Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews A Slice of the Dark and Other Stories by Karen Heuler

A Slice of the Dark and Other Stories, Karen Heuler (Fairwood Press 978-1-93384-622-4, $18.99, 206pp, tp), November 2022.

To say that Karen Heuler’s new collection, A Slice of the Dark and Other Stories, is deeply unsettling reveals only a tiny fraction: it is also musical, gorgeous, and uncomfort­able. I wasn’t familiar with Hueler’s work before this, which feels like a huge miss on my part – and yours, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Voice That Murmurs in the Darkness by James Tiptree, Jr.

The Voice That Murmurs in the Darkness, James Tiptree, Jr. (Subterranean 978-1-64524-107-2, $45.00, 376pp, hc) April 2023.

The last line in James Tiptree, Jr.’s last story is “He headed down the highway, to encounter the ex­istential Unknown.” The story, “In Midst of Life”, is haunting for a number of reasons, not least of which is its description of the surprisingly gentle afterlife of a man who has just committed ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: GigaNotoSaurus, Flash Fiction Online, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, and F&SF

GigaNotoSaurus 12/22 Flash Fiction Online 12/22 Three-Lobed Burning Eye 12/22 F&SF 1-2/23

December’s GigaNotoSaurus story has some strong Star Trek vibes with “Patterns in Stone and Stars” by MV Melcer, where a Federation in conflict with different galactic powers needs to determine if the inhabitants of a certain strategically important planet are sentient and therefore would prevent the world from being colonized. Szkazy is from the outer ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews The Deadlands, PodCastle, and Dark Matter

The Deadlands 11/22, 12/22 PodCastle 12/20/22 Dark Matter 11-12/22

The Deadlands is a monthly speculative fic­tion magazine. They “publish short stories, poems, and essays about the other realms, of the ends we face here, and the beginnings we find elsewhere. It is an adventure into the unknown, to meet those who live there still, even though they may be dead. Death is a journey we all will take, but we’d ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Future SF Digest and Asimov’s

Future SF Digest 12/22 Asimov’s 11-12/22

As I wrap up my reading year for 2022, I’m sorry to also be noting the shut­tering, at least for now, of one of my favorite venues. Future Science Fiction Digest, edited by Alex Shvartsman, is going on hiatus as of its 17th issue. It started publishing in 2018 (the same year I started my short fiction column here) with an emphasis on interna­tional ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews, The Dark, The Sunday Morning Transport, and Nightmare 12/1/22, 12/24/22, 1/11/23, 1/18/23, 1/25/23 The Dark 11/22, 12/22 Nightmare 11/22, 12/22 The Sunday Morning Transport

I’ll start 2023 off by looking at three January stories from as well as a couple from December 2022. Chances are, you still haven’t caught up with all of end-of-the-year fiction, so we’ll then look at more from last year.

‘‘Time: Marked and Mended’’ by Carrie Vaughn ( 1/11/22) is ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Fusion Fragment, Diabolical Plots, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Fusion Fragment 12/22 Diabolical Plots 12/22 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 12/1/22, 12/15/22

Fusion Fragment’s last issue of 2022 brings a mix of genres and styles, with a decidedly grim and slightly dystopian feel to it. That re­ally coalesces in Owen Leddy’s ‘‘Lifeblood’’, in which a blood heist goes rather wrong for Joel, who is desperate to find a way to save his partner. Aching and not afraid to ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Fantasy, Lightspeed, and Hexagon

Fantasy 12/22 Lightspeed 12/22 Hexagon 12/2

Fantasy closed out 2022 with a bang with an issue full of hauntings, magic, and people desperate for a safe place to be. In ‘‘The End of a Painted World’’ by Sam Kyung Yoo, a painter named Woojin must flee an assault by the emperor’s soldiers. The reason for the attack is never confirmed, but it likely has to do with ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Assemble Artifacts, and Underland Arcana

