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A new short story guaranteed every month, for just $1, plus additional levels of Stuff!
Congrats to all the nominees!
Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
Roadsouls, Betsy James (Aqueduct)
The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Sudden Appearance of Hope, Claire North (Redhook; Orbit UK)
Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff (Harper)
The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
“Bloodybones,” Paul F. Olson (Whispered Echoes)
A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)
“Das Steingeschöpf,” G.V. Anderson (Strange Horizons 12/12/16)
“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies,” Brooke Bolander (Uncanny 11-12/16)
“Seasons of Glass and Iron,” Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
“Little Widow,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Nightmare 9/16)
“The Fall Shall Further the Flight in Me,” Rachael K. Jones (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
Clockwork Phoenix 5, Mike Allen, ed. (Mythic Delirium)
Dreaming in the Dark, Jack Dann, ed. (PS Australia)
Children of Lovecraft, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Dark Horse)
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, Karen Joy Fowler & John Joseph Adams, eds. (Mariner)
The Starlit Wood, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe, eds. (Saga)
Sharp Ends, Joe Abercrombie (Orbit US; Gollancz)
On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories, Tina Connolly (Fairwood)
A Natural History of Hell, Jeffrey Ford (Small Beer)
Vacui Magia, L.S. Johnson (Traversing Z Press)
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, Ken Liu (Saga; Head of Zeus)
Jeffrey Alan Love
Special Award, Professional
L. Timmel Duchamp, for Aqueduct Press
C.C. Finlay, for editing F&SF
Michael Levy & Farah Mendelsohn, for Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press)
Kelly Link, for contributions to the genre
Joe Monti, for contributions to the genre
Special Award, Non-Professional
Scott H. Andrews, for Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Neile Graham, for fostering excellence in the genre through her role as Workshop Director, Clarion West
Malcom R. Phifer & Michael C. Phifer, for their publication The Fantasy Illustration Library, Volume Two: Gods and Goddesses (Michael Publishing)
Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, for Uncanny
Brian White, for Fireside Fiction Company
The awards will be announced at the World Fantasy Convention, which this year is November 2-5 in San Antonio, TX. http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/
Headliner guests are Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Manchess, David Mitchell, Gordon Van Gelder TOASTMASTER: Martha Wells
We swam everyday, and stood on a sandbar over a hundred yards out in the water and looked at rainstorms out in the gulf. The water was warm in the afternoon, like a giant saltwater spa. We ate a lot of seafood and had margaritas and went out in the harbor in a little boat. It was awesome.
Then yesterday I had jury duty for traffic court, got picked, and everyone there got to tell a mean, angry, scary old white guy clearly used to controlling everything around him that yes, he did have to pay his fine just like everyone else. I don't even know how someone could be this confident in his belief that he can get away with anything, but watching him change his story and lie, and have the woman DA point out the body cam and dash cam video showing he was lying, and Judge Navarro being completely fair yet also bored and unimpressed, and effortlessly cutting off the guy's attempt to rant and swear on the stand. The Judge also made the DA skip over what was probably 20 minutes of video that didn't show anything except that the guy was a terrible person, but believe me, the jury already knew that.
I'm going to try to catch up on book rec posts, and I need to do another Raksura story for my Patreon this month. (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=
I just saw the Changeling Child and it was, bar none, my favorite show this Fringe. A sequel to Midsummer Night's Dream, a generation along, and really sweet. One last performance tomorrow (Saturday) at 145p at Atlas. I'll be seeing something nearby so might even be able to meet up first to loan a button. Srsly, try to see it :). Fringe goes thru Sunday plus a few shows extended but sadly not this one.There was a bit of screaming and gnashing of teeth involved: I dictated something like it into safari facebook on my phone a few minutes after wandering off from chatting with Tommx and Erica, and then it offered tagging someone and I hit 'back' and it took me back to my notifications. Then I went through typing it in again, since at the fringe bar it was too loud for dictation, and just before I was to hit post, the phone turned itself off, out of power. I finally posted from exsmof's phone.
Anyway, it was delightful. I wasn't laughing as much as I did in One in Four, but it's also a whole play, and sweet, and extremely well done.
Less than 10 hours before I'm ticketed to Exit pursued by bear. 2pm, Atlas.
I somehow doubt I'll get to Trey Parker's Cannibal The Musical at 11:15.
Might try to get to something more tomorrow or Sunday. Been thinking to get to Heroes' Tale.
Debating Exit Carolyn. If I go to the 7p I can't go to an acro thing in Rockville, though it does put me pretty close to a party...
Oh! Yeah, Clara Bow: Becoming It was worthwhile, and is at 3:45.
and ugh. I really have to go to sleep. Oh hell, I think I may have said I'd meet badmagic ahead of Exit for lunch. eep.
