Category urban fantasy

Magazine: Mothership Zeta, issue 2

Mothership Zeta The human brain isn’t perfect.  For example, most adults don’t remember the moment of their birth.  I’m different.  I remember the day I hatched, a fully grown human, from a pod on the mothership. I can’t tell you what the mothership told me that day, because the language she used has no written […]

21st-Century SFF Publishers

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve been struggling to find good science-fiction stories in magazines.  Although I haven’t blogged about longer fiction lately, I also have trouble finding good sci-fi and fantasy novels. I normally don’t pay any attention to a book’s publisher.  I usually decide what to read based on […]

Side Quest

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I sent myself on a magazine quest to find the best SFF magazine, and ultimately subscribe to it.  When I began my quest, I thought I’d review a dozen magazines.  I’ve already reviewed 32 magazines here, and I’ve discovered so many others that […]

Magazine: Storyhack, issue zero

Storyhack, issue zero On the Fourth of July, I feel it’s my patriotic duty to write another Four Apes intro story: Traffic around the Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington DC slows to a crawl, as drivers gawk at the Eight Apes on the sidewalk outside. Samantha looks into my eyes.  “We don’t have to go […]

For Steam and Country

For Steam and Country Fellow blogger Jon Del Arroz recently released his first steampunk novel, For Steam and Country.  I haven’t read it yet, so this post won’t be a review.  (I will point out that there must be some humor in it, as one of the characters is named Baron Von Monocle.) I’ve only […]

Magazine: Leading Edge, Issue 68

Leading Edge, Issue 68 The Saga of the Four Apes continues: Fu, Herman, Bobo, and I move quietly through the construction site, sticking to the nighttime shadows.  We know the bad guys have some connection to this piece of real estate, but don’t know the details.  We freeze when an attractive young woman steps from […]

Review of The River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

Originally posted on Every Day Should Be Tuesday:
The River of Teeth has a killer concept. It riffs off a cockamamie scheme to deal with invasive vegetation and a meat shortage in America by importing hippos en masse. In Gailey’s world, Congress went forward with the scheme (at a slightly different time than proposed), and…

Magazine: Phantaxis Nov 2016

Phantaxis Nov 2016 The following intro story will confuse you if you haven’t read my spaghetti western intro story: My phone rings, waking me up at 5AM on a Saturday.  Resisting the urge to throw it against the wall, I answer it.  “You better have a good reason for calling.” “Oh, I do indeed, sir. […]

Mini-Review: Snapshot

Snapshot Snapshot is a novella-length story, roughly two and a half hours of audiobook, which I’m estimating would make it about 80 pages long if it were offered as a paperback (ebook and audio are the only current options).  Although Brandon Sanderson has published many books through the big houses, he chose to self-publish this […]

Magazine: Kzine #16

Kzine issue 16 I’m one of three gunfighters in a Mexican standoff, arranged in a triangle.  Our only spectator in this western ghost town is an unarmed flute player, watching from the roof of the saloon.  He plays his instrument.  Tootely toot … toot toot toot. To my left is my nemesis, Talking Chicken.  She […]

Planetary Award Winners – 2016

The winners of the 2016 Planetary Awards have been announced. The winning short story was “Athan and the Priestess” from the collection Thune’s Vision by Schuyler Hernstrom.  I’ve purchased a copy, and I’ll review it once I’ve read the entire book.  I’ve only read the winning story so far, but I enjoyed it.  I found it very Conan-esque, […]

SFF Magazine News

I don’t have time to write up a magazine review (or a silly intro story) this week, but I thought I’d mention some news concerning two of the magazines which are competing for the top spot in my magazine quest. Red Sun Magazine’s third issue is out.  I haven’t read it yet, but it looks […]

Magazine: Nonlocal #2

Nonlocal issue #2 I help the other castaways push the raft into the ocean.  It’s a big raft that took us an entire week to build — we used the wood from the signaling tower that I’d pulled down the week before, waving too enthusiastically to a passing cruise liner. The others gasp, scream, and […]

Magazine: On Spec #102

On Spec #102 I don’t normally work for cartels, but my magazine quest is getting expensive, and this cartel doesn’t pay in worthless dollars — it pays in cold, hard maple syrup.  One of the cartel bosses lays out the problem he wants me to take care of, but I don’t speak French, so I just […]

