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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!

01 September 2015 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #7: “A Room for Lost Things” by Chloe N. Clark

“It’s not always there,” Kelly said.

Rose looked at her niece. “What isn’t always there?”

“The room next to mine. It’s not there all the time.”

28 August 2015 ~ 1 Comment

Diabolical Plots Fiction Lineup (Year Two)

written by David Steffen Diabolical Plots opened for fiction submissions for the month of July, one story per writer for the submission window.  During that month 425 valid submissions arrived in the slushpile.  59 stories were held for a second look.  13 stories were purchased.  Both rounds of the process were judged entirely by me, […]

26 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick

Chasing the Phoenix is a science fiction novel by Michael Swanwick, published by Tor Books earlier this month.

The book stars Swanwick’s recurring characters, the con men Darger and Surplus. As the story begins, Surplus is journeying through a future China with the Darger’s corpse carried on the back of a yak, seeking the services of the legendary healer the Infallible Physician to raise Darger from the dead. Once that’s happened (it happens early enough in the book that I don’t think that counts as a spoiler). Considering greed a virtue, the con men are always looking for ways to profit from their circumstances. Surplus, who is an anthropomorphic dog, has used his appearance to his advantage by pretending to be an immortal, and with Surplus rising from the dead they have soon gained the attention of powerful people involved in a brewing civil war. Even among one side of the war, there are always those jockeying for power and willing to kill to get their way, and soon the two con men are working all sides just to stay alive.

21 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW (Conclusion): The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu (Translated by Ken Liu)

Less than a month ago, just before the Hugo Award voting deadline, I gave a preliminary review of the first 100 pages or so of the Hugo-nominated novel The Three Body Problem. I gave the partial review then to get it published before the Hugo deadline, but since then I’ve finished reading. This review will be pretty brief because I don’t want to spoil everything, and the truth about what exactly explains the weirdness that’s happened so far in the book takes a while to unroll.

19 August 2015 ~ 1 Comment

The Five Best Realistic Science Fiction Films in the Past Five Years

There was a time when science fiction films consisted of more fiction than science, but as mankind grows more intelligent about the scientific forces that control the universe, our need for more believable science fiction also grows stronger. Here are some recent and realistic depictions of science and technology in film:

10 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

fate stay/night: ubwFate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is based on the Unlimited Blade Works storyline from the adult-rated Fate/stay night visual novel. Unlike in the US, it’s not unheard of for erotic games to be repackaged for a broader audience with the explicit scenes removed and for an anime to use the cleaned up version of the storyline.

In the world of the Fate series, there is a tournament held every few decades where seven Masters summon seven Servants and battle to obtain the Holy Grail, which will grant the winners a wish. The Masters are all supposed to be powerful wizards in the present day world, and the Servants are legendary heroes from across time. Each Master and Servant pair work as a team towards their goal and each of them will get their own wish.

05 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Summer 2015 Anime First Impressions

Summer 2015 Anime First Impressions

aoharu x machinegunUnlike summer on American TV, new anime debuts year round with every season, and this summer in particular looks like fun times, with multiple shows I’m interested in following. It’s like winter 2015 all over again, where there’s more than I can keep up with, but this time there are no returning series vying for my attention and all of the interesting things are new.

It’s going to be hard to limit my viewing pool to my preferred cap of three shows! There is one exception though, due to a very special bonus show I’m including at the bottom.

29 July 2015 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #6: “The Superhero Registry” by Adam Gaylord

“What about ‘Copper Penny’?” Lois spread her hands out in front of her like the name was on an old Hollywood marque.

The square-jawed applicant sitting across the desk arched an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Sure! Just think of the potential catch phrases. Your arch-nemesis monologues about how you’ve yet again foiled his or her plans and you say, ‘Of course. I’m Copper Penny. I always turn up.’”

She could tell he was tempted. She tried to sweeten the deal. “Plus, copper is very valuable right now.”

He frowned. “It’s just, it’s a little feminine, don’t you think?”

28 July 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Hugo Novel Review (Partial): Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu)

I’ve been reading as fast as I can before the Hugo voting deadline on July 31st, but there’s been a bunch of things competing for my time (most recently the Welcome to Night Vale novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor) and so I haven’t been able to read as many of the nominees as I like. I am only part way through The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu, but since the Hugo voting deadline is almost here I wanted to give a partial review–I’ll give a complete review when I have had the time to finish the book.

The story starts in China in 1967, during the Cultural Revolution (a social-political movement started by Mao Zedong whose stated goal was to preserve the “true” Communist ideology from the corrupting influences of capitalist and traditional elements from society. Ye Zhetai is a physics professor at the time, trying to teach his students without coming under the ire of the movement, but in a debate about relativity he is struck dead. His daughter Ye Wenjie follows in his footsteps, becoming a physicist as well, and ends up being recruited for a top-secret research project.

27 July 2015 ~ 2 Comments

Why do I Value the Hugos?

I’ve been following the Hugos closely for several years, trying to read and review as many of the nominated works as I can digest between the announcement of the ballot and the final deadline. I also follow the Nebulas, and I glance at the results from other SF genre awards, but for me the Hugos take up most of my attention come award season. With this eventful Hugo year, it crossed my mind to wonder why the Hugos specifically, and whether I might perhaps be better off devoting more of my attention to awards that don’t collect controversy the way the Hugo Awards always seem to do, and in escalating fashion these last few years.

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