I saw a thing yesterday that said “Buying fabric and sewing fabric are TWO SEPARATE HOBBIES.”
I actually feel that I understand so much more about the world now.
I’m now up to 6 artist’s figurines (I need to write more reviews) and I was unable (or unwilling) to resist a set of 14 archival color pens, plus all the stuff I already own, but do I actually draw? No, hardly ever. (That said, I’ve done more this year than in many years.)
Anyway, point is I’m back to that “I want to draw some silly little story like Questionable Content only about, IDK, fat 40somethings instead of hipster robots” thing. Except I really don’t want to draw a story about fat 40somethings because ugh life. I want to do something cute and funny that I don’t have the skill set for but who cares I’ll do it anyway because it doesn’t matter. Or something. And I want just enough pressure to help me do maybe half an hour of art a day without having any real expectations.
Which of course is not much like my personality at all, because yes, I have met me. :p
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
Because really pathetically I don't trust myself to get anything done alone.
*everybody else seemed to enjoy it a lot more than I did. There were some strong performances, but I really hated the acting of one of the characters, and I was annoyed by the character with the most lines, and I was distracted by finding fault with the initial premise. Also? Neither K nor the guy on the other side of me had any memory of the character,"Mom."
This shit's good enough, and pretty enough, to make it onto the list for my next dinner party, but also easy enough to be on the workday rotation....
when i got home last night there were a bunch of boxes of books by the recycling. They were in good condition and looked like anything from interesting to rare (there were some large Russian English dictionaries on top of one, and some Shostakovitch records on another) so I moved them to my parking space where nothing is supposed to live but I can probably get away with it a couple days, and pinged someone who is already handling getting other stuff to a charity he favors, and grabbed out Katherine Graham's autobiography for immediate reading.That last paragraph may be a bit open for my usual friendsfriends security level over there on FB.
My building has a building library; I'm not sure whether I should've given it first crack, but that would have required getting the boxes up a flight of stairs and through a couple doors at 3am, rather than just 50 feet to my space.
I'm not sure what sorting I should do before they go to support Fairfax Auxilliary. Probably start with grabbing out anything in Russian... .
I'm sad, because I'm pretty sure this is the collection of someone who died. And it also has me thinking of all the books Mom has, some of which are Old and Important, and many of which are outdated and random. And many of which Dad once wanted back.
It seriously was sad, seeing things like that. I rescue stuff. It's so important to me that it has a home and not a landfill. And yet I do know that getting stuff to goodwill is yet another measure of cope, and even there one needs to be realistic about what they will and will not put out to sell. That's part of why I have so much grandma stuff that needs to be dumped on a "we sell it all on ebay and you get a cut." Because that Eastern Airlines tiny carryon that needs a zipper repair will be thrown out by goodwill, and treasured by the right person. When Allyson was over helping me through a large amount of momclothes she was overjoyed to take the Woodies and Garfinkles boxes from the closet. Cardboard boxes, but she wraps stuff in boxes from defunct stores and she especially loves local defunct stores.
A sweet little old man who lived a few doors down died a few years ago. As part of cleaning out the place, the family had put a box of mugs and glasses in the trash room. I'd looked through it, and seen a small mug, smaller than I usually use, emblazoned with [specific dc high school 50th reunion]. Kept it around to honor the guy, vaguely intending to contact said high school. A year or so later, Shira was over, and I showed it to her, and she took it with her! I don't think it was the high school she'd attended; I'd have to ask. But to her it was a sufficiently meaningful bit of DC history she wanted it.
This is all part of why it's so hard to sort. What is a life? This is part of why it's so hard to get rid of even things I don't really want. I guess I imbue things with a soul. Not just "does it give me joy" but "can I get it to someoen for whom it will?"
I have to stop typing; I decided to keep plans for today and need to leave soon.
I should have posted this yesterday, but appropriately enough, I was too busy prepping for the game I ran last night. 🙂
Dice Tales: Essays on Roleplaying Games and Storytelling is out now! If you play RPGs and have an interest in them from the narrative side of things — the ways we use them to tell stories, and what GMs and players can do to make them work better in that regard — you may find it of interest. Follow the link to buy it from Book View Cafe, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, or (in a first for me) DriveThruRPG. And if any parts of it wind up working their way into the games you play or run, let me know!
Also, the New Worlds Patreon has headed off into the wilds of rudeness, with two posts on “Gestures of Contempt” and “Insults.” The theme will continue through the end of this month before turning in a new direction for August. Remember that patrons at the $5 level and above can request topics, so if there’s something you’d like to see me discuss, you can make that happen!
But I woke up this morning with I helped bury someone yesterday in my head.
