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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!

02 July 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #41A: “Crimson Hour” by Jesse Sprague

on’t think. Don’t feel. Concentrate on the work. Berend sliced under the unicorn’s scarlet hide. He worked swiftly to skin the beast while the pelt remained a vivid red. For a short time at dawn and dusk, a unicorn glowed red, and only during those few minutes could a blade pierce the animal’s hide. Normally, animals came to his butcher shop gutted, but with a unicorn that wasn’t impossible. 

As he pulled the pelt back, he pondered the cuts that would come next. He’d have to remove the heart first—for the Hero.

Lined up on the stone table beside the unicorn, an array of tools waited. For now, the bone knife was all the job required. Berend’s hand paused under the unicorn’s jaw. The village shaman had already removed the horn, leaving a jagged circle of white bone. Around this circle and coating the muzzle was a thick splatter of human blood.

The blood of my only son.

27 June 2018 ~ 0 Comments

HUGO BOOK REVIEW: Provenance by Ann Leckie

Provenance is a science fiction novel written by Ann Leckie released in September 2017, which takes place in the same universe as her breakout Imperial Radch trilogy (Ancillary Justice (2013) , Ancillary Sword (2014), Ancillary Mercy (2015)).  This book takes place shortly after the events of Ancillary Mercy.  It doesn’t share any of the characters or settings, but some of the political forces, cultures, technology, and alien races are familiar to those who’ve read the trilogy.  I don’t think you’d have any trouble following the story if you hadn’t read the trilogy, and I think it would work fine as a standalone, but you may have a shortcut to understanding certain elements from having seen the cultures and species in the previous books.

22 June 2018 ~ 7 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Incredibles 2

The Incredibles 2 is a superhero family action/comedy animated feature from Pixar, released in June 2018.  It’s the sequel to The Incredibles, the first in the series, released way back in 2004.  The Incredibles 2 picks up where the first one left off, after the superhero family has had their first big win together thwarting Syndrome’s plan to set up superheroes for failure, and with the emergence of the Underminer’s big drilling machine from under the city.

The family joins together again to save the city from the Underminer, and soon after Elastigirl aka Helen Parr, Mr. Incredible aka Bob Parr, and Frozone aka Lucius Best are approached by rich superhero-sympathist brother-and-sister business partners Winston Deavor and Evelyn Deavor, who want to start a new campaign to make superheroes legal again, starting with financing Elastigirl to fight crime and improve the public image of supers.  Bob and Helen talk it through and decide that she should do it, in part to make a more accepting future for their children Dash and Violet.  Bob stays home to watch the kids while Helen goes out on this mission, and their baby Jack-Jack begins manifesting superpowers.  Soon a new supervillain rises, Screenslaver, who uses hypnosis to turn others into his minions.

20 June 2018 ~ 1 Comment

Anime Review: Hakata Tonkatsu Ramens

Anime Review: Hakata Tonkatsu Ramens

hakataramens

Hakata Tonkatsu Ramens has a ridiculous premise, but once you buy into it, it’s a lot of fun. Hakata City, within the Fukuoka Prefecture, is city so populated with hitmen and other criminal elements that they’ve essentially organized into businesses. Not public facing, mind, but this is the kind of show where in the first episode a hitman finds out someone else has already killed his target, because, well, hitmen are just that easy to hire. (I imagine people with enemies don’t last long in Hakata City.)

