True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik is a difficult book to read, for sure, but what’s so remarkable about it and why I continued reading is how the author navigates this brutal material.
One of the most exciting and enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had this year. I’m enthusiastic because in a year of great anthologies, Coppice & Brake from Crone Girls Press and Editor Rachel A. Brune is an absolute favorite. I love every single story, which I cannot say about most anthologies.
Professor Geta LeSeur at the University of Arizona introduced me to Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech, a speech I now read or watch being read every year on this day.
What bliss to read the latest Rhysling Anthology from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) and edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, but what torture to select the best three short and long poems nominated for the 2020 Rhysling Award.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo is a great place for White people to start, learn a little humility, and start building stamina for grappling with race and racism. I learned a lot while experienced many head-smack moments and moments of shame while reading this short, accessible, blunt, and necessary book.
The 2020 SFPA Poetry Contest runs from June 1 through August 31, 2020 and is open to both non-members and members.
Lightspeed’s May 2020 issue includes stories by some of my favorite authors, and some new favorites.
At 94 pages, In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland is a quick read, but be warned that the mounting tension might require an occasional break to catch your breath. You’re going to need the oxygen: the final third of the book, when the breathless pace escalates and characters become even more desperate, becomes unputdownable.
Cricket Hunters subverts the usual tropes and nostalgia of coming-of-age horror by reaching for something even darker in this tale of friendship and rivalry
I have definitely been in the mood for ghost stories, and Midnight in the Graveyard, the first anthology from Silver Shamrock Publishing, delivers the ghostly goods!
Phreak often worked against my narrative expectations with its fragmented, time-jumping, and vignette-style approach, and in the process delivered a singular character whose clear and deeply felt recollections warn us how close we are to delivering a similarly bleak future to the next generation. You’ll want to get your hands on this novel as soon as possible.
This little novella full of big revelations and emotions really got to me.
The rapid pace doesn’t get in the way of good details and atmosphere; I felt the cold, eeriness, and rising tension along the way. What they encounter is creepy as hell and led to heart-pounding horror and heartbreaking deaths.
It took me several pages to adjust to the direction Kirk takes later in the novel, but I was rewarded with an unexpectedly humane, emotional, and satisfying ending. Despite its challenges, We Are Monsters left me with a lot to enjoy and think about.
So this is what today’s pro-level horror looks like.
What I like the most about Ghosters 3 are the characters and their personality quirks and other details that make them individual and interesting.
Lots of good poems this year, but when I read the poems I later selected while voting for the Rhysling Awards, they really leapt out at me and I love them fiercely.
Dana Diehl’s latest flash fiction piece titled “Forever Baby” and inspired by the game Stardew Valley is available on Cartridge Lit in the new “The Double Click Temple Issue.” Her story is awesome, sad, allegorical for so much, and you don’t need to know anything about Stardew Valley to appreciate it.
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America sets the minimum payment rates for professional short fiction markets. In September, this rate rises from 6 cents per word to 8 cents per word.
Anders Carlson-Wee’s poems in The Low Passions feel like they have exactly the right words; the perfect, accessible, blunt, beautiful, challenging, and surprising words.
📚 I participated in a fantastic craft class today with Alice Hatcher, author of The Wonder That Was Ours. She was interviewed by Reneé Bibby, Director of the Writers Studio Tucson, and local students in the Master and Advanced workshops.
Recommended: “What’s Done Can’t Be Undone” by Reneé Bibby and “CARBORUNDORUM > /DEV/NULL” by Annalee Flower Horne
How does the writer of genre fiction approach difficult subject matter like sexual assault? Two excellent and potentially triggering recent short stories by two fearless writers suggest two effective approaches.
New Kickstarter for HERE: Poems for the Planet, from Copper Canyon Press.
Horror 101: The Way Forward edited by Joe Mynhardt explores a tremendous territory of information, advice, and experience with essays written by many different creatives who work in the genre.
The tone and humor might be a little dated, even insensitive and problematic at points, but there’s no question that Save the Cat by Blake Snyder is a book packed with useful, easily digestible, but comprehensive information.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is beautiful, emotional, full of love, humor, and hope, and also horror and tragedy. It’s devastating.
The highlight of this issue is most definitely the interview with Joe Hill. I haven’t read any of his work yet, but I’m really interested now that I’ve read this interview.
The Wonder That Was Ours by Alice Hatcher is a deeply moving novel that makes smart use of its narrator—the collective “we” of cockroaches—to explore the legacy of colonization. Hatcher’s collective cockroach narrator is funny and astute, and finds the disturbing and heartbreaking parallels between our species, while pointing out the ways humans might be far worse.
An issue of mostly Lovecraftian horror (including an essay asking what the hell that even means.)