I've known Sonya Schultz since her son Ben and I dated back in high school. Sophomore and Jr years. It was at their house I first was part of Havdalah. It was with them I first went to Simchas Torah - Ben and I went in all our Sadie Hawkins finery before going on to the dance. In the years that followed, she included me in her huge seders when I wasn't in Cleveland. In recent years other friends have offered invites first, or I've been in Cleveland. It's been a while since I've been to the house. My last sure memory of talking in person was shortly after Ben's now three year old was born. It was some years before that, in that apartment, when she said to me, "Marry one of my sons; I don't care which!" At the house last night, I was reminded by more than one of the family that she would have adopted me in, regardless.
I spent much of the day yesterday with Cathie and later Lauren. They would each occasionally run into Sonya and sometimes also David at Strathmore, or at Costco. I am envious.
It's kinda weird. In a certain way she and I were more regularly in touch the last couple years because she would respond in my facebook here and there. But I had no idea she was ill, because it had been so long since she and I had spoken in person. And tbh, I might not have known anyway -- people commented last night they'd just seen her at shul a week ago.
The funeral was long and full. Cathie and I were some of the few who ended up parking on the street because the parking lot was full. There were some beautiful stories and some heartbreak, and as is always the case for me, I learned more and was sad not to know it earlier. Bits about just how fiercely there she was for her kids, bits about her involvement with the shul, or defying being told "no woman can pass this econ test," or that they'd been on their most recent cruise only in May. Or that they'd planned to remodel the kitchen. I could so visualize that kitchen, the house. It wasn't the house they had when Ben and I dated; I don't remember that one, now.
At the gravesite, there was a traditional handwash station. One washes on leaving a graveyard. She and Ben had been at my grandmother's funeral at Arlington. Memories came flooding back of her coming up to me to give me wet wipes in the absence of the two handled cup. "al natitlat yadayim."
I've only been to a couple gravesites that weren't Jewish funerals*. Even so, there were things that were new to me. More traditional. That we all process together with the coffin but stop 7 times in reluctance. That one should add at least three shovelfulls of earth because 3 makes it not an accident or coincidence. That the first shovelful should be the back of the shovel, because we don't really want to be efficient in saying goodbye. That we shouldn't hand the shovel along to the next but instead put it back into the pile.
I've never before been to a funeral with real shovels adding the earth that had just been dug out, rather than symbolic trowelsful. After a while there was one person who went back and was shoveling more, for real, and Ben's younger brother for a while, and if there had been more than two shovels and I had been more clear whether it was okay or I was too far from the family I wanted to as well, despite the dress and shoes. It was hot, very hot. We said kaddish and we all went to the cars. Last night I learned that J had finished shoveling all the dirt for his grandparents, and would really have preferred to have done so here. And that the small bucket I'd wondered about that his girlfriend troweled from may have been Jerusalem dirt, but the part that was important to her was it also contained a vegan truffle she'd made for Sonya, but which Sonya had suggested bringing on Saturday but then not felt up to eating. This sounds so odd, written, but brought tears to my eyes in person.
I'd planned on going to a couple fringe plays last night, and I'm glad I hadn't preticketed. I spent the afternoon with Lauren, and then was in the right part of town to go over to shiva last night rather than trying to force getting there on Thursday. And the reason why shiva is traditionally in the deceased's house was so very apparent. So many memories in these rooms. A memory of a shiva, even. Sonya's mother.
I need to get moving. There's more to write and there isn't. There's contrasts with my mom's death, and after. Maybe later.
*One was Steve Devoney's dad, a couple months ago, after which everybody retired to the house and there were stories and video. One was a close friend, 8 years ago. The funeral itself had been a mass in latin at which there happened to be a coffin; the gravesite was in English and I think maybe mentioned her name. After everybody left her aunt started wedging flowers in any part of the coffin handles and hinges she could, and a couple of us joined in this until the coffin was covered in flowers, and then after the people came and lowered the coffin we dropped more flowers on top. And they put the concrete or whatever cover on and uncovered the dirt and I commented that in Jewish funerals we add the dirt. To make it final, real. And the four of us still there we each did add a handful. And that's when the aunt cried.
Having cried all over the WRINKLE IN TIME trailer, I thought I’d better re-read the book immediately to get a proper feeling for it again. It’d been at least twenty, possibly thirty, years since I’d read it, and…
…it’s kind of equally weirder and more mundane than I remember it.
I was prepared for, although somewhat exasperated by regardless, the Christian allusions; whenever I last re-read L’Engle, I was adult enough to notice her books are really laced with Christianity, so I knew that was going to be there. The story itself is actually a lot more straight-forward than I remember it being; possibly I’ve conflated the other books with it, or maybe it’s just that the weird bits are SO STRANGE that I thought the story structure had to be a lot more complicated than it really is.
