State of the Blog and Weekend Links: March 4, 2018

So, last week there wasn’t much going on in terms of links OR interesting updates on my life, and I was absolutely worn out by the time Sunday rolled around, so I decided to just take a break from weekend links. I’d love to say that doing so let me accomplish a bunch of other stuff, but that’s not actually the case. I just went to bed really early, to be honest. The truth is, I am still struggling, heavily, with just how much of my time is now taken up by the day job, and it turns out that I SUCK at adapting to a new routine.

There’s no particular bright side here; I’m just still worn out, constantly, and even just reading is exhausting. I think things are still getting better, re: energy levels and so on, but I’m still resentful about having to go to bed so early in the evenings (I turn into a pumpkin at about 9:30 these days) and how much the early bedtime cuts into what has, historically, been productive time for me. I’ve made some minor changes to my availability that should help in the coming weeks, but that’s still like two weeks away. In the meantime, my goal for this week is to carve out at least an hour each day for dedicated writing time (I’ll be setting timers and everything to make sure I stay on task); I’m hoping that this will help me finish some of the many things I have started working on recently.

After years of being increasingly apathetic about Doctor Who, I have to admit I’m getting hyped for the new season with a new showrunner and a new Doctor:

Sad news: Pornokitsch is closing up shop at the end of March.

This year’s Nebula Awards finalists were announced last week.

Last week, Myke Cole shared the Big Idea of his new Tor.com novella, The Armored Saint.

This week, Tobias Buckell talked about the Big Idea of The Tangled Lands, his collaboration with Paolo Bacigalupi.

There’s a new interview with Fonda Lee over at Fantasy Faction.

Spencer Ellsworth popped in at Skiffy and Fanty with “That Thing You Love Doesn’t Always Love You Back.”

Lightspeed has an interview with Carmen Maria Machado.

This chat between Jeff VanderMeer and Alton Brown is interesting.

Weird Al and Lin Manuel Miranda are friends, and that makes me indescribably happy.

Speaking of indescribably happy, “The Hamilton Polka” dropped this week:

I preordered Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera this week, but if you’re still not sure if it’s a book for you, you can read the first chapter of it right now.

Tor.com’s Short History of South Asian Speculative Fiction has a Part II.

Emily Asher-Perrin says that all robot love stories are conversations about consent.

Mari Ness covers “Bearskin.”

As soon as I can find lamb shoulder at a reasonable price, I’ll be trying this delicious-sounding recipe for Wakandan Jeweled Vegetable Pilau with Berbere Braised Lamb.

The Expanse returns on April 11!

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: February 18, 2018

Not much change, unfortunately, on the finding-a-new-job-life-writing balance front this week, but my energy levels continue to improve (more or less, anyway, since I had a little cold mid-week that didn’t do my productivity any favors). I do have about eight blog posts halfway written, but half-written isn’t completely done, obviously. Still, it puts me in the way of being likely to finish at least a couple of things this week if I can manage my time a bit better than I have been (and avoid catching any more nasty germs from the day job).

I haven’t liked most of what I’ve been reading this week, but video media has been better than books for me while I’ve been sick and stuff. I’ve been working my way through the new Queer Eye on Netflix. It’s kind and funny and generally just delightful, and I never would have thought I’d have so many feelings about it. I also made it out to see Black Panther yesterday morning, and I have thoughts but all I’m going to say right now is BELIEVE THE HYPE. It’s every bit as good as 97% of critics and approximately all of Twitter say it is. I highly recommend putting it in your eyeballs as soon as possible.

Worldweaver Press revealed the table of contents for a new solarpunk anthology, Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers. Bonus! If you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll get updates on when the book will be available AND a 40% off coupon to use in the Worldweaver Press online store.

My friend Renay (who you may know from the Hugo Award-winning blog Lady Business and from the excellent Fangirl Happy Hour podcast) is going to a badass camp for learning progressive political activism skills, but she needs a little help getting there. This lady does so much rad stuff already, and I cannot wait to see what she’ll accomplish with a few new tricks up her sleeve.

John Kessel wrote about his Favorite Bit of his new Jane Austen/Frankenstein mash-up novel, Pride and Prometheus.

At Breaking the Glass Slipper, Jasmine Gower answered five questions about her new novel, Moonshine.

