Category Archives: Blog News

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: October 15, 2017

Autumn continues apace, though the weather here in Cincinnati has still been positively summery most of the week. Leaves are falling, though they haven’t changed color much; we never do get especially spectacular fall colors here, but they are usually prettier than this. It’s slightly disappointing, especially after this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. Still, it’s not awful.

I’ve been working on getting back into the healthful routines that were working for me so well back before I broke my foot a couple years ago, which means calorie counting (still a work in progress), cardio, walking and daily Duolingo practice (I’m up to 46% fluent in German now!). I’m doing a terrible job of quitting energy drinks, but I’m getting there, and I did bake like twelve dozen cookies (five spice snickerdoodles and chocolate chip, yum!) yesterday, which is not healthy, but the fact that I have the energy for baking is kind of a good sign. Huzzah for mild-to-moderate lessening of my depression!

This week, I reviewed the excellent Laksa Media anthology, Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction & Fantasy. I also continued my coverage of Star Trek: Discovery, which sadly took a turn for the worse, and wrote about the first episode of the new season of The Shannara Chronicles, which was surprisingly decent. It wasn’t as much as I’d hoped to write, but it was better than last week. The new routine, even if I’m not sticking to it perfectly, is already helping my mood and energy levels immensely, and while I didn’t write as much as I wanted to this week, the writing itself went easier and faster than it has in a while.

If you’re looking to read more diversely and don’t know where to start, there’s a new subscription box you should check out: Afrofuture Books.

The next installment of Sarah Gailey’s The Fisher of Bones is up at Fireside: “Discovery.”

I haven’t read it yet because I’m waiting for the book, but Hodderscape has an excerpt up from Becky Chambers’ next book, Record of a Spaceborn Few.

Alex Wells’ sequel to Hunger Makes the Wolf has a cover and title, Blood Binds the Pack.

You can also read an excerpt from Gluttony Bay, Matt Wallace’s penultimate Sin du Jour novella.

Paul Semel interviewed Spencer Ellsworth, author of the excellent Starfire: A Red Peace and its upcoming sequel, Shadow Sun Seven.

Elizabeth Bear wrote about the Big Idea in her new novel, The Stone in the Skull.

Kristin Cashore kicked off a whole series on how she wrote Jane, Unlimited.

There’s a new Ann Leckie interview at Skiffy and Fanty.

There’s a great interview at SPECPO with Uncanny Magazine‘s new poetry editor, Mimi Mondal.

N.K. Jemisin, Annalee Newitz and Cory Doctorow talked about Writing the Fantastic in 2017 at Science Friday.

Ann Leckie and N.K. Jemisin talked about what makes a classic at NYCC.

Tor.com covered Tamora Pierce in conversation with some of the authors she’s inspired.

Twitter says they’re definitely going to do something about their Nazi problem now. I’ll believe it when I see it.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: October 8, 2017

Well, this has been a hell of a week, and I haven’t had the energy or emotional fortitude to do pretty much anything other than play Destiny 2. Yesterday was my birthday, which was as uneventful a day as I could hope for in this garbage year. I drank a bottle of cheap wine. It helped, a little.

The good news is that I’m feeling better, enough so that my lack of productivity today was part of a purposeful day of recharging rather than another day of devastatingly crippling depression and anxiety and shame-spiraling. I’m not making promises about the coming week, as I’m just gonna take things one day at a time for a little while, but I will say that I’ve got a to-do list ready for tomorrow and I’m going to get a good night’s rest tonight, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

The first week of October and my birthday are basically when I really feel like it’s fall, and that means fall recipes. This year, I’m aiming to eat as much pumpkin and squash as I can, and here’s where I’m starting:

While I wish all of us were having an easier year and better times to look forward to ahead, it’s also somewhat comforting to know that I’m not the only one struggling, as this John Scalzi post on 2017, Word Counts and Writing Process from earlier this week reminded me.

Equally reassuring was Kameron Hurley’s post on keeping on keeping on.

Tor.com has collected all the new books you should be watching for this month:

The Book Smuggler’s Kickstarter is funded (with stretch goals!) and over with, and now they’re accepting submissions for next year’s short stories on the theme of “Awakenings.”

The Ripped Bodice published a report on The State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing. Predictably, it’s not great. Do better, romance publishing industry.

I haven’t gotten to dig into Caitlin Doughty’s new book, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, yet, but I did dig her interview at The Hairpin.

