marthawells: (Reading)
2019-02-19 10:19 am
Entry tags:

New Books for Tuesday

(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)


* Novella: The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.



* Where Oblivion Lives by T. Frohock
Born of daimon and angel, Diago Alvarez is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has chosen Los Nefilim, the sons and daughters of angels who possess the power to harness music and light.

As the forces of evil gather, Diago must locate the Key, the special chord that will unite the nefilim’s voices, giving them the power to avert the coming civil war between the Republicans and Franco’s Nationalists. Finding the Key will save Spain from plunging into darkness.



* For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones
But when squire Elenai’s aging mentor uncovers evidence that the sword in their hall is a forgery she’s forced to flee Darassus for her life, her only ally the reckless, disillusioned Kyrkenall the archer. Framed for murder and treason, pursued by the greatest heroes of the realm, they race to recover the real sword, only to stumble into a conspiracy that leads all the way back to the Darassan queen and her secretive advisors. They must find a way to clear their names and set things right, all while dodging friends determined to kill them – and the Naor hordes, invading at last with a new and deadly weapon.


* Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.

Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.



* Tides of the Titans by Thoraiya Dyer
In the quest fantasy Tides of the Titans, part of Aurealis and Ditmar Award-winning author Thoraiya Dyer's extraordinary Titan's Forest series, trees loom large as skyscrapers, mortals can be reborn as gods, and a young man travels to the far reaches of the land and beyond to unlock the Forest's hidden secrets...

Courtier, explorer, thief: Leaper is a man of many skills, but none of his talents satisfy the yearning in his heart for the Queen of Airakland, the ruler of a thunder-clashed kingdom.

Their affair is cut too short, however, when she is murdered. But who was the assassin? A political rival? The jealous king? Or, perhaps, the god of thunder who oversees them all?



* Cast in Oblivion by Michelle Sagara
Kaylin wasn’t sent to the West March to start a war. Her mission to bring back nine Barrani might do just that, though. She traveled with a Dragon, and her presence is perceived as an act of aggression in the extremely hostile world of Barrani-Dragon politics. Internal Barrani politics are no less deadly, and Kaylin has managed—barely—to help the rescued Barrani evade both death and captivity at the hands of the Consort.

Before the unplanned “visit” to the West March, Kaylin invited the Consort to dinner. For obvious reasons, Kaylin wants to cancel dinner—forever. But the Consort is going to show up at the front door at the agreed-upon time. The fact that she tried to imprison Kaylin’s guests doesn’t matter at all…to her.



* Cicada by Shaun Tan
From the visionary Shaun Tan, an inspirational story for older picture book readers and beyond

Cicada tells the story of a hardworking little cicada who is completely unappreciated for what he does. But in the end, just when you think he's given up, he makes a transformation into something ineffably beautiful. A metaphor for growing up? A bit of inspiration for the unappreciated striver in all of us? Yes, yes, and more.



* The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
From New York Times bestselling author Yangsze Choo, an utterly transporting novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, perfect for fans of Isabel Allende and Min Jin Lee. Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.

Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.

As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.



* Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss
In these eight stories and twenty-three poems, World Fantasy Award winner Theodora Goss retells and recasts fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Oscar Wilde. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, always lyrical, the works gathered in Snow White Learns Witchcraft re-center and empower the women at the heart of these timeless narratives. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Jane Yolen, in her introduction, proclaims that Goss “transposes, transforms, and transcends times, eras, and old tales with ease. But also there is a core of tough magic that runs through all her pieces like a river through Faerie . . . I am ready to reread some of my new favorites.”


* Preorder Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden
Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion.

Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void.



* Preorder The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population -- except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.



* A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
In these tumultuous times, in our deeply divided country, many people are angry, frightened, and hurting. Knowing that imagining a brighter tomorrow has always been an act of resistance, editors Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams invited an extraordinarily talented group of writers to share stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice. They asked for narratives that would challenge oppressive American myths, release us from the chokehold of our history, and give us new futures to believe in.


