juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.

Here is a list of the recs I picked up from various panels I attended at Worldcon. (These are likely not complete, but they’re the ones that I wrote down.)


In Defense of the Unlikeable Heroine:


  • We Who Are About To – Joanna Russ


Non-Binary Representation In Fiction:


  • Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction – ed K M Szpara (anthology)

  • The Black Tides of Heaven / The Red Threads of Fortune – JY Yang (forthcoming in Sept)

  • Provenance – Ann Leckie (forthcoming, but read some on her website)

  • Jacob’s Ladder – Elizabeth Bear

  • River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey

  • Pantomime – Laura Lam

  • Killing Gravity – Corey J White

  • Interactive fiction Craft phone games (Choice of Deathless/City’s Thirst) – Max Gladstone (you can play an nb character)

  • “Masculinity is an Anxiety Disorder” (essay) – David J Schwartz

  • Rose Lemberg

  • Foz Meadows

  • A Merc Rustad


Beyond the Dystopia


(This one should be complete as I moderated the panel and made a point of writing them down to tweet afterwards.)


  • Two Faces of Tomorrow – James P Hogan

  • Culture series – Iain M Banks

  • Dragonlance

  • Too Like the Lightning and Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer

  • The Postman – David Brin

  • A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed And Common Orbit – Becky Chambers

  • Hospital Station – James White

  • Malhutan Chronicles – Tom D Wright (panelist)

  • Orbital Cloud – Taiyo Fuji (panelist)

  • The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison


Older Women in Genre Fiction:


  • All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye – Christopher Brookmyre

  • Blood Songs series – Anthony Ryan

  • Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon

  • Barbara Hambly


Also, Catherine Lundoff keeps a bibliography of books with older women protagonists.


Colonialism and the Space Opera:


  • Praxis – John Williams


Moving Beyond Orientalism in SFF:


  • Black Wolves – Kate Elliot

  • Vixen and The Waves – Hoa Pham

  • Isabelle Yap

  • Ken Liu

  • Stephanie Lai

  • Zen Cho


(Plus one from Nine Worlds in which the MC has Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline – Mishell Baker)

juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.

Eastercon was fabulous, and I may yet do a writeup post, but for now, I have many recs to extract from my scribbled notes. (NB I have not yet read any of these; things I had already read I didn’t generally write down.)


LGBT to QUILTBAG panel:



  • “Not Your Sidekick” — C. B. Lee

  • “A Rational Arrangement” — L. Rowyn

  • “Hunger Makes the Wolf” — Alex Wells (cyberpunk)

  • The Raven Cycle — Maggie Stiefvater (YA, queer relationships)

  • “The House of Shattered Wings” — Aliette de Bodard

  • General recs: Uncanny Magazine, Tor.com, Lethe Press


Women of Star Wars panel:



  • “The Things I Would Tell You” — Muslim women anthology


Hamilton lecture:



Romance, Mystery, and Fantasy panel


(plus some recs from the bar afterwards. Some of these are non-SFF romance.)



  • Obsidian and Blood series — think this may have meant “Ivory and Bone” and “Obsidian and Stars” — Julie Eshbough

  • “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” — Laini Taylor

  • “Behind Her Eyes” — Sarah Pinborough

  • “Hold Me” — Courtney Milan

  • "Hold" -- Rachel Davidson Lee

  • Cosy witch mysteries!

  • Heather Rose Jones (published by Bella Books)

  • “Don’t Feed The Trolls” — Erica Kudisch

  • “Rollergirl” — Vanessa North

  • “The Art Of Three” — Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae

  • “Storm Season” — Pene Henson

  • “The Ultra-Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves The World” — A. C. Wise

  • “Hurricane Heels” — Isabel Yap

  • Neville/Hermione/Luna fic generally (must check AO3 tag 🙂 )


Fandom and Theatre panel



  • Team Starkid — on YouTube

  • Smash — TV show about backstage

  • Slings and Arrows — TV show about actors


Misc other recs



  • “At The End Of The Day” — Claire North

  • “The End of Days” — Jenny Erpenbeck

  • “Cities in Flight” — James Blish

  • “Meg and Linus” — Hanna Nowinski

  • “Every Heart A Doorway” — Seanan McGuire


So, uh, that should keep me going.

juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

Look what arrived in the post for me!

