Category Archives: Weekend Links

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: March 12, 2017

This week hasn’t been as productive as I’d have liked (no week ever is anymore), but it’s been reasonably good. It’s been sunshine-y (albeit chilly), and the check engine light in my car has remained off. While I didn’t write as much as I hoped to, what I did write was (I think) good, and I’ve read a good amount.  I’ve even managed to spend a minimal amount of time this week dealing with politics-induced rage (although there are more reasons than ever to be furious). It’s not been bad, even if my hardcover of The Stars Are Legion STILL hasn’t shown up yet (grrr).

In the coming week, I’ll be covering The Expanse as usual, writing about a couple of recent reads that I loved and maybe talking some about the Hugo Awards since nomination ballots are due by Friday. Other than that, I’ll probably spend the week wrapped up in a blanket with a book because it’s forecast to be probably the longest stretch of cold(-ish) weather we’ve had in Cincinnati all winter.

If you’re looking for March releases (for reading purposes or for feeling-sad-about-not-having-time-to-read-them-all purposes), Tor.com has most of them listed, in fantasy and science fiction.

This week saw the release of Ada Palmer’s Seven Surrenders, and she wrote an interesting piece over at the Tor/Forge blog where speculates on what the future will call our current era.

Also out this week is Alex Wells’ excellent Hunger Makes the Wolf. Wells is interviewed over at Shimmer Magazine.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia wrote a good piece at Book Riot on the women in science we don’t write about.

Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin have an anthology, The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories, coming out on Tuesday, so they (and some of the authors in the book) popped in at Terrible Minds to share some writing advice.

At Ars Technica, Annalee Newitz is spreading the good news of Fireside Fiction’s existence. You can (and should) support Fireside on Patreon.

If you’re a lover of short fiction, be sure to take advantage of Lightspeed’s current offer of a free three-month subscription to try out the magazine.

At the Wertzone, Adam Whitehead’s first proper entry in his Cities of Fantasy was all about Sigil, which reminded me that it’s been far too long since I played Planescape: Torment.

Mari Ness continued her blog series on fairy tales with a breakdown of how “King Thrushbeard” is all about gaslighting.

nerds of a feather, flock together continued their Dystopian Visions series with posts on Brave New World and The Player of Games, along with an excellent guest post by Paul Kincaid on the history of utopias and dystopias.

With Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale adaptation just a few weeks away, Margaret Atwood has started making the rounds to promote the project and talk about her novel. She did an AMA on Reddit, from which Lit Hub collected the highlights. She also wrote a piece of her own at the New York Times, where she talked about her writing process and how she hopes the book is read.

Probably the most exciting thing of the week, however, was Tor.com’s Nevertheless, She Persisted story collection, which featured short fiction by several of my favorite authors:

It’s not as great as all these stories by awesome women, but these photos of the cars from Mad Max: Fury Road all clean and shiny are pretty gorgeous.

 

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: March 5, 2017

Well, it’s been another slow week for me, mostly because I spent half of it back and forth to the auto shop having my car worked on, which took up a ton of time and energy. I think I’ve finally got the problem with the car sorted, however, and I’m hoping to have a few weeks before I have to take it back again (there’s still a couple other tiny issues that I’d like to get cleared up as well). In the meantime, I’m trying to just not stress out about it, with mixed success, because it is pretty stressful and I’m prone to anxiety even without good reason.

In other news, I’ve been slightly better this week at ignoring the noisy collapse of American democracy. I read several books (Agents of DreamlandFinal Girls, and Hunger Makes the Wolf), which leaves me with just four titles left on my planned reading list for the month of March. I’m kind of excited because I’m hoping that this will let me work in Borderline and Infomocracy this month before I want to get a head start on some April releases I have ARCs of. I also saw a couple of movies (Get Out and Operator, both excellent) that I have some thoughts on and might write proper reviews of if I have the time and inclination this week, but with weather turning positively springlike (I’ve never seen my town so green this early in the year) I may spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying it since I didn’t have the chance this past week because of the above-mentioned car troubles. We’ll see.

Also, I unlocked some new druid catform skins in WoW, and that was probably the highlight of my week.

newcat2
Why, yes, I HAVE been dreaming for months of lime-green tiger cat form, thank-you-very-much.

Links are a bit light this week. I feel like I read a ton, what with spending so much time stuck at home sans transportation, but not much that caught my interest. Probably the most exciting things of the week have all been news items rather than opinion or analysis pieces.

FIYAH posted the cover and table of contents of their second issue, Spilling Tea, out April 1, and it looks great.

Aliette de Bodard shared an updated bibliography of her Xuya universe.

The BBC is making a show based on the life of lesbian landowner Anne Lister and her search for a wife in the 1830s.

Neil Gaiman unveiled a trailer for a documentary about the genesis of American Gods.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia published a multi-author interview on the experiences of POC in SFF publishing.

I enjoyed this Fantasy Faction piece on winter in fantasy.

The Verge has a great list of March new releases in sci-fi and fantasy if you’re looking for something new to read this month.

nerds of a feather, flock together kicked off a new blog series on dystopian fiction that will be running for the next couple months.