* Fog Season by Patrice Sarath
After the shocking events of last summer, the high society of Port Saint Frey has plenty to gossip about. Who was the Gentleman Bandit? Why hasn't he been captured? And what really happened that night when the Guildmaster disappeared? When the Guild hires Abel Fresnel, a detective with special powers of his own, to find the answers, Tesara and Yvienne Mederos have to avoid his probing questions and keep mum about their role in the events of that dark night. Everything's more or less under control until a dead man turns up in the dumbwaiter...


* The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain
When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he finds a world vastly different from what he remembers. Arrogant and bombastic, he comes down the mountain expecting an easy conquest: the wealthy, spectacular city state of Kathmandu, ruled by the all-knowing, all-seeing tyrant AI Karma. To his surprise, he finds that Kathmandu is a cut-price paradise, where citizens want for nothing and even the dregs of society are distinctly unwilling to revolt.

Everyone seems happy, except for the old Gurkha soldier Bhan Gurung. Knife saint, recidivist, and mass murderer, he is an exile from Kathmandu, pursuing a forty-year-old vendetta that leads to the very heart of Karma. Pushed and prodded by Gurung, Melek Ahmer finds himself in ever deeper conflicts, until they finally face off against Karma and her forces. In the upheaval that follows, old crimes will come to light and the city itself will be forced to change.



* Dreams of the Dark Sky by Tina LeCount Myers
The war between men and immortals that raged across the frozen Northland of Davvieana has ended. For men, the balance of power between Believer and Brethren, between honoring the gods and honoring the sword, has shifted to favor priests over Hunters.
But it is the legacy of one man’s love for his son that shapes the lives of all who survived.
While Irjan, the once-legendary immortal hunter, has saved his son’s life, he cannot save Marnej from the men who will make him a killer, nor can he save the immortal girl he’d promised to protect from the secret of her birth.
marthawells: (Teyla)
2019-02-18 12:26 pm

Painting

For people interested in home improvement stuff, here's the before and after pictures of the painting I did this weekend: https://twitter.com/marthawells1/status/1097174389886455808
marthawells: (Stargate)
2019-02-17 10:06 am
Entry tags:

BSFA Awards

One piece of good news:

The Murderbot Diaries: Exit Strategy is up for a British Science Fiction Association Award for short fiction!


Congrats to all the other nominees!

https://bsfa.co.uk/awards-shortlist/



Best Novel

Dave Hutchinson – Europe at Dawn (Solaris)

Yoon Ha Lee – Revenant Gun (Solaris)

Emma Newman – Before Mars (Ace Books)

Gareth L Powell – Embers of War (Titan Books)

Tade Thompson – Rosewater (Orbit)



Best Shorter Fiction

Nina Allan – The Gift of Angels: an Introduction (Clarkesworld)

Malcolm Devlin – The Purpose of the Dodo is to be Extinct (Interzone #275)

Hal Duncan – The Land of Somewhere Safe (NewCon Press)

Ian McDonald – Time Was (Tor.com)

Martha Wells – Exit Strategy (Tor.com)

Liz Williams – Phosphorus (NewCon Press)

Marian Womack – Kingfisher (Lost Objects, Luna Press)



Best Non-Fiction

Nina Allan – Time Pieces column 2018 articles (Interzone)

Ruth EJ Booth – Noise and Sparks column 2018 articles (Shoreline of Infinity)

Liz Bourke – Sleeps With Monsters column 2018 articles (Tor.com)

Aliette de Bodard – On motherhood and erasure: people-shaped holes, hollow characters and the illusion of impossible adventures (Intellectus Speculativus blog)

Adam Roberts – Publishing the Science Fiction Canon: The Case of Scientific Romance (Cambridge University Press)



Best Artwork

Ben Baldwin – wraparound cover for ‘Strange Tales’ slipcase set (NewCon Press)

Joey Hi-Fi – cover for ‘Paris Adrift’ by EJ Swift (Solaris)

Sarah Anne Langton – cover for ‘Unholy Land’ by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications)

Sing Yun Lee and Morris Wild – artwork for ‘Sublime Cognition’ conference (London Science Fiction Research Community)

