Site Update

Hello, friends.

As you may have noticed, things have gotten a little slow in these parts. We’ve had a couple set backs and because of that, I’m doing restructuring and revamping. I hope to be back up and running sometime in July. In the mean time, we’re always accepting recommendations.

Enjoy the rest of June!

Cheers,
Wren

Welcome to the Museum of Torture by Yoko Ogawa

I think we’ve all be there, and anyone who says they haven’t is lying. Or maybe I am just a twisted individual who should get my head looked at. What I’m talking about, of course, is the break up gone so horribly bad that you begin fantasizing about all the horrible things that could (and should!) happen to your newly minted ex. Maybe it’s just hoping they look stupid in front of their friends. Maybe it’s that they lose something important. Maybe you have some revenge fantasy so elaborate you’ve settled on the exact number of times you will stab them in the face. (It’s six). Okay, maybe not the last one. Maybe.

Yoko Ogawa’s Welcome to the Museum of Torture is kind of about that. A woman’s boyfriend walks out after she can’t stop talking about the murder in her apartment complex. This sets in motion the events that carry the woman to a museum she’s never noticed before in town, a museum that occupies a creepy old house. It’s the Torture Museum, naturally, and the museum only displays instruments of torture that can be proven to have been used. Continue reading…

Power Armor: A Love Story by David Barr Kirtley

When I was a wee lass, I had a bit of an unhealthy preoccupation with the game Mech Warrior 2. This interest in giant machinery grew naturally into a pre-teen obsession with Gundam Wing and then later The Big O. I don’t think anyone was surprised by my fangirl squealing during Pacific Rim. In short, I love battle mecha. What is strange though, and even I admit this, is that it took me a really long time to come around to power armor and battle suits. The amount of resistance I threw up for the Iron Man movies was rather uncharacteristic. I continue to find myself hesitant to accept the smaller, precursors to my beloved giant warbots.

My reticence is waning, though. In large part due to stories like David Barr Kirtley’s Power Armor: A Love Story, which is about  time traveling renegade Anthony Blair, who never-ever-ever takes off his power armor. As you could probably assume from the title, there is also a woman. A woman who does not want Anthony Blair in his power armor for a variety of reasons, including the desire to be close to the man in the iron suit. But also to maybe kill him. Continue reading…

Winter Arrives by Roz Marshall

I[/drocap]t’s spring break in our wee corner of the world. As such, we decided to take a reading vacation to Scotland with the first novella in Roz Marshall’s White Cairns Ski School series. Which I must say, it has been some nice light reading compared to some of the other things that have hit my desk recently. That’s like it’s own vacation, really.

I love to ski, so I’m really bummed out that I missed out on the ski season this year in the US. The record-awful cold combined with burn-out from the day job meant I didn’t actually go outside very much this winter. Huge mistake, but I digress. Winter Arrives is, ultimately about skiing, even though in this novella, the ski season hasn’t started yet. Rather, Jude Winters finds herself suddenly in charge of running a ski school after her husband kind of skips town. I say kind of because he didn’t really leave, he just didn’t come back when he was supposed to. Oops. Continue reading…

Our Relationship with Thieves by Kati Hendrey

There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have a childhood secret. That’s my theory, anyway. As we grow older, these secrets we keep sometimes become more of a big deal, or sometimes less. But I’m pretty certain everyone has one, and they are never spoken of. I have one, though I’ll never tell.

Kati Hendrey’s Our Relationship with Thieves has that sort of mystical quality of childhood secrets and confessions. In this case, it is the confession of now-grown preteen girl to a dead man, her neighbor. And it is through this confession we learn the secrets of Martin (the dead neighbor), and the demons with which he battled. The unfolding of these stories has a sort of elegance to it. Continue reading…

Out of Copyright by Charles Sheffield

There is a school of thought that believes it is science fiction’s obligation to explore the social consequences of technology. I don’t think all science fiction fits nicely with that prescription, but it’s a good parameter. Especially for today’s story which deals with the pros and cons of cloning, especially when it comes to brilliant thinkers like Einstein, Tesla, and Oppenheimer.

Out of Copyright by Charles Sheffield was prescient for its time. The story was first published seven years before Dolly the sheep made headlines as the first cloned adult mammal. Our protagonist, Al, is on his way to the draft pick which determines which large companies will get the exclusive rights to clone famous geniuses in order to use their superior intelligence to solve problems. Its pretty telling that the problem Al’s company is currently solving is a completely ridiculous task of launching asteroids at Jupiter’s moon Io. Continue reading…

The Angels of the Abyss by Iain Grant

Steampunk: the genre people love to love and also love to hate. Poor steampunk; I’d dare say you’re more recognizable as a fashion statement than a subgenre. Not to your lovers, though. No, your lovers cling to you and caress you and might even strip you naked, peering into the gears of your undercarriage.

I’m not a neo-Victorian. You won’t see me donning a top hat, goggles, or a corset/parasol combo. On the other hand, I’m not afraid of button boots.  I don’t mind it when steam engines and aether turn my speculative fiction into a brassy gear-house. I’m partial to zeppelins. Continue reading…

Flash Fiction Friday: March 2014

On the first Friday of every month, we are all about the flash fiction. That means short little tales, usually under 1000 words. That’s a lot of story for not a lot of words.

Zombie March by Brynn MacNabb // October 2012 Flash Fiction Online // Free
Zombies come for things that aren’t brains.

Dream with Enough Conviction by Samuel Snoeck-Brown // Issue 32 Red Fez // Free
A woman carries on a relationship with her husband’s murderer.

Hang by Rachel Angius // April 2013 Schlock Magazine // Free
Dog. Dog. Dog.

Tearjerker by Steve Berman

[dropca[]T[/dropca[]he wonderful things about anthologies is you never know when you’re going to stumble upon something wonderful. The odd thing is, I never intended to pick up Paper Cities in the first place. It just sort of fell off the shelf at my local library and, due to the weird location on it, I wasn’t sure where to reshelve it. Which is kind of peculiar since I used to work in a library. But basically I decided it was just easier to check it out rather than figure out where to drop it for the shelf clerk.

Flipping through the book, I happened to land on Steve Berman’s Tearjerker, a wonderfully dark tale of addiction and ruin. In a city scarred and quarantined after a cataclysmic event that granted special powers to only some of the inhabitants, young Gail finds herself for some old sisters who peddle in dependancy. Their big thing is the addictive tears of a little girl named Brennan. Even Gail can’t keep herself from lapping at the sad child’s cheeks. Continue reading…

No Dog Left Behind by Elliott Garber

When I was five, my family got its first dog. We were incredibly fortunate, you see, because we got the best dog in the whole world. I know everyone says that, but I’m not lying. Our sweet, intelligent golden retriever became my best friend the moment we got him, and I have loved him fiercely every day since then. I have never cried harder than when I found out he had died. He’s been gone over a decade, but I still miss him more than you could imagine.

Because of this, I don’t like dog stories. I hate them, actually. They punch me in the gut and leave me feeling angry and sad and heartbroken because I never had the chance to say goodbye to my best friend. His absence is a hole in my heart that no other animal or person has ever been able to fill. I can’t even watch that episode of Futurama (you know the one) without bawling my eyes out. I ugly-cry every time. So when Elliott Garber’s No Dog Left Behind came across my desk, I really, really, really did not want to read it. Continue reading…