Magazine: Empyreome, issue #3

EmpyreomeEmpyreome, issue #3

Short Stories

Quest for the Silver Shard by Adam O’Connell.  A story about some fairy/pixie creatures, with a death by lawnmower at the end.

Oscars on the Rue Jules Verne by L Chan.  A human actress leads some mole-people in combat, because the mole-people need pheromone signals from queens, but mole-people queens are too valuable to risk in combat.  Apparently human pheromones work on alien mole-people, and also work through airtight combat suits.

Also, there’s a lesbian love affair.  Why do authors keep doing this?  It seems like there’s a limited group of people who want to read military sci-fi about mole-people, and a limited group of people who want to read about lesbian love affairs, and the intersection of the two has to be nearly zero.  If I wrote a paper about the latest research in clam genetics combined with trends in bluegrass music, I wouldn’t expect anyone to read it, so why do SFF authors keep doing essentially the same thing?

The Destroyer by Calvin Demmer.  In ancient Aegypt, a young girl is challenged by a god.  The story fit in well with the setting/time period.

Three Graves on Io by Joshua Scully.  A shuttle carrying four people crash-lands on Io.  There’s enough power for one person to survive in a stasis pod until rescuers arrive.  An intriguing setup, with varying character reactions.

Beneath Shadow by Sabrina West.  A woman hunts a shadow-monster after it attacks her sister.

A Remedy for Memory by Kara Lee.  The military has a memory-erasing machine to prevent PTSD, but one woman doesn’t want to lose her memories.

In terms of overall quality, I’d give this magazine around three stars out of five, with a rough breakdown of 50% four star and 50% two star stories.  When I release my length-weighted rankings in 2018, the magazine will score lower, as its shorter stories were generally its better ones, but you may be surprised at some of the big names in sci-fi that Empyreome beats out.

In case you missed my earlier announcement:  I’m skipping my intro stories for the rest of December’s reviews.  [The crowd cheers]  However, the intro stories will return in 2018 [The crowd lets out a disappointed “awww”] for round two, when I read additional issues of the top-performing magazines, and decide who the ultimate winner is.


  1. When I still had subscriptions to Analog and Asimovs I noticed that every issue without fail had at least one gruff lesbian in space relationship. It’s so tired. I’m willing to bet that if you grab ant Dec issue of a modern sff mag you will have the same cheesy tacked on relationship mentioned at least once.

    1. If they’re trying to include at least one such story in every issue, then I guess authors are including it to give themselves two chances to get published: one chance at their story being good enough to be published on its own, and a second chance to be published as the best of the “meh” stories that include it.

  2. Why do authors keep doing this?

    Well, I don’t think it’s to respond to a perceived reader demand…it’s more like they get points if they include the lesbian love affair (bonus points if it’s inter-species). I’m not sure what you can do with those points, though–redeem them for valuable merchandise?

    1. Yeah, I’d be surprised if the mole-people commando demographic were demanding this.

      I guess you can redeem the points for a Hugo or Nebula award.

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