselves. It’s a wrenching, often difficult issue, and I’m going to get right to the reviews!

Art by Arthur Haas

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

X Marks the Story - May 2018

It's that time again! Let's search for some speculative treasure this month with another 6 spotlighted stories. The post is live at The Book Smugglers now, so go check it out! For those wanting just a taste, the list of the main stories is below.

“Logistics”,  A.J. Fitzwater (published in Clarkesworld #139, April 2018)

“Murders Fell From Our Wombs”, Tlotlo Tsamaase (published in Apex #107, April 2018)

“Into the Gray”, Margaret Killjoy (published at Tor.com, April 2018)
“A Most Elegant Solution”, M. Darusha Wehm (published at Motherboard’s Terraform, April 2018)
“Origami Angels”, Derek Lubangakene (published in Omenana #11, April 2018)
“Silence in Blue Glass”, Margaret Ronald (published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #250, May 2018)