fantasy magazine review (july)

This review would have appeared in Pinoy Pop over at POC, but it wasn’t uploaded before the deadline. So I’m posting this here.

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Readers are in for a treat with these four excellent stories from the July issue of Fantasy Magazine. Helmed by Cat Rambo and Sean Wallace, Fantasy Magazine is an online weekly featuring original fiction in the field of fantasy – “[h]igh fantasy, contemporary and urban tales, surrealism, magical realism, science fantasy, and folktales”. The magazine also publishes non-fiction articles – interviews, commentary, personal essays, and reviews – about the genre.

I’ve always admired the stories published in Fantasy for their depth and language. Let’s take a look at the magazine’s tales for the month of July.

Continue reading

clarkesworld issue # 46 and heroic fantasy quarterly issue 5: reviews

clarkesworld

Clarkesworld is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine first published in October 2006. The magazine, helmed by publisher Neil Clarke and editor Sean Wallace, releases an issue every month containing at least two pieces of original fiction, as well as non-fiction and podcasts. The magazine’s contents are available online for free, but its fiction offerings can also be found in print – collected by issue in signed chapbooks (limited to a minimum of 100 copies at a price of USD14 each) and annually in the magazine’s print anthology, Realms. Both print outputs are published by Wyrm Publishing.

Here is a review of Clarkesworld’s July issue (Issue # 46).

Read more here.

heroic_fantasy_quarterly

“Prose. Poetry. Pulp,” reads the tagline of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and that is exactly what we find in this online magazine committed to publishing the best in heroic fantasy. Swordsmen, adventures, fantastic landscapes – HFQ is filled with stories of action, with a hope to “hearken back to an older age of storytelling –an age when a story well told enthralled audiences.” Adrian Simmons, David Farney, and William Ledbetter sit as editors. HFQ releases new issues on the first of July, October, January, and April.

HFQ’s Issue 5 marks the first-year anniversary of this publication.

Let the battles begin.

Read more here.

sf with heart: apex magazine # 14 review

Pinoy Pop continues its survey of online speculative fiction magazines this week with a look at the latest issue of Apex Magazine. Apex Magazine started out in 2005 as the Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, published by Apex Publications. Two years and twelve digests later, Apex Publications became a full-fledged independent publishing house with the creation of the Apex Book Company. The digest then became a digital magazine in constant search for dark speculative fiction and poetry.

Issues, released every first Monday of the month, are available online and as free PDF downloads. Readers are also encouraged to buy a digital copy, or make a donation of any amount as a show of support to the authors and editors.

Issue 14 marks managing editor and owner Jason Sizemore’s “last go around as fiction editor for a while”. Next month’s issue will be helmed by award-winning author Catherynne M. Valente.

No endings or major plot twists are given away in this review, but for the purists, spoiler warning commences here.

Read more.

poses and prostitutes: beneath ceaseless skies 46 review

If you find yourself in the mood for an adventure, you might want to read an issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, an online magazine dedicated to publishing the best in literary adventure fantasy. The magazine, which publishes two stories per issue and releases a new issue every two weeks, publishes “traditional adventure fantasy, including classics from the pulp era and the new wave of post-Tolkien fantasy” from interested writers, but Scott Andrews (publisher and editor in chief) and Kate Marshall (assistant editor) say they also “love how the recent influence of literary writing on fantasy short fiction has expanded the genre, allowing writers the freedom to use literary devices such as tight points-of-view, round characters, unreliable narrators, discontinuous narratives, and others. This sophisticated level of craft has made fantasy short fiction more powerful than ever before.” You can see for yourselves the expression of this editorial vision in their magazine. Today, let’s review BCS’s Issue # 46: (now archived, the stories are still available online. The issue is also available as a PDF, mobi, epub file, and at the Kindle store.) Spoiler Warning starts here, so go read the issue first, then come right back, you hear?

Read more.

lightspeed magazine #1 review

There is a new online magazine in town, and this one focuses exclusively on science fiction.

Lightspeed Magazine, launched in June, is helmed by Fantasy Magazine and Prime Books publisher and award-winning editor Sean Wallace, with editorial support from John Joseph Adams (Fiction), Andrea Kail (Nonfiction), Stefan Rudnicki (Audio), and Jordan Hamessley and Christie Yant (assistant editors). A glance at the magazine’s impressive staff box shows that aside from showcasing fiction, Lightspeed also publishes nonfiction pieces, which can be read as companion pieces to its fiction offerings, and serves up a podcast, featuring one or two stories each month in audio format.

A fiction and a nonfiction piece is posted online for free every week, but readers have the option to buy the complete issue in ebook form at any time, even if there’s only one story for that month available on the website. The magazine’s regular monthly publication schedule (following this debut issue) will include two pieces of original fiction and two fiction reprints, along with four nonfiction articles. Fiction (and podcasts, when applicable) will go live on Tuesdays, nonfiction on Thursdays.