Kat Howard shared her Big Idea for An Unkindness of Magicians.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne author Tade Thompson was interviewed at The Illustrated Page.

Jeanette Ng, whose new novel, Under the Pendulum Sun, I’m currently reading and enjoying, wrote about Moon Festival at the Angry Robot Blog.

The Tiger’s Daughter author K. Arsenault Rivera wrote about Personal Failures in Fiction for the Tor/Forge Blog.

Sarah Gailey watched Blade Runner for the first time.

LitHub collected a bunch of very creepy book covers to kick off Halloween month.

Chloe N. Clark continued her Horror 101 series with “Dread.”

Lee Foster wrote about loving horror while living with disability.

Mari Ness finally got around to talking about one of my favorite fairy tales, Diamonds and Toads.

Which means this is a great time to implore everyone to drop what they’re doing and go read the lovely T. Kingfisher take on it: “Toad Words.”

There’s a new A. Merc Rustad story in Lightspeed: “Longing for Stars Once Lost” and an accompanying Author Spotlight.

Also in Lightspeed, you can read the wonderful story Sofia Samatar had in last year’s The Starlit Wood: “The Tale of Mahliya and Mauhub and the White-Footed Gazelle.”

The second half of content from the current issue of Uncanny Magazine is now available to read online for free. My recommendations:

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: October 1, 2017

I’ve been pretty concerned for a few weeks that I was going to have a freak-out as I got closer to my 35th birthday on October 7, but so far I’m feeling okay about it. All things considered (and there are a lot of things to consider these days), it feels like it might not be a completely horrible year. Feeling optimistic-ish about the future, I’ve even updated my Amazon wishlist just in case anyone is interested in feeding my endless hunger for literary criticism and beautiful cookbooks.

Here at the blog, I’ve been somewhat busy this week–and certainly more productive than I have been for a while. I covered the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and reviewed Kat Howard’s An Unkindness of Magicians. The really important things, though, are my Fall Reading List and the Summer Wrap-Up post I just put up today.

Check out the amazing patch designed by Ira Gladkova that will be available if they hit the $18,100 stretch goal!

In happy news this week, the Book Smugglers’ Level Up Kickstarter hit its first goal and is well on its way to some great stretch goals, including a new serialized story by JY Yang if they make it to $20,000.

For more about the Book Smugglers, check out Nine Questions with them at Reading the End and this interview with Book Smugglers editor Ana Grilo at Lady Business. And at the Book Smugglers blog, Ana and co-editor Thea James so some self-reflection.

The first teaser trailer for Annihilation, based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name, is finally out, and I am HYPED:

At Engadget, Swapna Krishna explains what should be obvious: Star Trek: Discovery shouldn’t be streaming-only.

If you’re enjoying Star Trek: Discovery but are sad about the lack of more Burnham and Georgiou material, there’s a book for that: Desperate Hours tells more of their story.

Salik Shah explains why Mithila Review has closed submissions. Spoiler: the problem is lack of funding. It’s a great publication, and I highly recommend checking it out and supporting it via Patreon. $2.50/issue gets you a digital copy of each new one as its published, and Shah has said submissions will reopen when they hit their first funding goal of $250 per issue.

This Lani Sarem/Handbook for Mortals story is a gift that just keeps on giving. Lani Sarem sounds like an absolute nightmare, and the boldness with which she lies is just incredible.

There’s going to be a Karen Memory novella! Stone Mad by Elizabeth Bear will be out March 20, 2018.

Taste of Wrath, the final volume of Matt Wallace’s fantastic Sin du Jour series, has a cover and a release date: April 10, 2018. It is both too soon and too far away.

At nerds of a feather, flock together, Chloe N. Clarke kicked off a new series on horror fiction with an introduction on what makes horror work.

At Slate, erstwhile io9 cofounder and Autonomous author Annalee Newitz wrote about how to write a novel set 125 years in the future.

Tananarive Due was interviewed at Bitch Media.

Jeannette Ng wrote about the origin of her upcoming novel, Under the Pendulum Sun, at The Illustrated Page.

Fran Wilde shared her thoughts on her favorite book of her Bone Universe trilogy.

Ann Leckie was interviewed at the Book Smugglers AND in the most recent Feminist Frequency newsletter.

K. Arsenault Rivera, author of the upcoming fantasy novel The Tiger’s Daughter, was interviewed at the Tor/Forge blog.

JY Yang was interviewed at The Illustrated Page. Meanwhile, Tor.com has an introductory guide to the Tensorate series.

