Hi! Welcome...

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!

16 November 2018 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #45B: “The Coal Remembers What It Was” by Paul R. Hardy

Oh, I remember my mam. She’s been gone nigh on forty years, but I still think of the mornings when I were little and she’d show me the demons. She’d be up at the crack of dawn, kneeling down afore the stove to shove kindling in the firebox with one hand because she were cradling my baby brother in the other. And then I’d come along and pick a bit of coal out of the scuttle and ask: is there a demon in this one? And she’d say no, and I’d put it back and pick up another and ask: is there a demon in this one? And she’d say no again and I’d take another and like as not she’d clip me round the ear before I said owt else. “It’s not demons, Elsie,” she’d say. “The coal remembers what it was, that’s all. But it’s still only a lump of coal and I need to get the fire lit for your dad’s bath so get away with you and stop bothering me with your nonsense!”

Dad were on the night shift, you see. I hardly ever saw him with the hours he worked. He’d get home in the morning so covered in coal dust I thought he were a piece of coal himself. And then he’d have his bath and go straight to bed, and he were out again before I were back from school. People are always asking me about him. I get sick of all the questions. They’re only asking because he died in the disaster, but that were seventy years ago and it’s not like I were down there in the mine with him when it happened. I were back home, with Mam. Course I was. I were only little. I were up early to look at the demons.

12 November 2018 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Ferdinand

Ferdinand is a computer-animated children’s comedy/adventure distributed by 20th Century Fox.  The title character Ferdinand (John Cena) grew up on a Mexican ranch that breeds bulls for bullfighting in the arena.  The bulls compete with each other for the honor of being chosen for a bullfight, with the idea that they will defeat the matador and win eternal glory.  But young Ferdinand doesn’t want to fight, and one day he runs away and is adopted by Nina (Julia Saldanha) and her family where he is raised as a beloved pet, and he lives happily there for a time.  His favorite time of year is the flower festival, because he loves nothing more than smelling flowers.  But when he is fully grown, they tell him he can’t come along because he is too scary at his full-grown size.  He sneaks into town anyway, but is considered a threat to the populace and is sent back to the ranch where he meets the other bulls he knew as calves.  The other bulls treat him poorly, but a nanny goat named Lupe (Kate McKinnon) decides to take him in and train him to be a fighter, but he’s no more interested in fighting than he was before, and the only way he might be able to avoid fighting is if he can escape.

07 November 2018 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: End of Watch by Stephen King

End of Watch is a speculative mystery book by Stephen King, the third in a series of mystery books about retired detective Bill “Kermit” Hodges.  The first book in the series is Mr. Mercedes, the second book is Finders Keepers.  The nature of the series means that I can’t really describe the contents of this book without major spoilers for the other books, especially Mr. Mercedes.  So, if you don’t want those spoiled, stop right here.

02 November 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #45A: “The Memory Cookbook” by Aaron Fox-Lerner

The first thing to remember is that your memories are no longer your own. You’re worth something now that you’ve been implanted, but only so long as you can remember something worthwhile.

You need to think about your memories in terms of who will consume them. What kind of mood will it give them? What do they want to feel? What food or drinks will be paired with the memory? Will they be remembering it alone?

Remember that while your memories may be yours, they are being recalled in the service of paying customers. You should never remind them of this fact, but always be aware that they are the ones with money and you are not.

31 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Darling in the Franxx

Anime Review: Darling in the Franxx

darlinginthefranxx

Darling in the Franxx is a mess of good ideas marred by poor pacing and an unwillingness to make the most of its material. On the surface the premise is absurd. Teenagers who don’t know the first thing about sexual relationships due to never getting educated on the subject, are raised to pilot the Franxx mecha in male-female pairs. This involves the girl crouching bent on all fours over with a display on her back and handles attached to the butt of her uniform that the boy sitting behind her uses to pilot. Darling is not subtle with its imagery.

The series follows five pairs of pilots, but for the most part it’s Hiro and Zero’s show. For some reason Hiro fails at being a pilot for anyone other Zero, despite his high aptitude scores, and Zero is a hybrid that is both human and klaxosaur (the klaxosaurs being the kaiju the Franxx were created to fight).

