Hope everyone is staying safe and well during these mad days! What’s everyone been reading this month? Mine are below!
What’s everyone reading? Any recommendations?
Fence #1 by C.S. Pacat
I knew Pacat from the Captive Prince series and was curious about her new comics. I really liked this first one! Super cute illustrations and a great start to the storyline.
Dune Song by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
Each time, the sand advances on Isiuwa, moving with a morose, flutelike song, the only sound to plant tears in their chest that does not come from a living being. A shrill, underlined by wind rushing through a tube. The Chief calls it the whistle of the gods and says it is the sound of an errant person being taken.
I’ve never read Apex magazine before and alas I’ve only found them with the publication of their final issue. But I loved Dune Song and I’m really curious about the rest.
A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow
What would I be, cut off from the orderly world of words and their readers, from the peaceful Ouroboran cycle of story-telling and story-eating?
This was AMAZING. AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING. As a lover of libraries, I felt this story in my bones. Go read now.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell
I don’t want October to be over.
This is such a perfect autumn read and the artwork in this is absolutely adorable!
The Sigil by Shakeil Kanish & Larissa Mandeville: LGBT, fantasy
Everything that happened led you to this place […] and a boy who lost his voice and didn’t care if he’d ever get it back now wishes every day that he could just open his mouth and tell you all of this.
I really enjoyed this début novel from Shakeil Kanish and Larissa Mandeville! The main characters of Lake and Nova are great, and the bro angst really brought the FEELS. Brotherly love is something I adore in books, so of course this one tugged at my heart. ;_;
I want him to choose what he wants to be, not be stuck in a magical destiny like I seem to be. He deserves the world. I MEAN.
The twists at the end were great, and I loved the artwork inside the book, too! Can’t wait to see where it goes next!
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Sycamore and the Sybil by Alix E. Harrow in Uncanny Magazine Issue 33: March/April 2020: Fantasy, feminism
It’s like each woman doing what she can until one day, somehow, it is enough.
WELL, GOSH. I’m shook, to be quite honest. I have found a new author to adore. Alix E. Harrow’s The Sycamore and the Sybil is utterly captivating. You can feel the sisterhood and solidarity running through every word and the prose is simply lush.
Totally, totally recommend.
I have fallen in love with sci-fi short stories. There’s something quite fun about a short, to the point story with a punchy setting. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to sit down with a big ol’ book of sci-fi even when you’re in the mood, so the short ones are really good for giving you something fun to read that you can finish in under an hour. I started the year with The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin and The Butcher of Anderson Station by James S.A. Corey, and then I was directed to Tor by a friend of mine a month or so ago, and have since I’ve found so many wonderful short stories. I also don’t know why it’s taken me so long to discover the awesomeness that are online science fiction magazines! I feel so behind, honestly.
Some of my favourites from Tor have been A Kiss With Teeth by Max Gladstone, Skinner Box by Carole Johnstone, The Eighth-Grade History Class Visits the Hebrew Home for the Aging by Harry Turtledove, Into the Gray by Margaret Killjoy, These Deathless Bones by Cassandra Khaw, The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin, and His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light by Mimi Mondal. They’re all available online and I definitely recommend checking them out.
After Tor, I found Uncanny Magazine. They often offer audible versions of the stories, too! I haven’t had the chance to read loads, but I really, really liked And All the Trees of the Forest Shall Clap Their Hands by Sharon Hsu and The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat by Brooke Bolander. I’m going to dive more into the stories soon. I can’t wait!
There’s also Clarkesworld Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, and Asimov’s Science Fiction. I just listened to the audible version of Her Appetite, His Heart by Dominica Phetteplace. Lots of free stories, lots of audible versions. It’s just a plethora of sci-fi/fantasy goodness. Additionally, a kind-hearted soul on Goodreads created lists for Tor shorts, Lightspeed Magazine shorts, and Clarkesworld Magazine shorts that are really helpful if you want to go back to the beginning. 😉
Does anyone have any short stories magazines they love? Share them with me! I’m on a roll.
Mini Review Roundup:
Can a cognitive neuroscientist be fooled? Can an expert in the field of deep learning and AI evolution be unknowingly coerced? Can a genius be corrupted? Can a manipulator be manipulated?
Wow. This started out one kind of intense and then turned into a whole other kind of intense and I’m fairly darn impressed. Be sure to mind the warnings at the top, but I definitely recommend this! A very dark, riveting sci-fi short.