Clarkesworld 12/22 Assemble Artifacts Summer ‘22 Underland Arcana Summer ‘22

The last Clarkesworld of the year begins with “Law of Tongue” by Naim Kabir. The nar­rator is managing interspecies negotiations between humans and a pod of orcas near Seattle. The grandmother orca demands help in recovering a grandchild, who has been hunting in Alaska. The whole situation puts the narrator in a bad position, and as the ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Cast of Wonders, Escape Pod, and Strange Horizons

Cast of Wonders 11/15/22, 12/11/22 Escape Pod 11/17/22, 12/8/22 Strange Horizons 11/14/22, 11/21/22, 11/28/22, 12/5/22

Cast of Wonders rounded out November with the feline-centric “The Cat of Lin Villa” by Megan Chee. The story features a cat who enjoys the company of a woman trapped in an unhappy and abusive marriage. Because she gives treats and com­pany, this cannot stand, and it’s up to the cat to ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Best of Catherynne M. Valente: Volume One by Catherynne M. Valente

The Best of Catherynne M. Valente: Volume One, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean 978-1-64524-077-8, $50.00, 800pp, hc) April 2023.

In a career of less than two decades, Catherynne M. Valente seems to have made an outsized im­pact on fantasy and SF, despite never quite fitting in to any movement or trend, and never quite getting predictable – except, perhaps, for her unabashed love of language. For a while, some of ...Read More

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Wole Talabi Reviews Flight from the Ages and Other Stories by Derek Künsken

Flight from the Ages and Other Stories, Derek Künsken (Solaris 978-1-78618-728-4, $16.99, 400pp, tp) December 2022.

Have you ever looked up at the night sky, seen the stars and felt the knowledge that you are looking into the past overwhelm you? It can be a dizzying feeling, like being tipsy or high, and it is what I felt after reading most of the stories in Canadian author Derek Künsken’s ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews Voodoonauts Presents: (Re)Living Mythology by Shingai Njeri Kagunda, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu, H.D. Hunter, & LP Kindred, eds.

Voodoonauts Presents: (Re)Living Mythology, Shingai Njeri Kagunda, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu, HD Hunter & LP Kindred, eds. (Android 978-1-95812-111-5, $19.99, 177pp, tp) November 2022. Cover by Paul Lewin.

Voodoonauts Presents: (Re)Living My­thology is everything I’ve ever wanted from a speculative anthology. It’s a col­lection of short fiction and poetry rooted in stories and traditions from across the African continent and throughout the Black diaspora. I have read many of ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, GigaNotoSaurus, and Reckoning: Our Beautiful Reward

Lightspeed 11/22 GigaNotoSaurus 11/22 Reckoning: Our Beautiful Reward 11/22

November’s Lightspeed features the wonderful novelette “The Noon Witch Goes to Sound Planet” by Kristina Ten, where Hailey is a young woman who doesn’t really want to be the Noon Witch, something she’s inherited from her mother, who used to give men heatstroke back in the old country. Hailey just wants friends and figures if she can spend ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Omenana, Analog, and Clarkesworld

Omenana 7/22 Analog 11-12/22 Clarkesworld 11/22

In July Omenana published their 22nd issue, this one in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute titled “Positive Visions of Democracy” featuring a lot of hopepunk and an emphasis on communal decision making. This is part of the same project that inspired Mithila Review’s “Planet Democracy” issue, which I reviewed in November. I’m hugely in favor of anything that nudges speculative fiction to dive ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Diabolical Plots, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Flash Fiction Online and Fantasy

Diabolical Plots 11/22 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 11/3/22, 11/17/22 Flash Fiction Online 11/22 Fantasy 11/22

November’s Diabolical Plots surprised me a bit with a foodie science fiction story I definitely hadn’t seen before. Phil Dyer bakes up a creepy exploration story in “Beneath the Crust”, where a team moves into the mysterious Bake, a whole dimension of dough that some people can shape with their minds into any kind ...Read More

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Alexandra Pierce Reviews Best of British Science Fiction 2021 by Donna Scott, ed.