Likhain – In the Vanishers’ Palace: Dragon I and II (Inprnt)

Bede Rogerson – cover for ‘Concrete Faery’ by Elizabeth Priest (Luna Press)

Del Samatar – artwork for ‘Monster Portraits’ by Sofia and Del Samatar (Rose Metal Press)

Charlotte Stroomer – cover for ‘Rosewater’ by Tade Thompson (Orbit)
marthawells: Atlantis in fog (Atlantis)
2019-02-16 07:12 am

Painting

So yesterday I had a doctor's appointment and then spent the rest of the day painting our guestroom. It had been a soft yellow for quite a few years, and that was okay, but the walls had been really scraped up and it was just looking really bad. It's a very bright room so I tried something different and painted it a fairly dark blue. It took me from about 11:30 or so to 4:00, but it looks really good, even without the furniture and everything in place. I have a ton of touch-up to do and I need to re-paint the white trim, but I should be able to get that done this weekend.
marthawells: (John and Ronon)
2019-02-14 07:48 am
Entry tags:

Minor Update

I was a bit sick and very low energy over the weekend, so now I'm behind on everything. I did get most of my tax receipts sorted out and added up, so it's almost ready to go. (And I really need to start keeping everything in a spreadsheet as the year goes along and not relying on doing it all at once.) And I'm getting ready to paint our guestroom.

I've seen the cover for the new re-release of The Cloud Roads in mass market paperback. That will be out in November. It's the same art, but a slightly different design.

The Murderbot novel is going along, slowly but surely (:knock on wood:) and I think I have a very good chance of finishing by the deadline in May. :knock on wood again: It's been slow going and I don't see it speeding up anytime soon, but at least it's going.

These are the events I'll be at this year (so far):

May 10-12, 2019 Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas.

August 15-19, 2019.WorldCon Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.

October 4-5, 2019. Brown County Library ComicCon at Central Library in Green Bay, WI.

October 18-20, 2019. I'll be a guest of honor at Capclave in Rockville, MD.
marthawells: (Reading)
2019-02-07 07:33 am
Entry tags:

New Book Thursday - Short Fiction Edition

(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)



* Non-fiction: The POC Guide to Writing Dialect in Fiction by Kai Ashante Wilson


* Short story: His Footsteps Through Darkness and Light by Mimi Mondal


* Short story: The Glass Galago by A.M. Dellamonica


* Short story: The Bottom Garden by Jessica Reisman


* Short story: Monsters Come Howling in their Season by Cadwell Turnbull


* Short story: St. Juju by Rivers Solomon


* Short story: Circus Girl, the Hunter, and Mirror Boy by JY Yang


* Short story: You Can Make a Dinosaur but You Can't Help Me by K.M. Szpara


* Short story: The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington by Phenderson Djèlí Clark
marthawells: Atlantis in fog (Atlantis)
2019-01-31 07:23 am

Archives Visit

Yesterday a friend came up to visit and I got us a tour of the SF/F collection at Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. We saw so much stuff, I should have taken notes, but let's see:

* A proto-SF book from I think 1640? called the "Lunar World" where the author described what he thought a spaceship trip to the Moon would look like.

* Andre Norton's portrait and her SFWA Grandmaster award.

* The boxes for my collection of letters and manuscripts, plus a bunch of our friends' collections, plus cool people's boxes like Samuel Delany's and George R.R. Martin's.

* The boxes for the media fanzine collection and the fan vid collection dvds.

* And because the rare book collection is right there, we saw a real Sumerian cuneiform tablet and got to hold it.

* We got to see (and smell) a book with 400 year old smoke trapped in its pages.

* A 1500s occult book that has an inscription to Beelzebub written in blood.

* A Coptic scroll.

