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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 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.

17 December 2018 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #46B: “For the Last Time, It’s Not a Ray Gun” by Anaea Lay

Connor was shy, introverted and a thousand other things that made sitting there, at the tiny coffee shop table, torturous. He didn’t want to be tortured. He wanted to hear harp music and cherubs giggling and all the other noises that accompanied your first date with your soul mate. It had taken him weeks to screw up the courage to ask Kayla out for coffee. As far as he was concerned, glitter should ooze from the walls in a poltergeist-style reward for the brazen bravery he’d demonstrated.

Meanwhile, Kayla pretty clearly didn’t realize this was supposed to be a date.

She wasn’t being weird or anything. And Connor wasn’t sure what she ought to be doing instead. But she wasn’t nervous or awkward or in any way different from how she was when they hung out with Debra and Joe and the rest. This was basically the same as hanging out in Kayla’s workshop for their hack-a-thon sessions, except the coffee was better, nobody else was around, and Connor felt entitled to glitter ooze.

14 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

written by David Steffen Hotel Transylvania 3 is a 2018 computer-animated children’s comedy produced by Sony.  The legendary vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler) is running a successful hotel for monsters in Transylvania with his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her husband Johnny (Andy Samberg), but he is feeling lonely and depressed that he hasn’t found new […]

10 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania 2

Hotel Transylvania 2 is a 2015 computer-animated children’s comedy produced by Sony.  The Legendary vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler) runs a hotel in Transylvania with help from his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her human boyfriend Jonathan (Andy Samberg).  Mavis and Jonathan get married and have a baby they name Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) who is adorable and lovable and apparently very very human to Dracula’s chagrin, because he thinks that his vampiric blood is very strong and will make any of his descendants very vampiric as well.  The common knowledge is that vampire kids have to show their fangs for the first time by the time they turn five or they will never show them at all, so Dracula is determined to show Dennis the vampire life and make the fangs show.

07 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania is a 2012 computer-animated children’s comedy by Columbia Pictures.  The legendary vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler), after the death of his wife at the hands of humans, raises his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) as a single parent. Frightened of violent and unpredictable humanity, he has made a life for them by founding a five-star hotel in Transylvania just for monsters, and telling Mavis constant horror stories about the human world so she won’t to go.  But it’s her 118th birthday now, which means she can make her own decisions and for some reason she still wants to go out into the world.  To make matters worse, a human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) somehow finds his way to the hotel and is not scared away by the monsters, and Jonathan and Mavis hit it off.