With TV Girls—six incredible flash fiction stories in one fantastic chapbook—Dana Diehl’s compassion for reality TV stars flattened by the medium recovers their individuality and complexity by exploring in gorgeously-crafted prose how they are vulnerable, exploited, and managing the relentless attention.
I’ll keep this with me for a long time, and you should, too.
“The Mushroom Hunters” by Neil Gaiman is one of the best poems I’ve read this year. It was my top pick when voting for the 2018 Rhysling Awards, and must have been for many others because it recently won in the long poem category!
Neil Gaiman’s “The Mushroom Hunters” was my personal favorite in the collection, along with Mary Soon Lee’s “Advice to a Six-Year-Old” and all her other poems, Linda D. Addison’s “Sycorax’s Daughters Unveiled”, Cislyn Smith’s “Hot”, and Shannon Connor Winward’s “The Raven’s Hallowe’en.”
Simon and the other characters are the highlight of Simon vs the Homo sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, about a high school student on the verge of coming out as gay dealing with doubt, first love, and blackmail.
Every single story in this collection of historical fiction and contemporary fiction pieces is breathtaking, full of incredible and often all-too-real details, and features characters (whether based on real people or not) that leap off the page.
Short, genre-defying stories that look at people and things—mothers, relationships, language, infidelity, etc.—in unexpected ways.
An incredible if interminable reading experience made nauseating by deplorable racist interjections (sometimes an excruciating chapter long) and gory slaughter.
I find Wilner’s style to be very straightforward and clear (as is her reading style) and her poems full of beautiful sensory detail and movement, featuring persona narrators who are typically distant and generally focus almost all their attention on the subject and themes of the poem.
I’ve been fortunate to have been in several workshops with Katie Predick, a poet I highly regard. Her poetry is rich with images and surprises as she explores myth and nature and themes of womanhood and parenthood, relationships, science, and human impact on the environment (she’s also an accomplished scientist.)
This is a story that will get under your skin, no pun intended.
A short chapbook of beautiful epistolary poems between Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Ross Gay. Ostensibly about their individual gardens, the scope of these poets’ poems frequently expands in breathtaking ways.
I know when poems are working for me when the images suddenly erupt in vivid virtual reality in my mind and I gasp; several poems in this collection had those effects on me.
A micro-chapbook of impactful poems concerned with what needs to be preserved, what needs to be acknowledged, and what needs to be torn down. Beautiful and timely.
I loved several of the stories and the rest, though somewhat opaque to me, were generally thought-provoking, evocative, and beautifully written.
Comparing the movies and the book. The novel has more room for exposition than the film, and in general this additional information is really interesting.
The August 2016 (I’m a little behind) issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction is a really good collection of stories, poems, and essays.
One of my absolute favorite short stories. I’ve read “The Price of Oranges” many times, but I always seem to forget how it ends, making each new read a magical, emotional experience all over again.
Bio-enhanced ballerinas and dogs. Mothers and daughters. The price of passion. This powerful short story is a must-read.
The characters in The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster are so engaging, their world so compelling, and the book cover art so gorgeous that I feel bad giving this novella only three stars, but the truth is I personally wanted more details and more time in this world with these characters.
Ted Chiang’s collection of his stories published between 1990 and 2002 is now one of my favorite books ever, full of some of my favorite stories ever. There is not one story in this collection I did not enjoy, and all of them left me in awe. Yes, I’m going to be a little breathless with this review, but it’s how I’ve been feeling for days now ever since I started reading Stories of Your Life and Others.
The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig includes over 30 lists of 25 tips about various subjects like writing, rewriting, craft, and publishing.
First time subscriber, first issue of Analog I’ve read, and I loved everything in it!
Lisa Williamson’s wonderful The Art of Being Normal explores the complicated and emotional coming-of-age of two English teenagers.
Much of The Economic Singularity by Calum Chace is devoted to supporting the argument that machines will take over many and eventually most jobs from humans.
What I like most about The Expanse series of books by James S.A. Corey so far are the characters. In the second book, Caliban’s War, a few new characters are introduced, including my new favorite, Bobbie Draper, a Martian Marine. Her story is one of two frames, beginning right after the prologue that introduces the mystery, and takes a particularly satisfying story arc from a PTSD-inducing attack to recovery and justice of sorts.
Lansky’s account of his drug use is riveting but also very upsetting.
Book Review: The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss by Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper
I started Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper’s conversation The Rainbow Comes and Goes not expecting to enjoy it much, but by the end of the book I was thoroughly charmed.
I highly recommend Garrard Conley’s beautifully written and emotional memoir about his religious upbringing, sexuality, rape, and conversion therapy.
The stories in issue #206 are about long, painful journeys, but one leads home and the other does not.