15 June 2018 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #40B: “Withholding Judgment Day” by Ryan Dull

5:00 AM GMT

Brother Franco Corsini always woke up early when the world was ending. Some Elegian monks could roll out of bed twenty minutes before Christ returned and perform their duties without a hitch, but Brother Franco needed a long morning to get into the right mindset. He lay in the pre-dawn light with his blanket pulled to his chin and prayed for humanity in expanding concentric circles – first himself, then his monastery, then the city of Milan, the nation of Italy, the people of the world, the dead, the unborn, and all Creation. Through the wall of his cell, Brother Franco could hear his neighbor already rejoicing at the top of his lungs. But his neighbor expected Christ to return before 6:00 AM, and so of course he was yelling. Brother Franco belonged to the 2:00 to 3:00 PM GMT slot, which he shared with Brothers Dimitri Abdulov and Hernan Esteban, both of whom were currently sound asleep in the Elegians’ second monastery in central Colombia. Brother Franco had nine long hours left. He knew, but did not yet expect, in an immediate, physical way, that the world would end. For a novice, this might have been cause for alarm. But Brother Franco had been expecting the end for years now, and he trusted that he would get there, even if it took all morning. 

13 June 2018 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Dead in the Family is a romance/mystery/horror novel from 2010, the tenth in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris (which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood).  The previous books are all reviewed here earlier on the Diabolical Plots feed.

At the end of the last book, Dead and Gone, Sookie was tortured at the hands of two fairies that were part of the opposing faction of the short-lived but brutal fairy war.  As this book starts, she is still recovering from both the physical and psychological aftermath of this horrific treatment, with the help of her friends and her boyfriend the vampire Eric Northman.  Things begin to get very complicated when Eric’s maker, the ancient Roman vampire Appius Livius Ocella, shows up with another vampire he has made–Alexei Romanov, the last son of the last Czar of Russia who witnessed his entire family slaughtered and is still suffering from emotional imbalances even these decades later.  Sookie is asked to babysit the child of her (dead) cousin Hadley, who is also telepathic, and she helps him deal with social situations.  Meanwhile, Bill is still ill from the silver poisoning he got during the fairy war.  If his maker were still alive, she might be able to heal him, but the only chance is another vampire made by his maker–and Bill doesn’t want to contact her.

11 June 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Kokkoku

kokkoku
I really wanted to like Kokkoku. I really did.

The setup in the very first episode has a lot of promise. Juri Yukawa is a young woman, newly graduated from college, and she’s from a middle class family that has fallen on hard times. Her mother is still working, but her father has been laid off. Her grandfather is retired, her older brother is unemployed, and her older sister is a single mother with a child she had with a man who has since exited her life.

All four generations of the Yukawas live in the same house and Juri feels like she needs to get out of town before she ends up going nowhere like almost every other adult in her family. She knows she’s not that special. None of her job interviews locally have resulted in any offers.

08 June 2018 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone is a romance/mystery/horror novel from 2009, the ninth in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris (which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood).  The previous books are all reviewed here earlier on the Diabolical Plots feed.

Before the series of books, the vampires of the world had publicly revealed their existence, but since then Sookie has learned of many other supernatural beings living among us as humans.  Among them are the shapeshifters, including werewolves and wereanimals of other types.  Now that they’ve had time to observe how the vampire revelation has gone, the shapeshifters have finally decided to make their big public reveal, outing themselves to the public both in a general sense and with individual members of communities revealing themselves at once.  The reveal in Bon Temps seems to go pretty well, until Sookie’s werepanther sister-in-law is found crucified outside Merlotte’s where she works.

06 June 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Spring 2018 Anime First Impressions

Spring 2018 Anime First Impressions

caligulaA lot has changed since last year. Amazon’s Anime Strike service has been shut down and everything previously streaming on it has been rolled into its baseline Amazon Prime service. While this does not help fans without Amazon Prime, American fans are no longer being charged a few extra dollars for the same content their Canadian counterparts have been getting as part of their baseline service.

Additionally, HIDIVE is coming into its own as an alternate streaming service with its own exclusive licenses. It doesn’t have a free streaming alternative, but the monthly subscription is affordable and their library is deep with several exclusives.

01 June 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Diabolical Plots: Year Three Available for Pre-Order!

The newest anthology from Diabolical Plots, Diabolical Plots Year Three, is now available for pre-order from Amazon and Kobo (other vendors to follow).  Pre-ordering is a great way to help ebook vendor algorithms promote it more, so if you think you would like a copy anyway pre-ordering is a big help.