Review,  Writing Resources

On Spec #80 Review

Another one of my quick reviews. Just finished the latest On Spec (a great magazine and I’m not just saying that because I’ve had a couple stories published in it or because it is produced here in Edmonton… I’ve been a subscriber for many years).

This issue we have:

A Thousand by Leah Bobet
This is a strong urban fantasy story by Leah Bobet who has been featured in On Spec before and has numerous published stories elsewhere. I wasn’t completely drawn into this myth tale as some of her other stories but it was beautifully written and very evocative.

Zebedee the Giant Man by Tina Connolly
A well written if bizarre little story. Does a lot with very few words — creates a clever world, interesting characters, tough decisions, love, loss… very well done.

Weeds In The Garden by Meghan Dunn
Creepy story about a family surviving after a civilization ending event. They are visited by the first government official who has come in years and through the interaction between the family and this man we learn much about this changed world — and none of it is pleasant. Good read.

Walk the Wheat by John Mantooth
An incredibly disturbing story of a single mother and her children and how poor choices lead to devastating outcomes. It is also a story of resilience, perseverance and even though I finished reading this some time ago it still resonates with me.

Vanishing Woman by Marcelle Dub├ę
A good story about a wandering woman traveling through the Canadian north investigating the mystery of the ‘vanishing woman’. Nicely told.

Katie Dreams by Eric J. Hull
Another disturbing story about a young girl who makes things around her get colder and colder — told mostly by the mother who is no longer able to hold her daughter.

Cygnet’s Shadow by Tony Pi
I always enjoy Tony Pi’s stories… he has been widely published and a lot of his work can be found online. This is an exciting adventure tale with meticulous world building (probably what I most enjoy about his stories is how he imagines cultures and makes them real and dynamic). Good characters too round out this strong story.

To Sleep In Peace by Kate Riedel
Well told story of a young woman who has been tending an older gentlemen. When he dies she must follow a rigorous ritual to prevent *something* from happening — she doesn’t know what but she struggles to follow the instructions in the face of his hostile family.

Not only did I get to read these stories in the magazine I also attended a reading by the On Spec editorial staff where they read several of the stories. If you live in Edmonton and have the chance to go to one of these readings, you should.

Check the magazine out… digital copies are available now too.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.

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