* Papyrus fragments

I posted a few pictures on Twitter https://twitter.com/marthawells1/status/1090740382483337216
marthawells: (Reading)
2019-01-29 06:18 am

NPR Review

The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red got reviewed on the NPR site:

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/27/688354123/sulky-cynical-murderbot-is-one-of-sci-fis-most-human-characters

It's the wonder of the character — that something so alien can be so human. That everyone who has ever had to hide in a crowded room, avert their eyes from power, cocoon themselves in media for comfort or lie to survive can relate. It's powerful to see that on the page. It's moving to ride around in the head of something that is so strong and so vulnerable, so murder-y and so frightened, all at the same time.
marthawells: (Reading)
2019-01-28 09:04 am

Cushing Memorial Library and Archives

This is a lot more extensive than the last time I looked at it, so I thought you guys would be interested. Here's a link to the Sandy Hereld Memorial Digitized Fanzine Collection: http://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/149935

It's part of the SF/F Special Collection at Cushing Memorial Library and Archives at Texas A&M University. http://cushing.library.tamu.edu/collecting/scifi.html part of a group of special collections: http://cushing.library.tamu.edu/collecting/index.html

There's also the SF/F Research database: https://sffrd.library.tamu.edu/site/

World Imagined: The Maps of Imaginary Places exhibit (my Books of the Raksura map was in this one) The catalog in PDF is here http://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/160507 and a full tour here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TkCoYZc4oc&feature=youtu.be
marthawells: (Stargate)
2019-01-27 08:37 am

Movies and TV

We watched First Man last night because we love space movies, and it was not good. If Neil Armstrong had been forced to go to the Moon because NASA was holding his wife and children at gun point, some of the directorial choices might have made sense. I think the actual idea and story was good, and it showed things some of the other space movies (like Apollo 13) didn't. (Like the protests against the cost (in money and lives) of the space program and a couple of quick shots of black engineers working the launches.)

But the editing and the cinematography stepped on the actors' performances in what I thought was an unprecedented way. It felt like it was deliberately obscuring them when they tried to show anything other than stoic angst, to the point where it was like the sound dropped when anyone said anything funny, or they switched to a long shot whenever anybody had an expression. It's like, why did you put in bits with people making jokes and enjoying themselves if you're going to make it nearly impossible for us to see and hear them during those parts? When they land on the moon, Aldrin and Armstrong look at each other and you can't see most of their expressions because of reflections off the helmet glass. And why do you hire Ryan Gosling if you don't let us see the full range of his performance? Or even like part of the range of his performance? I felt like I was trying to look at him through binoculars. And it made it really hard to keep track of who the other actors were playing.

Neil Armstrong was a taciturn guy who had some tragedy in his life, but there's plenty of video of him talking and laughing with friends and co-workers, and he was an actual badass, and we didn't see much of that at all. (My two favorite scenes: when Armstrong is having his interview to join the astronaut program, and other candidates are sniffing at him for being a civilian, and it's obvious his giant cast iron balls will hardly fit through the door. And later, when Buzz Aldrin is being a butt and the other astronauts are getting upset, and Aldrin says, "I'm just saying what you're all thinking." Armstrong looks at him for a beat, smiling slightly behind sunglasses, and says something like, "Maybe you should stop." And everybody shuts up. And even that scene was edited in a way that it minimized the impact.)

Other things:

1) not nearly enough talking between the ships and mission control
2) NO LIGHTS in the capsules, HARDLY ANY INSTRUMENT LIGHTS. It made the powerless capsule in Apollo 13 look like the bridge of the JJ Abrams' Enterprise.
3) Very bad at communicating what was going on during the space scenes. Apollo 13 and Hidden Figures were very good at explaining complex technical ideas without slowing the story down and First Man absolutely was not.

Basically I thought it was essentially well-written but so badly filmed and edited it was like watching an unrestored 1920s era film where I was just trying to guess at what was going on. And because of it, it'll be years before we get a good film about this period.
marthawells: (Jack and Teal'c)
2019-01-24 05:16 pm

Pressure

I think The Good Place is the only thing keeping me sane this week.