All Around the Watchtower by Ben Haskett | science fiction, short story
As soon as we awoke to those alarms, I just wanted to go back into the pod.
What a great sci-fi short!
And All the Trees of the Forest Shall Clap Their Hands in Uncanny Magazine by Sharon Hsu | available for free here. | fantasy, short story
War, it turns out, is the easiest thing of all to make anywhere.
This was utterly gutting, but so beautifully written.
This is super cute and the art is wonderful. ^____^
Why did it take me so long to reach the last straw?
This is an absolutely beautiful, gut-punching book. 4.5/5 rounded up. The only reason it’s not a full five stars is because there were a few bits that I felt went on for too long, but overall I thought it was wonderfully well done.
I need you to say that you’ll love me whether I change the world or not.
It’s rare for me to find a book that writes anxiety well. Few enough do, but this one definitely makes the list. I’m utterly impressed with Sheinmel’s writing and understanding of anxiety. Fair play.
I lie awake, going over every single word I said that day (and lucky for me, I have a really good memory so I can usually remember exactly what was said), wondering whom I might have offended, what I might have done wrong, what terrible thing will come back to haunt me …
The story itself focuses on Maya and Junie, two girls struggling with a variety of problems. Maya’s boyfriend has been abusing her for months, but the final straw comes when he slaps her so hard across the face that it leaves a bruise, and Maya goes into her principal’s office and tells her what’s been happening. The problem is, everyone loves Mike. Instantly, some people believe her; inevitably, many don’t.
Junie on the other hand, is struggling with OCD and cutting, and desperately frets over her relationship with her girlfriend Tess. The story unfolds over just one week and how Maya’s confession changes everything for both girls and at their school.
My favourite characters were Maya and Hiram, the so-called ‘loser stoner’ who is also the only one to stand up to Mike. Hiram was just lovely. The point that’s emphasised over and over again by Maya is that he asks, he waits, he listens. Hiram is also the only person to notice how Mike’s treating Maya before the confession comes.
Hiram listens to me. Junie listens.
They do more than listen – they ask.
This is one of those books that gets it, I think. The struggles victims go through when it comes to bringing their stories forward. The doubt and vitriol they face. Even Maya’s own best friend doubts her at points. Maya herself doubts, doubts, doubts. But the book address these emotions with raw honesty and compassion.
Totally, totally recommend.
When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher #1) by Nash Summers | lgbt, short story
His roommate, Morgan, had been like an elusive baby deer, skittering off into the woods at the first sign of human life. Asher usually made sure not to make direct eye contact or any sudden movements around him for fear of scaring him off.
I thought this was a cute start to the trilogy and it definitely left me wanting more, but Asher was a bit too much at times. Dude needed to chill about how much he loves love, haha. Morgan was my favourite and I’m excited to see how their relationship develops in the next two.
His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light by Mimi Mondal | lgbt, short story
And then there was an arm around my waist, holding me upright again, there was a hand wiping dust, blood, and tears from my eyes. It was Shehzad Marid—ever loving, ever loyal, always on my side in my hour of need.
This was a really good short story about a trapeze master and his jinni. Available online here.
Lovers (Voyeur #2) by Fiona Cole | lgbt, romance
“I miss you. You won’t touch me, or kiss me, or sit with me, or hold me. Nothing. And I fucking miss you.”
I haven’t read the first one in the series and I’m not sure I’m bothered to read the rest of it, but I did enjoy this one. It follows Jake, Jackson and Carina in a love ménage à trois that becomes increasingly complicated due to Jake and Jackson’s past and their intense friendship.
Variations on an Apple by Yoon Ha Lee | lgbt, short story
It smelled of diesel hearts and drudgery and overcrowded colonies; of battery acid gone bad and bromides and foundered courtships. Intoxicating, yes, but in the way of verses etched unwanted upon the spirit’s cracked windows.
The imagery and descriptions in this are gorgeous. Available online here.
The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu | lgbt, short story
This is the man who seconds ago risked going insane in order to feel soul-rending pain for fun. How can he suddenly look so vulnerable?
This was so random and quite good, if a bit too abrupt. I feel like I needed more information and development on the rain and on the sister. I’ve rarely hated a character so much who appears so briefly, but I wanted that addressed more in depth because she was horrible. Available online here.