Magazine: Space and Time, issue 125

Space and Time Magazine, issue 125 A steward shows me onto the cruise ship’s bridge and introduces me to the Captain, who reaches out to shake my hand.  “You’re that science journalist I’ve been hearing so much about.” “Science-fiction book-blogger, actually.  I’ve heard your ship’s library has a copy of Space and Time Magazine that I’d […]

Vote for the best stories of 2016

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
We’re expanding the voting pool for the awards this year, so read this entire post to find out if YOU are eligible to vote. But first, here are the 2016 stories nominated by book bloggers across the internet: Short Stories / Novellas “Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom, found in…

My 2016 Planetary Award Nominations

I’ve posted my thoughts about 2016 short stories, 2016 novels, and 2016 indie reading.  Many of the stories I mentioned could have been #1, but it’s time for me to quit being indecisive and pick my nominees for the Planetary Awards. Short Story For best short story, I’m choosing “Paper Cut” by Aeryn Rudel.  It was published in […]

Award Thoughts – Indie Reading

I’ve already posted my award thoughts concerning short stories, and the better novels I read last year. At the start of 2017, I made an effort to read some self-published books (and a couple of traditionally-published I hadn’t gotten to) to see if they might be worth nominating for best SFF book of the year.  (I […]

Award Thoughts – Short Story

I haven’t made my choice for best short story yet, so I thought I’d share my top contenders with you. I read around 40 issues of SFF magazines in 2016, as well as several anthologies and a couple dozen stories off the web. I haven’t reviewed issue 125 of Space and Time Magazine yet, but I […]

Submit Your 2016 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
Happy New Year — it’s time to nominate your favorite science fiction and fantasy writing for the 2016 Planetary Awards. We’re doing only two categories this year: Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) Longer story (novels) If you’re a book blogger, book podcaster, or booktuber, the nomination process is…

Review: The Second Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II CS Boyack‘s second experimental notebook is the perfect book to read just before Halloween. It has vampires, a haunted house, murderers, grave robbers — What? I missed the Halloween deadline? OK, I can work around that. Let’s try something else: CS Boyack’s second experimental notebook is the […]

Magazine: Plasma Frequency Q1 2016

Plasma Frequency My buddy Jack says he can get me a copy of Plasma Frequency Magazine. Well, he says he knows “a guy who knows a guy.” I’m at his house, helping him set up for a coworker’s surprise 70th birthday/retirement party. We lift an over-sized paper cake from the back of his truck, and […]

Magazine: Uncanny #8

Uncanny #8 I’m walking through a library, searching for a magazine, but I can’t seem to find one. Stuffed cats wearing hats and boots sit on the shelves of one aisle. Climbers in dark clothing move up the empty shelves of another. I avert my eyes from the next aisle, as a man and woman […]

Magazine: Grimdark #8

Grimdark Magazine #8 When I was a child, I passed my neighbor’s house every day while walking home from school. He would often be sitting on his front porch, tying his shoes, and would wave or say hello to me. I remember one day that was different from all the others: “Hi, Billy. I hope […]

Magazine: Shoreline of Infinity #4

Shoreline of Infinity #4 I perform a final check of my shark cage and SCUBA gear as our boat bobs up and down on a Scottish lake. The constable lies on the deck, drooling. I probably shouldn’t have darted him with enough tranquilizer to calm an angry plesiosaur, but he wouldn’t shut up about needing […]

Magazine: Albedo One #46

A bowl of cereal in one hand, a jug of milk in the other, I head to the kitchen table. There’s no room to set down my breakfast, because a two-foot-tall man in a three-piece suit is stretched out there, snoring. I use my elbow to shove him off, and he hits the floor with […]

Something for writers, something for readers

First, some news: I received a rejection letter for my first short story submission. I was originally going to give this post the pessimistic title of “Rejection #1”, because I’m a ‘glass is 96% empty’ kind of guy, not ‘glass is 4% full’. (According to The Grinder, 96% of stories are rejected at Analog magazine, […]

Magazine: Red Sun #1

Red Sun Magazine, Issue 1 I’d have known Old Man Brady was on his deathbed even if his nurse hadn’t told me. He raises a skeletal hand and motions me closer, then removes his oxygen mask to speak. “Thank you for coming. I’m sorry my wife couldn’t be here.” I don’t have the heart to […]

