Category Archives: Blog News

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: April 16, 2017

Happy Passover and happy Easter for those who are celebrating this week! I’m almost too bloated on deviled eggs and mini-cheesecakes and ham to write tonight, but I’m working through it.

It’s been an uneventful and moderately productive week for me, both in writing and otherwise. This coming week, my goal is to finish several book reviews, as I’ve finished a few things lately that I really enjoyed. After about a week-long reading slump (mostly due to getting stuck on a title I didn’t like but that had a concept too good for me to quit it right away), I just started an ARC of Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages (out May 2 from Tachyon Publications). I’ve only read the first story, but I’m already really excited about the rest. I’ll probably be reading that in tandem with the new John Joseph Adams edited anthology, Cosmic Powers, which has my favorite table of contents of the year so far and is out this Tuesday, April 18, from Saga Press.

The finalists for this year’s Eugie Award have been announced.

The new and improved World Fantasy Award.

The World Fantasy Awards Administration unveiled the new award statuette that will be replacing the bust of old, gross racist H.P. Lovecraft. It’s gorgeous, and finally addressing the Lovecraft problem built up a lot of good will. Which was then swiftly squandered when everyone learned that they’re keeping Lovecraft on as a pin for all award nominees. Apparently there’s a bunch of pins left over from previous years and they want to use them til they’re gone, which is thrifty, but still ill-advised considering how much people don’t want to look at some nasty old racist’s ugly face anymore. Still, that new stature really is lovely.

Word is that Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels are being adapted for film and television, and I’m full of mixed feelings about it. I read and loved the shit out of those books when I was in middle school, but I realize as an adult that Xanth is best enjoyed when you’re just old enough to appreciate puns but still young enough that Piers Anthony’s creepily unfortunate gender politics is all going to go right over your head.

It turns out that I’m still not okay about Carrie Fisher. This tribute video made me cry. A lot.

I felt slightly better on reading the announcement of a new Star Wars anthology. Coming October 3, From a Certain Point of View will consist of 40 new stories told from the perspectives of background characters from A New Hope. While there’s no table of contents yet, there’s already an impressive list of authors donating work to the collection, from which all proceeds will go to benefit First Book, a non-profit that provides books and other learning materials to educators and organizations helping children in need.

Fantasy Book Cafe’s Women in SFF Month continued this week:

Dianna Gunn’s novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is out on April 18 from Book Smugglers Publishing, and this week she talked about her inspirations and influences for the book.

Aliette de Bodard wrote a guest post over at Skiffy and Fanty about writing vibrant, unexpected characters.

Margaret Atwood was profiled in The New Yorker.

Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together is still pumping out their Dystopian Visions series, which I am still loving. It’s a great mix of posts on stuff I know well and things I’m less familiar with. This week, they covered:

At Strange Horizons, Erin Horakova wrote an amazing essay on what she calls “Kirk Drift”–the disconnect between the popular imagination of James T. Kirk and the actual, textual reality of the character.

Aidan Moher kicked off a new blog series at Tor.com, The Art of SFF, with a post about Richard Anderson.

My favorite free-online short fiction of the week was Kate Lechler’s “The Hulder’s Husband Says Don’t” over at Fireside.

I loved Ana Lily Amanpour’s first feature-length film, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (on Netflix if you haven’t seen it!), so I’m pretty stoked about her new movie, The Bad Batch, which is being described as “a horror-romance (with cannibals).”

I’m fairly certain that Atomic Blonde is going to be a problematic mess, but I am really excited for it. There’s a new trailer, and it looks AMAZING:

 

 

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: April 9, 2017

So, the big news of this week, for me, is that SF Bluestocking is a Hugo Finalist for Best Fanzine, and I cannot even begin to express the depth of my gratitude for everyone who thought well enough of this blog to nominate it for the honor. I’m honestly still just blown away that this is a thing that has happened in the world, and I’m beyond thrilled to be in such fine company in the Best Fanzine category. Thank you, truly and with many superlatives, to those who nominated me, and welcome to new readers, which I know there are a few of this week. I’m glad you’re here.

