Another week, another embarrassing lack of true productivity. I’m still not sure if or when I’m every going to feel normal again during this time of living in, as Chuck Wendig puts it “Fucking Cuckootown, Population All Of Us” and I, frankly, don’t want this insanity to become normal. That said, I’d love to be able to get a good night’s sleep again someday, or get through a day without crying or having a panic attack. Mostly, I’d like to write something meaningful that isn’t a letter to a legislator. I’ve been really struggling the last few weeks to feel as if book and television reviews and listicles are a worthwhile way to spend my time–I can’t help feeling a little as if I’m fiddling while Rome burns–but obviously a complete stop of all productivity and joy on my part doesn’t fix anything and just makes me miserable. So I’m trying to get back on track.
The good news is that I think I’m almost there. I just ordered my weekly/monthly planner for 2017, which will be here by Tuesday, and I’m feeling optimistic at just the idea of that symbolic fresh start–throwing out the 2016 planner and filling out a new one with plans and ideas for the future is a small thing that feels really important to my mental health this year. Also helpful is the knowledge that there is a sort of end in sight for at least some of my current anxiety. The Electoral College will vote on December 19, and then we’ll have a much better idea of what we’ll be dealing with for the next few years. I think I’ll be able to deal with whatever comes, even if it’s going to be terrible. It’s the uncertainty that generates panic and worry, and that’s hopefully going to be done with in a little over a week.
I’m not making any promises for my end-of-year productivity, but I am trying to wrap up a few more book reviews by year’s end, I’m planning to see Arrival and Rogue One both this week, and I’m working hard to whittle my list of 2016 favorite things down to some reasonably manageable number. So, things are happening. There’s going to be some content between now and New Year’s, and then I’ll be letting January 1 act as a sort of reset. Just a couple more weeks to go.
In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been reading on the internet this week.
Rod T. Faulkner wrote about Why Progressive Science Fiction is a Powerful Protest Statement Against Injustice.
Justina Ireland talked about The Continent, Carve the Mark, and the Trope of the Dark-skinned Aggressor.
At Book Riot, Charles Paul Hoffman reminds us that All Books Are Political.
At Unbound Worlds, Cassandra Khaw wrote about The “Urban” in Urban Fantasy.
If you’re looking for a few recs to help get you through this last part of the year, Tor.com’s reviewers have you covered.
Brain Pickings rounded up the Best Science Books of 2016. I’m still feeling pretty crummy about not reading more non-fiction this year, personally, and there are a couple on this list that I may have to add to my 2017 reading list.
While I haven’t decided on any particular projects for next year yet, spending more time focusing on queer fiction is definitely on my to-do list. Autostraddle has some good suggestions on where to start with queer high fantasy.
Speaking of queer stories, there’s still ten days left to back the WARRIOR anthology on Kickstarter and support LGBTQIA stories for young people.
Meanwhile, Fantastic Stories is still plugging away at their Kickstarter campaign for their People of Color Take Over project–guest edited by the incomparable Nisi Shawl. There’s still over three weeks to go on this one, but the sooner you sign up to back it, the sooner you’ll start getting daily updates with some excellent POC-written flash fiction.
Last year, Nisi Shawl wrote A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction, published in Fantastic Stories. Now, in addition to guest-editing POC Take Over, she’s starting a new column over at Tor.com where she will be expanding upon that crash course and talking in more depth about the authors she mentioned in her original piece. She’s kicking off the new series with a look at Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day.
Crossroads of Canopy is one of my most anticipated new releases for January 2017, and this Q&A with author Thoraiya Dyer made me that much more excited about the book.
Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have announced that they will be editing a Big Book of Classic Fantasy, and I cannot wait.
Scientists found dinosaur feathers trapped in amber. It’s pretty cool.
Because we’re well into the holiday season, this mean old atheist has started her annual couple weeks of listening to Christmas music. “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses might be my all-time favorite Christmas song, but my favorite Christmas album is Annie Lennox’s A Christmas Cornucopia, which has solid renditions of a lot of fairly traditional carols that I adore. The best one, though, is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,” and there’s a video for it in which Annie Lennox leads a pagan revel through a snowy wood. I will leave you with that this week:
Sure, things in the world are shitty right now, but nothing can take away that time Annie Lennox was a badass Christmas witch.