Thursday, February 23, 2023

Apex Magazine #134 (2023)

Apex Magazine, ed. Lesley Conner. Issue #134 (November 2022). Online at

Reviewed by Storm Blakley

Apex Magazine’s January issue was a collection that made me think of bargains and agreements, and how those can change our perspectives on the things that really matter. Those bargains can be dangerous things, especially when made with powerful beings and magic. Whether we knowingly sign them or not, the consequences are inevitable; some bring about redemption, while others are simply dangerous.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Schein, Lady Anarchist Café (2022)

Lorraine Schein, The Lady Anarchist Café: Poems and Stories. Autonomedia, 2022. Pp. 110. ISBN 978-1-57027-391-9. $15.95.

Reviewed by Cait Coker

Speculative poetry is an often overlooked genre in the fields of the fantastic, despite a wealth of practitioners in and out of the mainstream. Lorraine Schein’s collection, The Lady Anarchist Café: Poems and Stories, plays with the conventions of both form and language, cannily utilizing wordplay to heighten response and reaction. Consisting of 41 poems and 9 short stories, the volume is a delightful romp across words and worlds.

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Schroeder, Archer 887 (2022)

Anna Schroeder, Archer 887 (Archer book #1). Self-published, 2022. Pp. 308. ISBN 979-8-9862308-0-1. $15.00 pb/$8.99 e.

Reviewed by M.L. Clark

Military sci-fi comes in many moral flavours. Anna Schroeder’s Archer 887 is a highly conservative variant, as illustrated in its treatment of empire, military service, aliens as enemies, righteous torture, gender relations, and the core romance. Action forward, it’s written at an engaging pace with realistic battle sequences, and has a good sense of dialogue, so for folks looking for a more traditional SF read, this series opener promises a coherent and compelling adventure.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Hyslop, Miasma (2022)

Jess Hyslop, Miasma (Luna Novella #16). Luna Press Publishing, 2022. Pp. 108. ISBN 978-1-915556-01-1. $11.99 pb/$5.99 e.

Reviewed by Zachary Gillan

Jess Hyslop’s Miasma is a book that I wish had been around when I was younger. It’s a novella that would have fit nicely in the fantasy works of the 1990s that I spent my teenage years reading, but with a revisionist approach. It takes a variety of elements any reader of secondary world fantasies will recognize—knights, mages, monstrous lizards, a dangerous swamp—and reworks them into something fresh for the 2020s. Part of Luna Press’s novella series, Miasma clocks in at just under 100 pages, but Hyslop doesn’t waste any of them, wisely choosing not to pad this out to a standard novel length. It has a story and it tells it, directly, forthrightly, with well-drawn human stakes. There’s no saving the world, no prophecies or chosen ones, just a family trying to survive.