State of the Blog and Weekend Links: December 31, 2017

Well, this is the end of 2017, and thank fuck for that. I’m very busy with working on various Best of 2017 lists and looking forward to 2018 stuff that will be published over the next week or so, and 2017 seems intent on ending by giving me an absolutely splitting headache. I’ll be spending the rest of the night popping aspirin and probably going to bed well before midnight, but in the meantime, here are the last links of the year.

Twelfth Planet Press is going to start publishing novellas!

Foz Meadows has a breakdown of a writing contest scam that decided to target writers on Christmas Day.

There’s a good interview at Lightspeed with Louise Erdrich about her new book, Future Home of the Living God.

At Tor.com, Michael Livingston explains why A Knight’s Tale is his favorite medieval movie.

Also at Tor.com, a pretty comprehensive list of sci-fi and fantasy movies and television to look forward to in 2018.

Electric Literature lists 46 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2018.

Smugglivus continues (and will keep going until January 7):

There’s a new Doctor:

RIP 2017.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: December 24, 2017

There’s so much I hate about this time of year: the financial stress, the societal pressure to conspicuously consume, the fraughtness of family gatherings, the cold and (paradoxically) the fact that we never get decent snow in Cincinnati in December. However, I’ve come to kind of love Christmas Eve. I’ve finished all my holiday baking and candy-making, so I’ve got an apartment full of delicious sweets. the shopping is all finished, and it’s almost time for my favorite part of Christmas: wrapping presents (this year’s theme: brown paper packages). Christmas wrapping means I’m FINISHED. With everything! The whole messy business! Also, I am very good at wrapping things really beautifully, and I love doing it.

So, Christmas is a bit of a mixed bag for me, but I’m glad it’s almost done with for the year. The rest of this week will be taken up with getting together my end-of-year wrap-up stuff, Best of 2017 lists and a bunch of New Year’s resolutions that, let’s be real, I’m probably mostly going to forget about sticking to halfway through February. I’m also doing some last minute short fiction reading, and I would love recommendations, so tell me what short stories and novelettes you read and loved in 2017 in the comments or shoot me an email at sfbluestocking (at) gmail (dot) com!

Speaking of short fiction, A.C. Wise has a fantastic list of her favorites of 2017, with links to a lot it that’s free-to-read.

Civil Eats lists their Favorite Food and Farming Books of 2017, just in case you wanted to make some 11th hour additions to your TBR like I did.

You can hit Literary Hub to check out the Best Reviewed Sci-Fi and Fantasy of 2017.

Space.com lists the Must-Read Space Books of 2017.

The next issue of Uncanny Magazine is out on January 3, but you can already see it’s lovely cover and read its table of contents.

Book Riot already has a list of 24 Amazing Feminist Books Coming Out in 2018.

If you’re excited about next year’s sequel titles, B&N’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog lists 30 of them.

There’s a new Naomi Novik book coming out in 2018: Spinning Silver, which I’m hoping is based on her story of the same title that appeared in last year’s The Starlit Wood. I can’t wait to have a copy of it to look beautiful on my shelf next to Uprooted.

Also coming up in 2018, and quickly (January 3!), is Season 11 of The X-Files, which I am kind of unreasonably excited for, even after the decidedly mixed quality of Season 10. This coming week I’ll be preparing, possibly with the aid of these lists of Gillian Anderson’s favorite episodes and/or this Mulder and Scully Ship Guide over at Syfy.

It’s just one more sleep til the Doctor Who Christmas Special and the introduction of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying this Doctor Who yule log video:

It’s been a good week for takes on The Last Jedi, now that the initial hype has died down:

All instances of “icicle” will now be replaced in my vocabulary by:

#FolkloreThursday shared an erotic folktale for the holidays: The Yule Buck and the Girl.

I learned that women in the mid-1800s used to catch on fire and die horribly with pretty alarming frequency. Not a “fun” fact, but interesting.

The Book Smugglers’ Smugglivus celebration continued:

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: December 17, 2017

This week was mostly eaten up by holiday baking and finishing up my last bits of Christmas shopping. I’m relieved to be finished (although I’m still waiting on one ordered item and a replacement for a book that arrived from Amazon with a creased cover). Still, I’m done! I’m DONE. I might, if I feel like it this week, hit the pet store to get some cat treats or something for the cat, but honestly I’ve even worked hard to plan meals for the week and do grocery shopping so I should barely need to leave the house at all unless I want to between now and Christmas. Which is good, because this week is going to be filled with candy-making and even more baking.