At the Wertzone, Adam Whitehead introduced a new blog series on cities in fantasy that looks like it’s going to be fascinating.

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.

Weekend Links: February 12, 2017

So, I managed to get my review of The Expanse out on time this week, but nothing else to speak of. It’s disappointing, but I’m starting to feel like this cyclical sort of pattern of productivity may be a new normal for a little while, though I do have some plans this week to try and institute some new routines that I think are going to help. Mostly, this will involve exercising–outdoors, since it’s unseasonably warm out–and unplugging from the internet for at least a couple of hours a day so I can work without distractions.

world-sucks

Everything is pretty terrible right now, and sort-of-joking about how I get to spend every day watching the fall of American democracy isn’t working as a coping mechanism. Things are getting more and more genuinely frightening and worrisome every day; everyone at my congressman’s office hates me because I call all the time; and the reality is that my personal power to change things is very limited. My sitting around being horrified and anxious and feeling helpless all the time doesn’t do anyone any good, least of all myself.

On the bright side, I read quite a lot this week. I finished Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty, The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley, and Matt Wallace’s new Sin du Jour novella, Idle Ingredients. I’m also in the middle of Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly right now, but I’m hoping to finish it tonight or early tomorrow, so I ought to have several book reviews to publish this week. I’ve also got a project to work on that I’ve teased a little before but am hoping to dig into for real this week.

No promises about how much I’ll actually accomplish, though, to myself or otherwise. I figure low expectations may be the key to happiness and satisfaction at this point.

Uncanny Magazine released the second half of their Issue 14 content this week. If you haven’t seen it yet, Delilah S. Dawson’s essay “I Have Never Not Been An Object” is a must-read.

And the Tansy Rayner Roberts’ short “Some Cupids Kill With Arrows” is quick, funny, and festively-appropriate right now.

There’s a great new interview with Nisi Shawl over at Apex, and Nisi shares some exciting news at the very end.

Worlds Without End has a new list of science fiction by women writers. It’s heavy on classic work and only 98 titles long, but there’s a decent enough selection if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for.

There’s just another couple of days to back Problem Daughters–“an anthology of science fiction & fantasy from the fringes of feminism”–and they’re very close to their full goal. To promote the project, there’s an Intersectional SFF Roundtable at Apex. [I didn’t feel able to adequately explain my weird feelings about this link and the use of the term “intersectional” but several other writers, including L.D. Lewis and Justina Ireland have explained it at length. Currently, Apex has released a half-assed apology for something about the piece and removed it from their site, and I’m just following the arguments about it all now. I apologize for any harm that may have been caused by my own uncritical sharing of the link.] Future Fire also published a roundtable discussion this week, this one on female protagonists.

Kameron Hurley and Lara Elena Donnelly were busy promoting their respective novels this week.

At Tor.com, Kameron Hurley talked about worldbuilding and challenging expectations in “Who Owns the Stars? Creating a Space Opera Universe”.

Terrible Minds hosted both authors this week, Hurley wrote about writing during times of political upheaval, and Lara Elena Donnelly listed five things she learned writing Amberlough.

At Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, Hurley and Donnelly each wrote about their favorite bits of their stories.

And at John Scalzi’s blog as well, Hurley and Donnelly tackled the Big Ideas in their work.

Weekend Links: February 5, 2017

Well, it’s been another week of watching the American experiment fail in increasingly less slow motion, but I’m feeling pretty good, all things considered. It’s been a fairly productive week for me, though (as always) not as productive as I’d like. Still, I feel as if I’m picking up steam as the year goes on rather than otherwise, and that’s encouraging after what a shit show 2016 was for me.

February, of course, is Black History Month in the United States, and this year I’m celebrating (and suggesting everyone celebrate) by supporting black writers and artists. On February 1, I started a Twitter thread to which I’ll be adding a recommendation (or several) every day throughout the month. I’ve storified it, and I’ll be updating this weekly if you’d rather follow along that way.

Locus Magazine released their 2016 Recommended Reading List.

Uncanny Magazine shared the results of their 2016 Favorite Fiction Reader Poll. Surprising no one, Brooke Bolander’s “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” came out on top.

nerds of a feather, flock together posted their Hugo Award Longlist in four parts: Fiction Categories, Visual Work Categories, Individual Categories (I’m on this one! Which basically made my week.), and Institutional Categories.

The newest Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac is now available.

Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti: Home (I liked it) was released on Tuesday. You can read interviews with the author at Clarkesworld and Wired.

Earlier this week, I reviewed Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer. I highly recommend checking out her guest post at Tor.com about the tendency of fantasy to focus on the restoration of monarchy and her Big Idea post over at John Scalzi’s blog.

I just finished Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty this weekend, so I’ll be reviewing it early this week. In the meantime, be sure to read Mur’s Big Idea.

Mari Ness’s fairy tale series continues with a great post on Little Red Riding Hood.

I love these literary constellations by artist Nick Rougeux.

It’s been a while since an SMBC comic made me feel so sad.

 

Literary Hub shared some weird/cool Victorian illustrations for Shakespeare’s plays. There are more at Fine Books & Collections, or you can just view the whole archive online.