Even better news: last year’s rules tweaks seem to have led most of the various Rabid and Sad Puppies to change their tactics and/or just lose interest in griefing the awards altogether. There’s still a smidgen of puppy influence, but it’s little enough that I feel pretty confident saying that this year’s finalist list is, overall, the strongest and most diverse one in the years that I’ve been following the awards.

If you want to get a head start on reading for the awards, File 770 has already collected links to where you can read this year’s finalists online for free.

io9 talked with Stix Hiscock, the pseudonymous author of this year’s Rabid Puppy troll pick, the Best Novelette finalist “Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By the T-Rex,” and she seems nice.

For the first time since 1971, a music album has been nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. It’s an experimental hip hop album by clipping., Splendor & Misery, and it’s brilliant. Pitchfork has the scoop on why this nomination is important.

This year’s finalist list for the Nommo Awards, given by the African Speculative Fiction Society to celebrate work by African authors, was also released this week.

Tor.com shared their lists of all (or at least a lot) of the releases to look for in April:

Fantasy Cafe’s annual Women in SF&F Month began:

You can read the schedule for week two here.

Predictably, the Ghost in the Shell movie starring Scarlett Johansson is flopping, big time and largely because of the white-washing of the lead role. The best thing I’ve read about it yet is this round table discussion about it with Keiko Agena, Tracy Kato-Kiriyama, Atsuko Okatsuka and Ai Yoshihara at The Hollywood Reporter.

Troy L. Wiggins wrote about why black characters in fantasy need backstories.

A. Merc Rustad’s So You Want to Be a Robot and Other Stories is at the top of my must-read list for this spring, so I was pleased to see them interviewed at Quick Sip Reviews.

It’s been a cool five years since Kristin Cashore’s last novel, but there’s finally a title, cover and excerpt for her next one, Jane, Unlimited.

George Takei is writing a graphic novel to be published sometime next year.

Sarah Gailey and Max Gladstone chatted about Gladstone’s now Hugo-nominated Craft Sequence. Also, you can now get the first five books in a digital omnibus edition for just $12.

Ruthanna Emrys (Winter Tide) wrote about the optimism of H.P. Lovecraft.

P. Djeli Clark’s review of Andre M. Carrington’s Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction is a reminder that I literally have a copy of the book three feet away from me and I haven’t started it yet but definitely ought to, ASAP.

Mari Ness continued her fairy tale blog series at Tor.com with a post about one of my favorite fairy tales, The Goose Girl.

The first title in the Book Smugglers’ new Novella Initiative has a title, cover and release date: Keeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn will be out on April 18th.

Black Girl Nerds posted on why Doctor Who‘s black gay character matters.

Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together’s Dystopian Visions series is still going strong:

Aliette de Bodard’s newest novel, House of Binding Thorns, was out on Tuesday, and she’s been making the rounds promoting it:

The second half of Uncanny #15 is now available online, and you should definitely drop everything you’re doing and go read Sarah Pinsker’s wonderful short novella “And Then There Were (N-One).” It’s the first novella ever published in Uncanny, it starts with a convention for Sarahs from thousands of alternate universes, and it’s my early favorite for best novella of 2017. Truly superb and a very fun read.

Finally, Fireside Fiction has added a new $20 tier to their Patreon. $5/month will go to support the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, and you also get a rad Antifascist Fiction Club pin.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: April 2, 2017

I almost skipped this post this week because I’m worn out. My partner spent all week home sick, my kid was on spring break (and nothing is more tiresome than a “bored” teenager), the foot I broke almost two years ago has been swelling up and painful again (Thanks, changing seasons!), there’s a new WoW patch with new stuff to do, and I wrote quite a lot trying to wrap up some things from the last few months. I’m also trying to do some spring cleaning type things around the apartment, and I’m still trying to figure out how to make myself stick to some kind of reasonable food and exercise regimen for healthier living since I’m not getting any younger. And, honestly, I think I might be getting sick with whatever my partner had, which isn’t great since I’ve got tons of stuff I want to do this coming week.