Furthest Tales of the City

Stories by some splendid writers including me:

Furthest Tales of the City contents

I haven’t read it yet as it only arrived yesterday, but am greatly looking forward to it. Some of the titles look especially interesting, but I may have to start with Helen Angove’s story.

(Buy it here from the publishers, Obverse Books, in paperback or ebook form.)

juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

Look what came through the letterbox yesterday!

Book cover: Faction Paradox, "Liberating Earth"

A brand new Faction Paradox collection, featuring a story by me, among eight others. I haven’t yet read the others, as it only arrived yesterday, but I am greatly looking forward to them; especially the frame story by Kate Orman.

Available now from Obverse Books (hardback) or on Kindle.

juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison, has been on my to-read list for a while. This is partly due to seeing generally positive things about it in many places, and partly because Katherine Addison was previously known as Sarah Monette. Sarah Monette wrote Melusine, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed, but by the time I discovered this, the remaining three novels in the series were annoyingly out of print.* The Goblin Emperor finally got bumped up to the top of the list after reading this review by Justin Landon, which mentioned both that it’s a work of genius, and, more importantly, that the protagonist, Maia, is actually nice.

As Landon observes, good-person protagonists are an increasing rarity in spec-fic. One of the other books I read recently was God’s War (Bel Dame Apocrypha #1), by Kameron Hurley. It too, in a different way, is an excellent book, but it’s a grim read, and protagonist Nyx is a long way from any descriptor like “nice” or “good”. I freely admit that I prefer my reading matter a bit on the positive side, and recently that seems to have been in short supply.

Anyway. I started out on The Goblin Emperor, and I fell in love, ooh, about three pages in. Maybe two. I galloped greedily and joyously through the first 3/4 of it, and then I slowed way down in the despairing knowledge that it was going to run out, and there are no sequels or anything (yet? please let it be ‘yet’). Then I did come to the end, and I stared thoughtfully at my Kindle, and then I hit the “go to start” button and I read it all over again. I managed not to read it a third time after that, but it was a close-run thing.

For a more thorough review, try Strange Horizons or The Book Smugglers or Tor (spoiler: they all loved it too). But what did I love about it? I loved the detailed world-building (airships and court politics and social structures and all the rest of it), and the gradual reveal of new parts and new aspects to existing parts. It’s beautifully handled, with confusion created and resolved at just the right rate. I loved Maia, the protagonist. (I really loved Maia.) He is, as Landon said, genuinely a good person. Not a perfect person; but someone trying to do their best, trying to do good in the world. I loved the racial and gender politics; again, beautifully and lightly handled. I loved the court politics and the wonderfully-observed government structures. I loved the interpersonal relationships. I also loved that it didn’t go for the “race to the grim” option; bad things happen, but they don’t feel gratuitous, and they don’t feel like the author is trying to demonstrate how TOUGH they are**.

Above everything else, I loved the feel of it; as several of the reviewers above mention, it is a warm, satisfying book that left me feeling better about the world.

I cannot recommend this highly enough, if you’re remotely into fantasy. And I really, desperately hope that there’s a sequel. In the meantime, I might just have to read it again.

* After reading this book, I now finally have them all on their way second-hand.
** I have this beef with quite a few recent spec-fic novels.

juliet: (Default)

Originally published at Twisting Vines. You can comment here or there.

I heard two nice things about my book this week. One in the form of a note from one of my parents’ friends, who has read and enjoyed it (and thought I sounded like “a very practical person”, which pleased me). The other was a PS to a business-type email about something else altogether, saying that they too really liked it. It’s reassuring to know that it’s hitting the spot!

Most of the rest of the week has been spent recovering from mastitis, which I do not recommend as happy fun times. All hail the modern antibiotic.

juliet: Part of a Pollock artwork in the Tate (art - pollock)
I have my first published story out in this anthology, now out in ebook & at 15% off! Am inordinately excited :) I've been reading the other stories as well, now that I've got my contributor's copy, and can whole-heartedly recommend the whole book.

