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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!

18 January 2019 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Podcastle 2018

Podcastle is the weekly fantasy podcast published by Escape Artists, edited by Jen Albert and Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali.  As well as weekly full-length feature episodes, they also publish occasional standalone flash stories as bonus episodes, as well as triple flash stories for the occasional feature episode collection.

In February Podcastle once again participated in the Artemis Rising event across the Escape Artists podcasts, publishing fantasy stories written by women and nonbinary authors.

Podcastle published 55 stories by my count in 2018.

Every short story that is eligible for Hugo nominations this year which were first published by Podcastle are marked with an asterisk (*).

16 January 2019 ~ 1 Comment

The Best of Pseudopod 2018

Pseudopod is the weekly horror podcast edited by Shawn Garrett and Alex Hofelich.

In February Pseudopod once again participated in the Artemis Rising theme across the Escape Artists podcasts, publishing horror stories by women (including some originals picked out from a special slushpile just for this purpose).

Pseudopod publishes episodes weekly, with occasional Flash on the Borderlands episodes that collect 3 similar-themed flash stories for a single episode, for a total of 63 stories published in 2018, by my count.

11 January 2019 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #47B: “The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

Thomas Fitzpatrick McAllister’s life was the very essence of boring and uneventful, to the extent that even his goldfish, who up until recently had always been a veritable fountain of excitement, had taken up the hobby of listening to dial tones while staring listlessly at the wall. It wasn’t even a particularly interesting wall, though it must be noted that it was painted a rather vibrant shade of ecru, and was quite possibly the most vibrant shade of anything in the entire apartment. Though Tom never entertained guests, whenever a plumber or handyman happened to complement the ecru wall, Tom was quick to point out that it had been that color when he moved in, and that the previous residents had probably been wild, uninhibited hippies who had bought the paint in the middle of a psychedelic trip. 

Though his life had consisted of undressed salads, unscented deodorant, and a vast variety of other un-things for as long as he could remember (which was nearly everything since his traumatic fourth birthday, when some well-meaning but ill-informed aunt had attempted to give him a box of crayons), his comfortably dull, quiet life would soon be violently thrust into a world of excitement. And not a moment too soon, or this might have been an incredibly uninteresting story. 

09 January 2019 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies Podcast 2017-2018

Beneath Ceaseless Skies published has been publishing other-world fantasy since 2008, and has been edited by Scott H. Andrews since its launch.  They publish about half of their stories in audio, so if you like what you read here there is more stories that weren’t even considered on the BCS website.  This post covers two years of Beneath Ceaseless Skies–they didn’t publish quite enough stories in audio in 2017 for a full list.  Over that two year period, BCS published 42 stories on their podcast.

The stories that are eligible for this year’s science fiction awards (like the Hugo and Nebula) are marked with an asterisk if they are short stories(*) and a double-asterisk if they are novelettes (**).  BCS publishes all original fiction, but only that was first published in the 2018 calendar year is eligible.

07 January 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Award Eligibility 2018

It’s time for that January tradition, the Award Eligibility post for Diabolical Plots.

This has been a year of change, as we’ve been trying a new publishing strategy; instead of publishing stories only on the Diabolical Plots website, we’ve been shifting toward publishing them in ebook.  Since there was a backlog of several years of stories already published, this resulted in three anthologies of stories that were first published on Diabolical Plots:

 Diabolical Plots: The First Years in March 2018
Diabolical Plots: Year Three in June 2018
Diabolical Plots: Year Four in September 2018

02 January 2019 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #47A: “The Divided Island” by Rhys Hughes

On that island there are two kingdoms, equal in area, and both are distinct in character. The northern is a state of order and precision; the southern is a realm of chaos and indecision. Two borders with a narrow neutral strip between them mark the frontier. The northern is a wall of constant height that traverses the island in a perfectly straight line; the southern undulates randomly over the mountains and marshes.

There is no commerce between the nations, no diplomatic, cultural or academic exchange. The frontier is impassable; both regions are isolated and self-reliant. They receive foreign visitors rarely and discourage them with different methods; in the northern zone, by ignoring them until they leave; in the southern, by failing to protect them from violence. They are worlds unto themselves, reticent, exclusive.

Yet even divergent evolutionary paths can circumnavigate the sphere of possibilities and end up leading in the same direction. So finely tuned was the northern territory that no aspect of modern civilisation was absent from it and every facility enjoyed by the citizens of the most sophisticated outer countries was available to its denizens too. For example, it featured a zoo that was a public political experiment.

31 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

GAME REVIEW: The Talos Principle

written by David Steffen The Talos Principle is an FPS-style puzzle game with a philosophical science fictional storyline, developed by Croteam in December 2014. The game begins as you, a new being, wake up into existence with the disembodied voice of a god-like being that known as Elohim.  Elohim sets you on a series of puzzles […]

28 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

GAME REVIEW: The Magic Circle

magiccircleThe Magic Circle is a first person puzzle/action game released by Question in July 2015.

Ishmael (Ish for short) Gilder is a celebrity in the gaming world, the designer of a wildly popular game twenty years ago, a text-based adventure.  The fans have been pining for the first person fantasy sequel that Ish has been developing… for the last twenty years. Ish dithers over every little choice, never making firm decisions on anything, and so the game continues to linger in “development hell”.  Not even so much as a color scheme, so the game in development is still in monochrome.

You are the character in that game.  But Ish is so indecisive, he won’t even allow the protagonist to have a weapon.  So, you can’t possibly win an action fantasy game like that.  Can you?

24 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

TV REVIEW: Twin Peaks (2017 Revival)

The original Twin Peaks was a murder mystery created David Lynch and Mark Frost, which premiered in 1990, and ran for two seasons.  The story began with the discovery of the corpse of the homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).  As the town grieves the loss of one of their own, FBI special agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachland) arrives to investigate the murder.  Charmed by the small town atmosphere, Agent Cooper works with the sheriff Harry Truman (Michael Ontkean) to uncover clues to the mystery.  What seems at first an ordinary murder (although unusual in this smaller town), uncovers more strange details and soon everything they think they know is called into question.  Even though the main plot of the show was pretty dark, there were plenty of moments of levity, fun moments between characters, intentional awkward pauses.    The show has a large ensemble cast who all play a major role at times, many more than would be worth bringing up in a review of this length.  The show is well worth a watch, though you might want to keep in mind that it gets weirder as it goes on, to the point where some of the weirdness is just confusing rather than compelling, and if you are expecting the confusing parts to make sense later, they often don’t.

21 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Smallfoot

Smallfoot is a 2018 computer-animated musical adventure children’s film about a town of yetis living in high mountains above the clouds, oblivious of the human world until plane crashes and a young yeti, Migo (Channing Tatum) sees a smallfoot (their name for humans).  Everything about the yetis’ lives is defined by the laws written on ancient stones worn by their leader the Stonekeeper (Common).  Migo  is the son of Dorgle the gong-ringer (Danny DeVito) who rings the gong every morning to make the sun rise.  Every day is spent with daily labors that don’t have a clear purpose but are prescribed by the stones.   Migo and his young friends, including Meechee the Stonekeeper’s daughter (Zendaya), Gwangi (LeBron James), Kolka (Gina Rodriguez), and Fleem (Ely Henry) question the wisdom of the stones.