The Abysmal Brutes

Short Fiction Review: Space & Grit

August 28, 2021

Welcome to our short fiction review we’re calling Space and Grit. We’re talking about two different genres of fiction in this episode. One with roots in bleak crime fiction. The other soars through the realm of the fantastic.

 Chris McGinley a writer out of Lexington, KY spins yarns mostly dealing with eastern Kentucky Appalachian culture dealing with the despair of modern troubles. These are hardscrabble kinfolk searching their worst natures for a semblance of self-worth. Some bad-tempered lawmen, conniving thieves, and the footfalls of supernatural haint mixing about the hills and holler makes for a gritty collection of crime stories in Chris McGinley’s “Coal Black”.

Coal Black by Chris McGinley

All Worlds Wayfarer IX is the Summer Issue of this stellar speculative fiction magazine. Fifteen wonderful tales of imaginative fiction. A few stories stood out for us. “Ballad of the Monsoon Seas” by Avra Margariti whose pirate Captain Kyran seeks a blessing from a priestess. An inventive playing with the storytelling form in “The Parking Level” by Victoria K. Martin. A space opera story of a Commander seeking a rare Ghost Particle that links with his past in “Ghosted” by W. E. Wertenberger.* “The Jogger” by Jenny Maloney was one of the best short stories Rob read all year. It plays with immortality and to say anything about it would give the fun of discovery away. This issue is packed with far-reaching tales well worth the price of admission.

*Full Disclosure- That Wertenberger is indeed the co-host of the Abysmal Brutes. Blatant self-promotion. So blatant.

Music: Matt Mitchell Project “This Town”