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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!

01 January 2018 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #35A: “Six Hundred Universes of Jenny Zars” by Wendy Nikel

Sometimes I forget which universe I’m in.

It happens most often on days like today. I’ve spent the last twelve hours in the makeshift lab I threw together in the basement of the University, tucked away in some long-forgotten storage closet where the boxes of toilet paper are so old that the brands that produced them don’t exist anymore.

All I want to do now is go home, nuke myself one of those Salisbury steak meals that always burns my tongue, boil a pot of tea, and curl up with a good book. Something fluffy and filled with the kind of one-liners that transcend dimensions, jokes that I can laugh at without worrying whether they have a deeper meaning somewhere else or what my shrink would say.

25 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

All Together Dead is a romance/mystery/horror novel from 2007, the seventh 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.

Sookie is invited to a national vampire summit as part of Queen Sophie-Anne of Louisiana’s entourage.  Sophie-Ann knows of Sookie’s mindreading abilities and wishes to user her ability to give her an advantage in expected power struggles within the vampire hierarchy.  Sophie-Anne stands accused of murdering her husband (during the events of the last book) and one of the events happening at the summit is her trial, with charges pressed by her husband’s second-in-command.  Also at the summit is Barry, the only other mindreader she knows, who is now employed in a similar position as Sookie to use as an advantage in vampire scheming.  The anti-vampire church the Fellowship of the Sun has been ramping up their hostilities against vampires lately, and so security is extra tight.

20 December 2017 ~ 1 Comment

Award Eligibility 2017

written by David Steffen The year is almost over, and here we are with the obligatory award eligibility post! Usually I start with my own stories, but no new fiction written by me has appeared anywhere in 2017, so I will start with the new fiction that’s been published in Diabolical Plots. ETA: I thought […]

15 December 2017 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #34B: “The Leviathans Have Fled the Sea” by Jon Lasser

Aye, Lass, I recall the first I saw a mermaid. I was young then, and captain of a whaler — Captain Elizabeth Jackson has a nice ring to it, I always thought. You’d never guess to look at this old lady that I was a whaler once, would you? Bring me a cup o’ the bumbo and I’ll tell you all about the siren: her flashing metal fluke, the cold fishy gleam in her eyes.

Thank you for the bumbo. That’s the stuff! Show me what you brought?

Aye, she was one of mine: the scales overlap just so, like I took them yesterday off the lathe. More than a hundred scales for each tail. No wonder my hands ache so. It’s not just age but the work, too.

11 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Definitely Dead is a romance/mystery/horror novel from 2006, the sixth 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.

Sookie heads to New Orleans to sort out of the affairs of her cousin Hadley who had been turned into a vampire and then killed.  Hadley’s apartment has been placed under a stasis spell placed on it by Hadley’s landlord, the witch Amelia Broadway.  Shortly after the spell is lifted, a newly-made vampire (the werewolf Jake Purifoy) rises within the apartment and attacks them.  Sookie’s new boyfriend, the weretiger Quinn, is also in New Orleans on business, so he helps with the investigation.  With the help of Amelia and her coven of witches they set out to discover how Jake came to be newly raised in that apartment on the same day that Hadley died.

06 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Dead as a Doornail is a romance/mystery/horror novel from 2005, the fifth 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.

Sookie’s brother Jason, bitten by a werepanther, joins the local werepanther pack that lives in the nearby close-knit community of Hotshot (where the werepanther that bit him came from). Sam Merlotte is shot by an unseen shooter, and so is Calvin Norris the pack leader of Hotshot, and Sookie learns that other shifters have been shot all over Louisiana.  Colonel Flood, leader of the Shreveport werewolf pack, is hit by a car and dies, and someone shoots Sookie as well(presumably because she associated with shifters).  Although the existence of vampires is now public knowledge all over the world, shifters are still a closely kept secret, and so the common element of these shootings is not known to police, but Sookie can’t really tell them the common element either.

01 December 2017 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #34A: “Hakim Vs. the Sweater Curse” by Rachael K. Jones

For our one-year anniversary, my boyfriend Kit gives me a knobbly sweater knit in irregular rows of beige, dark beige, and light beige, studded with white yarn blobs shaped like aborted ponies. The left arm—clearly shorter than the right—is tourniqueted midway by red plastic gift ribbon knotted into a bad bow.

Everything but that arm gently undulates of its own volition like jellyfish tentacles, simultaneously guileless and sinister.

27 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World is a romance/mystery/horror novel, the fourth 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 4 of the show. The previous books in the series (in order) are Dead Until Dark, (reviewed here), Living Dead in Dallas (reviewed here), and Club Dead (reviewed here).

Sookie (fresh from a breakup with her vampire boyfriend Bill)comes across the vampire Eric Northman running down a deserted road, with no memory of his life before that moment. She finds out that he has been cursed by a coven of witches that have moved into Shreveport and have been threatening Eric and his business interests in order to extort money out of him. Since Eric is more vulnerable than usual, without his memories, Sookie agrees to hide him at her house for a time; her brother Jason negotiates a fee for her to do this since she is short on money. But, shortly afterward, Jason disappears and the local police can’t find a trace of where he’s gone. Sookie fears that he has been abducted by the coven as well.

20 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

Gwendy’s Button Box is a novella written by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, published by Cemetery Dance Publications.

Gwendy is a middle-schooler living in Castle Rock in the 1970s.  She is not happy with her life–she never feels quite smart enough, quite thin enough, quite popular enough.  She is trying to make her life fit her expectations better, sprinting up the steep Suicide Stairs to try to lose some weight, where she meets a mysterious stranger who gives her the titular button box.  If he is to be believed, the buttons lining on the box would have catastrophic consequences of unbelievable, except the red button whose consequences are of a more negotiable scope.  It also produces an apparently endless supply of chocolates that are both amazingly delicious and they also quell appetite, as well as valuable antique coins.  He leaves her with the box, and she is left with the choice of whether and when and how to use it.

15 November 2017 ~ 3 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.