It’s not, from a modern storytelling perspective, especially well told. It takes about four chapters to really get going, and it’s only a 12 chapter book. There’s a lot of telling, but not much in the way of showing in terms of…*why*. Meg is not, to the adult modern reader, particularly sympathetic: she doesn’t fit in at school, she’s angry in general and specifically very defensive about her father’s absence, and is apparently some particular kind of dumb that excludes being spectacularly good at math. That dumbness may be meant to indicate she’s socially inept, but although that certainly appears to be true, it doesn’t seem to be what’s really going on.
But that…dumbness…whatever it is…is crucial through the whole book. Meg doesn’t tesseract as well as the others. Meg is more vulnerable to the Darkness than the others. Meg won’t understand if you explain the thing…but I never understood why. (I’m not sure I understood as a kid, either, but it didn’t matter as much to me then.) And it’s apparently not something that came on simply because Mr Murry disappeared, because even he comments on it, and had done so before his disappearance, so you can’t lay her anger/ineptitude at the feet of her father’s disappearance.
And, just as much as Meg’s lack is not explained, neither are Calvin and Charles Wallace’s aptitude. Calvin communicates well; well, okay, that’s fine, but why does it make it easier for him to tesseract? Charles Wallace is, as far as I can tell, not even actually human, and Calvin, who does not come from the Murry family at all, is apparently More Like Charles than Meg is. But I don’t know what they are, or why they are, or why they’re the special ones and our heroine isn’t (well, that last one is institutionalized sexism, but let’s move past that). I remember *loving* Charles Wallace (and crushing terribly on Calvin), but I find him fairly creepy now, and that’s as the parent of an extremely self-assured little kid who, like Charles Wallace, is quite certain he’s able to Do It His Way without listening to the wisdom, or at least the experience, of his elders.
The one thing that maybe felt the most true to me in the whole book was Meg coming around to being the one who can save Charles Wallace. She wanted someone else–her father, specifically, but ANYBODY ELSE–to have to do the hard work. She was terrified and resentful of having to do it herself (and possibly that’s what the aforementioned “dumbness” is, since everybody keeps saying If you’d only apply yourself, Meg,, but that still doesn’t explain why she doesn’t tesseract as well, etc), and that seems very appropriate to a 13 year old to me. To people a lot older than 13, too, for that matter. But it comes in the 11th
hourchapter, and her willingness to go on there is the only time in the book that she moves forward of her own volition. I’m not saying that isn’t fairly realistic, maybe, for a young teen, but in terms of making a dynamic book, it…doesn’t, really.
There are parts of the book that remain wonderful. The Mrs W are still splendid; Camazotz (which I always read, name-wise, as being what happens when Camelot goes terribly wrong) is still EXTREMELY CREEPY, and the thrumming presence of IT remains startlingly effective. Aunt Beast is wonderful. (So basically: the aliens work a lot better for me than the humans do.)
It doesn’t feel like a book that could get published now. It would need more depth; it felt shallow to me. A lot of its weirdness seems to me like it came very specifically out of the 50s and early 60s; I don’t think that book would, or perhaps *could*, be written now. It’s very internal in a lot of ways, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the film adapts the weirdness and the internalness and Meg’s basic lack of agency into an accessible story. My *feeling* is that they’re going to do a magnificent job of it, that it’s going to be one of those cases like Frankenstein or Jeckell & Hyde where the book’s conceptual foundation proves more powerful in film than it does on the page. I hope so!
But you know what I really wanted to do when I finished reading A WRINKLE IN TIME? I wanted to re-read Diane Duane’s SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, because I felt like the Young Wizards books use A WRINKLE IN TIME as a conceptual springboard and dove off into something that worked a lot better as a *story*.
So I guess I know what’s up next (or soon, anyway) on the Catie’s Re-Reads list. :)
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
I had the pleasure of meeting Michael F. Haspil at Denver Comic-Con recently, and he had me at the word “Egyptology.” The hero of his debut novel is a mummy and former pharaoh — how could I not be interested in that! But I’ll let Michael tell you about how it took a different character to bring his mummy’s story to, er, life for him.
I wrote the original version of GRAVEYARD SHIFT during NaNoWriMo some time ago. However, I still remember when the story really jumped into gear and, regrettably, that wasn’t truly in the first draft, though at the time I thought it was.
As I began revisions and sorted through the aftermath of a NaNo first draft, certain aspects stood out as being decent. The main character, Alex Menkaure, an immortal pharaoh now working in a special supernatural police unit in modern-day Miami, and his partner, Marcus, a vampire born in ancient Rome, needed minor work. The climactic battle at the end against the villains needed a lot of polish. While the action was solid, I wrote the section in a blur and it showed. Also, there was something missing. While Alex and Marcus are formidable, the villains I’d set up for them to go against were more so, and they needed help.
