Comic Review: Bitter Root #6

Bitter Root #6

Image Comics

Writers: David F. Walker & Chuck Brown

Artist: Sanford Greene

It’s been some time since readers had the pleasure of catching up with the Sangeryes family. The first, and wildly popular, arc ended with on a knife-edge with little light on the horizon for this demon/racist hunting family. With the start of the second arc, the monstrous animals bred from racism threaten, not just Harlem, but the entire world.

Bitter Root #6

As a rule, nobody can fight hatred on their own. Everyone needs help, and that’s what the Sangeryes look for in other families who have a long history of demon/racist hunting. However, the news they bring, the cause for alarm, isn’t necessarily welcomed by other factions. In fact, some go so far as to blame the Sangeryes for the problem in the first place; it’s a severe case of victim-blaming. As is only fitting and truthful in terms of historical context, the accuser of the Sangeryes is a white man–it’s like white people blaming black people for racism.

Read my full review on Sequentialplanet.com

Small Thoughts: The Joy in Wounding by Charlotte Ashley

The Joy in Wounding, published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is a fantasy piece by Charlotte Ashley. It’s a continuation of some characters from a prior short story published in F&SF.

Image result for fantasy and science fiction magazine nov/dec 2019

Despite the fact I’d read that last story, I’m still grappling with the type of world this is. The main character is a witch, and so are her sisters, but then she has like some wind that floats around her all the time and can talk (?). It feels very Murakami in some ways, yet then magical things are happening that make the main character fly around leagues and leagues–with no real point of reference.

If I hadn’t read the last story in this series I’d have been even more confused than I am, and not only with the world. Some of the character’s actions seem unwarranted and unearned as if they act in order to create plot, rather than in their truer nature. Sometimes there are those pieces in magazines that I just can’t understand how they fit into what is publishable and marketable, and sadly this is one of those. It’s a harsh assessment, but this reader had an exceedingly difficult time not putting down the issue altogether.

Small Thoughts: Rejoice, My Brothers And Sisters by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Rejoice, My Brothers And Sisters

by Benjamin Rosenbaum

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction: Nov/Dec 2019

Image result for fantasy and science fiction magazine Nov/dec 2019

Rejoice, My Brothers And Sisters is something of an inverted Matrix plotline.  It tells the story of “an Angel” who has become corporeal and visits a “zoo” in which humans live. That zoo is our real-world–or at least a world that is very similar to our own.

Many who live within this zoo believe/know they are living in a contained and fake environment. Many people protest and want to ascend to the place the protagonist has come from, which involves porting your consciousness over to “the cloud.”

Since the story is narrated by a sliver of consciousness that would fit in a human brain, compared to a consciousness unbridled by physicality, and instead in an infinite processor, readers can’t trust the main character. First, they start out trying to convince someone the idea of ascension is impossible. But the longer the story goes on the more I began to doubt whether this narrator was in the zoo to tell the truth, or merely spread propaganda.

The unreliable narrator is cool–I love unreliable narrators–but some of the concepts in this piece just seemed tired. I didn’t really buy into the world either. I think, ultimately, this piece is trying to establish too many things in the short word-count it has. The result is that the world doesn’t feel persistent. Instead, it feels thin, washed, the people living within the zoo unreal, or simple plot devices.

Check out what Benjamin Rosenbaum is up to: here