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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!

07 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

TV REVIEW: Wayward Pines Season 2

Wayward Pines was a weird speculative mystery/thriller show that aired as ten episodes in the summer of 2015–see my review of that season here. At the time that it aired it was unclear whether it was going to be a standalone miniseries or whether there would be a second season–the ending wrapped up a lot of things but left a route to continue the story if it were desired. And, (obviously, given the title of the article) it did return for a second season in the summer of 2016.

02 November 2016 ~ 5 Comments

DP Fiction #21: “The Banshee Behind Beamon’s Bakery” by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Most nights the alley behind Beamon’s Bakery is just an alley.

The street lamp bleeds piss yellow light, casting jagged shadows around the overflowing dumpster and discarded boxes. The walls are tagged with gang signs, claiming territory that was never theirs, yardage, bodies, souls, rights.

Some nights a transient clears away the broken glass, the random detritus, to squat for the night. Setting up camp here has its own rewards. The warmth that seeps through the bakery walls and through brick facing chases away the chill, but not the ghosts. This is the drawback, you see. The alley is never as vacant as it may seem at first, never as lonely as one may wish. The price of physical warmth is the chilling of your soul.

31 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

MEDIA COMPARISON: Wayward Pines, Book Trilogy Vs. TV Season 1

In the summer of 2015 I watched the summer miniseries Wayward Pines on FOX which they ended up renewing for a second season in the summer of 2016.  The events of season 1 of the Wayward Pines TV show  (reviewed here) are based on the events of the Wayward Pines trilogy of books written by Blake Crouch:  Pines was published in 2012 (reviewed here), Wayward in 2013 (reviewed here), and The Last Town in 2014 (reviewed here).  After I finished watching season 1, I read the trilogy of books, and I thought it would be fun to list out some of the major changes between the two.

I’m not going to make any effort to avoid spoilers of the TV show or spoilers of the book, so get out of here if you don’t want that.  Many of the comparisons are going to have to do with major spoilery things.

24 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Town by Blake Crouch

The Last Town is a… I guess I’d call it an SF/horror thriller… the final book in a trilogy written by Blake Crouch and published in 2014 by Thomas & Mercer. There’s no way to discuss the events of this book without major spoilers for the first two books, so if you don’t want to know anything about book 1 and book 2, stop here. I have reviewed book 1 and book 2 already.

It is nearly two thousand years in the future, and pollution of the environment has caused humanity to mutate into vicious animals with only a minor resemblance to the human species we know today. In the late twentieth century rich the scientist David Pilcher predicted this and prepared to save as much of humanity as he could–he perfected the technology of cryogenic sleep, and took 1000 people into sleep with him. This group of people included both a staff of volunteers who came willingly, and those who were abducted without their knowledge under the guise of car accidents and other incidents. After waking up in almost two millennia later, Pilcher discovered that his prediction was correct, and the world was overrun with what he called aberrations or “abbies” for short, humanoid vicious predators who had replaced our species of humanity. He rebuilt the town of Wayward Pines in the mountains of Idaho. Those who had been abducted were woken to live in this town, the nature of the world kept a secret from them and living under the constant threat of capital punishment for breaking a long list of oppressive rules. No one was allowed to leave, though none of the residents know that there is nowhere safe to leave to. Pilcher’s volunteers kept surveillance over the town from a base in the mountains.

17 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Wayward by Blake Crouch

Wayward is a… I guess I’d call it a mystery SF thriller… the second of a trilogy written by Blake Crouch and published in 2012 by Thomas & Mercer.

If you follow reviews on this site regularly, and this one seems familiar, that’s because I’ve already posted a TV review of Wayward Pines Season 1 which is based on Blake Crouch’s trilogy of books and covers a similar set of events as the trilogy of books. And I recently posted a review of Pines, the first book in the trilogy. The first book relied a lot on big mysteries for a lot of its appeal and revealed many of those mysteries at the end. I can’t talk about book 2 without talking about those mysteries, so if you want to be surprised go read the first book.

