If you’re not picky about genre, this issue of Black Static is a good one. A third of it is non-fantastic horror dealing with insanity. Oddly, the fantastic stories, while generally very readable, aren’t as good except for the last (fourth overall), which is superb and the best of the issue.
Full review at Tangent: Black Static #64, July/August 2018.
- “The Blockage” by Jack Westlake (non-speculative horror short story)
- “The Monstrosity in Love” by Sam Thompson (dark fantasy short story)
- “Why We Don’t Go Back” by Simon Avery (non-speculative horror novelette)
Solarpunk is composed of Brazilian stories from 2012 which aim to deal with green energy and ecology. The preface cites Le Guin, Callenbach, and Robinson as exemplars but notes that Brazilian green energy is not necessarily seen as an issue of the Left or as a good thing. It also notes that these stories are not as utopian as many on similar topics. My reading confirms this, as only a couple touch on things which are obviously political to this American and are often quite dark.
Full “Special Double Review” (Chuck Rothman and I both review this) at Tangent: Solarpunk: Ecological and Fantastical Stories in a Sustainable World, ed. by Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro.
The thirty-third issue of Galaxy’s Edge contains four reprints and nine originals. Of the latter, the Davitt, Kleijne, and Spires are strictly flash fiction, while the Nikolopoulos and Birch are less than two thousand words, and the Nickel and Leen are less than three. The heftiest stories are the Hodges at four and the Roberts at six. Five of the tales are fantasy and four are forms of SF. Regardless of genre, almost all are humorous or at least light and nearly as many provide some degree of enjoyment though those looking for tales of great complexity, depth, and angst will need to look elsewhere.
Full review at Tangent: Galaxy’s Edge #33, July/August 2018.
- “Resigned” by Floris M. Kleijne (science fiction short story)
On its new schedule as a semi-annual, this is Compelling‘s first issue after a six month break and it was worth the wait. In terms of quantity, with the help of a reprint, it has one more story than its ever had before, though the word count is not appreciably longer but, in terms of quality, I recommend two tales (almost three) and, while not quite on those levels, personally enjoyed a couple more.
Full review at Tangent: Compelling #11, Summer 2018.
- “Targeted Behavior” by J.D. Moyer (science fiction short story)
- “Redaction” by Adam R. Shannon (science fiction short story)
- “Driving Force” by Tom Jolly (science fiction short story)
This issue of Clarkesworld includes three novelettes (one approaching novella length) and two short stories (one approaching flash brevity). They feature robots (with or without AI), magic aliens and post-humans, and surrealism. While this issue is not wall-to-wall depression and dystopia, only one of the stories comes close to being light on its feet. Or foot.
Full review at Tangent: Clarkesworld #141, June 2018.
This issue of Analog has no story (unless “Hubpoint”) that you might not find in Asimov’s or some other magazine and seems oddly arranged, starting with a novella, moving to a novelette, and then to a solid wall of short stories but there’s actually a mislabeled novelette (“Base Pair”) hiding in there. Even so, there are proportionally way too many short stories and many of them are very short indeed (four are shorter than the 2500 word Probability Zero and a couple more aren’t much longer). The quality drops significantly towards the end but the issue is fair overall, with several decent tales and one superb one.
Full review at Tangent: Analog, May/June 2018
- “The Last Biker Gang” by Wil McCarthy (science fiction novella)
- “While You Sleep, Computer Mice™ Earn Their Keep” by Buzz Dixon (science fiction short story)
The reanimated Pulphouse is back with issue #2. The kickstarter made a point of saying that “Pulphouse has no genre restrictions” and this issue’s editorial offers an explanation regarding Pulphouse‘s unlabeled reprints. Here at Tangent, we do follow genre restrictions and label reprints [in the contents listing], which shows that, leaving aside the quality of the total fiction, there’s simply not much new fiction of genre interest in this issue….
Full review at Tangent: Pulphouse #2, April 2018.