Interview: S. C. Flynn

I’m crossing the campus of Kakadu University to deliver my latest thesis draft to my advisor. He insisted on the topic of my doctoral research: I allow myself to be bitten or stung by Australia’s venomous creatures, and rate the pain from one to ten. Ants and wasps, centipedes and scorpions, snakes and spiders, jellyfish […]

Review: Children of the Different

Children of the Different     Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Fellow blogger SC Flynn gave me a copy of the audiobook version of his first self-published novel, Children of the Different. I enjoyed listening to an Australian-authored audiobook with an Australian narrator — most Aussie audiobooks I’ve run across are read […]

PDC on Facebook

I’ve bitten the bullet and created a Facebook page for Planetary Defense Command. Facebook considers PDC an “artist, band, or public figure”. I’m certain I’m not a band, and I’ve never considered myself an artist, so I guess that makes me a public figure — and I didn’t even have to put on a tie! […]

Today is the day

Originally posted on Entertaining Stories:
Well, it’s one of the days. My newest book The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II is now available for purchase on Amazon. It’s a pre-sale, and the books will deliver on August 31st. That is the other day. I wanted to do a short pre-sale, but Lisa my…

Magazine: Fantasy Scroll #9

Fantasy Scroll Magazine This can’t be the place. I’m looking across a dirty, crowded train station at a magazine stand. My sources tell me this is where I should look for my next magazine, but I’m thinking about looking for new sources instead. I decide not to approach right away, in case it’s a trap. I walk to […]

Cirsova #2 at Kickstarter

Cirsova’s second issue now has a page at kickstarter. If you haven’t heard of Cirsova, you can read my interview with the magazine’s founder, or my review of Cirsova #1.

Planetary Awards and Dragon Awards

The winners have been announced in the 2015 Planetary Awards. The winner for best short story was “Something in the Water” by C. S. Boyack. I wrote a little about the story when I nominated it, and I also reviewed the collection which contains the story. I ‘ve read the winner for best novel, Torchship, […]

Magazine: Aurealis #87

Aurealis #87 The guards drag me up the stairs and shove me onto the stage. The audience jeers at me, but most of the insults are colloquialisms that I don’t understand. I do understand that the entire population of an Australian writers’ commune showed up to deal with me, and that I don’t have a […]

Questions from MarzAat

MarzAat recently nominated me for a Liebster award. If you’re not familiar with Liebster: basically you answer ten questions, then forward ten questions to ten bloggers who impress you. I’m not going to forward the questions on, as some bloggers have grown tired of awards. Reference this graphic from Entertaining Stories: However, if you would […]

Meet Clovis

Clovis is a character from C. S. Boyack‘s new novel, The Playground. (If I’m not mistaken, Clovis is on the short-list to receive a Nobel Peace Prize this year.) Here is an excerpt from The Playground which introduces him: The tweaker rushed around the corner behind the bushes, tried to slam the gate shut, and […]

Cover Reveal: The Playground

Freqent PDC visitor C. S. Boyack will release “The Playground” soon (pre-orders now being taken at Amazon). I’ve previously interviewed him on this blog, and also reviewed his short story collection, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. Watch for the book’s release by following Boyack’s author page on Amazon, on Goodreads, or, if you […]

Magazine: InterGalactic Medicine Show #47

Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, issue 47 The department took away my canine partner, my badge, and my gun, but I’m still going to take down Talking Chicken. I leave my car by the highway and walk, baseball bat over my shoulder. I ignore the signs saying “Rainbow Farms employees only”. The huge metal […]

Magazine: Apex Oct 2015

Apex Magazine Issue 77 I down the last of my Red Bull and crush the can, tossing it into the passenger footwell with the others. The pile of cans will reach onto the seat and mingle with the empty fritos bags soon. I rummage through the bags, but come up empty. I haven’t showered or […]

Nebula Awards vs Planetary Awards

Over the weekend, the Nebula Awards nominees for 2015 were announced. You’ll notice that there is no overlap between those books and the nominees for the 2015 Planetary Awards. I’ve been brainstorming possible reasons: 1) Either the authors who vote in the Nebula Awards or the bloggers who vote in the Planetary Awards have crawled […]

