Enjoy the trip — “Outside Heavenly” by Rio Youers / Disfruta el viaje – “Outside Heavenly” de Rio Youers

Welcome, Readers, to another review full of spoilers. It can’t be helped. Sometimes I have to discuss details beneath the skin. If you accept these terms, please continue.

First things first: “Outside Heavenly” by Rio Youers has a really good opening.

The pillar of black smoke could be seen from Heavenly. The townsfolk looked from their windows and gathered on sidewalks. They knew it was the Roth place burning, and they prayed for the girls but not the man.

With this beginning, Youers does two things well that are critical to the success of any story. First, he puts us right into the scene and tells us who we need to be concerned about, and second, he creates familiar circumstances as a starting point. We see ourselves in the role of townsfolk almost and accept the logic of the following action. Continue reading

Australian horror anthology features illustrations

In the course of websurfing to find examples of the rare illustrated novel, which I’ve discussed in earlier posts, I came across Horror Australis, a new undertaking by Steve Proposch, Bryce Stevens and Christopher Sequeira. Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu cosmology, CTHULHU: DEEP DOWN UNDER is a horror anthology composed of 24 pieces of prose by 24 established Australian genre fiction writers and 24 amazing artists. The team at Horror Australis promises it will astound, horrify, amuse and delight you. And, as this post is going out, there are still a few hours left in their crowdfunding effort, so check it out (and the pledge perks). Here’s wishing them the best of luck in producing this illustrated anthology and advancing the cause of illustrated speculative fiction!


Review: Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future

A Happy Thought Experiment

6a00d8341c6bcf53ef01a3fd1654ed970b-800wiThe stories found in the new anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future reflect a return to “practical techno-optimism,” according to Neal Stephenson science fiction author and a key instigator of the Hieroglyph Project at the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University.  The motivation for this collection seems to be a realization that a) science by committee and science by budget line is killing innovation and b) the American public’s current fascination with dark dystopian visions of the future is a bad sign of the prevalent attitude toward scientific and technological research. Continue reading