Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Winter & Moses (edd.), Split Scream #1

Carson Winter & Scott J. Moses, Split Scream, volume one. Dread Stone Press, 2022. ISBN 978-1-7379-7402-4. $12.99.

Reviewed by Gwen C. Katz

Novelettes and novellas, the red-headed stepchildren of the book world. Too long to place in a magazine and uneconomical to publish on their own, they languish on hard drives, making an occasional appearance as the flagship piece in a single-author collection, but otherwise neglected. Which is a shame, because they’re my fictional first love. About the same length as a TV episode or a graphic novel, they’re a lean, focused form of storytelling, just the right length to fully explore a single arc without needing to detour into subplots. They’re a convenient airport-or-dentist size and they’re nice for those of us who have a bad track record of finishing full-length novels.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #363 (2022)

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, ed. Scott H. Andrews. Issue 363 (August 2022). Online at beneath-ceaseless-skies.com.

Reviewed by Christina De La Rocha

If you tried to reverse engineer the contents of Issue 363 of the literary adventure fantasy online magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies, you might find a writing prompt in your hand: tell a tale of thwarted immortality. That probably isn’t actually the origin of the two new stories published in the issue, of course. It’s more likely that an editor decided that these two new stories belonged together because of that similarity at their core. Either way, what’s interesting is that these two new stories taking thwarted immortality as a premise are nothing like each other.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Fireside #103 (Summer 2022)

Fireside Magazine, ed. Brian White. Issue 103 (Summer 2022). Online at firesidefiction.com.

Reviewed by Christina De La Rocha

Fireside Magazine was—and, yes, I must sadly say was—a online publisher of short stories, poems, and novels. Founded in 2012, it’s had a respectable 10-year run, at first based on crowdfunding, then on subscriptions. But now Fireside’s operations are now winding down. Issue 103 (Summer 2022) represents the magazine’s final offering of stories to the world.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Iovino, Skybound (2021)

Lou Iovino, Skybound. LAB Press, 2021. Pp. 304. ISBN 978-1-7371-7460-8. $15.99.

Reviewed by Don Riggs

Lou Iovino’s Skybound is a real page-turner. The chapters are short, often end on cliffhangers, and shift back and forth among a handful of subplots. The often breathless pace of the plot is appropriate for the rapid unfolding of dire events in an apocalyptic scenario, matching form to function. To call Skybound a promising first novel is not to give it a backhanded criticism; it is to welcome a new speculative fiction writer into the field with anticipation of more to come.