Category Archives: Blog News

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: June 18, 2017

As always, this week I didn’t manage to be nearly as productive as I’d like, though I’m proud of what I did accomplish: two Gormenghast posts and a review of the most recent episode of iZombie.

This week, the big hold-up on productivity was just getting totally bogged down in Gormenghast. I’m loving Titus Groan, but it’s a rich text with many layers to analyze, and trying to stick to a strict three-to-four-posts-per-week schedule with it is, frankly, leaving me completely overwhelmed and unable to concentrate on much else (or, unfortunately and paradoxically, on Gormenghast, because that’s just the sort of garbage anxiety issues I have). I have other book reviews I’d like to write, and we’re coming up on Game of Thrones season seven, so I can’t be spending all my productive time on the Gormenghast project. From here on out, I’ll be continuing to post a tentative plan for Gormenghast posts each Sunday in the State of the Blog post, but (just for my own sanity, really) posts will be up when they’re up. Two 1000+ word Gormenghast posts a week seems to be doable so far, so I’m thinking that will be the baseline, with extra posts as time/energy/interest permits.  This coming week, I’ll be covering two to four of the following:

  • Titus Groan, Chapters 17-23
  • Titus Groan, Chapters 24-26
  • Titus Groan, Chapters 27-31
  • Titus Groan, Chapters 32-36

Aside from my continued disappointment with my own lack of productivity, it’s been a pretty good week. The last round of repairs to my car seem to have held; I’m half-obsessed with Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812; and Tuesday was perhaps the single best day for new book releases so far this year, so I’ve had plenty to read this week. I’m still savoring Nicky Drayden’s incredible debut novel, The Prey of Gods, which is probably the book I was most excited about this week, but other notable releases included Raven Strategem by Yoon Ha LeeMars Girls by Mary TurzilloThe Changeling by Victor LaValleDown Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire, and The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente (which was actually out last Tuesday, but was shipped this week with my pre-orders of The Prey of Gods and Raven Strategem). I also got my bookmarks from the Kickstarter for Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection Vol. 2, which are lovely.

You can read Nicky Drayden’s Big Idea at John Scalzi’s blog.

Apex Publications has still been aggressively promoting Mars Girls:

It was a good week for short fiction as well.

Last week, the second half of Uncanny Magazine #16 was posted and is now free to read online.

Sunny Moraine’s “eyes I dare not meet in dreams” was posted at Tor.com.

And you have got to check out “Beauty, Glory, Thrift” by Alison Tam at the Book Smugglers. Then don’t forget to read more about her inspirations and influences.

The fourth and (apparently) last Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac is now available.

Tor.com scored the cover reveal for Cassandra Khaw’s novella, Bearly a Lady, which will be available July 18 and sounds like everything I want in a novella.

Invisible 3, edited by Jim C. Hines and Mary Anne Mohanraj, is out on June 27, with any profits from sales of the collection going to Con or Bust. For a sneak peek, check out Fran Wilde’s essay: “Notes from the Meat Cage.”

File 770 posted a nice Hugo Finalist Review Roundup if you’re still undecided on how to vote.

Joe Sherry at nerds of a feather covered Novelettes and Fancasts this week.

At Black Gate, John O’Neill makes a great case for buying bulk back issues of Asimov’s and Analog. I was convinced enough to order $30 worth, myself, and I’ll report back when they arrive and let you know if it’s worth it (I’m thinking yes).

Aidan Moher’s series on the art of SFF continues with a look at the work of Galen Dara.

Mari Ness writes about Twelve Dancing Princesses.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: June 11, 2017

Sometimes I feel like I’m never going to catch a break. After being moderately productive last week, I was all prepared to churn out some work this week, especially since I started a new blogging project (Let’s Read! Gormenghast) that I’ve been excited to dig into for months.

Reader, I’m already a post behind where I’d planned to be. And the thing is, it’s not even depression or poor time management, which would be disappointing, but also classic me. Nope. This time it’s just plain old seasonal allergies, which got randomly worse for me last weekend and have only let up in the last 36 or so hours. I’ve always had a little bit of sniffling, like in April when every flower in my town blooms at once and I have the windows open for fresh air, but usually it clears up by now. Not this year, though. This year, I just got a full week of sinus pain, stuffiness, runny eyes and constant headaches that were literally only helped by laying completely horizontal and essentially doing nothing. Which amounted to quite a lot of sleeping, as the headaches made it hard to even read a book, much less anything else even remotely productive.