(The 3rd season finale is tonight.)
marthawells: (Reading)
2019-01-21 07:24 am
Entry tags:

Hardcover Murderbot and Books for Monday

Tomorrow (Jan 22) is the re-release of The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red in hardcover, to match the rest of the series. It'll have the same art, but a new design to include the "New York Times Bestselling Series" and "Hugo and Nebula Award Winner" on it. :)

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-systems-red-martha-wells/1125315290?ean=9781250214713#/

***

Also coming out soon:

I loved the first book and I've been looking forward to the sequel. This is an awesome epic fantasy:

* The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe.



This is the sequel to The Sisters Mederos, which I just finished reading last week and really enjoyed. Regency high society with magic and sisters who become dashing bandits and gamblers to get revenge.

* Fog Season by Patrice Sarath
After the shocking events of last summer, the high society of Port Saint Frey has plenty to gossip about. Who was the Gentleman Bandit? Why hasn't he been captured? And what really happened that night when the Guildmaster disappeared? When the Guild hires Abel Fresnel, a detective with special powers of his own, to find the answers, Tesara and Yvienne Mederos have to avoid his probing questions and keep mum about their role in the events of that dark night. Everything's more or less under control until a dead man turns up in the dumbwaiter...

Coming in March

* New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl



Short Stories:


* A Priest of Vast and Distant Places by Cassandra Khaw


* Nothing to Fear, Nothing to Fear by Senaa Ahmed


* Bourbon, Sugar, Grace by Jessica Reisman
marthawells: (SGA laughing)
2019-01-18 01:07 pm

Friday

There's a thread on Twitter from Gail Simone https://twitter.com/GailSimone/status/1086275965355941893 about awkward/weird convention moments.

I've had so many I honestly don't remember them well but one still stands out. It was at a convention in 2014 or 2015 (after the first few Raksura books had come out and after my Star Wars novel was out, but long before Murderbot. I think the second Emilie book, Emilie and the Sky World, was about to come out.) I got added to a panel at the last minute, because two of the other writers on it had had to leave. It was on writing fight scenes, and was in a fairly big room, with a full audience.

So I got there early and was one of the first to arrive, and I put my name tent on the table. One other panelist was already there, and he was someone I hadn't met before. He takes me aside and tells me about the other two writers who had to leave early and wouldn't be here (which I knew) and how they were very big deals, and that the audience was expecting a lot, and how they had this panel every year, and it was a big deal, and that the audience would ask questions, hard questions, etc, and how he had already asked another important writer to be here so I really wasn't needed.

He was basically kindly giving me the head's up that I wasn't cool/important enough to be on the panel and should leave before I embarrassed myself.

I didn't leave, it turned out to be a fun panel with fun panelists (with one exception) and I was the most experienced writer there, so.
marthawells: Atlantis in fog (Atlantis)
2019-01-16 08:51 am

Ten Year Meme

There was a post on Twitter about looking back on what you were doing ten years ago in 2009 and how things had changed. I posted:

10 years ago I was in the middle of my career crash, unable to sell anything, really depressed but still writing The Cloud Roads.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2019-01-15 07:39 am

Reprints of All Systems Red and Raksura Books

* On January 22, The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red will be re-released in hardcover to match the other three novellas.

* Night Shade Books is going to reissue the first three Books of the Raksura in mass market paperback. The Cloud Roads will be out this Fall, and The Serpent Sea and The Siren Depths will be out in 2020.
marthawells: (Manly Hug)
2019-01-14 08:31 am
Entry tags:

Monday Stuff and Hugo Noms

Nominations for the Hugo Awards are open now. If you're a member of the 2019 WorldCon (in Dublin, Ireland) or were a member of the 2018 WorldCon (San Jose, California, USA) you can nominate. If you haven't gotten your nomination link from the convention yet, you have to contact the committee directly. Due to EU regulations, they aren't able to send you email without your permission first.

https://dublin2019.com/hugo-awards-wsfs/the-hugo-awards/

If you're eligible to nominate, please do. Having a wide range of nominations helps keep the awards reflective of the wide range of great work that was published last year.

The SF/F news site File770 collects links and recommendations for various categories here: http://file770.com/2017-recommended-sff-page/

The only things I had out that were eligible were the three Murderbot Diaries novellas: Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy. They're eligible in the Best Novella category. (And If you decide you want to nominate one, Exit Strategy might be the best choice.)