"Magic that detects crime, magic that heals, magic that destroys: all this and more and in hands of queer women who use their powers to shape their worlds and their destinies."
juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)
I have a stack of books on my borrowed-books shelf with no labelled owners (I have of late taken to writing the owner in pencil in any book I borrow, but these all date from before that). List is below: if you recognise any of them, please claim. (Otherwise I'm going to either amalgamate with my own books, or donate to the charity, & if they get claimed at a later date I'll just buy the owner a new one.)

Ronald Searle "The Terror Of St Trinians"
Alastair Reynolds "Revelation Space"
Charles Bukowski "Ham On Rye"
Charles Stross "Singularity Sky"
Kenneth Grahame "The Wind In The Willows" (rather nice new hardback edition)

(there are also some with owners, which I shall endeavour to reunite with ppl forthwith).
juliet: (Default)
Last book on the list! This one was recommended by [livejournal.com profile] webcowgirl. I suppose you could call it magic realist, but the way in which the magic is tackled (sceptical yet matter-of-fact) made it feel more like fantasy or spec-fic. I certainly preferred it to most of the magic realist books I've read.

The well-researched 18th c French background was great - the narrative voice felt genuine (NB my knowledge of 18th c Fr is of course minimal so cannot actually confirm accuracy, but it felt appropriately detailed & certainly didn't have anything obviously erroneous). The human interactions were the focus, though, and the detail and emotion of those interactions were fascinating. Given that I like spec-fic, historical fiction, and books with people that actually feel like real people who interact with one another and who I am able to care about, it was hitting most of my buttons. The bit that didn't entirely work was the "people who I am able to care about" - too many of the characters were a bit too unsympathetic, and the ones I found more interesting were least present in the story (doubtless deliberate; the feel of it was that of a a very specific and individual perspective, and that person's limitations in terms of provider-of-the-narrative were obvious).

It does go Heavily Grim at the end, which I could have done without (it wasn't entirely a shock, but it was a bit more than anticipated), but not enough to put me off the book. I'll be investigating whether she's done anything else.

(Sorry, this is a bit of a lame-arse review, because it is late & I have been onna train for over 7 hrs.)
juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)
(today is the day for many postings...)

Only one more book to go on the list! This one was recommended by [livejournal.com profile] envoy, and it is about BIKES. Specifically, about couriers (the subtitle is "Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power") & Chicago.

The blurb describes his prose as 'poetic' - this is kind of true, but sometimes it gets a bit much. It's almost frenetic sometimes: you get the feeling that he's the sort of person who's always on the move. And of course this links in nicely with the way he talks about riding as a courier: the focus on speed, the way in which it takes over your body and your life, that you almost can't stop moving even when you get home at night. I recognise that feeling: the muscle-twitch you get after a long ride which along with the time it takes the adrenaline to disperse makes falling asleep incredibly hard[0] right until it suddenly all gives way and you collapse.

I could also recognise the way he talks about riding city streets, and reading the traffic. Obviously I'm not a courier and I don't do this full-time; but I've spent a lot of time over the last 7 years riding around London, and you do pick up a feel for how the traffic moves and how to put yourself smoothly into and around it. Which can also take a certain amount of nerve, but when it's working, it's an amazing feeling. (I am going to stay away from his take on the Red Light Argument, other than to say that it's interesting, that I can see his point, and that of *course* couriers are going to jump lights when they can get away with it, they're on pay-per-delivery and not high pay at that.)

He talks a bit about Critical Mass, as well - he was involved while the Chicago police decided to crack down on CM by arresting everyone in sight, and of course that wound up upping the activism. I was interested as well by what he says about the tension between his activist involvement & his courier job (or more accurately, his colleagues): that the couriers weren't all that interested, in many cases, in the activism side of things. (Although I think in most or even all cities where there's a CM, there's tended to be at least some courier involvement.)

In the end he quit & went back into art gallery stuff (and got more heavily involved in bike activism) - mostly because he seriously wrecked his knee. Couriering is the sort of job that tends to do for you physically, one way or another.

