Small Thoughts: A Trick of Light by Hamilton Perez, Speculative City issue 7, Spring 2020

Speculative City is an awesome little ezine that explores fiction from all the different genres that are combined to make up speculative fiction. I’ve written about this publication before, but I recently subscribed to their Patreon and I really can’t stress how impressed I am with the quality of the work they publish. The editors, Meera Velu and Devon Montgomery should really get some love for their selections. If you have enough for a beer at a bar, you probably have enough to support Speculative City’s Patreon on some level.

Image result for speculative cityA Trick of Light is in the newest issue, issue 7–which explores the aspect of horror in speculative fiction. And it rocks. Hamilton Perez takes a world we all know–that of hell, and inverts a lot of the classic ideas we might have about the place.

First, the demon readers are introduced to is a clerk. He gages the quotes of screams and moans and things like that. That’s funny. So originality is there for sure.

Then the language is great. It draws from the lore and legend of the tiered levels of hell, it’s infiniteness. The place doesn’t feel particularly tangible, but it doesn’t need to. It just needs to feel otherworldly, and I think it does.

Then there’s the magic by which our clerical task demon, Eligor, can use to move from the Hells to our world. It just–works. There’s no cheesiness to it, instead, it’s nuanced and implied magical things happening through everyday actions.

With all this in mind, I’d say this is the type of story I’d love to see more of. If you would too, check out Speculative City’s website.

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.