An Unkindness of Magicians author Kat Howard was interviewed at Unbound Worlds, then popped in at Uncanny to write about “The Dearth of Fairy Godmothers” in her new book.

The next installment of Sarah Gailey’s The Fisher of Bones, “Fear,” is up at Fireside Fiction.

Starting in 2018, Apex Magazine will also be available in print!

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

It’s been a decent week here at SF Bluestocking, though I’m still not quite where I’d like to be, productivity-wise. This coming week will be much better, however. Today was Star Trek: Discovery Day, so I’ll have the first couple episodes of that to write about tomorrow (I have a lot of feels about Star Trek), and I’ve got reviews in the works for a couple of this week’s new releases (Provenance and An Unkindness of Magicians–both excellent). I’m also putting the finishing touches on my Summer Reading Wrap-Up and getting ready to publish my Fall Reading List, so watch for both of those posts this week.

It’s been a tough week still for some storm-wracked parts of the world, and Fireside Fiction has a store set up where all profits are going to hurricane relief and recovery if you’d like to help out and get some new reading material.

There’s still a bit over a day left on this year’s Strange Horizons Fund Drive, and they’re still short of their goal. $25 gets you a year of ebooks of Strange Horizons content, however, and it is top notch stuff.

There’s 11 days left on the Kickstarter for Volume 3 of the Long List Anthology that collects short fiction from the long list of nominations from this year’s Hugo Awards. They’re currently less than $70 away from a stretch goal that will add four novellas to the book, and just $10 gets you the ebook of the collection.

The Book Smugglers Level Up Kickstarter has 10 days left, and there are still tons of great rewards up for grabs, including signed or personalized books, chats with the editors, short story or novel critiques and more.

Jessica Williams is set to write and star in a Showtime comedy series about a science fiction writer living in Brooklyn.

Sarah Gailey’s serialized story, The Fisher of Bones, is available for preorder already.

This is the best xkcd comic in history:

It’s never a bad time to listen to a conversation with Margaret Atwood, and there’s a new one this week at LitHub.

Despite the protests of probably millions of miserable man-children, Hillary Clinton insisted on publishing her book anyway, and now What Happened is the best-selling non-fiction title in the last five years.

Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda talked about their collaboration on Monstress at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

At Tor.com, Malka Older shared a helpful guide to some of the major micro-democratic governments you can find in Infomocracy and Null States.

The Black Mirror episode “San Junipero” won an Emmy for Best Writing, and the Fandomentals have a good take on why that episode was so powerful and why this win was important.

Annalee Newitz wrote about the Big Idea in her debut novel Autonomous.

Fran Wilde talked about the Big Idea in the final volume of her Bone Universe series, Horizon.

Wilde was also interviewed about Horizon over at Shimmer.

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

Thursday was the first time in a couple of weeks that I managed to write anything substantive (and, boy, am I ever happy to be done with Game of Thrones for a while), but it still wasn’t as much as I’d have liked. That said, I read two full books and have spent some time working on outlines for my backlog of book reviews, plus I had a good idea for a future feature here that I’ll be working on with the tentative plan/hope of starting it after the first of the year. I’m still trying to stay away from making promises about my productivity or what I’ll be publishing this week, but right now, Sunday evening, I’m feeling more optimistic about the upcoming week than I have in some time.

I’ve read some great books lately, and I’ve got an exciting Fall Reading List in the works (watch for that next week), so I’m determined to turn out as many reviews as possible before I do my quarterly clearing of my schedule so I can start the new season with a clean slate instead of an enormous backlog of unfinished projects. Next weekend brings the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery, and season premieres of The Good PlaceLucifer, and The Shannara Chronicles (and Bob’s Burgers and Dancing with the Stars) coming over the next month or so as well, so there will be plenty to watch and write about in the coming weeks. I’ve even got a few movies on my to-watch list (Wonder WomanThe Girl With All the GiftsColossalIt Stains the Sand Red) that I may have something to say about when I watch them. Finally, I still haven’t forgotten about Gormenghast; I am coming back to you, Mervyn Peake.

Ideally, I won’t be coming down with any more nasty colds or other productivity-killing conditions for a while. My mental health has been improving steadily(-ish), and I’m so very ready to start turning that into words on a page. And now for links!

Nnedi Okorafor’s new YA novel, Akata Warrior comes out October 3.

The HBO adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death has a screenwriter according to executive producer George R.R. Martin.