Fascinating book: definitely recommended to anyone who cycles or is interested in bikes. (Hard to get in this country, so let me know if you want to borrow it!) And in particular to anyone who enjoys traffic-jamming :)

[0] The canonical example of this for me is trying to sleep at the 400km point of the BCM. twitch twitch twitch.
juliet: (Default)
(More 101 things stuff: reviewing various books that were recommended to me. [livejournal.com profile] damerell recommended Hornblower, and [livejournal.com profile] invisiblechoir recommended My Little Book of Stolen Time. Both of which I read whilst mid-Pacific.)

Reef the maintopsail! )

Lawks, I am a time-travelling lady of the night from 19th c Denmark who has fetched up in 20th c London! Let me tell you all about it! )

Books!

May. 18th, 2009 01:32 pm
juliet: (Default)
I have finally sourced a functional (well; it'll do) book reader for the G1 Android. I have 24 days on a ship with no internet, followed by another 8 days on a ship with no internet, upcoming. At present I still have access to Project Gutenberg. These three things taken together point to an obvious conclusion. Thus: any recommendations for books available or potentially available on Gutenburg (i.e. first published around 70 yrs or so ago, I think) would be much appreciated.

ION: am having really very splendid time indeed in Melbourne. Also have head full of STUFF, what with upcoming departure & so forth. Obviously having a coffee this morning was therefore a perfectly fine decision, & has in no way led to me sitting in the corner of the cafe and twitching gently. On the upside, I have got in all the work that was due today/tomorrow, which was the purpose of the exercise. Thus: success! I may go and have a nice quiet lie down now.
juliet: (Default)
Finally finished uploading my London-Australia photos.

(The new ones start here.)

This afternoon I have mostly been putting things into boxes, which is a traumatic process. The boxes (two teachests & Cepheus-the-bike) go tomorrow morning. I have the FEAR that I will end up with random extra bags to carry onto the boat when I realise on Sunday that I forgot to pack $important_thing (which will doubtless also be *heavy*).

Test packing of the rucksack reveals a) things fit!, and b) luggage is about 50% books & other paper, & 50% clothes. I may end up either abandoning, or posting home, books at San Francisco[0].

[0] The last time I was in San Francisco was when I was 21 and spent the Easter vac driving round the SW of the States (bless Oxford & its 6 wk vacations, even if the 8 wk terms are actually designed to generate insanity and overwork). As I didn't have to *carry* anything anywhere, due to having a car, I ended up buying enough books that I had to buy a bag to carry them home in. And then I forgot that I also had a bottle of vodka in the bag, which obviously broke on its way through baggage handling. Thus all my Arnistead Maupin books are slightly crinkled and vodka-ish.
juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)
[livejournal.com profile] mr_tom recommended this one, & it's the first on the list that I haven't been able to finish.

Up until about halfway through, it's an increasingly confusing but broadly speaking reasonably entertaining account of the drugged- and boozed-up narrator (model/actor-type Victor) bumbling his way through New York and later London. Things begin to look a little dodgy (indications that he's got a double wandering round the place); Victor starts losing it more and more (constructing his entire life as a film in the process of being made); and he fetches up in London.

At this point it degenerates into graphic descriptions of torture, bombs, and highly unerotic sex, which is the point at which I said "screw this, I'm not prepared to read this". (I gave up on American Psycho about halfway through for the exact same reason.) Also by this point I really wasn't remotely involved with any of the characters, nor cared about them or what happened to them. (This may or may not have been the author's intention; but I am pretty sure I *have* read books with dislikable narrators/main characters and still gotten involved with what's going on. The trouble is, I can't really remain engaged when there's that much unpleasantness being that graphically described, because I find it too upsetting. And I wasn't that engaged with Victor in the first place, so...)

Anyway, yeah. Having been assured before that AP was a particularly graphic/gory example of Bret Easton Ellis' work, which is why I figured I'd give this one a go, I am now convinced that he just doesn't work for me. Bah. I am now going to go find something nice and fluffy to read to get rid of the slightly queasy feeling.