Today is the first day in over a week that I’ve felt anything close to normal, and most of my waking hours have been spent at my nephew’s birthday party, which was nice, but the noise has undone most of the good that a couple days of pretty solid resting and quiet/early (for me) evenings have done. The good news is that I think the allergy situation is clearing up now that it’s hitting 90 degrees and I turned on the A/C. I have high hopes that this coming week will be a bit more normal.

All that said, this past week wasn’t the total worst, all things considered. I reviewed iZombie as normal, and I did get out two of the three posts I’d planned to do about Titus GroanPart 1 | Part 2–with another one likely to be ready tomorrow. If my energy level stays high and the rest of my body cooperates, I’m hoping to catch up this week by just making up this week’s missed post by Friday. Here’s what I’ve got planned next if you’re following along:

  • Monday: Titus Groan, Chapters 10-13
  • TBD: Titus Groan, Chapters 14-17
  • TBD: Titus Groan, Chapters 18-23
  • TBD: Titus Groan, Chapters 24-26

Energy level and health again permitting, I’ve got several book reviews in the works, and I’d love to get out sometime soon to catch Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Wonder Woman, which I expect to have thoughts on–unless I decide to just hold off on movie-going until The Little Hours and/or Atomic Blonde comes out. Because, really, raunchy nuns and Charlize Theron killing dudes and romancing Sofia Boutella will almost certainly be better than anything Marvel or DC is going to put out this year.

In sad news this week, original Batman star Adam West passed away at age 88.

If you’re planning your summer reading already and can’t wait around for my Summer Reading List near the end of June, the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog has a book for you each week in both science fiction and fantasy.

If you’re reading for the Hugo Awards, you should definitely be following along with Joe Sherry at Nerds of a Feather. He just did short stories.

Finalist lists were announced this week for this year’s Mythopoeic Award and John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

The Wertzone’s Cities of Fantasy series continues with Waterdeep.

In her continuing fairy tale series at Tor.com, Mari Ness talks Hansel and Gretel.

As I gear up and prepare my liver for season seven of Game of Thrones, that show’s numerous failings have been much on my mind. Fortuitously, the good folks over at the Fandomentals have organized most of the reasons why Game of Thrones is bad in a handy 101 post.

Pornokitsch offers up a taxonomy of villains.

One of the books I’m hoping to finish a review of this week is Catherynne M. Valente’s The Refrigerator Monologues, which is every bit as superbly excellent as you might expect anything by Valente to be. She was interviewed over at Vox this week; you can read her Big Idea post about the new book; and if you still aren’t convinced, you can read an excerpt at Paste.

Yoon Ha Lee’s Raven Stratagem, out Tuesday (6/13), is the next major release I’m hotly anticipating, and he’s been making the rounds to promote it this week.

The other release I’m looking forward to this week is Mary Turzillo’s YA novella, Mars Girls, from Apex Publications, which I’ve had on pre-order for what feels like forever. There’s been a big blog tour going on this week ahead of publication (and stretching into next week), and all it’s done is whet my appetite for this book. I mean, look at that stunning cover and that book description. Can not wait.

While we’re still waiting on the next Book Smugglers novella, they did just reveal the cover and synopsis for the first book in their 2017 short story season, Beauty, Glory, Thrift by Alison Tam. Reader, I instantly pre-ordered it. All the cool kids are doing it.

Finally, Book Smugglers is also where I found out about the Kickstarter for the Tansy Rayner Roberts-edited anthology, Mother of Invention. I’m starting to be slightly concerned about how much the Book Smugglers are influencing my spending decisions, but AUS $10 will net you a digital edition of the book when it comes out. It had me at “diverse, challenging stories about gender as it relates to the creation of artificial intelligence and robotics.”

Also, I know I negged superhero movies a bit earlier, but the first teaser for Black Panther looks promising:

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: June 4, 2017

Last weekend was busy enough, with my daughter’s belated birthday party (I still can’t believe she’s fourteen) and then a family get-together for the holiday, that I ended up just skipping this post. The truth is, it was also just an altogether dull week (for me, not in general–this country is an absolute shitshow), without even any especially interesting links to share.

