Saturday, April 29, 2017

Quick Thoughts - Notes from Why Speculate?

Hi all! So there's a local writing organization where I live and part of what they do is host talks on writing/writerly-related topics. I was fortunate enough to speak to some of the people involved in the organization and set up a craft talk about speculative fiction and that went down this last week. It was...nervous for me, because it's hard to feel legit as someone who drunkenly reviews Goosebumps online but at the same time I know that part of the point of the talk is to reach new writers who might not know much about the field. Having had to figure out a lot of it on my own/with similarly new people, I know how suck that can be. So I talked about rejections and payments and contracts and all that good meat-and-potatoes things that college didn't talk about but for a ten minute hand wave at the end of one class once (that was optional to attend). That part of the talk was largely me just talking, but I started off the talk with an examination of what I feel makes Speculative Fiction distinct and meaningful. I want to share that part of the talk.

The whole thing was recorded and at some point I will try to find where it's been posted so that people can see the whole awkward mess, but for now I hope that maybe you'll find some of this interesting. Okay, full text after the bump:

Friday, April 28, 2017

Quick Sips - Terraform April 2017

I can honestly say that I'm not sure what's going on with the posting schedule for Terraform. I'm paranoid at the moment that I've missed something vital but it's possible that there is only the one release this month, a new chapter in the Highwayman graphic story. If that's the case, then okay then, though I will admit I've missed something done by Terraform in the past because I wasn't looking in the right place. What's here under the Terraform banner, however, is a rather revealing chapter of the ongoing story in a series that I can read a lot into. It's a fascinating read and while I'm not always sure how to feel about it, the time for reviewing has come!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Quick Sips - Strange Horizons 04/17/2017 & 04/24/2017

There's another two weeks of content from Strange Horizons and it's...actually rather manageable. One new story (and a flash fiction at that) and two new poems make for a fairly quick read, but the content is still in keeping with the high quality expected from the publication. The fiction is heavy with the weight of tragedy and hope and scarcity and hunger, and the poetry is reaching toward different worlds, toward things that seem and perhaps are out of reach. These are pieces about the distance between pain and numbness, between hope and despair, and the pieces all explore how people can keep going despite bitter circumstances. So let's get to the reviews!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quick Sips - Mithila Review #8

As always, there’s a lot to see in the latest issue of Mithila Review, which seeks to look a bit at visual arts. For original fiction, there’s one flash, one short story, and one novelette, and there are nine different poems, not to mention a reprint and a load of nonfiction that I will leave you to discover on your own. What’s here, though, and what I’m looking at in my review, does an amazing job of showing people coming into contact with the unknown. Shows people who assume based on the narratives they have been told about the nature of the world. And who find that they can’t accept those narratives. That only by challenging the stories that other people tell about the world can its nature truly be revealed. The poems expand on this as well and everything works together wonderfully to create an issue that is cohesive and sharp. But I guess I should just get to the reviews!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Quick Sips - Shimmer #36 [April stuff]

The two stories from Shimmer’s April offerings are heavy with grief and the weight of the past. The weight of expectations. The weight of the family business. These are stories of people finding themselves swept away by the tides of other people’s lives and deeds. Subject to them and wounded by them, unsure if they can set those old hurts aside, unsure how to escape the hooks of the past and the obligations heaped on them by the generations that came before. For both main characters a time has come to both face the past and the future, and these stories do a wonderful job of capturing that moment with hope and despair, magic and possibilities. To the reviews!

Art by Sandro Castelli

Monday, April 24, 2017

Quick Sips - Uncanny #15 [April stuff]

It’s another full month of SFF from Uncanny, and another month full of pieces that look rather specifically at resistance. At least, the three nonfiction pieces all revolve around the idea of resistance and how SFF can be an invaluable tool to bridge between cultures, people, and experiences. There’s a bit of a surprise novella in among the fiction, paired with a flash work, and both look at the profound impact that loss can have, that disaster can have, on a person and their life. How it can make an ambivalent person dedicated. How it can make a peaceful person a killer. And the people it equally beautiful, exploring the boundaries between religion and consent, history and human folly. It’s a well rounded issue, and I’m going to get right to the reviews!

Art by Julie Dillon

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quick Sips - Apex #95

It’s a special guest-edited issue of Apex Magazine this month, with Maurice Broaddus in the driver’s seat. And people, poetry is back for this special occasion! It’s a full issue with four stories (three shorts and a novelette) and two poems. And the pieces all seem to center on narrative and voice. These are stories that look at how we pass along roles and expectations. How we prepare people to accept being abused and tortured, and how people still manage to find ways to stand up and take back their names and their voices and their skins. These are stories that center acts of violence and pain and fear, and seek for ways to bring justice and healing and hope back to people who have little reason to feel them. It’s a wonderful and challenging issue of dark fiction and poetry, and I’ll get right to the reviews!

Art by Angelique Shelley