10 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Pines by Blake Crouch

Pines is a… I guess I’d call it a mystery fantasy/SF thriller… the first of a trilogy written franchise tie-in novel written by Blake Crouch and published in 2012 by Thomas & Mercer.

If you follow reviews on this site regularly, and this one seems familiar, that’s because I’ve already posted a TV review of Wayward Pines Season 1 which is based on Blake Crouch’s trilogy of books and covers a similar set of events as the trilogy of books.

The story begins as U.S. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke travels to Wayward Pines, Idaho to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents who were last heard from as they approached the mysterious little town. After a car accident en route, Ethan wakes up in the Wayward Pines hospital, unable to contact anyone and unable to leave. In many ways it seems like a stereotypical small town, but there are big warning signs that something is not right in this little town–the strange things that people say, the strict rules the town keeps about not talking about your past and not asking questions. He wants nothing more than to escape the small town and get back home to his wife and son, but every route out of town is blocked–the main road only loops back into town again. He finds one of the agents he was looking for (whom he had had an affair with in the past), but she seems to aged more than she should have. Everything is a mystery in this mysterious, ominous, little town.

03 October 2016 ~ 6 Comments

DP Fiction #20: “October’s Wedding of the Month” by Emma McDonald

When Percy and Astrid met they’d no idea that only a few short weeks later they’d be getting married.

“Percy really swept me off my feet” said Astrid. “I’d just stepped outside the pub for a quick smoke and suddenly this guy was bundling me into his car.”

“It was love at first sight,” Percy confirmed. “I saw her and I just had to have her.”

Despite their unconventional first meeting our October couple are obviously very much in love. Sitting in their home, admiring the various objects of cult paraphernalia, including an antique sacrificial dagger, it’s also obvious that this was never going to be a normal wedding.

28 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Long List Anthology Vol 2 Kickstarter!

long-list-antho-cover-art-color-comp-lg-1The Kickstarter has been launched for the Long List Anthology Volume 2!

Same premise as last year, to put together an anthology of works from the longer Hugo Award nomination list. This year, Galen Dara has been commissioned for original cover art–the art at the top of the post is not the final version, it is a color proof of the art, but the final version will be shared as soon as possible.

Check out the rewards, besides copies of the books there are critiques from Martin L. Shoemaker, Sunil Patel, Erica Satifka and myself.

26 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Catch-Up Review: Knights of Sidonia

Anime Catch-Up Review: Knights of Sidonia

knightsofsidonia

Knights of Sidonia is one of the few anime series in recent years that was brought over to the US, but never simulcast. While I heard the series was good, it missed a lot of the seasonal round-ups because no one could watch it during its original airing.

I finally had the opportunity see it and decided to give it a shot, even though I heard that the second half doesn’t hold up to the first.

If you like hard science fiction in your anime though, the first half will entertain you plenty, as a lot of things that go unaccounted for in other series (like the fact a combat pilot in a cockpit needs some way of urinating without ruining his spacesuit) are called out and accounted for.

The sheer grittiness of the characters’ situation calls to mind similarities to 2013’s hit Attack on Titan. Once again we follow the last known bastion of human civilization, fighting a relentless enemy that cannot be communicated or reasoned with. Characters are introduced and wiped out, and tough decisions are made between the lives of a few or the survival of humanity.

23 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Movie Review: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary horror comedy film which had a theatrical release in 2014. It was directed by Jemaine Clement (who you might know as half of New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords). The film is structured as a documentary following four vampires who are flatmates in New Zealand, chronicling their everyday lives including flatmate disputes, their feeding habits, their human familiar, their night life, and avoiding vampire hunters.

Vlago, Vladislav, and Deacon are several centuries old and have maintained their human appearances, though the necessity to avoid sunlight has left them very behind the times. The fourth vampire Petyr, who is around 8000 years old, has become more monstrous in appearance and also monstrous in behavior compared to the other three.