The Murderbot Diaries are not eligible for the Best Series category. (It doesn't meet the word count requirement.)


More info: http://www.thehugoawards.org/


***

We had a friend come visit this weekend and mostly ate and watched movies. We saw Crazy Rich Asians and Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse, and I'd seen both before but they really reward repeat viewing, especially Spiderverse, which I think is a perfect little jewel of a movie. When you already know what's going to happen, you have a lot more time to really absorb all the cool detail and foreshadowing.

Saturday night we went to the historic downtown area which the city has been working on for years. When I first moved here to go to college, it was basically a few streets worth of collapsing buildings. Now it's mostly restored, with a lot of businesses, shops, restaurants, offices. The big restored hotel has opened a room in the basement and runs it like an old Speakeasy. It's only open on certain times on the weekend and so Saturday night we went to see if we could get in.

There's no sign, you have to ask at the front desk how to get down to the basement. Then there's still no sign so you wander around trying to figure out where the music is coming from until you find the door with the big square old-fashioned peephole that slides open (protected by an iron grill). We knocked, but not loud enough. We're standing there trying to figure out what to do and then a door opens behind us and a guy comes down the hall and says, "You have to knock louder" and bangs on the door. My husband recognized him as the mayor. (The real mayor, not a pretend roleplay speakeasy mayor.) So the door opens and it's very dark and all the staff are in 30s costumes and there's a bunch of people drinking and talking on couches. (I suspect it was too clean and friendly and relaxed to be much like a real speakeasy, but it did look like one.) And some cops (real ones) showed up briefly and left. When I went to the bar to get drinks, the bartenders were complaining that it was hard to roleplay a speakeasy with the mayor and cops wandering in and out.

Anyway, that was our weekend.
marthawells: (Reading)
2019-01-10 08:05 am
Entry tags:

New Book Thursday

(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)


* Short Story The Court Magician by Sarah Pinsker


* A Cathedral of Myth and Bone by Kat Howard
Captivating and engrossing, and adorned in gorgeous prose, Kat Howard’s stories are a fresh and stylish take on fantasy. “Kat Howard seems to possess a magic of her own, of making characters come alive and scenery so vivid, you forget it exists only on the page” (Anton Bogomazov, Politics and Prose).


* The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass—"the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind" (#1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir)—conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.


* The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: assertive Lu will be named her father's heir and become the dynasty's first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu's shadow. Until their father names their male cousin Set his heir instead, sending ripples through the realm and throwing both girls' lives into utter chaos.


* The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.


* Unravelling by Karen Lord
Dr. Miranda Ecouvo, forensic therapist of the City, just helped put a serial killer behind bars. But she soon discovers that her investigation into seven unusual murders is not yet complete. A near-death experience throws her out of time and into a realm of labyrinths and spirits. There, she encounters brothers Chance and the Trickster, who have an otherworldly interest in the seemingly mundane crimes from her files.


* The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
Sophie was a college student before being exiled from the city on suspicion of treason. Driven into January’s glacial night side to die, she is rescued by the planet’s native inhabitants. Long hated and hunted by humans as animals, these extraterrestrial beings known as the Gelet not only save Sophie, but form a telepathic bond with her in an attempt to build a bridge between their species.


* Serial Box Ninth Step Station by Malka Older, Fran Wilde, Jacqueline Koyanagi, and Curtis C. Chen
Years of disaster and conflict have left Tokyo split between great powers. In the city of drone-enforced borders, bodymod black markets, and desperate resistance movements, US peacekeeper Emma Higashi is assigned to partner with Tokyo Metropolitan Police Detective Miyako Koreda. Together, they must race to solve a series of murders that test their relationship and threaten to overturn the balance of global power. And amid the chaos, they each need to decide what they are willing to do for peace.