There were two excellent interviews with Nnedi Okorafor this week as well. She talked about the Who Fears Death adaptation, her upcoming YA novel release (Akata Warrior, Oct. 3), and the nuances of Afrofuturism:

The first of Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries, All Systems Red, is one of my favorite novellas of 2017 so far, and there are three more planned in the series. The second volume, Artificial Condition, has a cover, a release date (May 8, 2018), and a cover, and Martha Wells was interviewed about the series over at The Verge.

Also coming in 2018 is a pair of novellas by Mary Robinette Kowal as a follow up to her 2013 novelette, “The Lady Astronaut of Mars.” Check out the covers and descriptions for The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky.

31189192Malka Older’s Null States is one of the fantastic novels I’ve read in the past couple weeks while being sick, and its official release date is this Tuesday, September 19. I’m working on a full review, but I’ll say right now that you need this book.

Older herself wrote two posts at Tor.com this week talking about the book and its premise: “It’s Not a Good Idea to Forget About the Null States” and “Writing Political Science Fiction by Observing the Present.” Malka Older, her experiences and ideas are fascinating, and I increasingly find myself hanging on her every word, so I was thrilled to see her interviewed at Nerds of a Feather this week as well, where she’s every bit as erudite and entertaining as her books are.

Catherynne M. Valente wrote about the Big Idea in her new middle grade novel, The Glass Town Game.

Claire Eddy, Ibrahim Al-Marashi, Anoud and Dr. Zhraa Alhaboby wrote about several of the many Big Ideas in Iraq+100.

The most recent anthology from Laksa Media is The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound, which collects SFF stories about caregiving and caregivers. Editors Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law talked about their Favorite Bits and Big Ideas this week.

The Book Smugglers Level Up Kickstarter is almost halfway funded. Thea James and Ana Grilo popped in at Terrible Minds to share five things they’ve learned starting a short fiction program from scratch.

At Pornokitsch: Sweet Savage Love, Romance and Realism.

Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, from Twelfth Planet Press, is a collection of essays and ephemera about Butler and her work.

At Book Riot, Laura Sackton shares what SFF taught her about queer family-making.

If you’re on Twitter, you might have seen it already, but #drawingwhileblack is so full of wonderful art and amazing talent, and I’ve been getting so much joy from checking up on the hashtag repeatedly this weekend.

There’s a new reviewer of short SFF stories in town. Be sure to check out and subscribe to SFF Reviews.

The first half of content for Uncanny Magazine’s Issue 18 is up, and it doesn’t include any of my especial favorites, but there are still a few standout pieces for you to read online for free right now:

Honestly, though, you owe it to yourself to just go ahead and buy the issue so you can read Catherynne M. Valente’s Cthulu Mythos and Clockwork Orange mash-up, “Down and Out in R’lyeh” and Vina Jie-Min Prasad’s “Fandom for Robots” right away.

Chapter Four of Sarah Gailey’s serial The Fisher of Bones is up at Fireside Fiction.

There’s a new Kameron Hurley story in this month’s Apex Magazine: “Tumbledown.” And an interview with the author.

I think all creative people can relate, to one degree or another, to Kameron Hurley’s most recent blog post on creativity and the fear of losing “the magic.” This was a surprisingly heartening take on the topic.

Finally, Fangirl Happy Hour is asking for media recs!

The current theme is pirates, in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day. Check out their cool form and submit stuff. Recs will appear in the Fangirl Happy Hour newsletter.

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

So, the good news is that I think I’ve turned a bit of a corner with this depression thing this week. The bad news is that I spent most of the week prostrated by an absolutely horrible cold, and I’m still not 100% better. That said, I’ve been heavily doped up on cold medicine for several days, and it’s helping. Today, I’d say I was running at about 60% normal energy, lingering sinus headache and all, which is still a good bit better than I have been in general the last couple of months. My hope is that this upswing in energy holds out as I continue to recover from this cold; ideally it will be a sustainable trend going forward that will allow me to get caught up on things and accomplish more of my future goals here at SF Bluestocking.

Also a cool thing: I finally got ghost cat form in WoW, which I didn’t know would leave a trail of sparkles when I run around. I am delighted with it.

It’s the beginning of the month, which means Tor.com has their lists up of the new books coming out from major publishers in September:

If you only have time for one long read this week, make it Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new piece at The Atlantic: “The First White President.”