At LitHub, Sofia Samatar talked about Kafka, binge-writing and the search for monsters.

The results of Uncanny Magazine’s 2017 Favorite Fiction Reader Poll are in.

Skiffy and Fanty introduced a new podcast covering Speculative Fiction in Translation.

At Tor.com, Mari Ness covered the fairy tales of Henriette Julie de Murat.

Also at Tor.com, part two in a series of posts about women SF writers of the 1970s. Part one here.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: February 11, 2018

Once again, I’ve overestimated the amount of time and energy I would have for blogging. However, this time it’s not a matter of being exhausted from the day job; I’ve actually started getting used to the schedule and the early mornings, and my energy level has been pretty high. Instead, I just had a plain busy week, much of it taken up with getting my kid to and from final rehearsals for her first ever high school musical (which was Curtains, and it was very good). It’s been a lot, but now it’s over, which is a relief.

I’m happy to be feeling more energetic–I’ve even been cooking more again, which is excellent, as I’ve been thoroughly tired of frozen pizzas and things I can microwave for dinner–but I still feel like I’m struggling a little with adjusting to this new normal. I’m often at my most productive in mid-to-late evenings (think around 9:00 pm til midnight or so), so I’m losing a lot of ordinarily fruitful writing time any day that I have to go to bed early in order to be up at 4:30-5:00 am. I’m certain that things will get sorted, but in the meantime I’m just feeling a bit off, in addition to just being very frustrated at what still feels like a major disruption to my regular schedule and working process. It’s gonna happen, though. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Tor.com has all the new releases you should be looking forward to in February:

Asimov’s has made several Locus Award-nominated stories free-to-read online.

It’s time to vote in Clarkesworld’s Readers’ Poll (or just read the stories that have made the finalist list).

Lady Business has some great recs if you are nominating and voting for the Hugo Awards this year. (Full disclosure: Includes me, which is still never not a surreal thing to see.)

I just got my ARC of Flotsam by R.J. Theodore the other day and haven’t dug into it just yet, but I am pretty hyped for it. It had me at “steampunk first contact” and I am wild about that fabulous Julie Dillon cover art.

The Illustrated Page has an interview with Alex Wells.

At Minor Literatures, J. Moufawad-Paul writes about Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s Winterglass and Necropolitics.

Sue Burke wrote about the Big Idea in her debut novel, Semiosis.

Burke also shared her Favorite Bit of Semiosis. And popped over to the Tor/Forge blog to share some more thoughts on plants, sentient and otherwise.

Brooke Bolander shared five things she learned while writing The Only Harmless Great Thing.

Jasmine Gower’s Moonshine came out this week, and she wrote about her Big Idea over at Whatever.

Myke Cole was on Skiffy and Fanty to talk about his upcoming book from Tor.com, The Armored Saint.

S.L. Huang’s Zero Sum Game has a cover!

The Kickstarter is live for the hardcover edition of Sunspot Jungle, a two-volume anthology featuring over 100 speculative fiction writers from around the world.

At The Millions, a look at Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist one year later.

At LitHub, some thoughts on the commercialization of dystopian fiction. I’m not sure I agree, but it’s something to think about.

Speculative Chic has a roundtable tribute to Ursula K. LeGuin, while four writers remember LeGuin and talk about what LeGuin meant to them over at LitHub.

io9 covered the history of supernatural pregnancies.

There’s finally a proper trailer for season two of Jessica Jones:

There’s also a trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story, which I’m not sure I care about at all. It’s fine, I guess, though I’m very confused by those wine glasses with the huge silver things around the stems. Whose awful idea was that?

am interested, however, in 365 Days of Star Wars Women.

Because we are living in the worst possible timeline, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are going to write and produce some Star Wars movies.

The second half of Uncanny Magazine #20 is available online now. Must-read pieces include:

There’s a new issue of Apex Magazine out as well, #105. I’m currently digging “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow. There’s also an interview with the author.

New at Lightspeed this week: “Four Point Affective Calibration” by Bogi Takács (plus author spotlight).