I have enjoyed several recent issues of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, but this was a rare issue with stories that didn’t quite work for me.
This was a difficult issue to rate because these two stories were to different degrees a little opaque and difficult for me to read and understand. They both rewarded my effort, however, and gave me much to think about, in terms of their content and their craft.
Both stories in issue #203 of BCS deal with transformation, gender, and the strict roles of women and men in two very different societies and two very different settings.
I found some of the stories in Issue 46 of Nightmare Magazine to be a little opaque, making for interesting reading and leaving me to think about possible meanings.
With issue 11, Jonathan diversifies from fiction written by gay men to fiction written “by self-identified queer writers from all across the LGBTQ spectrum.” I haven’t read the previous ten issues, but the quality of the stories in issue 11 convinces me to purchase the back issues and also look forward to upcoming issues.
The artists and the writers are from various parts of the world and part of the charm and enjoyment of The Machinery is how writer and artist from different backgrounds are paired together.
A young group of artists from India has organized a new literary magazine of poetry, prose, and art and photography.
I’m rating this 5 stars for a very good reason: nearly ever story in the collection are themselves 5-star worthy.
There isn’t a lot of depth, but for beginners and those in need of a review, I think this book may be handy, and it will suggest to you topics you’ll want to explore further elsewhere.
I really enjoyed the second issue of Lightspeed Magazine.
I’m reading the most recent issues of Nightmare Magazine and also going back to the beginning to read every issue. Fantastic issue!
Although I found these two stories somewhat opaque (especially the second one), they feature strong writing, memorable characters, and vivid world building. I was left after reading both wanting to know much more about their worlds.
The four short stories in the debut issue of Lightspeed are all fantastic.
Oh, wow, this is a great issue. I haven’t read a lot of horror short fiction in recent decades and I’ve been curious to see what writers are writing about. Thus, I’m a new subscriber; it has already been rewarding.
Brief descriptions I read about “And Then, One Day, the Air was Full of Voices” by Margaret Ronald and “Things With Beards” by Sam J. Miller convinced me to subscribe right then to a year of Clarkesworld Magazine, and I’m so glad I did.
Many of my favorite writers contributed stories to this anthology after they visited with Microsoft about cutting edge technology and speculation about the future.
Another great issue.
The four vividly imagined worlds in these four fantasy stories are populated by characters on journeys through time and space, their loyalty to existing systems sorely tested, similar in their resolve to see their way through, but different in the complexities of their own unique personalities and how they forge ahead.
The poems and flash fiction in this issue tend to feature ornery characters, leading to lots of humor and dark twists.
Several absolutely fantastic and often chilling flash horror, fairy tale, and science fiction stories.
Promising first issue.
All the praise. There are many aspects about The Fifth Season to praise, but it certainly tapped my interest in fantasy with science fiction trappings, especially a healthy dose of geology.
Julie Duffy, the creator of StoryADay May, provides a great roadmap for successfully writing a story a day in May 2016, with prompts organized by weekly focus topics including constraints and craft elements.
In twenty-five short chapters, Rosenfeld provides a wealth of information and inspiration.
This month’s Tiny Donkey short essay “Hungover and Fever Dreaming” by Brittany Hailer is a vivid evocation of Angela Carter’s classic short story, “The Tiger’s Bride.”
Another great Fairy-Tale Files, this week by Fairy Tale Review managing editor Joel Hans, finds coyotes in Tohono O’odhom folklore, cartoons, and Tucson.
The latest “Fairy-Tale Files” from Fairy Tale Review finds “Orpheus and Eurydice” adapted through the ages to different media
“Snow White and The Apple” by Jayme Russell is a beautiful new essay on erasure poems, fairy tales, and craft, written in the style of Maggie Nelson’s Bluets.
Race Against the Machine is only 5 chapters long, but it provides perhaps the most cogent explanation yet for how technology can lead to both incredible productivity gains and an increasing divide between classes.
Issaacson’s biography of Jobs is a fantastic book, and it confirms my suspicion that the coming decades are going to be devastating, hopeful, terrifying, and haunting, all at once, simply because we humans have yet to fully comprehend what technology has unleashed.
Most of my favorite works this year were not published in 2013; this just happens to be the year I finally got around to them.
Raymond Kurzweil’s latest book about the Technology Singularity, this time focusing on the merger of humanity with our technological creations, was official released today in bookstores everywhere.
The best movie, the best television show, and the best novel of the past year is not a movie, television show, or novel. Instead, it is a comic book.
To discern true scientific breakthroughs from the fantasies of pseudoscientific wishful thinking and to avoid rampant xenophobia when faced with our intelligent creations, we will need “skeptical thinking and an aptitude for wonder,” two skills Carl Sagan repeatedly highlights in his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.