Nine novels down, five to go

I read nine novels in my search for planetary awards nominees, so I thought I’d give you a rundown of them before I resume my magazine quest.  I’ll also lay out my plans for reading other bloggers’ nominees. Traditionally-published, from best to worst: #1) Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia was my nominee. […]

Vote for the best stories of 2015

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
If you’re a book blogger, podcaster, or booktuber, then it’s time to vote for the best stories of 2015. You are allowed one vote per category, chosen from the nominated works listed below: Short Story / Novella: Something in the Water by C.S. Boyack, in The Experimental Notebook of C. S.…

Magazine: Lightspeed Oct 2015

Lightspeed Magazine Issue 65 We got a call about a disturbance at the old Ferguson place. The house had been some rich guy’s mansion, then a nursing home, and most recently a failed bed and breakfast. We knew that empty places attract trouble (teenagers, meth cooks, and uglier things the people of the community pretend […]

Professional Courtesy

Magazine: Galaxy’s Edge Jul 2015

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 15 I’m shuffling through snowdrifts towards a Himalayan mountaintop temple. Why does it always have to be a mountaintop temple? Why can’t it be the ‘temple next to the burger king’? The wind dies down for a moment, giving me a glimpse of my goal through the blowing snow. Or […]

Cirsova Issue 1 Kickstarter is Live! (please share!)

Originally posted on Cirsova:
The Kickstarter for Cirsova Issue 1 is a go!  Issue # 1 is done and paid for.  We’re just taking orders and raising money for the future so I can start work on Issue #2 right away! Basic pledge rates are as follows: Individual Copies $2 – PDF $10 + Shipping…

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #58

I keep my eyes on the rearview mirror as I speed across the Australian outback. Most of the pursuing vehicles are burning wreckage fading into the distance, but two are still on my tail. If I gunned the V-8 interceptor’s engine I’d lose them, but my fuel gauge is hovering just above ‘E’, so I’m […]

My 2015 Planetary Awards Nominations

The 2015 Planetary Awards have three categories open for nominations: shorter story (including novelettes and novellas), traditionally published novel, and self-published / small press novel. It wasn’t too hard for me to find a short story nominee. I’ve read a dozen 2015 science fiction magazines as part of my magazine quest, and I’ve also read […]

Submit Your 2015 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
It’s time for book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers to nominate their favorite science fiction and fantasy books and short stories published in 2015. There are three categories for the 2015 awards: 1) Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) 2) Traditionally published novel 3) Small press / self-published novel Nominations…

Magazine: Asimov’s Dec 2015

Asimov’s Science Fiction, December 2015 I follow the priests into the Temple of Asimov. Hooded grey robes hide their faces and bodies; I can’t tell what sex they are, or whether they’re actually human. They lead me to a reading room and motion for me to sit at an antique writing desk. One of them, […]

Microfiction: Natural Habitat

I plan to resume my magazine quest with a new post tonight or tomorrow, but I thought I’d post something short this morning since I’ve been away from the blog for a while. I recently read a flash fiction story at CS Boyack’s site, a few lines of which reminded me of a microfiction I’d […]

Magazine: Fantasy & Science Fiction Sep-Oct 2015

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction September/October 2015 I wipe the dragon’s blood from my axe as I enter its lair. Everyone in the business of dragon-slaying knows that killing a dragon is the easy part; the real work is searching through its disorganized treasure hoard. I expect an open cavern, but the lair […]

Magazine: Interzone Sep-Oct 2015

Interzone #260 Sep-Oct 2015 My quest isn’t off to an auspicious start. I’ve spent eight weeks in London, trying to get into the archives of the Ministry of Science Fiction. Every morning, I arrive at the ministry to find a person I haven’t seen before sitting at the front desk. I show them yesterday’s approval […]

Inspired by the Neighbours

Originally posted on Storyville:
I found this little story on the reader using the tag micro fiction. https://planetarydefensecommand.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/microfiction-county-road/ I really like it and the twist at the end is interesting so I thought I’d right a follow up piece. He got up from his spot in the dirt and looked out in direction the Sheriff…

Microfiction: County Road

The Sheriff slid his patrol car to a stop on the gravel shoulder of county road 555.  He got out, looked at the setting sun for a moment, then opened the trunk and pulled out a rifle. He worked the rifle’s lever action, loading a round into the chamber as he walked towards a campfire.  Homeless […]

On a Quest

I’m setting off on a quest.  I won’t be sailing after the Golden Fleece, or throwing jewelry into a volcano. Instead, I’m searching for a science fiction / fantasy magazine worthy of my subscription dollars. I haven’t read a magazine in quite a while. For many years, my reading time was entirely devoted to scientific […]

Award Categories

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
We’ve announced a new science fiction / fantasy award, discussed who should be eligible to vote and when we should vote. Now, we tackle the issue of award categories. Should different genres get their own awards, such as one set of awards for science fiction, one for high/epic fantasy, and…

When to Vote?