Apparently, this summer’s box office slump isn’t the fault of movie studios that keep inundating us with endless sequels, reboots and super hero pablum. Some film executives blame Rotten Tomatoes. LOL.

You may have heard that N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy is in development for television at TNT. I chatted a little about it with Renay and KJ at Lady Business.

Also at Lady Business, Renay interviewed Kate Elliot.

Malka Older’s Null States comes out on September 19. It’s amazing, and you should definitely pre-order it, but if you aren’t sold yet, you can listen to her interview at Skiffy and Fanty.

Max Gladstone’s newest Craft novel, The Ruin of Angels, was out this past Tuesday. He wrote about his Big Idea at Whatever and was interviewed at The Illustrated Page.

Nisi Shawl’s Expanded Course in the History of Black Science Fiction continued at Tor.com with Walter Mosley’s Futureland.

One of my most-anticipated reads this year is the US paperback edition of Iraq+100, which hits shelves on Tuesday. At the Tor/Forge blog, two of the collection’s contributors talked about science fiction in Arabic literature.

The Wertzone’s Cities of Fantasy series continued with a post on Midgar from Final Fantasy.

At Nerds of a Feather, Charles Payseur kicked off a new series on mapping the world of SFF short fiction.

This month, Fantasy Faction profiled Arachne Press.

There’s an interesting piece at Pornokitsch about what happens when creators make big changes in their fictional worlds.

P.Z. Myers takes a look at Jon Del Arroz’s complaints about how hard it is to be a man in SFF. (lol)

Strange Horizons started their 2017 Fund Drive.

The Book Smugglers are Kickstarting a Level Up for their site and for their next year’s worth of publishing projects.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: September 3, 2017 (Belated)(Whoops!)

I’d love to say that last week was a turning point in SF Bluestocking productivity, but obviously it hasn’t been. Honestly, I still haven’t even finished writing about the season finale of Game of Thrones because, you guys, it was so bad.  That said, I’m actually writing tonight, and I plan to keep on writing tomorrow and through the rest of the week with a new system in place to help me stay on task and accountable, even if it’s only to myself.

So, I’m not making promises, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be getting things back on track here, especially with just under a month left before I have a busy schedule of television coverage planned. This year, the plan is to cover Star Trek: Discovery (airing Sundays starting Sept. 24), Lucifer (Season 3 airing Mondays starting Oct. 2) and The Shannara Chronicles (Season 2 airing Wednesdays starting Oct. 11). I’d love to do The Good Place (Season 2  on Thursdays starting Sept. 28), but I think I’ll be busy enough as it is; I think I’ll skip writing about it unless I think of a good angle on it.

I still haven’t forgotten about the Gormenghast project, and I’m currently working up a tentative schedule to get that finished by the end of this year, which I still think is possible if I can make a plan and stick to it. I’ve got several other book reviews and essays on the docket as well, and though I’m trying hard to not be overly optimistic about my new routine I’m nonetheless hopeful that I’ll be getting them up on the blog sooner rather than later.

Finally, in more personal-ish news, I got a rad black unicorn mount in WoW this weekend, and it made me happy. After all these years, that silly game still brings me a lot of joy sometimes.

So, last weekend it was big news that an unscrupulous author had tried the game the New York Times’ YA Bestseller List. This week, Claribel Ortega actually read that garbage book, and it sounds awful.

You can now see the cover and table of contents for Uncanny Issue 18. The first half of the issue will be online tomorrow.

It’s the beginning of the month, and that means a new post at the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog of September’s SFF new releases.

All of Terry Pratchett’s unfinished work was run over with a steamroller.

N.K. Jemisin did a Reddit AMA, and LitHub has the highlights.

Some dipshits thought it was a good idea to greenlight a Lord of the Flies remake with an all-girl cast–written by men. Libba Bray already wrote something like that years ago, and she’s got a good breakdown of why this movie is a bad idea.

At the Book Smugglers, Sarah Kuhn writes about women who lust.

Kelly Robson has a novella coming out in March–Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach–and you can pre-order it now.

Jaym Gates talked about the Big Idea in her new kickstarted anthology, Strange California. I’m a little bummed that physical book rewards are out and I’m still waiting on my ebook version, but I’m still pretty excited about it.

The Fandomentals is doing a Classic Sci-Fi Book Club, and the first title they covered is William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

Sarah Gailey’s serial at Fireside, The Fisher of Bones, has a new installment: Chapter Three: Increase. (Chapter One: Naming | Chapter Two: Cycle)