Tuesday, December 21, 2021

NewMyths issue # 55 (2021)

New Myths, ed. Susan Shell Winston. Issue 55 (June 2021). Online at newmyths.com.

Reviewed by M.L. Clark

NewMyths’s latest issue offers fiction, poetry, and nonfiction with an overarching connection to science-fiction and fantasy; and yet, the work ranges widely across traditional genre set-ups.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Twisted Moon #5 (2020)

Twisted Moon, ed. Hester J. Rook, P. Edda, Liz Duck-Chong & Selene Maris. Issue 5 (2020). Online at twistedmoonmag.com.

Reviewed by Djibril al-Ayad

Twisted Moon is a yearly magazine of speculative erotic poetry based in Australia that has been published online since 2016. Editors Rook, Edda, Duck-Chong and Maris are all also writers (some of whose work we’ve seen and loved elsewhere), and they bring a lover’s touch to the selection and presentation of poems in each issue. The contents are eclectic, as is perhaps inevitable with collections of poetry, and range from delicious, lyrical verses to the most discordant, experimental or opaque of forms, always tantalizing and excruciating and challenging.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Reckoning #5 (2021)

Reckoning, ed. Waverly SM, Giselle Leeb et al. Issue 5 (January–July 2021). Online at reckoning.press.

Reviewed by M.L. Clark

Editor C├ęcile Cristofari opens Reckoning 5 with a call to action shaped by how pandemic has significantly isolated us from nature; we cannot simply rely on nostalgia to deepen our fight against ongoing natural depreciation from climate change and other human-made devastations. Editor Leah Bobet adds, in her following editorial, that the quest for poetry here was shaped by little intimacies, “flecks of possibility” for reconnection with the world around us, in our most personable and fleeting interactions with the rest of nature.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Xueting, Sinopticon (2021)

Xueting Christine Ni (ed. and trans.), Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction. Solaris Books, 2021. Pp. 448. ISBN 978-1-78108-852-4. $14.99.

Reviewed by Cait Coker

The 2014 translation of Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem by Ken Liu into English became an unexpected defining moment in the field; there is now only “before” and “after” when talking about Chinese science fiction in the Anglo world. It is significant, then, that in her introduction to Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction, that editor Xueting Christine Ni describes her experience looking for science fiction books after walking into a Xinhua bookstore (China’s biggest bookseller chain). She is surprised by the lack of genre fiction aside from Wuxia (historical fiction concerned with martial artists)*, and when she asks for Kehuan (Chinese science fiction) the clerk gestures her towards the children’s section. When Xueting protests and asks if they are really shelving material like Liu there, the clerk responds with “Oh! Why didn’t you say so before?” and leads her where the material is shelved near science education textbooks. This preliminary scene explains the value placed on Kehuan in China: still at the margins of popular culture despite undergoing a remarkable renaissance both at home, and especially, abroad. Xueting’s purpose in editing this volume is to illustrate the wide range of Chinese science fiction, translating thirteen stories that were originally published between 1991 and 2021. This thirty year review, as it were, is not presented chronologically or thematically, but rather lets each work stand against one another for the reader to enjoy. Xueting also provides, after each story, notes that discuss the author as well as context for the story’s creation and contents. Xueting also makes a point of providing gender parity in these selections, with just over half of the authors being women. The overall result is an incredibly solid, thoughtful, and exciting anthology that is genuinely one of the best I’ve read in ages.