Thursday, July 29, 2021

Aftermath #2 (2020)

Aftermath, ed. Jan Bee Landman. Issue 2 (2020). Online at

Reviewed by Djibril al-Ayad

In addition to articles, essays and opinion on the subjects of climate change and environmental degradation, Aftermath publishes the results of an annual short story contest titled “The End of Our World.” The second installment contains the three winners of the 2020 contest (who shared $1400 in prize money), plus seven honorable mentions. The overarching theme of these stories, as one might expect from what is effectively an activism site, is pessimistic environmental fiction—ranging from desperate realism to post-apocalyptic terror. You’ll find no solarpunk or eco-topia stories in this volume. Additionally the stories tend toward the literary rather than genre aesthetic, meaning there is a lot of grim introspection, unreliable or unsympathetic narration, hopelessness is much more likely than derring-do action, and happy endings would be considered downright gauche (which is not to say that many of the endings of this type of story are not powerful and even satisfying). One recalls the argument that “Climate Fiction” is not science fiction, and—much as I like to disagree with almost any statement in the form “X is not SF”—from the point of view of genre aesthetic, this collection indicates there is some truth to it.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Fusion Fragment #6 (May 2021)

Fusion Fragment, ed. Cavan Terrill. Issue #6 (May 2021). Online at

Reviewed by Julie Reeser

Fusion Fragment was re-launched in March 2020 as a semi-pro SF market. The cost of the current issue is pay-what-you-can for digital, and back issues are free to read on the website; backing the FF Patreon also serves as a (print or digital) subscription. My copy came as white lettering on a black background with single-spaced lines, which at times was difficult to read even with the zoom function. Each story is followed by an interesting Q&A with the author. At the very end of the issue, each author lists two books they recommend to readers, as well as links with where to find more of their work.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Bain et al (edd.), ProleSCARYet (2021)

Ian A. Bain, Anthony Engebretson, J.R. Handfield, Eric Raglin & Marcus Woodman (edd.), ProleSCARYet: Tales of Horror and Class Warfare. Rad Flesh Press, 2021. Pp. 234. ISBN 978-1-7369-5321-1. $12.02 pb/$5.99 e.

Reviewed by Gwen C. Katz

Few anthologies have managed to be the right idea at the right time as well as Prolescaryet. Percolating through COVID and BLM, it lands in our hands just as the powers that be demand a return to normalcy from a population for whom not much has changed. I, for one, am ready for a hot, steaming cup of “Fuck you” aimed at the corporate overlords. And that’s exactly what we get.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Goodwater, The Liar of Red Valley (2021)

Walter Goodwater, The Liar of Red Valley. Solaris, 2021. Pp. 367. ISBN 978-1-78108-911-8. $14.99.

Reviewed by Rachel Verkade


These were the words that greeted me upon opening my parcel from Solaris Publishing, stark white across a russet-red cover. To say I was intrigued was putting it mildly.

The Liar of Red Valley introduces us to the titular town of Red Valley, a small American settlement in which these three rules are sacrosanct. In this place, magic (and the King) reigns; shadows walk the streets, demons possess and destroy the bodies and minds of the naïve and disenfranchised, an immortal and indestructable oak tree grows in the middle of the town diner, and ghosts linger in the shadows. And in the world of Red Valley, the Liar is both revered and loathed. A woman with the power to make a lie, any lie, be it as petty “I am not going bald” or as huge as “My child never died,” seem the truth… but only within the town’s limits, and only if you are willing to pay her price. And her price is a dreadful one.