I did accomplish some things this week, however. I hung up the hummingbird feeder I finally bought (though I haven’t seen any birds yet) and shopped around for some flowers for the balcony (though I haven’t found any I liked well enough to look at all spring and summer yet). I didn’t read much, but I wrote a decent amount, publishing a book review, two television episode reviews, a wrap-up post of my last three months’ reading and my Spring Reading List.

This coming week, in addition to Into the Badlands and The Expanse, I’ll also be reviewing the third season of iZombie, which comes back on Tuesday. You can catch up on my last two seasons of reviews here if you’re so inclined. There’s also a spiffy new trailer for the new season:

It’s the beginning of a new month, and that means Patreon rewards. If you aren’t supporting Kameron Hurley, you should be. $1 a month gets you a new short story. Catherynne M. Valente just joined Patreon as well, and she’s wonderful. $5 gets you recipes and essays and as much access as you could want to Valente’s general delightfulness since she’s a frequent updater. Finally, think about supporting Fireside Fiction on Patreon. For just $2, you can get an ebook version of all the fiction they publish each month, plus the satisfaction of keeping them around and publishing great stories.

There’s a new issue of Fiyah Literary Magazine available. This quarter’s theme is “Sipping Tea” and just look at that gorgeous cover art. It’s also got seven new stories for your reading pleasure as well as an excerpt from the YA fantasy novel, Coal by Constance Burris.

There’s a new Aimee Mann albumMental Illness, and I can’t stop listening to it.

Aliette de Bodard’s sequel to her 2015 novel, The House of Shattered Wings, is out this Tuesday. This week, she promoted The House of Binding Thorns and talked about her myriad influences at the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

The Book Smuggler’s shared a Becky Chambers essay, “The Case for Optimism” from their third Quarterly Almanac.

Jezebel took the time to remind us that Beauty and the Beast is just one in a long line of stories about women hooking up with animals. The more you know.

New Doctor Who Companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) is gay. She’ll be the first full-time openly gay Companion in the show’s history. The new series starts on April 15, and I have to admit it looks good after a couple of lackluster years:

Nnedi Okorafor is interviewed in Issue 82 of Lightspeed.

The new Ann Leckie novel has a title, Provenance, realease date, October 3, and now a cover, as revealed at Book Riot on Monday. Though it’s obviously designed to be visually compatible with the Imperial Radch covers, I think this one is an altogether sharper look with the high contrast between the dark moon, the bright red of the ship, and the blue of the vaguely Star Trek-ish font of the title. I am excite.

The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis is one of the more interesting-looking debut novels coming out this spring, and her Q&A about the book at the Tor/Forge Blog is encouraging.

Fantasy Cafe posted the schedule for week one of their 6th (!) Annual Women in SF&F Month.

At nerds of a feather, flock together, their Dystopian Visions series continued with Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, 12 Monkeys, and “Get Out/Speak Out: Dystopia, Violence, and Writing as Action.”

Also at nerds of a feather, 6 Books with Matt Wallace, whose Sin du Jour series of novellas should be on everyone’s reading list.

I’m currently reading Lilith Saintcrow’s short story-turned-novella, She-Wolf and Cub, published by Fireside Books on March 28. Saintcrow talked about the genesis and writing process of the book over at terribleminds. So far, I’m loving the book, but also look at this gorgeous cover art by Galen Dara:

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: March 19, 2017

Well, it’s been another week of being less productive than I’d like. It turns out that life is one of those things that just keeps happening. Last Sunday, my daughter came home and was sick, so she stayed home from school on Monday and Tuesday. Then the check engine light came on in my car on Thursday, and in a good news/bad news situation it’s not the same problem I already had it at the shop for like five times, but it is some other problem (a transmission code that I’m having fully diagnosed this coming week) that almost certainly isn’t under warranty. So, that’s fun. Add to that the ongoing saga of President Trump and the GOP’s maliciously cruel plans for the US and the realization that we’re still only a couple months in to this shit show, and I’m still, frankly, in a constant state of “on the edge of a major depressive episode.”