The help came in the form of Rhuna Gallier, a young but vicious shapeshifter with her own agenda. I’d had an idea for her character while brainstorming another novel, but realized with some minor tweaks, Rhuna and “The Pack” could fit into GRAVEYARD SHIFT’s story and world.
When I wrote the next draft, as I seeded Rhuna’s presence throughout the book, she threatened to take over the entire thing and make it hers. This may sound weird to non-writers, but she didn’t seem to understand this was Alex’s story and she was a supporting character. So I promised her besides the climax she would get a cool action scene. I knew in the scene Rhuna needed to be mostly on her own with minimal support so I could showcase her lethality.
In GRAVEYARD SHIFT’s world, a practice goes by the underground name of S&B. It stands for Sangers, a derogatory name for vampires, and Bleeders, humans who willingly let vampires feed on them to experience the pleasurable sensations that come with it. Participants meet in bloodclubs, which are akin to prohibition-era speakeasies. Many unsavory activities such as human trafficking, blood and drug dealing, and murder, happen near the clubs and they are part of Miami’s criminal underbelly.
In the early draft, I had a criminal vampire who liked to prey on young girls, take one of his victims to the club. It was an unhappy chapter and ended with the vampire killing another victim. In the new draft, Rhuna showed up. That’s when the story jumped to life. Rhuna took the place of the victim and suddenly where I had a naïve girl falling prey to an old vampire’s wiles, now I had Rhuna going in as a Trojan horse and the vampire and his companions never knew what hit them.
I rewrote the sequence, several chapters long, in one sitting. Now, I can’t wait to write Rhuna’s novel. It’s going to be great fun.
From the cover copy:
Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, born in ancient Rome, are vice cops in a special Miami police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, bootleg blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.
When poisoned artificial blood drives vampires to murder, the city threatens to tear itself apart. Only an unlikely alliance with former opponents can give Alex and Marcus a fighting chance against an ancient vampire conspiracy.
If they succeed, they’ll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodier than any the world has ever seen.
Michael F. Haspil is a geeky engineer and nerdy artist. The art of storytelling called to him from a young age and he has plied his craft over many years and through diverse media. He has written original stories for as long as he can remember and has dabbled in many genres. However, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror have whispered directly to his soul. An avid gamer, he serves as a panelist on the popular “The Long War” webcasts and podcasts, which specializes in Warhammer 40,000 strategy, tactics, and stories. Graveyard Shift is his first novel. Find him online at michaelhaspil.com or @michaelhaspil.
Carrie Fisher. Robin Wright. Gal Gadot. Daisy Ridley. Melissa McCarthy & Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wigg.
It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter, but it goddamn well does.
You know why I chose the women I did, up above? You know why I didn’t include Weaver & Hamilton & Theron on that list?
Because Ripley and Connor and Furiosa were given to us. They were put on the table by filmmakers who said either “it doesn’t matter if this character’s a woman or a man,” or who specifically chose a woman as the vehicle for the main story. Alien & Terminator were always ours. We didn’t have to ask, much less plead and beg, for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. We weren’t looking for Furiosa, and Theron came out of nowhere the same way Weaver & Hamilton did.
But Carrie Fisher? Robin Wright? Yeah, Princess Leia & the Princess Bride were integral to their stories, but Buttercup was a pretty passive observer in her own story and Leia wasn’t there FOR GIRLS. She was there as the token female. The fact that she had an important role & agency is almost beside the point. I read something recently–maybe in Empire Magazine–where someone said something like “If you think about it, Star Wars is really Leia’s story,” and all I could think was WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN AMAZING IF IT HAD BEEN FILMED THAT WAY?
So General Antiope? General Organa? I feel like we *fought* for them. Diana? Rey? I feel like they’re from us saying “we want this so much, we deserve this, we hold up half the fucking sky, people.” An all-women Ghostbusters team? We kept saying “oh god please we want this this would be so awesome.” And so now, a female Doctor? It feels like another one we fought for.
And it shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to be pleading for 1/13th of the pie (or less). We shouldn’t have to be THIS HAPPY to get it. And yet I am.
And I’m also SO ANGRY that it takes so little, such a crumb, to make me THIS HAPPY, when it shouldn’t even be a conversation.
And none of that even STARTS to touch on how 8 of the 9 (or 11/12, depending on how you wanna count it) women I’ve talked about are white ladies.
I don’t want white women to be the only ones gaining ground here. I don’t want increments. We don’t NEED increments. The actors are there. Storm Reid proves it. Zendaya proves it. Hannah John-Kamen & Frankie Adams prove it. And I want to see women of color in all these big amazing roles and films too. I don’t want this to just be a moment for white girls and indistinguishable blondes.
