For this week's #FridayReads, I am recommending the most recent issues of three SFF zines.
Anathema is an SFF zine that features the work of "queer people of colour (POC) / Indigenous / Aboriginal creators", and ever since it's debut it has consistently been one of my favourite zines. The new issue is absolutely outstanding, a must-read from cover to cover.
As I read the first story, "Before Whom Evil Trembles" by Nhamo, I got goosebumps. The prose, the fierceness of the story, the way the tale twists and turns between past and present, dance and memory, and divinity... just remarkable. And that's just the beginning of this fabulous issue which also includes:
- "Cirque Mécanique", by Kel Coleman
- "Witch is Another Word for Wild", by Donyae Coles
- "Come to Me", by Aigner Loren Wilson
- "Lady Fortune", by Archita Mittra
- "To Rise, Blown Open", by Jen Brown
Cover art is by Rob Cham.
- “Crooked House” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
- “Of Claw and Bone” by Suzan Palumbo
- “Water Child” by Frances Ogamba
- “The 21 Bus Line” by Gabriela Santiago
Every story is fantastic here, and writer wields their own dark, sharp edge of horror. "Crooked House" is a brilliant, jagged piece of haunted house horror which includes the line, "Aside from me, my sister Daisy’s the only kid still at home, and she’s just twelve. Or she would be, if she was alive."
"Water Child" is a taut and devastating ghost story that absolutely gutted me, and Palumbo's "Of Claw and Bone" is a harrowing tale of family and domestic violence and survival. Oh, and if you want to read an absolutely mind-bending horror story that takes place on a transit bus, you need to check out Santiago's story. The (seemingly) off-the-wall ramblings of the strange, fur-clad passenger in this story take an increasingly sinister and freak-the-hell-out trippy turn as the bus trip progresses.
Cover art by George Cotronis.
I'm so happy that Apex Magazine is back in action after its hiatus. They've been publishing some great new fiction since their return and have also made space for some terrific reprints. This latest issue is excellent, and I want to give a special shout-out to Jennifer R. Donohue's stunning "All This Darkness", and to the two reprints, both from Fiyah, "Doll Seed" by Michele Tracy Berger, and "Uniform" by Errick Nunnally. If you haven't read those stories yet, pick up this issue (and also pick up a subscription to Fiyah!)
And, bonus!, in each issue of Apex you also get great interviews, non-fiction, and A.C. Wise's Words For Thought short fiction reading recommendations.
The table of contents for this issue:
- "The Life & Death of Mia Fremont" by A.K. Hudson
- "This Is the Moment, Or One of Them" by Mari Ness
- "Throw Rug" by Aurelius Raines II
- "Mishpokhe and Ash" by Sydney Rossman-Reich
- "All This Darkness" by Jennifer R. Donohue
- "DEMON FIGHTER SUCKS" by Katherine Crighton (this one has such a terrific twist at the end)
- "Doll Seed" by Michele Tracy Berger
- "Uniform" by Errick Nunnally
- Interview with Author Jennifer R. Donohue by Andrea Johnson
- Interview with Author A.K. Hudson by Andrea Johnson
- Interview with Cover Artist Denis Zhbankov by Russell Dickerson
- The Enduring Ensorcellment of King Arthur by Alex Bledsoe
- Sex Is Great, But Have You Ever Seen Your Real-Life Relationship Depicted in Fiction by Nicole Kornher-Stace
- Words for Thought: Short Fiction Reviews by A.C. Wise
Cover art by Thomas Tan.