This week hasn’t been great, overall, but there have been some bright spots. The most recent episode of iZombie was a new high point for one of my favorite shows. Lucifer ended its second season with a strong finale. Still Star-Crossed premiered and seemed promising. There was a new Marie Brennan novella, Lightning in the Blood, and it’s fantastic. I read Catherynne M. Valente’s The Refrigerator Monologues and Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which were both superb. I pre-ordered my copy of The Refrigerator Monologues along with Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee and The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden, so I’ve got something to look forward to in a couple weeks when those show up.

I didn’t write much–being slightly depressed and home with a bored teenager on summer break isn’t exactly awesome for one’s productivity–but I did introduce my big Let’s Read! Gormenghast project. It’ll start properly tomorrow with Titus Groan Chapters 1-3, with chapters 4-9 and 10-13 later in the week.

It’s the start of a new month, June, which means we’re getting into the end of my Spring Reading List. However, if you’re looking for a full(-ish) list of June releases, Tor.com is the place to go, as always:

Meanwhile, the B&N Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog has a great list of 6 Standout Short Story Collections to start your summer with.

B&N is now publishing fiction, and they started strong last week with Sarah Gailey’s “A Lady’s Maid.”

Mari Ness wrote about Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose.

The Wertzone’s Cities of Fantasy series continues with New Crobuzon.

There’s a new Malka Older story at Fireside: “Narrative Disorder.”

It sounds like the final season of Game of Thrones might not air until 2019, which is a bummer. I’m ready to be done with it, to be honest. I guess, on the bright side, it will give my liver time to recover after all the alcohol I plan on drinking when I watch the upcoming season.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: May 21, 2017

I would love to have a week go by without some large (or at least large-feeling) part of it spent on dealing with life crises. This week, it was my car again; after having some expensive work done on it last week, I was back at the shop again this week with more mystery problems. Fortunately, everything has been under warranty, but it’s still stressful and frustrating and time-consuming to deal with when I’d much rather be working on other things. Add to that the fact that apparently no one makes/sells a classy-looking cat cookie cutter small enough to be cut out in fondant that would fit on top of a cupcake (my daughter has pretty specific late birthday cupcake desires), and it’s not been a great week.

That said, I’m looking forward to the rest of May and June. Hopefully my car troubles are finally solved (I’m really trying to be optimistic about it); this week is my daughter’s last week of 8th grade; Into the Badlands wraps up tonight, which will free up my Mondays for a little while; and a week from this Monday is the premiere of Still Star-Crossed, which is probably the thing I’m most excited to watch this summer. This week, I’ll also be figuring out my schedule for my big summer blogging project, Let’s Read! Gormenghast, and I expect to be starting that the first week of June. It’s shaping up to be an awesome next few months, barring any major disasters.

The big story of this weekend is the Nebula Awards, which were given out last night. Congratulations to all the winners!

Earlier in the week, George R.R. Martin talked a little bit about all the Game of Thrones spinoff series pilots that HBO has ordered. I’m still processing my feelings about this, but I’m basically stuck on appalled horror at the thought of it all at the moment. I guess we can only hope that Benioff and Weiss aren’t involved in any of it.

In more exciting news, a new anthology edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien was announced this week: Robots vs. Fairiesset to be released in trade paperback in January 2018.

Also released this week was the first proper trailer for Star Trek: Discovery. I’m still a little concerned about the final project after its production delays and creative staff shakeups, but this looks awesome:

If you’re looking for something good and short and fiction to read this week, be sure to check out Mikki Kendall’s “Snow White” over at Fireside Fiction.

Black Gate has an exclusive preview of Archipelago, a new shared world serial novel being Kickstarted by Charlotte Ashley, Andrew Leon Hudson and Kurt Hunt. They had me at “pirates, monsters and world-changing magic.” Check out the campaign.

At Lady Business, Ira and Anna tried to boil the Vorkosigan Saga down to five books. I’ve been meaning to read this series for a while, and this is genuinely helpful guidance for where I might want to start with it.

Tor.com is selling a bundle of their Hugo-nominated works for just $20, perfect if you aren’t a Worldcon member.