Best of British Science Fiction 2021, Donna Scott, ed. (NewCon Press 978-1-91495-324-8, £26.99, 368pp, hc) August 2022. Cover by Ian Whates.

Donna Scott has edited the Best of British Sci­ence Fiction for NewCon Press since 2016. For 2021 she has brought together 23 stories that she calls a “snapshot” of British science fiction, some of which reflect the issues of 2021 on a global scale, in terms of the ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Samovar, Strange Horizons, Drabblecast, and Amazon: Into Shadow

Samovar 10/24/22 Strange Horizons 10/17/22, 10/31/22, 11/7/22 Drabblecast 11/22 Amazon: Into Shadow 11/22

Samovar also came out with an issue in Octo­ber, featuring two stories and poem presented bilingually. Mónica Bustos’s “Warm Beds”, translated by Analía Villagra, weaves together the fates of three people who come to exist only at different times of the day, all while sharing the same room, and same bed. While they never ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: The Sunday Morning Transport, Slate Future Tense, and New Edge Sword and Sorcery

The Sunday Morning Transport 10/16 & 11/20/22 Slate Future Tense 9/24/22 New Edge Sword and Sorcery Fall ’22

Catching up with The Sunday Morning Transport in the fall, one of my favorites is “Trinity’s Drag­on” by Holly Lyn Walrath. Trinity is an older woman and space veterinarian, which means she actually has a chance when a sick space dragon wraps itself around her spaceship. Against the advice ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews All Nightmare Long by Tim Lebbon

All Nightmare Long, Tim Lebbon (PS Publish­ing 978-1-78636-851-5, $32.68, 417pp, hc) May 2022. Cover by Daniele Serra.

Sometimes reviewing a big (400+ pages) short story collection can be complicated because there are often a plethora of voices, themes, and approaches – not to mention a variety of different tales – in its pages. When that happens, the easiest thing to do is to go with some of the overarching ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Action by Seán O’Connor, ed.

Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Ac­tion. Seán O’Connor, ed. (Stygian Sky Media 978-1639510054, $40.00, 344pp, hc) April 2022.

Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Action begins with the charred landscape of a California wildfire. Writing of her family’s vaca­tions in northern California, and her more recent experiences with its intensifying fires, horror reviewer Sadie Hartmann offers a focused and passionate introduction to the anthology: climate change is real, it is affecting ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Worlds of Possibility, Baffling, and Cast of Wonders

Worlds of Possibility 10/22 Baffling 10/22 Cast of Wonders 10/14/22, 10/23/22, 10/29/22, 10/31/22

I’m quite happy that Julia Rios is back in an editing chair, and Worlds of Possibility makes for an interesting next chapter for them. As sad as I was to see Mermaids Monthly come to a close at the end of 2021 (and as much as I’m hoping that project will still find a way to return ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Ruin by Cara Hoffman

Ruin, Cara Hoffman (PM Press 978-1-62963-931-4, $25.95, 136pp, hc) April 2022.

I was halfway through the ten stories in Cara Hoff­man’s latest collection, Ruin, before I was able to start to understand how to read them – and then, nearly done with all of them when it became clear why the collection fit in Locus at all. Highly liter­ary, strikingly stylized, and mondo experimental, Ruin is a collection ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Kaleidotrope, Diabolical Plots, and F&SF

Kaleidotrope 10/22 Diabolical Plots 10/22 F&SF 11-12/22

Kaleidotrope’s October issue is positively burst­ing with flash fiction – twenty stories in all. The focus on shorter works gives the issue a breadth of ideas while allowing readers to move quickly from piece to piece, from world to world. It’s a speculative smorgasbord mixing fantasy, sci­ence fiction, and horror of all stripes and flavors. Ziggy Schutz provides a story of fae and ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews The Dark, Nightmare, and The Deadlands

