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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!

20 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Using MetaData For Clean Sorting of Fiction Podcast Episodes

written by David Steffen I’ve been listening to fiction podcasts for about 8 years, catching up on the backlog of one podcast before adding another.  I’m currently keeping up with about 10 podcasts.  I’m weird in that I prefer not to use a podcatcher, because I hate the iTunes podcatcher interface, so I manually download […]

18 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Long List Anthology Volume 3 Kickstarter

The Kickstarter for the Long List Anthology Volume 3 is launched as of this morning!  This is the third in a series of anthologies collecting works from the longer list of works that got a lot of Hugo Award nomination votes from the fans.

The art this year is a lovely piece by Amanda Makepeace.

15 September 2017 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #31B: “The Entropy of a Small Town” by Thomas K. Carpenter

I gave up the memory of my first kiss to fix the carburetor. It uncoiled from my mind like a constrictor that’d just figured out it was strangling a steaming pot of chicken soup, or the way an unclasped belt loosened and released a pair of tight hipster jeans from some skinny hips, maybe even Osmond’s.

Sitting in the attached garage surrounded by smudged grease, crumpled car parts, and a snot-filled rage that oscillated between “No, I’m fine” and “What the hell does it any of it matter” I pictured that kiss as it slipped free.

It’d been awkwardly delivered by a girl in seventh grade, behind Hamilton Elementary School, where they parked the buses they didn’t have the funds to fix anymore. Her name was Abby Silver. She’d kissed me with open eyes and rubbery lips, and whispered my name, “Phillip?” as she pulled away.

11 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a near future dystopia published in 1985 about a United States of America that has become an oppressive theocracy.  ((It has also very recently become a TV series streaming on Hulu, but I haven’t seen the show so I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about that)

Offred lives in Gilead, the theocratic country that the United States has become in a near future.  The Christian Bible is the rule of the land, or at least a very strict interpretation of a very selective subset of the Christian Bible.  Tales of the “way things used to be” are a constant mantra told by those in power to justify the extreme measures taken to uphold the current law, tales of when women could not walk the street without being harassed, when women were expected to paint themselves for beauty, when women had to fear rape and assault.  Women are safe now, they say, treated as the precious vessels they are meant to be, to bear children as God intended.  There is a wall in town where the body of criminals are hung on display: atheists and homosexuals and adulterists and traitors and others.  All for the safety of the good citizens of Gilead, of course.

A lingering effect of the way things used to be is low fertility across the population, caused by some mixture of chemicals, diet, medications, intentional blocking of fertility, and other causes.  In the new world women who can’t produce children are unwomen, sent to labor camps to live short miserable lives.  Lower class women, at least.  Upper class women may be assigned handmaids who, inspired by the tale of Jacob’s handmaiden in the Bible, may act as a pregnancy proxy for an infertile wife (according to the dictates of Gilead, no man is infertile, it is always the wife).

06 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

THEATER REVIEW: Shrek the Musical

Shrek The Musical is a theater version of the 2001 CG comedy adventure Shrek.  As with the movie, the play is about the ogre Shrek who lives a contented secluded life in a swamp, but his solitude is interrupted with an influx of fairytale creatures who have been evicted by Lord Farquad to transform his kingdom into his perfect image of a kingdom.  When Shrek goes to confront Farquad (meeting Donkey, a talking donkey on the way) he is coerced into mounting a rescue mission of Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower to bring her back to be Farquad’s bride.

01 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #31A: “Strung” by Xinyi Wang

The red string around Mom’s ankle does not lead to Dad, and Dad doesn’t have a red string at all. But she makes him laugh with his head thrown back, and he makes her smile the way I do at Ria Ruiz, the prettiest and smartest girl in not just my class but the whole first grade—so they must be in love, no matter what the Old Man in the Moon says.

“I hope I’m like you when I’m older,” I whisper one night, as Dad tucks me in.

He smiles and lifts his brows. “Bald?”

I scrunch up my nose. “No. I mean I don’t want a string, like you. I don’t want the Old Man to tell me who to love.”

Dad looks down at his unburdened ankles for so long I nearly fall asleep. Finally, he presses a kiss to my forehead. “Sweet dreams, Weilai.”

28 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

EVENT REVIEW: The Science of Pixar

written by David Steffen This summer at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the touring exhibit was The Science Behind Pixar.  There are sections of the exhibit for every stage of the production from concept art, storyboarding, clay modeling, modeling, rigging, motion capture, rendering, and lighting. If you’ve ever wondered how computer animation in general is […]

23 August 2017 ~ 1 Comment

Announcing the Diabolical Plots Year Four Fiction Lineup!

written by David Steffen Diabolical Plots was open for submissions once again for the month of July, to solicit stories to buy for the fourth year of fiction publication.  1003 submissions came in from 720 different writers, of which 25 stories were accepted.  Now that all of the contracts are in hand I am very […]

21 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: 1984 by George Orwell

1984 is easily the most well-known dystopian novels, and one of the most famous science fiction novels in history (whether or not Orwell would call it science fiction).  The book was written by George Orwell, and published in 1949.  Almost seventy years later, the political ideas in the story are as relevant as ever, and many of the concepts have since entered everyday vernacular even when those speaking are not familiar with the book itself.  .

In the future of the story, there are only three super-nations across the entire globe–Oceania (which contains the former United States and United Kingdom among others), Eurasia, and Eastasia.  The three super-nations are constantly at war with another in ever-shifting alliances.  The super-nations are all authoritarian states, which maintain control by a combination of ever-present surveillance, constant revision of history, and the limitation destruction of language.

16 August 2017 ~ 1 Comment

DP Fiction #30B: “Typical Heroes” by Theo Kogod

Tony started training the new girl the day before the world ended.

It was the third apocalypse that year.

The others had occurred when the dead all rose to fight the frost giants, and then again when the President’s new cyber-security tracking program became sentient and started sending combat drones against registered voters of the opposing party.

Tony was registered with the opposition, and had actually gotten to see the drones up close and personal as they descended on him, but then one of the supers had flown in and saved him, so he’d ended up still having to go to work.