Pain as Power: Review of Witch King by Martha Wells
Martha Wells’s bestselling Murderbot series has been lauded for its aromantic and asexual representation, but coming off that series, she struggles to depict queer relationships that are romantic (and, presumably, sexual).
And Something More, Something That Is Lost in Translation: Review of Translation State by Ann Leckie
Translation State offers an exciting peek into a rapidly changing universe, tempting us with glimpses of the Presger’s true nature and grounding us with lovable, refreshing characters.
The Subtle Art of Silliness: How Children’s Media Can Heal our Inner Child
Do you ever wonder why there seems to be a timeless essence to the stories little kids continue to read?
Classic Fantasy Tropes Upside Down: What Differentiates Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law from The Lord of the Rings
These tropes have been employed throughout literature in so many ways that one wonders: how is a story able to maintain its originality?
Issue 41 Pre-Order Open
Our 41st issue is now available for pre-order online.
2021 Sudden Fiction Contest Winners!
We’re thrilled to announce the winners and honorary mention of our 2021 Sudden Fiction Contest! Read more to find out who won!
How do we short-circuit control? A Review of Nonbinary by Genesis P-Orridge
While Genesis lived a life that may sometimes seem almost alien, s/he was still very much human—but maybe that’s what makes h/er message resound so strongly with h/er readers.
On the Cult of Romance: A Review Of “Cult Classic” by Megha Ganapathy
Below the fantastical, postmodern surface of algorithms, experiments, and an omniscient entity, however, there lies the story of a young woman, who is terrified to give up control to the universe— afraid of what demons she might uncover if she looks back even for a second.
Words vs. Numbers: A Review of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake
A book Margaret Atwood would deem speculative fiction, Oryx and Crake explores the devaluation of the arts within a rapidly expanding society that heavily relies on scientific inventions.
Fantasy Women: A Review of First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami
Murakami has a record of sexualizing his female characters, leaving them underdeveloped, and if they were films, his books would not pass the Bechdel test.
House of the Dragon Review: Return of the King (And Queen)
House of the Dragon takes us back to what made those first seasons of the show so great.
Knowing Your Audience: A Review of Emily Henry’s Book Lovers
Book Lovers is a story that centers on love, but is more than romance.
The Power of Leaving: A Review of None But The Righteous, by Chantal James
With its maze-like layers, James chose an ambitious project for a debut novel.
A Beginner’s Guide to Comic Books
I’ve accumulated a modest list of my favorite works in recent years—from stand-alones to series, contemporary to science fiction. I hope you find a new favorite among them.
What’s up with Cannibalism?
“Mom,” she called to her own mother. “Something’s wrong.”And then the cat ate her kitten. And then ate the other kittens too.
The Idiot and the State of Contemporary Fiction
The Idiot initially reads somewhat as a hybrid between fiction and memoir—not necessarily because of how much it takes from Batuman’s real life, but because of how much it embraces the existence of art and literature outside of the novel at all.
The Goes Wrong Show and the Beauty of Failure
Few things have made me laugh as much or as hard as watching these fictional idiots fail at putting on play after play after play. No matter how bad things get, the show must go on, usually into even more ridiculous and mistake-prone territory.
What’s In a Story: Writing Fiction That Matters
The endless room for creativity in fiction makes it difficult to bind it to a definitive set of rules.
Examining Ourselves: The Painful Truths in Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman
Instead of fighting violence with violence, picking up a weapon, and spilling blood, Cassie’s revenge is more psychological and, debatably, more detrimental.
Three YA Novels that Got Mental Health Right
This is in no way a comprehensive list—however, I specifically chose works that not only avoid traditional YA standards, but gripped me enough to compel a second read.
Bookstores of the Bay: A Curated List
If you’re looking to find some new shops to explore, or just simply hear about one person’s experiences with bookstores, keep on reading!
His Scaly Self
Gradually, he grew accustomed to his alternate form, to the point that he could forget about it for hours at a time.
Camp City, a basti made of tarpaulin tents, was meant to be a temporary address. The government issued your grandparents refugee cards and they believed better days were about to come. Look how that turned out. Even poles of the boundary fence began to rot. Barbed wires sagged from the weight of drying clothes.
Every morning, we stood beside the frosty appendages, gripping our mugs of coffee, searching for changes. Even when the temperatures fluctuated, the legs didn’t morph or shrink.
What is There Time For
All joking aside, time travel, like breaking up, is something we do to ourselves. It’s effectual. It’s our fault and only our goddamn fault.
I try to be your daughter. I try to make you my mother.
A Gallery of Limbs
These images kept breaking in, things about Aubrey he fought so hard not to remember.
Life on the Water
The morning wind swirled down cool and soft from the mountains, shaking the tops of the short pines on the foothills, stirring the dust at Ignacio’s feet and raising his hopes. He leaned back against the car, black and sleek, borrowed from his brother, and…
Harvest day is the most important day of the week.
Versos de mi Alma
I am sitting in my mother’s red Bonneville station wagon. Mamá’s hair is still black and long and flows over the back of the seat.
Breaking the Canon: Interview with K-Ming Chang, Sudden Fiction Guest Judge & Author of Bestiary
Something about flash fiction and short fiction is just so ripe with experimentation and with breaking boundaries and for kind of completely turning on its head what a story can look like.
A Flash of Lightning and Heartbreak: Interview with Ashley Hutson, Sudden Fiction Guest Judge & Author of One’s Company
I feel like when you write flash, you’re giving something to the reader, like an electric shock.
A Case for “the surreal and the strange”: Interview with Anna Vangala Jones, Sudden Fiction Guest Judge and Author of Turmeric & Sugar
When I picture a flash fiction story done well, a story that’s getting so much across in this tiny space, I imagine a little snow globe or something that’s bursting with how much is going on inside it.
“Dive Right Into It”: An Interview with Leland Cheuk, Sudden Fiction Guest Judge and Author of No Good Very Bad Asian
With any story, you want to be taken into a world that you haven’t been before—taken into a consciousness, into the mind of a person you’re unfamiliar with.
An Interview about the Creative Process with Nico Pereda, Filmmaker and Director of Summer of Goliath, Fauna, and The Private Property Trilogy
It’s more like you’ve been all your life consuming—consuming images, consuming the world around you, conversations, and all kinds of things that you read, but also consuming experiences in many ways. What you create as artists is distilling that experience.
A Box of Ingredients: Interview with Beth Piatote, Sudden Fiction Guest Judge and Author of The Beadworkers: Stories
I think about other Native people who may read that piece and can, through the piece, feel a connection to those lands…feel that they are there.
I had always thought that words can do anything. Explain and convey every feeling. If there was no word to describe it, it was because you could not find the right one. It was on you, not on the words. It has only been recently that I realized that words can and do fall short.…
Talk to Me
The power of interviews is structural: an interview inherently forces you to listen and ask first, before saying anything else.
My Animals: How Susan Orlean’s On Animals Taught Me the Value of Human-Animal Crossings
By reading On Animals, I remembered my animals.
Escaping Into Reality: The Importance of Fictional Truth
There’s a common misconception that escapist fiction is far removed from reality, but I would argue that it is simply a different kind of truth about another aspect of reality.
Regarding the Pain of Women: Disabled Childhoods and Intellectual Insanity
Growing up as a disabled child, I learned to live in a world that was my own.
Lucia’s Lessons on Leaving
Berlin’s writing captured a sort of reckless joy I recalled from my time in Paris: living on that rugged edge between foolish risk-taking and worthwhile adventure.
Berkeley Fiction Review
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