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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!

15 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #33B: “Shoots and Ladders” by Charles Payseur

This is a game. There are rules that must be followed. Isn’t that what you told me when you gave me the gun, when you pointed me at the universe and fired? They are easy:
1. There is a reality where you are the winner. Where you never fear and never want and never lose.
2. The gun destroys realities.

Easy. But I didn’t learn until later, until after you were gone and I was alone, what you meant. Because who would believe it from a man you met at a hotel bar, a tired man with a fading glint in his eye who you still took back to your room despite the crazy shit he was saying? Or maybe I slept with you because of the crazy shit you were saying. Maybe that’s why you gave me the gun, because you saw that I was looking for something in you, something I couldn’t explain until you put that cold length of iron in my hand.

You were smiling when I pulled the trigger. Just for laughs, I told myself, just to make sure it wasn’t real, though the voice in the back of my mind was already asking what if? What if? The most dangerous question in the universe. In any universe. Click.

10 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

THEATER REVIEW: Disney’s Aladdin

Aladdin is a  play based on a 1992 Disney cartoon movie of the same name.  The play premiered in Seattle in 2011, and went to Broadway in 2014.

The story takes place in the fictional Arabic city of Agrabah.  The title character Aladdin is a young man, an orphan who has to steal to survive.  One day in the marketplace he meets a young woman and he falls for her, but then they are caught by the city guards and the woman reveals herself to be the princess of Agrabah as Aladdin is hauled away to the dungeons.  Aladdin is pulled from the dungeons by Jafar, the sultan’s advisor, because a prophecy stated that Aladdin was the “diamond in the rough” the only one that could retrieve the wish-granting genie’s lamp from the Cave of Wonders.  Aladdin goes and succeeds in finding the lamp, and is trapped in the cave but becomes the master of the Genie.

06 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Natsume Yūjin-chō Roku

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Natsume Yūjin-chō Roku is the sixth season of the long-running series (also known as Natsume’s Book of Friends). I previously reviewed seasons 1-4 here and season 5 here.

Natsume Yūjin-chō follows the ongoing misadventures of teenage Takashi Natsume, who has the ability to see youkai (spirits out of Japanese folklore) when most people cannot. Because the series is episodic, it’s generally easy to slip into the middle with minimal knowledge of what has happened in the past, but a few of Roku‘s episodes work better knowing Takashi’s (and his grandmother Reiko’s) history.

01 November 2017 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #33A: “When One Door Shuts” by Aimee Ogden

The whole family wants to know when Mia is going to walk through the door, but no one has asked her about it. No one will.

The front door of Mia’s parents’ house is painted emerald green on the outside, off-white on the inside, with a knob contrived to look like real brass. No one has opened it for six months. Mia hates that door, has hated it for its full half-year of disuse. Ever since the front door of every house on the street became a portal into death.

Or a portal to somewhere else, at least. But it’s the dead who walk through from the other side. The Garcias’ stillborn little boy was the first one to come back, crawling through their open door as a fat, cheerful one-year-old. George Bojanek, who died of a heart attack three years ago in May and who was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Custer, strolled through one day. None of them have anything to say about where they’ve been and how they came back, certainly not the one-year-old and not old George and no one in between.

30 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Club Dead is a romance/mystery/horror novel from 2003, the third in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris, which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood–this book was used very loosely as the basis for season 3 of the show.  The first book in the series is Dead Until Dark, (reviewed here), and the second book was Living Dead in Dallas (reviewed here).

Sookie’s vampire boyfriend Bill has been working on a project to the point of nearly total distraction.  Now he has disappeared under mysterious circumstances and Sookie sets out to find out what happened to him. The clues lead to Jackson, Mississippi where it appears that Bill’s former lover and maker Lorena has summoned him (maker as in the one who turned him into a vampire).  Clues seem to indicate that he is being held there against his will and their first stop is “Club Dead” the nickname for a major hangout for the supernatural in Jackson.  Sookie enlists the help of Bill’s boss and local authority in the vampire hierarchy Eric Northman and newfound ally the werewolf Alcide Herveaux.

27 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: KADO: The Right Answer

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KADO: The Right Answer is an usual piece of science fiction for anime to tackle. While first contact scenarios are about as common in anime as in Western movies, they are usually played for action (when the aliens are hostile) or comedy (when the aliens are not). KADO chooses to begin with an alien whose motivations are obscure by our understanding.

Yaha-kui zaShunina arrives in a giant extra-dimensional cube that lands on top of a passenger plane, accidentally absorbing it and all the people inside. Fortunately, one of those on board is ace government negotiator Kojiro Shindo. When the alien entity does not appear to be immediately hostile and goes to the effort of absorbing the the concept of human language, the two of them begin to communicate.

23 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas is a romance/mystery/horror novel, the second in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris, which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood–this book was the basis for season 2 of the show.  The first book in the series is Dead Until Dark, which I reviewed previously.

In the previous book, Sookie met her first love–the vampire Bill Compton.  She’s a telepath and her ability to read minds has proved disastrous to her love life, but she can’t hear vampire thoughts.  They are together now, and he is teaching her new things about controlling her powers, as she learns more and more about the supernatural world.

20 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Attack on Titan Season 2

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Attack on Titan‘s first season aired far enough back that I don’t have a review on Diabolical Plots to point newcomers to, but suffice to say it’s good! It crosses over to mainstream media much easier than most anime, but the story was clearly far from complete, which brings us to Season 2.

Be aware that there will be first season spoilers as I tackle the second season!

Attack on Titan took four years to return, which is surprising considering how popular it is. Part of the delay was no doubt because the first season had chewed through most of the available manga at the time it was animated, but considering that the second season is only covering one additional story arc, rather than two, I’m not sure why the studio waited so long. The manga has completed three more story arcs since the end of the first season, so from a storytelling standpoint, there’s a lot to work with.

16 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #32B: “Three Days of Unnamed Silence” by Daniel Ausema

A letter would be waiting for me at home, a real physical letter, like the old days. I knew about it, knew what it would mean, as I rushed through the day, calibrating grading bots and marking AI tests. As soon as I met my quota and had the batteries for my hDevice fully kinked, I hurried down to the great rotating front door.

The grunt whose effort powered the door slipped just as I approached. It shouldn’t have been a problem. Engineers work all kinds of failsafes into the systems so what a grunt does won’t go directly into the connected machine. Supposed to, anyway. But for some reason, the grunt’s tripping translated into an interruption in the door’s power, which made the door jerk. I slammed my shin into it, limped inside.

11 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark is a romance/mystery/horror novel, the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris, which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood (I reviewed the 7th and final season here, though keep in mind that will be spoilery if you’re just getting started)

Sookie Stackhouse is a twenty-five-year-old waitress living in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.  She is also a telepath–she can hear people’s thoughts, whether she likes it or not.  This has not been as useful as you might think, and has mostly served to make her a bit of an outcast.  Among other things, she has found any semblance of a romantic life is impossible with this ability, since she can hear her date’s hidden thoughts, not great for a first-date kind of situation.

Not too long ago, science perfected the production of synthetic blood.  Designed as a medical product, its announcement had wider effects than anticipated, when vampires all over the world revealed themselves to be real.  The synthetic blood allows them to survive without feeding on humans,  and so many vampires have chosen this time to reveal themselves and integrate into human society.