There was good stuff this week as well, though. I found out that the local Girl Scout troop selling cookies at my grocery store take credit cards, which is revolutionary. It’s also why I bought five boxes of Savannah Smiles on Friday. The Expanse got renewed for a third season. I read some good things, and my WoW raid group is making progress in Heroic Nighthold. There’s new episodes of Masterchef Junior to catch up on, and tonight is the start of season two of Into the Badlands, which everyone ought to be watching.

I don’t have a ton of links this week because I really have been trying to spend less time glued to the internet and more time doing productive stuff, but here’s what I read this week.

Fiyah published a report on their 2016 Black SFF Writer Survey.

nerds of a feather, flock together continued their Dystopian Visions series with Half-Life 2The Road, and The Dog Stars.

The Book Smugglers published a good round table discussion about short fiction with Kij Johnson, Elizabeth Bear, and Karen Tidbeck.

Mari Ness continued her series on fairy tales with a look at Giambattista Basile’s Il Pentameron.

Ada Palmer wrote about the world building in her Terra Ignota series at Tor.com and at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

This collection of thirty years’ worth of covers for The Handmaid’s Tale is pretty neat.

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

The farther we get into 2017, the more I’m worried that I’m getting stuck in a new normal. When my productivity first tanked a few weeks ago, I thought that it would just be a temporary funk, but now it’s starting to feel like I’m slipping slowly into a full-blown depressive episode, which is worrisome (though not inevitable).

That said, there’s been some good news this week. I’ve got a couple of possibly upcoming projects that I’m excited and hopeful about, and the check engine light on my car turned out to be from a faulty part from the $1400 worth of repairs I had done a few weeks ago, so it was still under warranty. This coming week, I’ve got a couple of new ideas for how to restart my own mental systems–namely, quitting caffeine, taking yoga back up, and being sure to go to sleep at a reasonable hour–and hopefully head off the above-mentioned depressive episode. Also, I’m thinking of taking a short break from reading–a week or two, perhaps–until I get caught up on book reviews and other writing projects. I’ve been distracting myself a lot lately by just reading books, but it’s getting to the point that reading more is just adding to an intimidating backlog of stuff that I have opinions on.

So, that’s the goal for the upcoming week. Lots of writing. Some exercising. And, weather permitting, some time outdoors, though it’s supposed to rain most of the next few days.

Today, however, I’ve got links to share!

We’re getting into genre awards season, and several shortlists were announced this week:

At Tor.com, ten authors weighed in on the hard vs. soft sci-fi debate.

P. Djeli Clark and Troy L. Wiggins talked about the history and future of FIYAH.

Tor.com also announced the acquisition of a new novel–in verse!–by Jane Yolen. It’s about Baba Yaga, too, which makes it relevant to most of my interests.

Fantasy Literature’s Short Fiction Monday this week had links to some great free-to-read fiction by some of my favorite writers, including N.K. Jemisin, Elizabeth Bear, and Aliette de Bodard.

Ashok Banker has a new story in Lightspeed, “Six-Gun Vixen and the Dead Coon Trashgang” plus an Author Spotlight.

At Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, Maurice Broaddus talks about his favorite bit of his new short fiction collection, Voices of Martyrs. I’m about a third of the way through the collection now, and it’s really excellent.

Paste Magazine has a good piece on how Dana Scully influenced a generation.

Kate Heartfield wrote about indigenous authors in science fiction in “Decolonizing the Future.”

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic is going to be a movie, which reminds me that I really need to get around to reading the other two books in that trilogy.

This McSweeney’s piece on Five Beautiful Dead Bodies Every Aspiring Actress Dreams of Playing just about made me choke on my drink.

Finally, it’s been all over the news this week, but if you haven’t heard, NASA announced the discovery of SEVEN earthlike planets in the Trappist-1 system, about 40 light years away. There are some cool posters over at the Trappist-1 website.