Tor.com and the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog teamed up for a Space Opera Week, which was slightly underwhelming overall, but did manage to produce some good individual posts:

Perhaps the best contributions to Space Opera Week, however, were from Cora Buhlert on her own blog:

Finally, Pornokitsch talked about the largest ever analysis of film dialogue and how totally unsurprising the revelation that women have been getting shortchanged was.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: May 14, 2017

It’s been a bit of a rough week, productivity-wise, for me. Monday, I ended up having to take my car to have its transmission rebuilt, which left me without a car until Friday, which–it turns out–is still an inconvenience even when you do live within walking distance of everything truly essential. It also meant that my partner was working from home all week, which is fine, but I’m definitely looking forward to having my alone time back this coming week.

On the bright side, I read quite a bit, finishing three novellas (All Systems RedKilling Gravity and Reenu-You) and a novel (The Guns Above), and I’m hoping to finish the rest of The Radium Girls tonight. After several weeks of what, for me, was a reading slump, I’m starting to feel somewhat normal, at least in this one aspect of my life. The other good thing this week was finally getting some flowers for my balcony yesterday. I spent more than I wanted (I was hoping to spend under $20, but ended up closer to $30), but the two big hanging baskets of fuchsias I got were definitely worth it. I cannot wait til all the buds on them start opening up in a few days.

The finalist list for this year’s Locus Awards is out, and it’s excellent.

Maurice Broaddus’s post about wrestling with writer’s block has been helpful to me this week.

There’s an amazing Humble Book Bundle going on right now: the Super Nebula Author Showcase, which is full of wonderful work by a great selection of diverse authors.

Sleepy Hollow has finally been cancelled.

There’s a new Andy Weir bookArtemis, coming out November 17.

Michele Tracy Berger wrote about the Big Idea in her novella, Reenu-You.

Paul Semel interviewed Martha Wells, the author of All Systems Red, book one of her Murderbot Diaries series.

Speaking of robots, there’s a ton of neat real robot photos right now over at The Big Picture.

At Nerds of a Feather, Joe Sherry talked 6 Books with John Joseph Adams, editor of Cosmic Powers: The Saga Anthology of Far-Away Galaxies, which I reviewed a couple days ago (spoiler: it’s awesome).

Lady Business is the place to go this week if you’re looking for some woman-focused space adventure recs.

The Skiffy and Fanty Show tackled the topic of inclusivity in fairy tales.

At Tor.com, my current favorite re-teller of fairy tales, Ursula Vernon, wrote “Reshaping the Bizarre Structure of Fairy Tales.”

Mari Ness’s series of fairy tale posts also continued this week with a look at Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

There’s an interesting piece at Pornokitsch about the tendency of SFF readers to separate art from the artist.

At the Millions, Daniel Jose Ruiz wrote about the friction of geekdom and race.

Finally, this Fantasy Faction post about how the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) is revitalising SFF is a must-read.

 

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: May 7, 2017

I don’t have much news this week, personal or otherwise. My productivity has been middling–not terrible, but not as good as I’d hoped coming into the week–partly do to depressing news stuff going on and partly due to new upstairs neighbors who are noisier than any upstairs neighbors I’ve ever had in the almost ten years I’ve lived here. Turns out, constant banging and yelling and loud television at all hours of the day and night has the effect of interfering with my sleep and triggering terrible headaches, which are kind of a distraction when I’m trying to write or do other quiet-ish activities.

I watched the first episode of American Gods, which was better than I expected, to be honest, and the new episode of Lucifer was pretty good, but I didn’t have much to say about either of them. “The Bone Orchard” was pretty much just exactly the first two chapters of the book and “Candy Morningstar” was fun but unexceptional.

I’ve been in a little bit of a reading slump for a couple weeks now, which is a bummer, especially as things I want to read start piling up. April was a little slow with new books, but just this week had half a dozen new releases I’d like to get through, and there’s at least two or three more every week between now and July. If I’m honest, I’ll probably end up having to scale back some of my reading plans in the next couple of months, not to read less, but just to prioritize the May and June releases I want to read so I can move on to some July-October ARCs I’ve already got sitting around. There is some very exciting stuff coming out in the back half of 2017, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

Finally, I think once a couple more TV shows I’m watching wrap up, I’ll be starting a new Let’s Read! project. Though I (sadly) never finished Dune last year due to a lot of travel and some other unforeseen stuff, this year I’m determined to get through Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy. I managed to get some Ballantine mass markets from the 70s that are too wonderful not to read. I’m currently taking suggestions on how to split these up into manageable chunks for writing about.

