My friend recommended Fusion Fragment to me after reading their most recent issue and the table of contents intrigued me right away. I love weird and dark science fiction stories. The stories in Fusion Fragment blew me away with their raw emotion. The grief, anger, frustration, and other feelings were palpable and realistic without crossing into the land of melodrama. Each story’s voice stood out to me as distinctive while their tone and themes created a cohesive issue with no odd story out. I read the issue in one night because I enjoyed story after story that I couldn’t find a good breaking point.
Some of my personal favorites from the issue include “The Imitation Sea” by Lora Gray. I absolutely loved the juxtaposition with angels, surveillance, and grief. I found the prose heart aching and beautiful. I was utterly delighted when the story was queer since I had been picking up queer vibes from it even before the reveal. “The Ten Thousand Lives of Luciana Kim” by Maria Dong was a really brilliant take on afterlife and felt very cyberpunk in sections. The twist at the end was absolutely wonderful. I also really enjoyed “Getaway” by Jennifer Hudak as well because of the unique way Hudak dealt with eating disorders. It very much felt like a piece of ecological horror because of the way Hudak utilized elements of a lake ecosystem.
The other thing I loved about Fusion Fragment was elements of the formatting. The first thing that instantly caught my attention besides the gorgeous cover art was that each story in the issue preview with a table of contents had three keywords related to themes and content. I really liked how it felt like the AO3 tagging system but also acted as a way to give content warnings. It really helped me pick where I wanted to start in the issue since I tend to read magazines out of order. When I got the pdf and opened it, I was further delighted by other format elements. The table of contents included a snippet from each story which was wonderful to get a sense for each author’s style. The section with book recommendations by the issue’s authors was a great touch for people looking to discover new reads.
Overall, I highly recommend Fusion Fragment. I look forward to reading more issues of the magazine and discovering more stories and authors. I really appreciated how many of the stories were intensely unabashed with presenting difficult topics and situations.