29 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: From a Certain Point of View

From a Certain Point of View is a short story anthology media tie-in to the Star Wars universe, released in October 2017 by Del Rey.  To celebrate 40 years of Star Wars, the anthology contains 40 stories that take place in or around the events of the original Star Wars film released in 1977, but from the point of view from a supporting character.  All of the author’s proceeds for the book go to the charity First Book that provides books, teaching materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need.

26 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku

wotakoi

I loved the first episode of Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku. It was pitch perfect, and easily relatable. Narumi starts her new office job and wants to keep it on the down low that she’s an incredible otaku (nerd). The whole reason she changed jobs is that she used to date someone at her old work and he broke up with her after finding out how much of a geek she was. Narumi is not just a casual fan who happens to enjoy cosplayers and boys’ love manga. She’s pretty hardcore about her hobbies and she’s also an amateur comic artist; one that regularly goes to conventions and sells her own work.

Her attempts to fly under the radar go awry though, when she runs into her childhood friend, Hirotaka, who also works there. He’s well aware that she enjoys video games and loves manga because they used to play together, and being rather blunt, he all but outs her in front of her new coworkers until she interrupts that they really should catch up after work. (It later turns out that those two particular coworkers are otaku too, though the rest of the office is not.)

22 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Lego Ninjago Movie

The Lego Ninjago movie is a computer animated children’s movie from Warner Bros, released in September 2017.  It is in the loosely connected series of Lego movies that include The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie.  Similar to those movies, pretty much everything in the movie is made as though it were built out of Lego blocks, and though the movies generally don’t often acknowledge that they are actually toys, it occasionally does (usually for comic effect).

Ninjago Island has, for decades, been terrorized by the monstrous villain Garmadon (Justin Thoreau), who builds fanciful mechs and leads armies of fighters to take over the island.  The island’s only defense is a group of ninja heroes who pilot elemental-themed mechs to thwart Garmadon at every turn: Water Ninja (Abbi Jacobson), Ice Ninja (Zach Woods), Earth Ninja (Fred Armisen), Lightning Ninja (Kumail Nanjiani), Fire Ninja (Michael Peña), and their leader: Green Ninja (Dave Franco).  The ninja team is secretly a group of high school students trained by Master Wu (Jackie Chan), and the Green Ninja is the second-most despised person in all of Ninjago–Lloyd Garmadon, son of the villain himself.  Garmadon wins one of their battles and takes over Ninjago, and the ninja team heads off with Master Wu to begin their training to come back and finish the job.

19 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Caligula

written by Laurie Tom

caligula

What if your reality isn’t real? It should be, but you start to notice things that don’t make sense and you can’t ignore it.

That’s the situation that Ritsu Shikishima finds himself in when he hears an odd voice through his phone, and discovers the class representative for the graduating third year students is the exact same person as the class representative for the incoming first years. And he’s not the only one to find something amiss. His classmate Mifue comes home and discovers her mom has become a literally different person overnight, with a different appearance and personality.

15 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #44B: “Still Life With Grave Juice” by Jim Moss

“This is the real thing? None of that synth-sludge?”

“Yes, sir. Direct from Earth.”

“And it’s the best you’ve got?” Quincy eyed the glass on the robowaiter’s tray. He should have ordered a bottle. He would need more to help unravel the stress of his turbulent negotiations with the Wattlars, who had rejected yet another contract. At least this outpost had an overpriced restaurant where he could run up his company’s expense account.

“Highest quality and price, I assure you. You may access my Integriport–”

“Yeah, yeah…” Quincy waved his hand, the gesture cue enough for the robowaiter to spit out a coaster which landed on the table with a soft plop. In a ballet of hydraulics, the robowaiter plucked the glass off the tray and set it before Quincy with the exaggerated grace of a suitor presenting a rose.

“Will that be all, sir?”

“You know, on Earth, they pop the cork in front of the patron, so it can be inspected for dryness, and they show the bottle so that–”

“You requested a glass, not an entire bottle,” the robowaiter spun its upper torso away from Quincy and sped off. Quincy held up the glass by the stem, examining its deep burgundy contents by the overhead light. He brought it down below his nose and inhaled.

“Cannibal.”

That word, that accent, the derisive tone — Quincy knew it referred to him.