Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Oliveira & Sabin, Xenocultivars (2022)

Isabela Oliveira & Jed Sabin (edd.), Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth. Speculatively Queer, 2022. Pp. 210. ISBN 978-1-7366182-2-6. $19.99.

Reviewed by Gwen C. Katz

Confession time: I wanted to submit to this one, but something came up, where “something” is “my own laziness.” But, having read it, I’m now glad I didn’t submit, because I probably would have dragged down the average. When Speculatively Queer launched last year with the triumphant It Gets Even Better: Stories of Queer Possibility, it stepped into an under-served market: Full-length queer SFF short stories. Consequently, a lot of us have been keeping an eye on it. Xenocultivars, its sophomore publication, is a very strong follow-up, and a sign that Speculatively Queer may be a formidable new contender.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Timpf, In Days to Come (2022)

Lisa Timpf, In Days to Come. Hiraeth Books, 2022. Pp. 80. ISBN 978-1-0879-2712-1. $10.00.

Reviewed by Jason Kahler

A reader’s response to In Days to Come, Lisa Timpf’s slim collection of poetry, will depend on his or her attitude toward a few things:

  • Poetry in general.
  • Haibun specifically (more on those in a bit).
  • The role of poetry in the SFFH space.

I love poetry, and I love science fiction, so I’m all for bringing the two together. Overall, readers will find plenty to enjoy in Timpf’s book. There are enough poetic moments, what noted poetry critic Clive James called “little low heavens,” to make readers feel like the time they share with the book was time well-spent. Casual or new poetry readers will enjoy finding poetry doing things they didn’t know poetry could do. More critical poetry fans will appreciate Timpf’s book, too, though they may be able to identify some places where the book’s weakest elements don’t live up to the promise of its strongest.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Sein und Werden, (Spring/Summer 2022)

Sein und Werden, ed. Rachel Kendall. Spring/Summer 2022 issue. Online at www.kissthewitch.co.uk/seinundwerden/sein.html

Reviewed by Julie Reeser

Sein und Werden Spring/Summer 2022. If I were you I'd… . click on these bad boys… Contents ContributorsSein und Werden, per their onsite manifesto, is a quarterly online and occasional print journal whose goal is to invoke Werdenism, a term coined by the editor to encompass her modern aesthetic vision of “being and becoming” taken from the Expressionists. Each issue is themed, and this one starts with a prompt of “If I were you…” This is carried cutely by the home page where you are directed to a choice between two arrows: content or contributors. The overarching or underlying philosophy of the works chosen revolve around Existentialism, Surrealism, and Expressionism.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Mithila Review #15 (2021)

Mithila Review, ed. Salik Shah. Issue 15 (March 2021). Online at mithilareview.com.

Reviewed by Christina De La Rocha

Mithila Review, founded in 2015, is a science fiction and fantasy magazine based in India but international in scope. This is a promise Mithila absolutely delivers on, for not only does it contain stories from all over, the magazine’s own gaze looks firmly out from its non-Western corner of the world and this is a wonderful thing. About half of the stories in the magazine are told from an Indian perspective and it’s a delight to read the stories that look out at the future and the effects of global events through the eyes, hearts, and experiences of people and places many of us are not used to inhabiting in fiction, given the Anglosphere’s publishing industry’s gatekeeping in favor of white, Western authors. It helps that the stories, articles, and poems in Mithila Review lean into the literary and are written handsomely and at times in an English that is perfect yet non-Western in tone. This deepens the flavor of these works and befits a magazine that is named for a distinct geographic, cultural, and linguistic region with ancient roots that is now split by the border between India and Nepal and grappling with attempts at political control and cultural and linguistic assimilation from two different countries.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Killjoy, We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow (2022)

Margaret Killjoy, We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow: And Other Stories. AK Press, 2022. Pp. 248. ISBN 978-1-849354-75-2. $18.00/£14.97.

Reviewed by M.L. Clark

In an episode of her podcast Live Like the World Is Dying, Margaret Killjoy reframes the concept of eco-nihilism as something that creates room for personal agency amid the inevitability of climate change. If we embrace the fact that climate change is already here, and that we cannot prevent all the horrors ahead, does this not lighten our burden as individuals? Are we not then freed up to focus on what we can do and save, instead of trying to do and save it all?