A Review of Pirate Utopia, by Bruce Sterling

Review by William Grabowski

To celebrate his new, improved torpedo, the engineer took his pirates to the movies.

 

Few novelists can create work that combines science, philosophy, art, and adventure into stories that shape the form and trajectory of emerging culture—popular and collective. The seminal cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades (1986), assembled and edited by Bruce Sterling, introduced the wider world to William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley and others whose individual stars still burn bright. Sterling’s incisive take-no-prisoners Preface could be considered the Cyberpunk Manifesto, and it’s difficult to overestimate the movement’s influence—disruptive and liberating—on so-called hard science fiction and even the austere realms of post-postmodernism. Read more »

A Review of Other Places, by Karen Heuler

Review by Lauren Colie

Seeking equilibrium in a strange new world

This is the experience of attempting to reconcile the images in your mind with the solid mass of the chair beneath you.

Karen Heuler’s short story collection, Other Places, transports you briefly, as promised, elsewhere. While you’re there, she asks you to consider the value and expectation you ascribe to place, and how a place can hold memories, ghosts, shadows, ideas and mirrors. Read more »

The Absence Of Cows, fiction by Kristen Falso-Capaldi

 

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I don’t know Jeremy Mitchell or his wife, and I couldn’t possibly comment on the existential angst of cows. I look at Jeremy’s face and try to conjure the snapshot of him as a skinny thirteen-year-old, fumbling for my lips in the dark, but missing and catching the side of my mouth instead.

illustration to The Absence of Cows, short story by Kristin Falso-Capaldi

“Climbing to the Cows” © Margarita Kvaapagarrot, 2016

“The Absence of Cows” won a first place prize in our 2015 New Voices contest.

 

“MA? MA!”

My mother has been staring at the cows all day. Well, to be truthful, she’s been staring at where the cows used to be. They disappeared while we were sleeping last Thursday. They were beautiful beasts, really. Brown or black with a white stripe that wrapped around their bellies. My mother has always loved the view from her front porch, even before the cows came; she once told me that living out here was like being surrounded by a painting of field and sky and nature going about its business. It bothers her, this absence of cows. Read more »

A Review of A Natural History of Hell, by Jeffrey Ford

review by Paul StJohn Mackintosh
book review of A natural history of hell by Jeffrey ford, at See the Elephant MagazineHellishly Good Stories

Veteran fantasy, science fiction, weird, and fantastic writer Jeffrey Ford has accumulated awards like it was going out of fashion: multiple World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson Awards, Nebula Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award …

A Natural History of Hell, from the enterprising and frequently delightful Small Beer Press, brings together 13 very diverse examples of his work, all of them except the opener, “The Blameless,” first published in various venues over the past four years, including one Shirley Jackson Award winner, the delirious Japanese yakuza weird slayride “A Natural History of Autumn.”

This collection pretty much picks up where the last Jeffrey Ford collection leaves off, but you only have to read it to know just why that is such a good thing. And if you haven’t yet had that pleasure, trust me, you should. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Organ Sellers, Demon Possession & Night Riders

Reviews of weird fiction on the web, by Lauren Colie

War, by Arnold Böcklin, 1896 painting, public domain, See the Elephant

War, by Arnold Böcklin, 1896

Halloween may be over, but the horror marches on. This week’s selection gathers together dark sides of woman and beast alike. Live on the edge; let your base desires revel in the badness. Read on to face the scary around us and the creepy within.

A Review of Natural Skin by Alyssa Wong at Lightspeed Magazine

“I don’t have a goddamn port,” I say, showing him the patch sewn onto my jacket. The government emblem for Natural Status—no bodily modifications, no drugs, the basic requirements for government jobs—is stitched there in silver thread. “You’re barking up the wrong tree, and you’ll be lucky if I don’t report you at the next police station for it.” Read more »