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Diabolical Plots is a Sci-fi/Fantasy zine that covers virtually every media related to the genre from books to movies to video games. This site also features regular content related to the craft of writing. Take a look around!

17 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Wayward by Blake Crouch

Wayward is a… I guess I’d call it a mystery SF thriller… the second of a trilogy written by Blake Crouch and published in 2012 by Thomas & Mercer.

If you follow reviews on this site regularly, and this one seems familiar, that’s because I’ve already posted a TV review of Wayward Pines Season 1 which is based on Blake Crouch’s trilogy of books and covers a similar set of events as the trilogy of books. And I recently posted a review of Pines, the first book in the trilogy. The first book relied a lot on big mysteries for a lot of its appeal and revealed many of those mysteries at the end. I can’t talk about book 2 without talking about those mysteries, so if you want to be surprised go read the first book.

10 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Pines by Blake Crouch

Pines is a… I guess I’d call it a mystery fantasy/SF thriller… the first of a trilogy written franchise tie-in novel written by Blake Crouch and published in 2012 by Thomas & Mercer.

If you follow reviews on this site regularly, and this one seems familiar, that’s because I’ve already posted a TV review of Wayward Pines Season 1 which is based on Blake Crouch’s trilogy of books and covers a similar set of events as the trilogy of books.

The story begins as U.S. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke travels to Wayward Pines, Idaho to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents who were last heard from as they approached the mysterious little town. After a car accident en route, Ethan wakes up in the Wayward Pines hospital, unable to contact anyone and unable to leave. In many ways it seems like a stereotypical small town, but there are big warning signs that something is not right in this little town–the strange things that people say, the strict rules the town keeps about not talking about your past and not asking questions. He wants nothing more than to escape the small town and get back home to his wife and son, but every route out of town is blocked–the main road only loops back into town again. He finds one of the agents he was looking for (whom he had had an affair with in the past), but she seems to aged more than she should have. Everything is a mystery in this mysterious, ominous, little town.

03 October 2016 ~ 5 Comments

DP Fiction #20: “October’s Wedding of the Month” by Emma McDonald

When Percy and Astrid met they’d no idea that only a few short weeks later they’d be getting married.

“Percy really swept me off my feet” said Astrid. “I’d just stepped outside the pub for a quick smoke and suddenly this guy was bundling me into his car.”

“It was love at first sight,” Percy confirmed. “I saw her and I just had to have her.”

Despite their unconventional first meeting our October couple are obviously very much in love. Sitting in their home, admiring the various objects of cult paraphernalia, including an antique sacrificial dagger, it’s also obvious that this was never going to be a normal wedding.

28 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Long List Anthology Vol 2 Kickstarter!

long-list-antho-cover-art-color-comp-lg-1The Kickstarter has been launched for the Long List Anthology Volume 2!

Same premise as last year, to put together an anthology of works from the longer Hugo Award nomination list. This year, Galen Dara has been commissioned for original cover art–the art at the top of the post is not the final version, it is a color proof of the art, but the final version will be shared as soon as possible.

Check out the rewards, besides copies of the books there are critiques from Martin L. Shoemaker, Sunil Patel, Erica Satifka and myself.

26 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Catch-Up Review: Knights of Sidonia

Anime Catch-Up Review: Knights of Sidonia


Knights of Sidonia is one of the few anime series in recent years that was brought over to the US, but never simulcast. While I heard the series was good, it missed a lot of the seasonal round-ups because no one could watch it during its original airing.

I finally had the opportunity see it and decided to give it a shot, even though I heard that the second half doesn’t hold up to the first.

If you like hard science fiction in your anime though, the first half will entertain you plenty, as a lot of things that go unaccounted for in other series (like the fact a combat pilot in a cockpit needs some way of urinating without ruining his spacesuit) are called out and accounted for.

The sheer grittiness of the characters’ situation calls to mind similarities to 2013’s hit Attack on Titan. Once again we follow the last known bastion of human civilization, fighting a relentless enemy that cannot be communicated or reasoned with. Characters are introduced and wiped out, and tough decisions are made between the lives of a few or the survival of humanity.

23 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Movie Review: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary horror comedy film which had a theatrical release in 2014. It was directed by Jemaine Clement (who you might know as half of New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords). The film is structured as a documentary following four vampires who are flatmates in New Zealand, chronicling their everyday lives including flatmate disputes, their feeding habits, their human familiar, their night life, and avoiding vampire hunters.

Vlago, Vladislav, and Deacon are several centuries old and have maintained their human appearances, though the necessity to avoid sunlight has left them very behind the times. The fourth vampire Petyr, who is around 8000 years old, has become more monstrous in appearance and also monstrous in behavior compared to the other three.

19 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Movie Review: Digimon Adventure tri: Reunion

Anime Movie Review: Digimon Adventure tri: Reunion

digimon tri reunionI did not grow up with Digimon in that I had just graduated college when it started airing, but it was one of the last series I watched as a Saturday morning cartoon. People who haven’t seen it tend to dismiss it as a Pokemon knock-off, for featuring young children with monster buddies, but it did something that Pokemon did not. It allowed its protagonists to mature and grow up.

Digimon had always maintained in-universe that no matter how old you were, even if you became an adult, your partner digimon would always be there for you. Intelligent and able to speak, partner digimon are a pint-sized buddy that can be temporarily supercharged to grow into more powerful versions of themselves. No matter how badly their human screws up (and some of them do), the digimon are loyal for life.

16 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments


journalJournal is a dialog based narrative story game by Locked Door Puzzle released in 2014. The story follows a young girl who has discovered that the pages in her journal have gone blank and she sets out to try to find what happened to them. The game plays out as she talks to different characters in life, and asks them about the journal, and different interpersonal conflicts arise–her mother, her father, her classmates, teacher, priest. The game is a little bit of exploration as she walks around a larger area and finds new people to talk to with each level of the game, but mostly the game comes down to dialog choices. When her best friend accuses her of not being a good friend, does she apologize or deny it? When her teacher asks her if she cheated on a test does she own up to it or cover it up? Making the “right” choice doesn’t always produce a happy outcome–as with many things in life. As the game goes on she’s always kind of feeling her way around things that she doesn’t really want to remember.

12 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Ushio and Tora

ushio and toraWhen I first started watching anime I wasn’t too picky, because there wasn’t much available, so I watched a lot of genres that I wouldn’t anymore.

One of those early series was a direct to video supernatural action series called Ushio and Tora. It was fairly violent, but made tolerable by its endearing leads, the titular Ushio and Tora. Only ten episodes were animated, but the popular manga series eventually ran a whopping 33 volumes.

Fast-forward almost twenty years and in mid-2015 a new Ushio and Tora TV series was launched, spanning 39 episodes and covering the entire storyline. Despite being 20 years old, Ushio and Tora quite frankly doesn’t care and runs with with the same cheeky attitude (and wild hair!) that it did in the 90s.

09 September 2016 ~ 2 Comments

Guidelines for Short Fiction Guidelines

I read thousands of fiction guidelines of all genres every year as part of my work at The Submission Grinder, in order to distill those guidelines down into their basic components for market listings. After reading so many guidelines I wish that there were guidelines that editors had to follow when they’re writing their guidelines pages. Writers can be criticized for using tired cliches, but editors would do well to turn that critical eye on their own guidelines.