The Dark 9/22, 10/22 Nightmare 10/22 The Deadlands 10/22, 11/22

The Dark 89 offers its usual four originals. In ‘‘The Eighth Cigarette’’ by Lisa Cai, a woman who, in one of her previous lives was inspiration for Pierre Loti’s Madame Chrysanthème (published in 1887), takes revenge for the decades the author’s fiction had impact on the West’s understanding – or rather misunderstanding – of Asian women and culture. A real ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews PodCastle, PseudoPod, and Weird Horror

PodCastle 7/5/22 PseudoPod 9/9/22, 9/16/22 Weird Horror Fall ’22

PodCastle 742: “The Morning House” by Kate Heartfield deals with the shifting perceptions of reality involved with an aging parent suffering from dementia and, well, shifting reality.

PseudoPod 828: “Taxiptómy” by Shannyn Campbell presents a consideration of a “con­troversial art of deliberately causing the death of a human as part of a public performance, before preparing and ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Fusion Fragment, Fiyah, Flash Fiction Online, and GigaNotoSaurus

Fusion Fragment 10/22 Fiyah 10/22 Flash Fiction Online 10/22 GigaNotoSaurus 10/22

Fusion Fragment’s September issue is full of speculative stories that spring up in the wake of grief and loss, with characters searching for healing and belonging. It’s a theme that plays through many of the works, and perhaps most powerfully in Amy Nagopaleen’s “We’ll Al­ways Have Enceladus”, where Trisn is mourn­ing the loss of their partner, ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: khōréō and Asimov’s

khōréō 9/22 Asimov’s 9-10/22

The leading story in the latest issue of khōréō is particularly beautiful and im­pactful. In “Unname Me at the Altar” by Ashaye Brown, Bamidele is the child of a grandparent whose name may change every day. Every day she and her father reintroduce themselves over breakfast and find out who the grandparent is that day – old or young, male or female, etc. ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Here Be Leviathans by Chris Flynn

Here Be Leviathans, Chris Flynn (University of Queensland Press 978-0-70226-277-7, $A32.99, 240pp, tp) August 2022.

I first encountered the work of Chris Flynn with his third novel, Mammoth. Narrated by an American mastodon and including the view­points of a Tyrannosaurus bataar (not rex), a pterodactyl, a prehistoric penguin, and the sev­ered hand of an Egyptian mummy, Mammoth tells the story of how these bones and fossilised remains came ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews, Apex, and Uncanny 10/12/22, 9/21/22, 9/14/22, 9/7/22, 8/24/22 Apex 133 Uncanny 9-10/22, 11-12/22’s Fall offerings are all good, but I liked some better than others. PH Lee offers a clever tribute to Stanislaw Lem’s The Cyberiad series with “How the Crown Prince of Jupiter Undid the Universe, or, The Full Fruit of Love’s Full Folly”, in which an impossible romance is made possible. A routine trip to Mercury to ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Cast of Wonders, Escape Pod, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Cast of Wonders 9/20/22, 9/22/22, 9/25/22, 9/27/22, 9/28/22, 9/29/22 Escape Pod 9/29/22, 10/6/22 Strange Horizons 9/19/22, 9/26/22, 10/3/22, 10/10/22 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 10/6/22, 10/20/22

Cast of Wonders had a busy Septem­ber, thanks largely to its celebration of Banned Books Week. Before that, though, Riley Neither took the stage with a short story of family and grief in “A Portal”. Set on a world far distant and now cut ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Inconceivable Idea of the Sun by Anil Menon

The Inconceivable Idea of the Sun, Anil Me­non, (Hachette India 978-9-39102-860-2, ₹599.00, 280pp, tp) June 2022.

Anil Menon had me at the contents page of his debut collection, The Inconceivable Idea of the Sun. In place of the expected list of titles, Menon offers up an introductory essay that starts by ridiculing “Western” authors of yesteryear who would begin “with excuses, explanations and snivels about their work” and ...Read More

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