 

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: February 19, 2017

This turned out to be a slightly more productive week than the last one was, but it still wasn’t great. I continue to struggle with staying on task and avoiding news, which also means I continue to struggle with all the feelings of anger, worry and frustration that comes along with even minimal knowledge of current events. That said, the biggest thing that impeded productivity this week was just plain old adulting stuff. Our upstairs neighbors had bed bugs, so we had to have our place treated as well (again, ugh), which is stressful and highly disruptive, requiring extra laundry and moving stuff and this time an unfortunately unavoidable trip to an Ikea store. There’s basically no way that any week containing a trip to Ikea is going to be a good one, even in the best of times.

bmp_nighthold1Still, it wasn’t all bad. I got my Six Wakes review out along with my unpopular opinions about the most recent episode of The Expanse. I read Miranda and Caliban, which was probably not the best choice for my first reading of something by Jacqueline Carey. I got an early copy of Seven Surrenders in the mail the other day, so I’ve been working through that and it’s amazing. I’ve taken a bunch of photos of my cat, Spot’s, adorable romance with the large stuffed dog my daughter keeps on her bed. I druid healed some stuff in World of Warcraft for the first time in basically ever, and it was weird but fun. Then cleared all of Nighthold except for Gul’dan, which was pretty rad. My alts are all shamefully neglected, but it turns out that after all these years I’m still a druid person.

As always, I’m not making any promises about post frequency this week, but I’m optimistic. I’m halfway done already with a couple of book reviews, I’ll always write about The Expanse, and I’ve still got a couple of other projects knocking around on my to-do list. I also just ordered the 1970s Ballantine mass market editions of the Gormenghast trilogy, which I think is going to be my classic SFF reading/blogging project for the year, though I haven’t decided how I want to do it yet. Right now I’m just excited to be feeding my 1970s paperback addiction.

Kameron Hurley wrote a great post over at Boing Boing this week: “What Will Sink Our Generation Ships? The Death of Wonder”

If you’re into long reads, The Wertzone has conveniently listed the longest SFF novels of all time.

nerds of a feather, flock together collected a Taster’s Guide to January’s Speculative Short Fiction that’s very worth a look, especially if you don’t have time to read all the publications they suggest stories from.

Lady Business published their excellent list of Hugo Nomination Rrecommendations, which I know added a couple things to my TBR list. Also, SF Bluestocking is on their for Best Fanzine, which completely made my week. (Thanks, Renay!)

Jacqueline Carey wrote both a Big Idea and My Favorite Bit pieces about her new novel, Miranda and Caliban.

A. Merc Rustad is probably my favorite new-to-me writer from 2016, and they have a new story in Lightspeed, “Later, Let’s Tear Up the Inner Sanctum.” They also just revealed the cover for their first collection, So You Want to Be a Robot and Other Stories, coming in May from Lethe Press. This is the most exciting single-author collection of the year so far, hands down.

You can preorder the book now.

Blog Update and [Multi-]Weekend Links: July 24, 2016

Well, it’s been another rough couple of weeks here, unfortunately, and my last burst of productivity before the most recent trip to Huntsville turned out to just not be sustainable. The trip itself was a mixed bag. We accomplished a lot of clearing out of my partner’s late mother’s house, and we retrieved the majority of stuff that he was interested in keeping. However, as much as we got done, it wasn’t enough, and there’s still a decent amount of work still to be done as some yet-to-be-decided point in the future–only next time without air conditioning. On the bright side, even though we were a little overly optimistic about our ability to clear things out in a single weekend, we have a better strategy (or at least some ideas for a better strategy) for the next weekend we head down that should make that our last visit to Huntsville for a long time. Also, I finally got to try Dreamland ribs, which I was almost too exhausted to really enjoy but were almost certainly worth the drive all on their own.

The worst part, this time around, has just been the sheer amount of time it’s taken me to recover fully from the trip. Usually I drag for a couple of days after getting home, but honestly this weekend has been the first one since that I’ve actually felt pretty normal. I’m still not completely back up to speed, and I’m horrendously behind on all kinds of things, but I am finally feeling physically and mentally well enough to really dig into getting caught up. I’ve seen Ghostbusters twice and Star Trek: Beyond once already, so there will be reviews of those coming out this week (spoiler alert: I loved them both). While I haven’t been writing the last couple of weeks, I have been reading, so I’ve got plenty of book reviews planned as well.