I had intended to read a lot more this week, while waiting for oven timers to go off and stuff, but after racing through Tansy Rayner Roberts’ excellent new novella, Girl Reporter (out 12/19 from The Book Smugglers: pre-order here), I’ve been moving a little more slowly through Ada Palmer’s newest Terra Ignota novel, The Will to Battle (also out 12/19, from Tor). Girl Reporter is a delight, cover-to-cover, and the perfect way for the Book Smugglers to end their first year of novella-publishing. I’ve loved Ada Palmer’s series since the beginning, but I have to admit it’s a very dense, heavy read for this time of year, so I’m only about a quarter of the way through. I’m hoping to finish it and have a review out by Tuesday, but we’ll see.

Also, I got to see The Last Jedi yesterday. It was everything I wanted it to be. I didn’t cry nearly as much as I expected, but I am nevertheless full of feelings about it. I’ve got enough to do this week already that I’m not going to commit to writing about this movie, but if I do, expect ALL the feels and ALL the spoilers. Also, porgs are great. Don’t @ me.

I really enjoyed Jeannette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun when I read it a few weeks ago. This week she was on The Skiffy and Fanty Show to talk about the book.

The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog has the cover reveal for European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, the sequel to Theodora Goss’s excellent 2017 novel, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.

There’s a new story by A. Merc Rustad at Lightspeed: “The House at the End of the Lane is Dreaming”–plus an Author Spotlight.

I highly recommend “Maiden, Mother, Crone” by Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky on this week’s Podcastle.

And “Haunted” by Sarah Gailey at Pseudopod. I read this story last year in Up and Coming, and found it really memorable. You can read the text of “Haunted” over at Fireside Fiction.

Uncanny Magazine has posted the guidelines for submissions to their special dinosaur-themed issue.

At Lady Business, forestofglory takes a look at The State of “The State of Short SFF.”

Electric Literature has a list of 9 Essayists of Color You Should Know About. There were a couple of new-to-me names on here.

There’s going to be a new She-Ra: Princess of Power on Netflix!

The Book Smugglers’ Smugglivus celebration continues apace:

And, finally, there’s a full-length trailer (at last!) for the adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation:

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: December 10, 2017

I’m very close to changing the title of these posts to “Depression Blogging and Things I’ve Read On the Internet Lately,” since that’s what they mostly consist of, week after week. Mental health-wise, things always feel like they’re getting better, which beats the alternative, I suppose, but at this point there’s no telling when that feeling of better is going to manifest as actually being better, in terms of productivity. This time of year, it’s not helped much by the fact that I have actual things to do. This week was a bit of the calm before the storm, and I still felt busy. The week to come is going to be filled with holiday baking and candy-making and the last of my Christmas shopping and planning Christmas dinner and seeing the new Star Wars movie and crying about Carrie Fisher.

I’d like to say I’m still hopeful that I’ll be able to get some writing work during the next couple of weeks, but at this point, I think I’ll mostly be wrapping up some end-of-the-year last-minute reading before I move along to reading 2018 work. I will have some end of the year “Best of” lists, and I’d like to publish some book reviews, but I’m trying to end 2017 by being kind to myself. It’s been a rough year, and I’ve been beating myself up for months over falling so far behind on so many things I wanted to accomplish. I think I’m ready to quit that now and start making plans for how to do better and be happier about it next year, so that’s what I’ll be doing. Also, waiting for Black Mirror Season 4 to show up on Netflix (December 29!):

This week, I took a break from longer books to read a pair of novellas. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s crowdfunded Prime Meridian was not at all what I expected at first, but it’s a story that grows in the telling and I was well and truly in love with it by the end. It’s only available to Indiegogo backers so far, but it will be getting a broader release on July 10, 2018, and it’s not too early to pre-order it. I also read Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, a dark fairy tale that borrows some motifs from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen to tell a story of three women engaged in a war with each other. It’s utterly gorgeous and full of Sriduangkaew’s characteristically lovely prose and sharp wit. There’s also a great interview with Sriduangkaew over at The Future Fire this week.

There’s a new collection of essays out from Ursula K. Le Guin, No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters. You can read excerpts from it in several places:

Today, I cracked open the next book in Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota series, The Will to Battle, which hits shelves December 19. This week, at the Tor/Forge blog, Palmer wrote about “Other Story Ingredients Beyond World, Characters and Plot.”