I want more, god damn it. I want it all, for all of us. #GirlPower
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
* Here are some photos of me and Rachel Caine at our signing at Murder by the Book: https://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/
* Here's a post from me on Writers Read: https://whatarewritersreading.blogspot.
* And I'm not in this article but I know all these people: https://www.austinchronicle.com/arts/
(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)
(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)
* Short Story: Children of Thorns, Children of Water by Aliette de Bodard
* Stranglehold by Rene Sears
Morgan Tenpenny has retreated from her painful, magical past, choosing to live quietly as a guardian of one of the gates between worlds. But her sister Gwen is married to a lord of the High Court of Faerie-and when Gwen asks her to protect her nieces, it's time for Morgan to emerge from her seclusion. The gates to Faerie have inexplicably closed, and no one knows why...
* Revision by Andrea Phillips
Mira is a trust fund baby playing at making it on her own as a Brooklyn barista. When Benji, her tech startup boyfriend, dumps her out of the blue, she decides a little revenge vandalism is in order. Mira updates his entry on Verity, Benji’s Wikipedia-style news aggregator, to say the two have become engaged. Hours later, he shows up at her place with an engagement ring. Chalk it up to coincidence, right? Soon after, Benji’s long-vanished co-founder Chandra shows up asking for Mira’s help. She claims Verity can nudge unlikely events into really happening — even change someone’s mind. And Chandra insists that Verity — and Mira’s newly minted fiance — can’t be trusted.
* Short Story: Waiting on a Bright Moon by JY Yang
* Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy (Laksa Anthology Series: Speculative Fiction Book 3) edited by Lucas K. Law and Derwin Mak
* All Things Violent by Nikki Dolson
Soon the ambitious Simon introduces her to Frank Joyce, a man who would teach her how to become a stone-cold professional killer. Laura learns her deadly trade and earns her money. Twenty-six years old and she thinks she’s found her happily ever after. Sadly it all falls apart when Simon leaves her for another. Now some other woman, blonde and polished, all shiny and new, is living Laura’s happy life.
* Telling the Map by Christopher Rowe
There are ten stories here including one readers have waited ten long years for: in new novel-la The Border State Rowe revisits the world of his much-lauded story The Voluntary State.
If I were really good, I would try dividing it up into chunks of ESC, Session 1, and Session 21, but I'm not that good. So have a jumbled together report of my last two weeks. I'm not writing it in any sort of order, so the footnotes
*So um redacted redacted redacted hour kissing on the dock redacted redacted. Also this is the second time in three months where I have taken photos of me kissing a cute girl and sent them to her girlfriend.
*Dave Wiesler is the absolute best at writing music. His bandleading night in session 1, I mostly couldn't actually dance due to a twingy ankle (and I am gentler about that when there's five more nights of dancing than I would be otherwise), but that meant I spent some good time just hiding behind the bandshell catnapping and listening to just fucking magnificent music. I want want desperate want a recording of his Joie de Vivre set, it was just *magical*.
*FOUR SQUARE ON THE RAFT IS THE NEW BEST GAME AT PINEWOODS! And of course, we invented/found this game and the weather immediately got grumpy and rainy and Scottish and no one wanted to go play in the water anymore so we never played again. But there was like an hour and a half of it on Sunday.
*Also redacted details but one of my favourite comets3 and I get to see each other at Pinewoods every year, and this year was just _super_ good for it. Also, yes, it is absolutely possible to fit two people into the single4 bed in Kitty Alone, you just have to be very friendly and accept that one of y'all might have the windowsill digging into their leg the whole night. Luckily no one is sleeping very long at camp.
*Fred is SUCH AN AWESOME HIGHLAND TEACHER! We covered two dances in two days during session 1, and then refined one of them and learned another two dances in session two. Somehow I have now reached the point where I was in the demo set for things, which is terrifying, considering that everyone else in the demo set is either Triona (who started at the same time as me but actually practices and is good at Highland) or people who've been competing for like fifteen years.
*I mostly did not go to any classes except Highland, but I did make it to the cross-step waltz class, which was really good! It had one variation that I'd never seen before, some more practice on grapevines (which I suuuuck at), and there was about a ten second "and also pivots exist" near the end which I managed to corner Keira and get actual info about and then I did some real pivots with Val and internalized them well enough to teach them to Stephen and Alex. Now, these are all three super competent dancers, but I still felt pretty proud of myself and will try to throw those in next time I lead cross-step.
*The hardest part about doing secret rehearsals for secret Abbots Bromley is then not whistling the tune for the next three hours and giving away the secret. Also, our fool was complimented both times on their ability to hit the triangle in an appropriate and not overwhelming manner. Alsoalso, the fact that the Abbots Bromley is traditionally taught to Scottish dancers by being dragged into the woods by a veritable wizard is basically the Best Thing. Alsoalsoalso, I don't know what you are talking about I was definitely not part of any of this weird English ritual nonsense.
