|Art by Victo Ngai|
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
It’s a bittersweet moment to announce that with this special People of Color Take Over Fantastic Stories! issue, the publication is closing down. It’s certainly a sad moment to see FSI closing down, but this is one hell of a way to go out. There are four original stories that I will be looking at, but I very much encourage everyone to check out the reprints and the nonfiction, because it’s all amazing and you should do yourself the favor of reading it. The stories themselves seem to focus on the tenuous nature of safety and space. Many of the characters find themselves relatively happy despite being marginalized, despite being at risk of violence and bigotry. They find jobs that they like, and people who accept them, and a place to be, only to find that all of it can be taken from them, and that sometimes the only thing they have left is the power to lose the rest, to gamble it away in the hopes that everything is not completely lost. And I love how the stories work together and flow and I guess I should just get to the reviews!
Monday, June 26, 2017
For this second half of Glittership’s Spring 2017 issue there’s still a lot to read and experience. There’s a bit more reprinted fiction than in the first half of the issue/releases, including “She Shines Like a Moon” by Pear Nuallak, which I’ve already reviewed here back in 2015 when it appeared in Lackington’s Skins issue. As such, I won’t be reviewing the story again, but I will definitely say people should check it out. Of the four remaining works, there’s one original story, one new poem, and two other reprints, and in case anyone was wondering it is all fucking good. I absolutely love that Glittership has added poetry and between the original and reprint fiction it’s definitely the publication to go to for gloriously queer content. I heartily point people toward their Patreon, especially if you want the awesome ebook delivered to you every quarter. Do it, people. Do it. But ahem, yeah, to the reviews!
Friday, June 23, 2017
It’s a trio of stories this month at Apex Magazine, including one story in translation and two entirely new tales. The issues offers a nice range of darker SFF, never quite descending as deep as the publication sometimes goes but still keeping things dark enough to fit with the overall aesthetic of Apex. The stories are about oppression and the battle between the characters and themselves. Between them and their pasts, their presents, and their futures. In each, the character must face their decisions, even when they can’t remember making them, and decide how to move forward, whether to give in to the weight of what has happened or to blaze a new trail and strike out into unexplored territory. The characters all find different answers to question of how to proceed, and in doing so provide stories rich in mood and pathos while still remaining fun and moving. So let’s get to the reviews!
|Art by Irina Kovalova|
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Well it’s another busy month at Uncanny Magazine, with three original stories, two poems, and five nonfiction pieces. I was very tempted to just skip the nonfiction, I will admit, because of time concerns, but once I saw it was about Star Trek, food, resistance, and revolution, I kinda had to look at it more in depth. What’s here this month has a great focus on self-determination and strength and stories. About the ways that we write ourselves out of struggles in order to relieve the burden of having to act and the ways that we need to counter that. The stories focus on people being confronted with narratives that don’t leave room for them, where they are often ignored or marginalized, and how they seek to recenter and decolonize these stories to present a more just and more complete vision of the world. And the pieces all do this by subverting tropes and familiar structures and ideas to present wholly new and revolutionary messages. Time travel is revealed as more crutch than cure. Vampirism takes on wholly new levels when crossed with gender and transition. Narrative structure and voice itself is blurred as character and author and reader meet. It’s a lovely collection of works and an amazing call to arms for SFF readers who want to act and fight back against what perhaps is becoming the darkest timeline. So yeah, review time!
|Art by Galen Dara|
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
The latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies brings a pair of stories about relationships and conflicts, betrayals and healing. In each of the stories women seek to live in a world that is hostile, that doesn’t really let them be in peace. Whether it’s because of a long-standing conflict that they have to try and live through or an unjust government that they have to live under, the settings are drenched in the threat of violence and erasure. And only through coming together, helping each other, and trusting one another, can these women find strength in their love and security in the families they make of and with each other. These are stories of women getting shit done and taking on the systems of oppression in open and interesting ways, having faith in their partners and their own abilities to shape a more just and healthy world. So yeah, it’s review time!
|Art by Jeff Brown|
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
June has arrived at Shimmer Magazine and it’s a month of relationships and yearning, distance and growth. Both stories focus on a central relationship and the power it has over those in it. For the first piece, it’s a budding relationship that brings meaning and nourishment for the people experiencing it, for the people unable to be together but still drawing nearer and nearer, more and more intimate. For the second piece the distance between the characters means that they can never really know what they might have had. And for all that it pushes the characters forward, inspires them and in some cases protects them, it’s a more haunting kind of relationship, defined by absence and not potential. Both are beautiful to watch unfold, though, and each offer their own flavors of hope, even when its bittersweet. To let’s get to the reviews!
|Art by Sandro Castelli|
Monday, June 19, 2017
Strange Horizons kicks off their first two weeks of June with a pair of stories and a pair of poems. I have to say, the stories probably couldn't be more tonally different if they tried, but both broach on some heavy themes of loss, hope, and movement. The first, however, does so with a frenetic, almost saccharine cheeriness, and the second with a stark bluntness that drips with grief and pain. Both are beautiful in their own ways, but be prepared for perhaps some fictional whiplash. The poems resonate as well with feelings of having power wrested away, of being subject to another's whims only to perhaps take back some measure of control. Or at least expose the damage done. It's a challenging two weeks of content but, as always from Strange Horizons, very rewarding. So yeah, to the reviews!
|Art by Rachel Khan|