Memery

Mar. 8th, 2009 03:31 pm
juliet: (tree)
[livejournal.com profile] catsgomiaow gave me things to witter about!

memery under cut )
juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)
Time to pick up the 101 things again (though I think with about 8 months to go it is a safe bet that they aren't all going to happen. Ah well.). Anyway: one of them is about reading & reviewing books, so I got Morality Play, by Barry Unsworth (recommended by [livejournal.com profile] thekumquat), out of the library yesterday, and sat up on the roof this afternoon to read it. (I like it up on the roof - Elizabeth Bay is one of the highest bits of Sydney, so there's a great view, and it's lovely and quiet.)

I found the actual story (a group of mediaeval travelling players who are caught up in the aftermath of a murder, lots of stuff about justice and power and so on; don't want to say more for fear of spoilers) less interesting than the background stuff. Specifically the idea of the move from acting morality plays to using more modern material - the ideas about what 'acting' could and could not convey, and the beginnings of change in that. Also the ideas about one's relationship to meaning, and whether meaning is given to you, or can be self-constructed. Barry Unsworth also makes some fairly unsubtle points about gender relations.

It's fairly short, and it's a decent enough read, I guess, but I wasn't really that impressed. Faintly surprised that it won the Booker (in 1992) - I certainly wouldn't have rated it as prize-winning. I found it a little clunky and shallow. (And homophobic, in a fairly thoughtless "stock Evil Character" way.) Having said that, it wasn't a total waste of 1.5 hrs or anything :-)

ION: I am trying to switch to a Dvorak keyboard, a project which is progressing, but it's bloody frustrating. So I shall stop typing now.
juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)
Time to pick up the 101 things again (though I think with about 8 months to go it is a safe bet that they aren't all going to happen. Ah well.). Anyway: one of them is about reading & reviewing books, so I got Morality Play, by Barry Unsworth (recommended by [livejournal.com profile] thekumquat), out of the library yesterday, and sat up on the roof this afternoon to read it. (I like it up on the roof - Elizabeth Bay is one of the highest bits of Sydney, so there's a great view, and it's lovely and quiet.)

I found the actual story (a group of mediaeval travelling players who are caught up in the aftermath of a murder, lots of stuff about justice and power and so on; don't want to say more for fear of spoilers) less interesting than the background stuff. Specifically the idea of the move from acting morality plays to using more modern material - the ideas about what 'acting' could and could not convey, and the beginnings of change in that. Also the ideas about one's relationship to meaning, and whether meaning is given to you, or can be self-constructed. Barry Unsworth also makes some fairly unsubtle points about gender relations.

It's fairly short, and it's a decent enough read, I guess, but I wasn't really that impressed. Faintly surprised that it won the Booker (in 1992) - I certainly wouldn't have rated it as prize-winning. I found it a little clunky and shallow. (And homophobic, in a fairly thoughtless "stock Evil Character" way.) Having said that, it wasn't a total waste of 1.5 hrs or anything :-)

ION: I am trying to switch to a Dvorak keyboard, a project which is progressing, but it's bloody frustrating. So I shall stop typing now.

Books

Apr. 23rd, 2008 10:05 am
juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)
So, I hauled 2 bags of books and a bag of random clothes & stuff down to the charity shop on Monday, only to discover that they're no longer taking donations. Bother.

I have a vague recollection that there are places online where you can give books away (other than Freecycle). Anyone able to point me in an appropriate direction?

Books

Apr. 23rd, 2008 10:05 am
juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)
So, I hauled 2 bags of books and a bag of random clothes & stuff down to the charity shop on Monday, only to discover that they're no longer taking donations. Bother.

I have a vague recollection that there are places online where you can give books away (other than Freecycle). Anyone able to point me in an appropriate direction?
juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)
[livejournal.com profile] catsgomiaow recommended & loaned me Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (as part of 101 things book-recommendation thing).

V short review - brain not operational today )

Also I cooked kale puttanesca for [livejournal.com profile] uon & myself last night. Although without the anchovies, obv, & without the olives because we didn't have any. It was very nice, although another time I'd chop the capers up as they were a bit alarming whole.

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