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)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #132

September brings an interesting mix of stories to Clarkesworld, exploring love and coupling, as well as space and time and sentience. The stories range from cerebral and strange to fun and witty to achingly hopeful and human. There are people who are birds, bots who are heroes, planets who are people, people who are machines, and just people being people, with all their flaws but also all the grace and power to save the world. It's never really a surprise to note that the stories are all science fiction, with perhaps a little hint at sci-fantasy but mostly these are stories that imagine a future where life can be different, and some futures where, for all life could be different, it hasn't really changed. So yeah, let's get to the reviews!

Art by Vladimir Manyukhin

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus September 2017

September brings a very timely story to GigaNotoSaurus, a science fiction piece that looks at the cost of water. And that might, by extension, look at the cost of humanity, of decency, and the role of government in providing for the people rather than exploiting them. Water is a complicated topic because of how much humans need it, and how historically it has been a right, to have access to clean water. With the way things have been going, though, any resource, no matter how fundamental, can be twisted to serve profit and power. So yeah, before I get too off on a rant, let’s get to the review!