Fonda Lee’s Jade City is (still) one of my favorite books of 2017, and it’s ALSO still on sale for $2.99. This week, Lee talked about 6 Books at Nerds of a Feather.

There’s an interview with The Odyssey translater Emily Wilson over at Book Riot.

Literary Hub has a two-part interview with Samuel R. Delany:
Part One | Part Two

Prism Stalker is officially the first new comic of 2018 that I’m super excited for.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones has a Season Two release date (March 8, 2018) and a trailer:

This year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award was announced, but it’s sadly ho-hum compared to some previous years.

The Fandomentals’ Carol Awards for Game of Thrones Season 7, however, is a wild ride.

Tor.com has you covered for this month’s new releases:

I keep thinking of checking out The Orville, but every time I start getting close, I see something like this list of 6 Misogynist Messages From The Orville, and it reminds me of why I don’t like much of anything that Seth McFarlane does.

This list of 50 Free Printable Bookmarks makes me wish I used bookmarks more often instead of index cards and receipts.

Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet:

This was the first full week of Smugglivus, and it was full of great guest posts over at the Book Smugglers:

I loved this piece at Tor.com about The Witches of Winter.

Apex Magazine is now available in print!

The second half of Uncanny Magazine #19 is available online. My favorites from this issue:

I’ve been wild about Vina Jie-Min Prasad since I read “Fandom for Robots,” but this week I learned about a couple more stories she’s published in 2017:

Rachael K. Jones’ “The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant” is my favorite short read of the week. As the author says, “we don’t have enough deranged cannibal she-cyborgs running the food trucks in our fiction.”

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: December 3, 2017

I think I’m going to give up on optimism about productivity for the foreseeable future, as I believe the reality is that the combination of ongoing struggles with depression, holidays, and US political garbage is just not very conducive to doing anything but baking, eating too much, and trying to chill the heck out (with mixed-to-poor success, frankly).

It hasn’t been an all-bad week, though. I’ve read a lot. Finished A War in Crimson Embers by Alex Marshall on Monday, then knocked out Spencer Ellsworth’s second Starfire book, Shadow Sun Seven, over the next couple of days. And this morning, I finished the most recent issues of both Uncanny and FIYAH, so I’m caught up on the magazines I read regularly. I even took the time earlier this week to watch that awful new Christmas movie on Netflix, though I still haven’t gotten around to watching Godless.

This coming week, I’m reading some novellas–Benjanun Sriduagkaew’s Winterglass, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Prime Meridian, and Girl Reporter by Tansy Rayner Roberts (coming soon from Book Smugglers Publishing)–and probably getting around to Godless while also getting super excited about getting to see a new Star Wars soon. Also getting hyped about: Black Mirror season four, which Netflix needs to at least give us a release date for before I burst from anticipation.

I am kind of into strange holiday traditions. Last year I learned about Yule Cats (see image at top of post) and Caganers. This year, I found out about the Mari Lwyd, and you should, too, because it involves a festively decorated horse skull, singing, and bothering one’s neighbors.

Jade City author Fonda Lee did a reddit AMA, and it was great. Buy her book.

Shadow Sun Seven author Spencer Ellsworth was interviewed by Paul Semel.

Ellsworth also popped over to Terribleminds to share 5 things he learned while writing Shadow Sun Seven.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia started a Twitter thread that amassed over 200 recommendations for SFF books by writers of color.

The Wertzone’s Cities of Fantasy series went to Asshai.

The Book Smugglers just published a collection of Octavia Cade’s essays on Food and Horror. There’s even a giveaway that’s going on for 5 more days.

Catherynne M. Valente’s next book–Space Opera–has a cover!

When asked to “name a badder bitch than Taylor Swift,” Twitter delivered.

There are some gorgeous character posters for Hello, Rain, the short film adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s short story, “Hello, Moto.” Here’s one, but be sure to visit the link for more:

I may have cackled–a lot–at “20 Authors I Don’t Have to Read Because I’ve Dated Men for 16 Years.”

You can now read Ursula Vernon’s 2017 Hugo acceptance speech online. You can also download it for free and have a permanent copy of this beautiful whale fall illustration on your reading device in addition to the lovely speech.

Speaking of somewhat strange and macabre trivia, since that seems to be my theme of the week, Mental Floss has a pretty comprehensive history of rat kings up this week. You’re welcome.