The shortlist for this year’s Clarke Award was announced this week. Once again, I’ve read half of it. I have got to make some time to read The Underground Railroad and After Atlas.

Also posted this week are the nominees for the 2016 Shirley Jackson Award. I’ve read far fewer of these, but horror and dark fantasy have never been my favorite things to read. It’s nice to see The Ballad of Black Tom, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe and The Starlit Wood on there, though.

If you’re interested in comics, the 2017 Eisner Awards finalist list is out, too. I’m not a

Speaking of new releases, Tor.com has got you covered for May:

One of the books that came out on May 2 that I’m looking forward to digging into this week is Robyn Bennis’s The Guns Above. To promote the book, Bennis has been making the rounds of the guest-blogging circuit, and it’s only made me more excited for this title.

There’s a great interview with Mishell Baker over at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog. Baker also revealed the cover this weekend for the next book in her Arcadia Project series: Imposter Syndrome. It’s gorgeous, and I can’t wait to have all of this series on my shelf.

At the Wertzone, the next installment in the Cities of Fantasy series is all about Minas Tirith.

At Tor.com, Sarah Gailey’s piece on the alternate history that makes up American identity is a must-read.

You can now make yourself a Pop! figure avatar.

The first half of the content from the May/June 2017 Uncanny Magazine is up, and there’s so much great stuff in this issue. My recommendations:

Seriously. It’s a great issue of a great magazine, and the material that’s not online yet is just as amazing as what’s already out. I strongly suggest just subscribing to the magazine, and now is a great time to do it, during Uncanny‘s 2017 subscription drive over at Weightless Books. A subscription right now is $2 less than the regular price, and they’ve got some great perks on offer if they hit their milestones.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: April 30, 2017

It’s been another largely uneventful week at the SF Bluestocking apartment, but getting my daughter packed and ready to go on her National Junior Honor Society trip to Washington, D.C. took a surprisingly large amount of time and energy now that I’m looking back at the week. I didn’t write as much as I’d hoped, and I haven’t even starting watching Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale yet, which is kind of a bummer. I did read a bit, finishing Cosmic Powers and then knocking out a couple of excellent novellas (Dianna Gunn’s Keeper of the Dawn and Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus), and I cooked a couple of good meals, but all in all it was somewhat of a disappointing seven days, capped off with spending most of today with piece of cat fur stuck in my eyeball because someone doesn’t like to be brushed and fights like a demon every time.

It could have been worse, though, and I’m looking forward to having some solid, uninterrupted work time tomorrow while my kid is still out of town. Plus, my copies of Saga Volume 7 and Angel Catbird Volume 2 arrived today, so I’m looking forward to a couple of easy reads before I get started on some of the May releases that are going to start piling up this week. I expect it to be a busy month.

As always, I’ll be covering Into the Badlands and iZombie this coming week. The first episode of American Gods also aired tonight, so I may write about that, time/passion permitting, and Lucifer is back tomorrow for another six episodes of season two, which I’m looking forward to. We’re also starting to get into the time of year where every movie I want to see comes out at about the same time, so we’ll see how that works out over the next few weeks. It’s an exciting time.

Anita Sarkeesian has finally finished with her Tropes vs. Women series of videos. Listen. They aren’t perfect, and there’s plenty to debate and criticize about them, but there’s some solid work in there as well.

I never get tired of reading interviews with John Waters.

Or with Aliette de Bodard, for that matter.

This discussion between Jeff VanderMeer and Cory Doctorow is suprisingly not insufferable.

Maurice Broaddus wrote this week about the Big Idea in his new novella, Buffalo Soldiers.

Good piece at Fantasy Faction about disability in SFF.

The Mary Sue wonders why Wonder Woman isn’t being as strongly promoted as some other genre films. Sexism, obv, and judging by the number of articles I’ve seen about it today, mean feminist types aren’t the only ones who have noticed.

Nerds of a Feather had more Dystopian Visions this week:

And wrapping up this week was Fantasy Cafe’s Women in SFF Month, a great project that I am super honored and proud to have been invited to participate in this year. My post was up on Friday, and I was in very good company this week.