Friday, July 21, 2017

Regular Sip - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #230

Okay, so...this is something of a special review for me. Firstly (and most importantly), it's NEW BIRDVERSE OMG YAAAASSSS!!! Ahem. Aside from that, it's the longest title that I've read from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a stunning novella that is available for free both to read and to listen to (as a 5 hr podcast!). The second part of the novella is also appearing alongside a short story of mine, "Rivers Run Free," which of course I am not reviewing but hey, if you all want to read and review it, feel free! :D Anyway, this novella is one of my favorite reads, proving once and for all that one of the sexiest things in the universe is consent. So without further ado, the review!

Art by Jeff Brown

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quick Sips - Clarkesworld #130

It’s a rather dark month of content at Clarkesworld, where the CW might well stand for content warning for most of the pieces. These are stories that take a look at the aftermath of harm. They look at post-apocalypses, post-traumatic plots that lead to further traumas. These are stories where, by and large, characters find themselves in situation they never asked for. Pressed into guarding a strange bridge. Woken from a space hibernation. Taken by raiders to do dangerous work. The stories are not as a general rule very happy. Instead they are full of violence and the looming threat of violence. But many of the stories are also full of hope and resistance. Some…not so much, but it’s a very interesting group of stories. Review time!

Art by Eddie Mendoza

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Quick Sips - Nightmare #58

The July stories from Nightmare Magazine seem to me to be all about consent and victims. About the ways in which people seek their own gratification, their own wishes, without pausing to think about what they’re doing. Or, when they do stop, they still privilege their own wants over the safety of others. These are some complex stories that look at the ways that relationships fall apart and people can turn on each other, hurt each other, by not asking the right questions, by losing sight of those around them in their pursuit of what they want. These are some rather uncomfortable and violent stories, and yet the violence is pointed and impacting, revealing the systems in place that reward ignorance and punish empathy. It’s definitely a matter of degrees, though, and the stories show different kinds of hope in moving forward, in reaching for a world without these cycles of violence and abuse. So yeah, to the reviews!

Art by grandfailure / Adobe Stock Art

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quick Sips - GigaNotoSaurus July 2017

July’s long short story from GigaNotoSaurus explores war in a way that’s deep and moving and a bit weird, frankly. On an incredibly refreshing note, it’s a story about World War II that doesn’t involve Nazis, which I am always up for reading. It’s also a story that’s somewhat difficult to define, which is also something I appreciate. It’s not traditional fantasy and it’s not exactly historical science fiction. It’s some mix of things, a literary speculative history story that focuses on two sets of twins and how they handle the circumstances the war finds them in. And before I spoil too much, I should just jump right in to the review!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 07/03/2017 & 07/10/2017

It's another stellar two weeks of content as Strange Horizons moves into July. It's full of weirdness, with two original stories where magic is bleeding through into the more mundane world, where the main characters are looking either for escape through this magic or escape from this magic, and it makes for a wonderful pairing, where people find in the magic around them a pervasive danger and darkness, shattering any illusions that magic might be bright or safe. The poetry is at turns beautiful and rending, about connections and relationships. And there's even some wonderful nonfiction. I'm actually skipping one of the nonfiction pieces because it's more a review and I'm not familiar with the text, but I do very much recommend reading all of it. So yeah, to the reviews!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Quick Link - The Monthly Round June 2017

The Monthly Round is up now at Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together. Go check it out.

For those not in the know, the Round is my monthly column where I pair my favorite stories from the month with tasting notes, thematically appropriate booze, and reviews. So if that sounds like something you're into, go give the full column a read. If you just want to know my favorite stories, those are below.

Cheers!


Tasting Flight - June 2017

“The Waters and Wild of Winter Street” by Jessi Cole Jackson (Book Smugglers)
 “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara (Uncanny)
“We Lilies of the Valley” by Sonja Natasha (Shimmer)
“Utopia, LOL?” by Jamie Wahls (Strange Horizons)
“Of Letters They Are Made” by Jonathan Edelstein (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
“Water like Air” by Lora Gray (Flash Fiction Online)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quick Sips - Beneath Ceaseless Skies #229

It’s something of a treat from Beneath Ceaseless Skies this issue as there are two longer stories to sink your teeth into. And okay, one of those is a novella which is only half-released (though the entire piece can be listened to via podcast), but people, it is so good. So so so good. And both stories explore themes of difference and violence, systems of violence and learning and possibilities of freedom and escape. These are works that feature young people starting to come into their powers and finding that they have a lot to learn. But these are also characters who have been hurt and who are not quick to trust for very good reasons. Both have found or find that the world they live in is often unfair and brutal, and that provokes something equally intense in themselves. The stories are deep and expressive and offer up fantastic worlds to explore, though many carry within them dark shadows. But before I give too much away, let’s get to the reviews!

Art by Jeff Brown