I loved Vina Jin-Mae Prasad’s recent story in Uncanny, “Fandom for Robots,” but her new story at Fireside, “Portrait of Skull With Man,” just shot her to the top of my list of new writers to nominate for next year’s Campbell Award.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: November 26, 2017

So, I’ve basically given up altogether on meeting my writing goals for the month, though I haven’t been entirely unproductive. This week, with the holiday and all, I’ve been mostly taking it easy, catching up on some reading and working on a few book reviews. The final two episodes of season two of The Shannara Chronicles aired Wednesday night, but I of course didn’t get to write about them on Thursday. At that point, I figured I might as well just wait til Monday to do it, so that’s what i’ll be working on tomorrow. Later in the week, watch for the aforementioned book reviews as well as coverage of the new Netflix series, Godless, which I plan to start watching an episode of each week between now and about the first week of January. I may even make some time to check out The Orville or Alias Grace or Hulu’s new Runaways series.

Today was all about holiday stuff, pretty much. I reorganized ALL my book shelves, which took a few hours but had a well-worth-it payoff: I no longer have stacks of books on the floor! In fact, I no longer have any books on the floor, for the first time in several months. I mean, I still have to figure out what I’m going to do next time I run out of shelf space, but it’s certainly an improvement in the short term. Mostly, it had to be done in order to make room for the Christmas tree, which was my other project of the day. I’m happy to be done with all of this so I can get back to writing (in much more comfort, what with not being walled in by books anymore) and, over the next couple of weeks, planning for this year’s holiday candy-making and baking.

I love that celebrating indigenous writers and artists has become something of a Thanksgiving tradition in recent years, at least in the online circles I tend to run in, so here are my (belated) recs:

Molly Tanzer wrote about the Big Idea in her new novel, Creatures of Will and Temper, which is a riff off of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Tanzer was also interviewed about the book in Lightspeed Magazine.

Fonda Lee shared her favorite bit of Jade City.

At Tor.com, there’s a handy list of all the known portal worlds in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series.

Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun has a cover, and he answered some questions about it over at the Barnes & Noble Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog.

At Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings, Benjanun Sriduangkaew wrote about retelling The Snow Queen in her upcoming book, Winterglass.

There’s a new Charlie Jane Anders story at Lightspeed, “Cake Baby (A Kango and Sharon Adventure).”  It’s a companion to her story in the John Joseph Adams-edited Cosmic Powers anthology that came out earlier this year. There’s even an author spotlight to go with it.

Book Riot has a list of 50 bookish articles from Atlas Obscura if you’re in need of procrastination material that you can convince yourself is educational.

Black Gate pieces on Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress anthologies and on Michael Moorcock’s Elric books were good for a nice bit of nostalgia this week. The Sword and Sorceress anthologies, in particular, were a lifeline for me as a little girl hungry for more stories about girls and women.

This week, I discovered #FolkloreThursday (“Public Folklore in Action”!), which I didn’t know existed til now, though I’m sure I will be spending a lot of time reading there in the future.

Ursula Vernon at Tor.com: “The Sausage Princess, or, Reshaping the Bizarre Structure of Fairy Tales”

Finally, there are just 4 days left to back Sword and Sonnet on Kickstarter. With a table of contents including Alex Acks, C. S. E. Cooney, Malon Edwards, Spencer Ellsworth, Samantha Henderson, S. L. Huang, Cassandra Khaw, Margo Lanagan, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, Tony Pi, A. Merc Rustad and A. C. Wise and at just AU$14 (about $11 USD) for the digital book, it’s an easy choice to support it.

The Shannara Chronicles: “Warlock” and “Amberle” are a mixed bag of set up for the season finale

This week’s pair of episodes don’t match as well as last week’s and not as consistent in quality, but by the end of the second one it seems as if the likely outline of the season finale is taking shape. That’s not to say the show has gotten predictable, however. There were several genuine surprises in “Warlock” and “Amberle,” and if those surprises don’t necessarily make me think the show is turning over an ambitious new leaf in terms of upending tropes and breaking out of storytelling conventions, they do make me wary of making too many predictions for the final two episodes of the season (and, let’s be real, possibly the series) that will be airing next week. “Warlock” is definitely the weaker of these episodes; it’s plot-focused and shallow, at times feeling like a run-on sentence of happenings, whereas “Amberle” has a strong central theme and packs some emotional punch. Together, though, they make up another solid couple of hours of high fantasy entertainment, without some of the lows that characterized the show’s first season, even if they don’t reach any new heights.

**Spoilers ahead.** Continue reading The Shannara Chronicles: “Warlock” and “Amberle” are a mixed bag of set up for the season finale