Broadswords and Blasters Issue #2 (Release Date: July 2017)
In Issue 2 of Broadswords and Blasters, you will find stories from the editors’ new favorite authors. You’ll read about a Hawaiian hero fighting off sea demons, a hard-case detective and his sassy artificial intelligence friend, a stone-builder with serious ethical conundrums, an alien farmer and his strange crop, and the conclusion to Island of Skulls, the story of siblings in-over-their-heads that started in Issue 1. You’ll also meet the retired, grizzled war veterans you see on the cover, a tough bounty hunter in a newly purloined dress, Spanish conquistadors who meet an unfortunate end, and a Wild West sheriff caught in a town that is not what it seems.
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I’m always on the lookout for some quality publications, so when I came across some familiar names published in Broadswords and Blasters, I decided to give it a read. Publications come and go and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what makes the successful ones work. This issue put a pretty solid foot forward. The editing was extremely professional and it’s clear that the editors put lots of passion into their product.
As far as the content, I wasn’t in love with all the stories, which I always say is one of the benefits of reading a magazine or anthology. It’s unlikely anyone will like each and every piece, so there’s that. A few of these stories were meh for me. They either lacked engaging characters or plot, or stand-out prose, or both. The sentence structures and such were fine, but I just didn’t connect. That’s not to say someone else might not choose those as their favorites, as the in the whole eye of the beholder saying.
There were some tales that floated my boat, though. Demmer’s “A Western Promise” took a familiar setting and threw it on its ear. Take the old west and pitch in a wrench or two, and there you have it. I’m not sure what to make out of what’s exactly happening in that strange dimension, but readers will have fun trying to sort it all out. Spencer’s “Island of Skulls” was a continuation from the previous issue. Although I hadn’t read it from the beginning, it’s great writing. Clearly, that’s why the editors chose to hook readers into a serial piece. I enjoyed Best’s fast-paced “Kane and Grable”. The story is effectively told and held my attention. Langille’s “The Deep Well” is an unnerving look at early explorers and the monsters they wish they’d never met face to face. The strongest aspect of this tale is the fleshing out of the creatures. It’s really easy to be right there with the characters as they meet their demise. Tyrer’s “The Eye of the Sun” is one of the stories in the collection with a powerful female protagonist. That’s one of the things I really appreciated about this one. The writing is engaging, the action kept me on my toes, and I felt like I’d read a much longer story. What I mean is this is a concise, yet meaty adventure with a satisfying conclusion. Codair’s “The Soul Plantation” was my favorite story in this bunch. She packs a vibrant world full of stellar description and plot development. It was fresh and imaginative in all the right ways. I’ll definitely be giving it a second and third read, as there was so much going on that I want to experience it again, just like a well-crafted film.
Added bonus when reading Broadswords and Blasters? Kindle Unlimited, baby!