You may have noticed a change in the look of the blog, which I’m much happier with than what I had going on before even if it is still a work in progress. In addition to the change in looks, I’ve got some ideas for some new regular features here at SF Bluestocking. Most notably, I’m currently trying to work out some kind of system for reproducing something kind of sort of like SF Signal’s link posts. I haven’t completely figured out how to not spend ages on collecting links every day, and I have a feeling that part of the method is going to mean a reduction in scope and/or frequency from what the wonderful folks at SF Signal spoiled us with all these years, but it was such a valuable resource for the community and I’d love to be able to provide some version of that here. That said, I don’t have an exact timetable yet for when I’ll be rolling out this and other changes. My partner and I still have another trip to Huntsville to wrap up (for real and finally) the last bit of his mother’s last affairs, and I’ve still got some other things to do this summer before my daughter (and niece and nephew) head back to school in the fall. Right now, though, my plan is to just roll changes out as I accomplish them, and whatever I don’t finish this summer I expect to make real strides on during September and October.

In the meantime, I’m hoping that things are going to be more normal from here on out in terms of writing and posting. I didn’t get much done this week, but I did catch up on all my internet reading–except for all the news coming out of SDCC, which will merit its own post or two early this week once I get through it all. For right now, here’s about three weeks’ worth of weekend links:

Fandom Following has been posting plenty of postmortem stuff on season six of Game of Thrones, but the part I’ve been most interested in has been their series on Sexism and Season 6.

If you need a lolsob after that, I highly recommend checking out their Season 6 Carol Awards as well.

The David Gemmell Awards shortlist was announced, and voting is open until August 19, 2016.

There’s about a week left to vote for this year’s Hugo Awards, and Joe Sherry has finished reading all of this year’s nominated novellas and novelettes.

The table of contents for The Year’s Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories 2016 was released, and there’s some great stuff there.

Angry Robot Books turned seven, and publisher Marc Gascoigne stopped in at Fantasy Faction to talk about what he’s learned from founding an award-winning publishing house.

At Salon, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer talked about the value of diversity in science fiction.

Clayton Moore interviewed Ann and Jeff VanderMeer at Kirkus, where they talked about their most recent anthology–the wonderfully enormous Big Book of Science Fiction.

Also at Kirkus, a nice Andrew Liptak piece on The Absurd Kurt Vonnegut.

Meanwhile, at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, T.W. O’Brien writes about Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle.

Also at the B&N blog, this nice interview with Faith writer Jody Houser. I loved the comic miniseries when I read it, and issue one of the ongoing book just came out this week.

The Book Smugglers’ Trope Anatomy series continued this month with a look at some of the most insidious and unpleasant narratives surrounding fatness.

It looks like Terry Pratchett’s Wee Free Men is going to be a movie, and penned by his daughter Rihanna.

Ghostbusters came out, and Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzman is marvelously, joyously queer–as a salty parabola.

Gillian Anderson shared an amazing picture of young Kate McKinnon dressed as Scully from the X-Files.

Lethe Press now has a Patreon page where you can support their queer and speculative fiction.

The Learned Fangirl talked about The Never-Ending Debate Over Women in Comedy.

At Terrible Minds, S.L. Huang wrote on the subject of manpain.

Margaret Atwood was interviewed at LitHub, where she talked about Donald Trump, witches and flying cats.

Ursula K. LeGuin called on fantasy and sci-fi writers to envision alternatives to capitalism.

Speaking of Ursula LeGuin, Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press announced that they’ll be publishing an Earthsea omnibus in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the series.

Mithila Review has a great list of Asian science fiction and fantasy recommendations from some notable writers and editors.

Tor.com kicks off a series on 100 African Writers of SFF with a look at what’s going on in the genre in Nairobi.

At Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, Sarah Kuhn talks about her favorite bit of her new novel, Heroine Complex.

Finally, Michi Trota also shows up there to talk about Uncanny Magazine‘s recently started Year Three Kickstarter.

If you back the project for just $25, you get a full year’s subscription to Uncanny, but there’s a ton of great rewards at all backer levels.