According to Adams, “Here you can expect to see all types of science fiction, from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF, and anything and everything in between. No subject will be considered off-limits, and we encourage our writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.”

It was a promise delivered in Lightspeed’s maiden issue, which features four all-new, never-before-published stories from Vylar Kaftan, Jack McDevitt, David Barr Kirtley, and Carrie Vaughn. The magazine as a whole has been well received–see a review at Tor.com and the Secret Lair, even at SF Signal though the reviewer felt let down by the non-fiction; Locus doesn’t so much as review the entire magazine as each individual story.

Read more.

multiethnic lovecraft: innsmouth free press #4 review

OK, before I begin, let me state this up front: I have never read an H.P. Lovecraft story. Or perhaps I have, but have just forgotten. (And yet for some reason I know how to pronounce “Cthulhu”.)

Give me a few minutes to wipe off the tomato stains from my shirt.

Now that the understandable outrage is out of the way: while I have never read an H.P. Lovecraft story, the Mythos he has created is so pervasive that I had a good idea of what to expect from the fourth issue of Innsmouth Free Press (a webzine which acts as “a fictional newspaper publishing faux news pieces – lovingly called Monster Bytes – in a Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos universe, as well as original short fiction stories”): monsters and old gods and weird horror… and, because of the particular focus of this issue, a multiethnic slant.

In the Editorial by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Publisher) and Paula R. Stiles (Editor-in-Chief), they describe the origin of this issue’s focus in this way: “When we first devised the special Multiethnic issue, we thought the approach would be simple: take the New England out of Lovecraft. Our reasoning? Lovecraft’s fiction focuses on the alien experience and we sought to define what was alien in an interesting way, by travelling to different locations and using different characters than he would have used to tell a story. Lovecraft’s troubles with race and gender have been made famous in his very writing. But by raising them, he also asked questions with a variety of possible answers far beyond what he himself might have tolerated. The mark of a great writer is the universal application of his/her work and we wanted to find writers who could ask Lovecraft’s questions in new cultural contexts.”

There’s also a good interview with Moreno-Garcia and Stiles up on Tor.com, where they talk about how they first discovered Lovecraft, and the different interpretations they’ve seen, and the means by which the Lovecraftian tradition is being expanded.

Now what did Moreno-Garcia and Stiles mean by “Lovecraft’s troubles with race and gender”? Let’s turn to Professor Wikipedia: Lovecraft lived at a time when the eugenics movement, anti-Catholicism, Antisemitism, nativism, and strict racial segregation and miscegenation laws were all widespread in the United States, and his writings reflect that social and intellectual environment. A common dramatic device in Lovecraft’s work is to associate virtue, intellect, civilization, and rationality with upper class White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. These are often posed in contrast to the corrupt, intellectually inferior, uncivilized and irrational attributes which he associated with both the lower classes in general and those of non-Anglo Saxon ethnicity, especially those who have dark skin. He held English culture to be the comparative pinnacle of civilization, with the descendants of the English in America as something of a second-class offshoot, and everyone else below. Or, of course, you can simply read this short, simple, and completely racist poem by Lovecraft (with some context provided here.)

In short, if by some time twisting contrivance, Lovecraft and I would ever meet, we would likely completely and utterly hate each other.

Read more here.

Read Part 2 here.

strange horizons (may fiction) review

Strange Horizons is a multi-awarded, US-based online speculative fiction magazine founded in September 2000. A non-profit magazine, Strange Horizons receives financial support viadirect donations (through PayPal or by check), arts grants, corporate sponsorship, and affiliate programs through Amazon.com and Powell’s Books”. Every Monday Strange Horizons uploads a new piece of fiction which is accessible free of charge (they also have various non-fiction pieces, as well as reviews, though these follow a different schedule), although of course readers are encouraged to donate if they have the means to do so.

Here are my thoughts on the stories published by Strange Horizons in the month of May. As always, Spoiler Warning applies, so do check out the stories at the website (older stories can be found in the archives) before reading on.

WE HEART VAMPIRES!!!

I saw the multiple exclamation points in this story’s title, and I knew – I knew – I was in for something terribly terrific.

How can you fail, with a paragraph like this?

George found Bob puzzling over the new Clairol “Tru U!” offerings. It seemed to George that every product aimed at their demographic was missing a significant amount of letters. She understood this came from txting and IM. But George dropped letters because it was faster that way, not because she didn’t like the look of the English language. She was worried that soon she’d pass through a strange teenage Ellis Island where smiling marketing interns, like the kind that messaged you on MySpace back when people used MySpace, would refashion her name and give her a new, de-lettered identity. It would be something terrible, too, like Gorg. Bob—Roberta—would get something cool. Like Ta. Or Ro.

Read more here.