Finally, I am in love with this “Judith and Holofernes” by Giorgio Vasari, which I’ve somehow managed to never see before. Those back muscles are gorgeous, and I adore the way Judith fills the whole frame. Amazing.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: February 4, 2018

Well, the second week at the new job has turned out to be no more productive than the first one was, but I think things are getting better at last. I’ve been able to at least do a bit more reading this week–I finally finished Blood Binds the Pack, zoomed through Saga Vol. 8 and Kim & Kim Vol. 2: Love is a Battlefield, and I’m currently almost two-thirds of the way through Semiosis by Sue Burke. The good news of the week is that my partner has gotten a job offer that will let me cut back to part-time hours at my job, which should put me in a position to start achieving more of my goals for the blog in the coming months.

This coming week, I’ve got a light work schedule, but I’ve also got a lot of running around to do as it’s the final week or rehearsals and performances for my daughter’s first high school musical, so I’m not going to make any promises about what I’ll be up to here at SF Bluestocking, but it ought to be something. I’ve got several book reviews in the works, and with nominations opening up for this year’s Hugo Awards I’ll also be working hard to finally finish some belated Best of 2018 stuff. Still. I’m trying to be kind to myself by not putting too much pressure on myself to write ALL the things in a single week. We’ll see.

Nerds of a Feather has posted their long list recommendations for the Hugo Awards, and I will never stop being stoked about finding my name on there not once, but twice:

At The Millions, “The Utopias of Ursula K. LeGuin.”

Book Riot lists over 75 books Ursula K. LeGuin recommended.

Brooke Bolander was on Cooking the Books.

Skiffy & Fanty wrapped up their Month of Joy.

K.M. Alexander wrote about problematic faves.

Maria Dahvana Headley’s Beowulf-in-the-suburbs novel, The Mere Wife, has a cover.

So does State Tectonics, the third and last volume of Malka Older’s Centenal Cycle.

Mimi Mondal kicked off a blog series on the Short History of Asian Speculative Fiction for Tor.com.

At Lady Business, Ira has a great take on Jason from The Good Place.

Strange Horizons has a Trans/Nonbinary Special Issue available now.

There’s a new Yoon Ha Lee story at Beneath Ceaseless Skies: “The Starship and the Temple Cat.”

I loved Tobias S. Buckell’s “Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance” when I read it last year in Cosmic Powers: The Saga Anthology of Far-Away Galaxies, and I cannot recommend it enough now.

Also in Lightspeed this week, Cassandra Khaw’s “The Quiet Like a Homecoming”–also with an author spotlight.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: January 28, 2018

Well, I seriously overestimated my ability to accomplish anything in the first week of this new job. Waking up at 4 am and spending my days on my feet has really taken its toll on me so that I’ve barely had the energy to shower and feed myself, much less write anything. I haven’t even been reading much, to be honest, because I’ve just been too exhausted to concentrate. All that said, after a relatively restful Saturday off and with just a short shift this afternoon, I’ve been relatively productive today, and I’m hopeful that this coming week will find me settling into my new schedule and (likely slowly) getting back on track with things here at the blog.

My mood this week wasn’t helped by the news on Tuesday that Ursula K. LeGuin has passed away.

Read Ursula K. LeGuin on “Spare Time” at Brain Pickings.

Chuck Wendig has collected a bunch of Ursula K. LeGuin’s advice on writing.

Meanwhile, Literary Hub lists Ursula K. LeGuin’s best life advice.

This week saw the release of Brooke Bolander’s first novella, The Only Harmless Great Thing, from Tor.com. You can read her Big Idea over at Whatever.

Brooke Bolander was also interviewed by Alasdair Stuart for the Barnes & Noble Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog.

There’s also coverage at Tor.com of a great discussion between Bolander, Maria Dahvana Headley and Amal El-Mohtar, in which they talk writing, history and The Only Harmless Great Thing.

The other must-read roundtable of the week is at Fireside Fiction, where Layla Al-Bedawi, Millie Ho, and Maya Kanwal sat down with Julia Rios to discuss Immigrant Experiences in Fiction and In Real Life.

The Book Smugglers revealed the cover of a new anthology, The Underwater Ballroom Society edited by Stephanie Burgis and Tiffany Trent. If you sign up to receive updates about the book (which is due out on April 30), you could win an e-ARC of it.

Mari Ness takes a look at the story of Snow-White and Rose-Red.

