Thursday, April 26, 2018

Quick Sips - Omenana #11

The first Omenana of the 2018 is out! Which means five new stories celebrating African speculative fiction. The stories, as usual, cover a lot ground with regard to genre, theme, and style, but there’s a rather nice unity to the issue as well, focusing on systems and corruption and the frustrations and tragedies that come about when people are preyed upon by predatory beliefs, individuals, or organizations. From science fiction featuring body swapping and uploaded consciousness to fantasy with animated mud, family curses, and superpowers, the stories all showcase fresh and interesting ideas, settings, and characters. So before I gush too much, let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Caitlin Mkhasibe

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

LIVER BEWARE! You're in for a Drunk Review of Goosebumps #3: MONSTER BLOOD

(this post originally appeared on my Patreon. For those unaware, the series finds me drunkenly reading and reviewing the children's book series, Goosebumps. To date, I'm far enough ahead in the series that I'm making all of the older reviews freely available on Quick Sip Reviews. I hope you enjoy!)

Welcome to the third installment of drunken Goosebumps reviews! And check out that new graphic! Thanks to everyone who voted! I'm rather partial to Scaredy-Liver at the Hip Bar myself, so was quite chuffed to see that other people seemed to like that one, too. I'm also quite chuffed that we've arrived at #3 in the Goosebumps series, Monster Blood! This was actually what I would tell everyone was my favorite Goosebumps when I was little. Why? Because the cover is blue and green. Seriously, I was a weird kid, because I obviously forgot about 90% of this one before picking it up again. The result? MADNESS! You thought the first two books in the series were weird. Are you ready for a magical, sentient, child-endangering (evil) cat? Or a bullying B plot that culminates in endless nightmares and probably endless counseling? Good, because HERE WE GO!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Quick Sips - Glittership Autumn 2017/Winter 2018 (part 3/4)

The latest double issue of Glittership is officially out, featuring a whole lot of queer SFF short stories and poetry. As I’ve already looked at some of this issue, I’m dividing up the content I haven’t gotten to between April and May. This month I’m looking at two original stories, one reprint story, and two original poems. And everything is as wonderfully queer as ever. The stories move between historical fantasy, contemporary fantasy, and near-future fantasy (so if you wanted a taste of magic across any time period, you’re in for a treat), and the poems both dwell a bit on grim futures. There is a small theme of extinction moving through a number of these pieces, and also fear of failure. And while many of them are on the tragic side, there is also a feeling of survival, and fighting for something worthy and beautiful. So let’s get to the reviews!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #249

April brings two tales of magic and pain to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, featuring characters very much looking for cures for something and finding that those cures might not exist. In each, the characters face something that makes them look at what they do in a new light. Their mission and their identity is complicated and altered. How they respond to that is very different, though, with one person running away from the implications of their decisions and the other person ready to meet the full weight of what’s happening. Both stories also feature an interesting take on make and some intense battles. So yeah, let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Stefan Meisl

Friday, April 20, 2018

Quick Sips - Shimmer #42 [April stuff]

April brings an amazing one-two punch to Shimmer Magazine, with a pair of stories that at turns devastate and heal. The month begins with a heavy darkness and a sound like angels crying. It focuses on loss and love and injustice and the weight of all those on a child, on a young adult. But just as all hope seems crushed and the tears are flowing, the issue offers a reprieve, a fun little story about the avoiding injustice, about defying expectations, and about finding something truly wonderful. These are two very different pieces but they go together so well. So well. So yeah, let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Sandro Castelli

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Quick Sips - Apex #107

The April stories from Apex Magazine are all about the toxicity of place and the inability to make good decisions in a broken system. Especially when you are vulnerable. Especially when you’re not meant to be a person with power. The stories look at how people in these situations strive to gain the freedom to make their own decisions, to control their own lives, only to find again and again any attempt to resist the system from the inside is co-opted and corrupted. And any attempt to get away from the system is prevented or resisted. Because these systems want victims, what those who can’t fight back. People still do, though, and the issue has a great assortment of stories that look at how difficult it is to reach for change when every avenue for reform seems to lead back to the same old hurts. To the reviews!

Art by Chase Hensen

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

X Marks the Story - April 2018

It's that time again. My latest X Marks the Story is up at The Book Smugglers. Go check it out here.

For those just wanting the sweet, sweet stories, here's a list of the 6 I featured this month (note, there's plenty more I included in the further x-plorations). Cheers!

“A Priest of Vast and Distant Places”, Cassandra Khaw (published in Apex Magazine #106, March 2018)
“The War of Light and Shadow, in Five Dishes”, Siobhan Carrol (published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #247, March 2018 )
“Don’t Pack Hope”, Emma Osborne (published in Nightmare #67, April 2018)
“Being an Account of The Sad Demise of The Body Horror Book Club”, Nin Harris (published in The Dark #35, April 2018)
“Pistol Grip”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (published in Uncanny #21, March/April 2018)
"The Sower”, Takim Williams (published in Fiyah #6, April 2018)