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
This post continues the thread announcing a new science fiction / fantasy award, and discussing who should be eligible to vote. The next question is: when to vote? If a book is released on December 31st, it’s unlikely many potential voters will have read it by January 1st. So, how…

Who votes, and how?

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
The winners of our new science fiction and fantasy awards will be chosen by book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers. That seems simple enough, but how do we decide if a person is one of those? Is one book review some time in the distant past good enough? One book review…

Creating New Awards

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
I’m asking my fellow book bloggers, along with podcasters and booktubers, to join me in creating a new set of awards for science fiction and fantasy stories. Why invent another award? In addition to numerous regional and sub-genre awards, there are currently two broad awards: The Nebula and the Hugo.…

Review: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) I had trouble reviewing this collection of 12 short stories. Deciding on a rating was easy — I enjoy short-format stories, and was totally immersed in 9 of the 12. My problem was what to write about each of them– […]

Writing Contest

I’ve agreed to be one of three judges in a writing contest. The contest is for those who have already self-published something, as first prize is a promotion package from a book tweeting service. Stories must be 1,500 words or less, and based on one of four “writing prompt” images, but can fall under any […]

Mailing List

I’ve created a mailing list (through MailChimp) to notify Planetary Defense Command readers of special events. I expect the number of emails sent out to be very low, possibly even zero, so don’t worry that I’ll fill up your inbox. I only envision three two scenarios where I would send out a message: One of […]

Microfiction: Las Calles Rojas

Las Calles Rojas Of course I won the contract to provide animals for the “Running of the Bulls” this year – my bid was well below any reasonable cost. The problem with bulls is that, like most large herbivores, their instincts tell them to run for open space, or at best to turn from threat […]

99 cents: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

C. S. Boyack is a long-time follower of this blog, and the second author I’ve interviewed. He has written novels in several science fiction and fantasy subgenres, and now he’s releasing a short story collection: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. The collection is available for pre-order now, and will be released September 15th. […]

Sale: Book of Lost Doors Series

Until next Thursday (August 13th), Misha Burnett‘s Book of Lost Doors Series is on sale. There is a post on Misha’s site which links to the books on Amazon. Long-time followers of this blog will remember that I’ve reviewed Catskinner’s Book, Cannibal Hearts, and The Worms of Heaven. I’ve also interviewed Misha. If you’ve been […]

Review: The Worms of Heaven

The Worms Of Heaven Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) The Worms of Heaven is the third book in Misha Burnett‘s “Book of Lost Doors” series. I’ve previously reviewed the first two books, Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts. The stories focus on James, a young man who shares his head with Catskinner, who […]

Microfiction: Pills

In an earlier post, I linked to my six favorite microfiction stories at 101 Fiction.  The site opened to submissions again last month, and I decided to send in two stories of my own:  one fantasy, the other science fiction.  101 Fiction is running through a series of color themes, and this time “red” had to appear in all […]

Review: Cannibal Hearts

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Cannibal Hearts is the sequel to Catskinner’s Book, which I reviewed last year. Although paranormal/urban fantasy isn’t my favorite sub-genre, I enjoyed Catskinner’s book. To me, the best aspects of the story were a world where it felt like anything could happen, and the dual nature of […]

Review: Catskinner’s Book

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) The author of Catskinner’s Book, Misha Burnett, gave me a copy of the audiobook version and asked me to review it. I’ve decided to try something a little bit different with this review, dividing it into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Fortunately, the story pulled […]

Review: Delirium (Debt Collector)

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Although I didn’t give this story my highest rating, I don’t have anything negative to say about it. It is well written and has interesting characters; I wish I could produce something of this quality. My only problem is with the category/placement; I need more “sci” in […]