Skiffy and Fanty’s Month of Joy has continued to be a pleasant read.

There’s an interview with Fonda Lee in Lighspeed Magazine. Also, have I mentioned lately that you owe it to yourself to read Lee’s most recent book, Jade City? Because you definitely do.

Also in Lightspeed, new fiction by Sarah Pinsker, “The Court Magician.” And an Author Spotlight.

Apex Magazine’s Story of the Year for 2017 is “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience” by Rebecca Roanhorse.

Also at Apex, my favorite story from the most recent issue, “Origin Story” by T. Kingfisher, is free to read now.

I am getting really hyped for Annihilation. This featurette showing more of the “shimmer” phenomenon is fab:

Still, the movie I am most hyped for so far this year is Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time adaptation. This new trailer has a bunch of new footage from the film:

 

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: January 21, 2018

Well, I haven’t been very productive, writing-wise, this week, but I have been busy. I did do some training for the new day job, which I’m starting for real tomorrow (at the ungodly hour of 5:15 am, but I’m sure I’ll adjust in a week or two). However, much of my time this week has been spent reading short fiction. I’ve read three magazines (Uncanny #20, Fiyah #5, and Apex #104) cover to cover, and I’ve caught up on selections from LightspeedLuna Station QuarterlyClarkesworldPodcastle and Fireside as well, which pretty much wraps up all of my short fiction reading until sometime in February. I also read the novellas Binti: The Night Masquerade and The Only Harmless Great Thing, of which I am hoping to have reviews finished this coming week. Spoiler alert: they were both excellent.

Also this coming week, I’ll be working on reading through some first week of February releases; I just started Alex Wells’ Blood Binds the Pack, the sequel to last year’s Hunger Makes the Wolf, and I should also have time to get through Sue Burke’s debut novel about intelligent alien plants, Semiosis, and Jasmine Gower’s 1920’s influenced Moonshine. My plan is to have reviews of those written and published in the first week of February as part of my more general goal of writing about what I read and posting book reviews promptly in 2018. It’s still early, but I’m feeling good about it so far.

If, like me, you’re always on the lookout for something new to read, be sure to check out this list of 25 Sci-fi and Fantasy Debuts to Watch Out for in 2018.

As annoyed as I am that we have to wait for the Ellie Sattler Pop! figure, I definitely need this Target exclusive Ian Malcolm one:

I am sad to report that The Shannara Chronicles has been cancelled at the Paramount Network. I genuinely liked the show and found it a pleasant and entertaining YA-friendly alternative to the grimdark fare that has been dominating the fantasy genre in recent years.

At Shadow and Act, C.J. Obasi talked about adapting Nnedi Okorafor’s “Hello, Moto” into the short film, Hello, Rain.

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry’s essay, “I Belong Where the People Are: Disability and The Shape of Water,” is required reading.

Chloe N. Clark’s Horror 101 series continues with a look at pod people.

The newest entry in Mari Ness’s Tor.com series on fairy tales covers Thumbelina.

There’s a teaser trail for HBO’s Fahrenheit 451:

Millie Ho’s “Hehua” at Fireside Fiction is an early favorite short story of 2018.

And speaking Fireside, they will soon be producing a quarterly print edition of the magazine!

I highly recommend buying the current issue (and, frankly, every issue) of FIYAH, but one of my favorite things in the issue is the reprinted P. Djeli Clark essay on George Schuyler. You can still read the original essay, “Black Empire: George Schuyler, Black Radicalism and Dieselpunk,” at Beyond Victoriana.

Coincidentally, there’s also an essay this week at the New York Review of Books about George Schuyler’s ahead-of-his-time Afrofuturism.

Skiffy and Fanty’s Month of Joy continues.

In this month’s Apex Magazine:

The first half of content from Uncanny Magazine #20 was released a couple weeks ago, but I only just got around to reading the magazine this week. Unfortunately, my favorite bits of this issue aren’t in the first half available online, but there are still some great pieces:

I’m absolutely besotted with “The Glow in the Dark Girls” by Senaa Ahmad (podcast here) over at Strange Horizons.

At Podcastle, be sure to check out LaShawn M. Wanak’s “No Wrong Answers.”

Clarkesworld has a new novelette by Tobias S. Buckell, “A World to Die For.”