* Book List 105 Books SF/F Editors Can't Wait for you to Read in 2019
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2019-01-09 07:52 am

Wednesday Stuff

I broke 50,000 words on the Murderbot Diaries sequel novel yesterday, and that's probably a little over to about halfway done. It's been a hard row so that's a relief. The second half will either go very smoothly or be as much of a hard grind as the first half was, I can't tell.


I have three appearances coming up this year so far:


August 15-19, 2019. WorldCon Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.

October 4-5, 2019. Brown County Library ComicCon at Central Library in Green Bay, WI.

October 18-20, 2019. Capclave in Rockville, MD.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
2019-01-04 11:41 am

The Harbors of the Sun Review

I'm going to re-post some things here that got deleted with my tumblr:

Here's one of my favorite reviews of The Books of the Raksura


Review by Na'amen Gobert Tilahun of The Harbors of the Sun
http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/reviews/the-harbors-of-the-sun-by-martha-wells/

A quick and dirty description of the series as a whole that I’ve seen Wells herself use is “bisexual, polyamorous, matriarchal, shapeshifting flying lizard people.” This is absolutely correct. However it’s also more of the “who” than the “what” of the series. The what of the Raksura books is more complicated and subtle. If you had asked me what the series was about before reading The Edge of Worlds and The Harbors of the Sun, I would have answered that it was about a young man finding a home and his people after being on his own for too long. I would have said it was about rediscovering family and learning to trust again. Those answers are all still true, but now I realize that this series is also very much about a community constantly under attack, how they deal with trauma and continue fighting to survive and find a safe space.

Without giving away too much, Moon starts the series isolated and ignorant of his people because of an attack on his birthplace; and the results and reactions to this and other attacks that happen within the books affect every character deeply and in different ways. In between the exciting action scenes, characters are dealing with feelings of abandonment, PTSD, and the reverberations of sexual assault through whole families and communities. These heavy subjects are no less well depicted for the series’ being set in a secondary fantasy world. Wells handles them with subtlety and grace, so they slowly build almost within the background of the series, book by book. For example, there are a few characters in the series that are born as the result of sexual assault and while this is never ignored, it’s also not focused on too closely. However, in The Harbors of the Sun we, along with the characters, are forced to confront more directly what life would be like for those taken and forced to impregnate their captors and where they might find some consolation. (That sentence is a great call out to the book, so after you read it? Make sure to come back and marvel at my brilliance.) Wells never glosses over the pain and the after effects of terrible things; she treats these horrors with the respect they deserve unlike many other writers who linger over sexual assault and other violations to both eroticize the acts and use them to shock the reader.

Another great aspect of the series is the casual queerness of the characters. What I mean by a casual queerness is that the world itself is queer, so sexuality is a non-issue most of the time and since most of the characters are bisexual there is no single queer character for the whole of a complex identity to be pinned upon. As mentioned above, the Raksura are polyamorous, and though Moon’s main relationship is with the queen, Jade, he also has a strong and loving relationship with the male mentor-turned-warrior Chime. Chime is explicitly described as Moon’s favorite multiple times in the books. None of this is a main focus of the books but it is wonderful to see a world where queer sexuality is so accepted that it need not necessitate any conversation or explanation. Though it is thankfully becoming more common, it is still thrilling to see a world where queerness doesn’t exist as a way to isolate a character or to give them a tortured past. While many of Wells’s characters do have dark pasts, none of these are the result of their sexuality.

The series as a whole deserves all the accolades it has received and more, and The Harbors of the Sun acts as a lovely and fitting final book in the series. The adventure is thrilling and fast paced, moving you along at a steady pace that will make you rage at any real life interruptions. As always with Wells, the worldbuilding is top-notch and interesting, featuring unique species and fascinating flora and fauna that feel both fantastic and also oddly realistic. The interpersonal relationships between characters and the intrigue between both different species and political factions will keep you wondering until the very end. It’s always hard when a beloved series ends, but The Harbors of the Sun brings the Books of the Raksura to a satisfying end, one that leaves most characters in very different places emotionally than they were at their introduction. The world that Wells built still feels open and alive; so that this is more of a gentle tapering off than a firm end. Moon will certainly have many more adventures, even if we never get to see them.