*I GOT TO DRESS LIKE ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX AND HIT ON EARTH PEOPLE FOR LIKE AN HOUR AND A HALF AND IT WAS AMAZING AND I HAD SO MUCH FUN IT WAS SO GOOD EVERYTHING IS SO GOOD!
*Spent like four hours in what felt kinda like a con panel where we talked about old drama (and I (re?)learned a story that's important for me to know and now I have a clearer picture instead of just details) and the progression from gamergate to trump supporters and a bit of just tragic personal history of a friend of mine. It was a cozy night! Sad that all the stories were sad, but the greater world is sad right now, and Callahan has an adage about the importance of shared pain.
*Had very _very_ low amounts of polydrama/jealousy going on. This doesn't *always* happen at Pinewoods, and I swear there's a lot of camp beyond kissing people, but when you consider that I actively resisted camp for at least two years before originally going because I didn't want to be a seventh wheel, it's cool to have a year where all the relationships were able to be content with each other.
*I taught a workshop about "SCD for Crew"! It was about an hour, and I went into it wanting to cover five main things: the five basic Scottish steps, quicktime pousettes, allemandes, at least one corner figure, and dancing something without cues. We got through all those things! It helps that crew tends to have a crazy high dance ability!
*Speaking of crew, there were two nineteen year olds who I spent time with, both of whom make me very confused since I'm pretty sure I was in no way that chill or competent when I was nineteen. I want to be friends with both of them and am not sure I am cool enough to be so, also they apparently told other people I was awesome which just ???!??!!?
Apparently I'm getting old enough to have people look up to me, which is kinda nice and also ??!??!???.
*RAPPER RAPPER RAPPER I GOT TO DO RAPPER AND IT'S MY FAVOURITE DANCE FORM AND GODDAMNIT I WANT TO FORM A RAPPER TEAM GUUAHHHHHHH. Okay I just looked it up and it's like £35 a sword but I'm actually weirdly okay with the idea of sometime dropping $230 on this once I have a Real Job in order to facilitate having a team I want to do rapper _that bad_.
*Also our rapper teacher tried Scottish for the first time at ESC, and he did well and it was very charming and fun, *and* our Scottish teacher tried Contra for the first time and she had fun and THIS IS WHAT ESC IS FOR AND THIS IS WHY IT'S THE BEST SESSION!
*During Scottish I had two separate moments where I felt the need to subtweet about someone and instead just went ahead and told him because that makes more sense and is less drama-inducing. Plus, I only have one ex-boyfriend who's since gotten married, so like, if I talk about feeling compersion towards him and his wife, that's not really subtle and he knows it's him.
(The second spoken subtweet involved the phrase "bad decision hot" and no I'm not telling you any more about it.)
*I had two separate trips to Little Long Pond, both excellent in their own way. The first involved taking newfriends Austin and Phoebe during ESC, at which point we found out that the canal was much lower than normal and we had to tie up our canoe and wade through (this was awesome). On our way back, we touched two separate bouys in regular long pond. It is worth noting that due to pub night exhaustion, we were definitely only going to touch the canoe, not get into it, and definitely not paddle clear to the other side of the lake.
The second time was jere7my and I kayaking, which meant we were able to get out and port the kayak over the little waterfall and then do the canal properly. We saw a frog, and a tiny turtle, and we chased a green heron a bit and then we saw AN OTTER!!!! jere7my took some pictures!
*For the Star Wars vs Star Trek ball, I had Lise do up my hair in exquisite Leia buns, and I wore glitter and my Leiaish dress. I looked very beautiful and the buns did not come out despite doing Scottish dancing and later stilt-walking.
*The number of people catching and using my pronouns was magnificent. Also, I'm quite amused by some friends asking if it was okay if they used "she-shit-they" as my pronoun, as it was inevitably what happened. I will absolutely accept sheshitthey as my pronoun, yes, as I have used it myself occasionally by accident.
(Misgendering yourself is weird.)
*I had a job interview on changeover day between session 1 and session 2. It was...I mean, it was a phone interview and it only lasted about twenty minutes but I think I answered all of their questions well and I think I asked good questions of my own. I should be hearing back from them sometime this week upcoming maybe.
*Was in a ceilidh act attempting to hexify a Scottish square. It went solidly okay. Extra difficult in that one of our people didn't show up so I pulled my dance-sister Connie in on absolutely zero warning. I think this would make a better workshop than ceilidh for the future.
*Fucked up both my acts in the session 1 ceilidh, neither in ways anyone else would notice or care about. Felt...really bummed out about it, and got super quiet and brainwarped, which eventually culminated in me vanishing for a long while and eventually sobbing on the dock for a bit at one AM, because that's kinda what you do at Pinewoods at least once.
