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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Diabolical Plots #44, October 2018

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Diabolical Plots #44, October 2018

"Pumpkin and Glass" by Sean R. Robinson

"Still Life With Grave Juice" by Jim Moss

Reviewed by Jason McGregor

"Pumpkin and Glass" by Sean R. Robinson

While not narrated clearly, this jaundiced revisionist fairy tale eventually conveys that Hazel is a sort of Cinderella figure who is not living happily ever after but lamenting all the things her crazy husband has taken from her until she meets her fairy godcashier at the coffee shop and the latter talks to Hazel and gives her an easy button.

There are just entirely too many stories essentially exactly like this and there's little characterization or plot but, as I say, just an initially confusing list of bad things and then an easy thing.

"Still Life With Grave Juice" by Jim Moss

A human business man is enjoying his wine until the aliens at the next table start talking about how humans are cannibals and the man is drinking grave juice. The human and alien then proceed to get into a linguistic and ecological argument in which the aliens also describe their own method of handling the dead. Then, for the human, a most inopportune thing occurs.

Eighty percent of this story deals with the argument which is mostly tedious, sprinkled with some interesting wordplay and a speck of humor but it's all just to get us to the last fifth (or last full paragraph, really) of something that's mostly horror (from a certain perspective) with possibly some very black humor in it. Not satisfying, but striking.


More of Jason McGregor's reviews can be found at Featured Futures.