Also at Clarkesworld, a great interview with Sue Burke about her upcoming debut novel, Semiosis, out from Tor on February 6.

State of the Blog and Weekend Links: January 14, 2018

As has become something of a mantra around here, I didn’t get nearly as much accomplished this week as I would have liked. However, the things I did accomplish are good things. I finally finished writing up my Winter Reading List, and I posted reviews of Beneath the Sugar Sky and Robots vs. Fairies. Sadly, I didn’t get around to writing about Star Trek: Discovery like I’d intended, but I just didn’t have much to say about it. I’m hoping tonight’s episode will give me a little more to work with on that score.

The best news of the week, by far, of course, is that I’m starting a new job this coming week. Nothing very exciting, but it’ll keep us afloat here until my partner finds something and will make it much easier for us to afford the professional certifications that will make it easier for him to find work. I’m very pleased and extremely relieved and feel very very lucky to have found work so quickly and easily at a time when I really need it. It’s a huge weight off my mind to have this taken care of, and I can already tell that it’s going to do wonders for my general mood, which will hopefully translate to higher levels of productivity here as well.

The other good thing that happened this week is that I realized that much of my ill feeling and exhaustion in the previous week or so was due largely to my quitting of caffeine and sugar. Well, I’ve quit drinking Red Bull, anyway, which was one of my New Year’s resolutions and, perhaps, the only thing in my life that’s gone as planned so far in 2018. And now that I’m past the headache-y, cranky, fatigued phase of quitting caffeine and sugar, my energy levels have been much higher, I’ve been sleeping better, and I’ve already noticed some clothes feeling slightly looser. Turns out that not consuming hundreds of calories per day of high fructose corn syrup and stimulants is a good thing, and now that I’m past the unpleasant part of the quitting process, I’m much more able to appreciate that.

TL,DR: After a decidedly rocky start to this year, things are already looking up. Yay!

If you’re still looking to fill out your 2018 TBR, be sure to check out this list of 95 Books Sci-Fi and Fantasy Editors Can’t Wait to Read in 2018.

Perhaps the book I’m most excited to read in 2018 is Rebecca Roanhorse’s debut novel, Trail of Lightning, and it has a cover! Gorgeous art by the amazing Tommy Arnold. The author answers several questions about the book over at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

Fonda Lee’s Jade City was my favorite book of 2017, and I am still eagerly consuming every scrap of media–blog posts, interviews, podcasts, reviews, etc.–that I come across related to it. This week, Fonda Lee was on Books & Boba to talk about her novel.

Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien did a Reddit AMA to promote their new anthology, Fairies vs. Robots.

Seanan McGuire was over at the Powell’s Books blog to talk about portal fantasy and her Wayward Children series.

The other exciting cover reveal of the week is for R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War. I’m really digging the striking simplicity of this cover, and I’m excited to read the book, which is the first in a trilogy that the author says “grapples with drugs, shamanism, and China’s bloody twentieth century.”

At Tor.com, Stubby the Rocket offered up a short history of the evolution of fantasy candy kingdoms.

The nominees for this year’s Philip K. Dick Award were announced.

For their 5th anniversary, Rosarium Publishing will be releasing a fantastic-sounding two-volume anthology, Sunspot Jungle. They’ll be running a Kickstarter for a special hardcover edition in February.

Anyone who has been following me for very long might know that I love love love mass market paperbacks and that I bemoan the ascendancy of trade paper about once a month or so. I am beyond thrilled to have learned that Kameron Hurley’s Beldame Apocrypha are getting re-released this spring/summer as mass markets to go along with her collection of Nyx stories, Apocalypse Nyx (which will probably be a trade paperback, but I guess I can’t have everything).

The Cosmos revival is finally getting a second season.

Jim C. Hines has an awful lot of receipts on Jon Del Arroz’s bad behavior. Honestly, it’s moderately surprising that this dude wasn’t banned from more parts of polite society sooner.

‘Tis the season for blog makeovers, with two of my favorites getting new looks for the new year:

And I’ll leave you with the “mad hatterpillar.” It’s a caterpillar that wears pieces of its own shed exoskeletons as a fabulous hat, and it’s surprisingly adorable:

 

Sci-fi and Fantasy books, tv, films, and feminism