*I always feel a little weird that I basically never go to classes at Pinewoods. I think I pretty consistently average 1.5 classes a day or less, and inevitably the bulk of that is either Highland or Rapper.
*People seemed pleased by my classes on basic SCD technique during ESC, but I very much did not. I don't think I prepared well enough for them or did a good enough job teaching, and I especially fucked up the last day something thorough (in no small part to the complete lack of sleep beforehand). I suspect a lot of this is me being Too Hard on myself, but I also suspect that me being Too Hard on myself counts as bad even if sucking at teaching doesn't.
*Speaking of rapper, I managed to hit someone I like and respect very much in the face with a rapper sword because sometimes this sort of shit happens but also god_damnit_. She was very gracious.
*I managed to put my open water bottle into my bag at one point, which was a Dumb Idea. My camera got the brunt of the damage --it's completely broken, despite spending most of a week in a tub of rice (thank you crewwww). So I'll have to look into a new digital camera, siiiigh.
I am really sad that I have to put any notes into this category, because this is significantly worse than the bad category. But there you have it.
*There was a pretty blatant transphobic joke made by the bandleader and two of the musicians Wednesday night. Like, two dudes dressing up as women, being introduced as "our guest musicians [feminized versions of their names]" by the bandleader and a lot of wink-wink-nudge-nudge laughter involved. It was not okay, and I'm not looking forward to having to fight at the next TMC2 meeting about how this was Not Okay and how we need to explain that to the people involved.
(But I'm looking even less forward to being a part of a community where transphobic jokes are able to be the norm.)
Overall I had a REALLY REALLY good time, which is pretty typical for me. I enjoyed myself and played games and saw and made good friends and fucked about in a canoe and swam and so much dancing!
I am already looking forward to next year. <3
1: ESC = English Scottish Contra session at Pinewoods! Also called ESCape. Session 1 and Session 2 = the two official Scottish sessions at Pinewoods.
2: TMC is the Teaching and Music Committee of the Boston RSCDS branch. RSCDS is the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. I'm a part of TMC both naturally and because someone from the Highland Ball needs to attend their meetings. We're the peeps who pick the MCs, Musicians, and Teachers for events like Pinewoods.
3: Comet is a term starting to appear in some branches of the poly community. It refers to someone who briefly comes into your life on a periodicish basis, and who you don't really date or communicate much with in between, but are always happy to pick back up where you left off. This particular comet started as my "James Dean relationship"3.a, and I adore him something fierce.
3.a: Live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse. We went from zero to sexytimes in about a date and a half, we broke up after six months (both knowing it was coming; he was moving far away), we stayed friends. And sometimes more than friends.
4: Did you know that there is a name for the size of bed smaller than twin? Yeah, it's single. Singles are _very_ small.
I’m somewhat better than I’ve been, but I’ve still got a cough and snotty nose. No, I haven’t gone to a doctor, but only because it turns out there’s a shortage of doctors in this town and nobody is taking new patients. We got signed up with a clinic in theory but we still haven’t gotten notification that we’re actually in their system, so…yeah. Anyway. At this point I think I’m going to have healed up before I’m in the system. Whee.
That said, all I want to do today is lie in a lump on the couch and watch Brooklyn Nine Nine all afternoon, but I’d have a 7 year old beside me saying, “What? What?” and fake-laughing at things, which wouldn’t really be much fun.
The Wrinkle in Time trailer dropped yesterday and made me cry. Twice. It looks amazing. (“Mommy,” Indy said incredulously, “are you *crying*?” Yes. Yes I was.) Anyway, I haven’t read the book in at least twenty, possibly thirty, years, and I immediately bought a new copy to read it. I didn’t think it would hold up, honestly, but I’ve read the first chapter and so far it’s still amazing.
I also re-read THE HERO AND THE CROWN a couple days ago and for the first time the acid trip battle with Agsded actually made sense to me. I’ve only read the book about forty times, so it’s nice that I eventually became able to really follow that scene.
Also I don’t remember crying through Talat’s rehabilitation before. *wipes eyes*
I made crabapple jelly with the last of LAST year’s crabapples, some cherry jam, pitted more cherries that Dad brought out, and bought some peaches that I need to process today and see if I’ve got enough for jam. I have frozen strawberries, too, and some many-berry mix frozen berries. Jam, glorious jam. :)
There are TWO kittens in the garden. We’re calling them Topsy and Turvy and are feeding them and their mama. I’m waiting for the local rescue people to have a capture cage available, so hopefully that’ll come through soon.
I turned a grant application in last week. I’ve got a book proposal just about ready to submit. I have copy edits to do and need to email my editor about line edits. And…I’d have to look at my to-do list to see what’s next. That’s plenty to get me through the week, though. :)
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)