Marion Deeds

MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

WWWednesday: April 1, 2020

Videos:

Kid-focused: Easy crafts for young kids. I liked the cotton swabs and the fork! Despite the name, it’s about 10 minutes long.



Kid-Friendly: The Cincinnati Zoo has a series of videos from 2017/21018 featuring Fiona the baby hippo. This is the first one. It’s 8.14 minutes long. It does show a hippo giving birth



Kid-Friendly: Here’s a 14-minute travel video on Iceland.



No foul language, but more fun for adults. From a fundraised for the late Jay Lake, Mary Robinette Kowal reads passages from classic works like phone sex.



Smithsonian Magazine offers you virtua... Read More

Beneath the Rising: A horror adventure about friendship and betrayal

Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed
If you’ve had the good fortune to read any of Premee Mohamed’s short fiction, you know it is strange, beautiful and often horrifying. In Beneath the Rising (2020), her first full-length novel, all these things are true. This adventure novel with tentacular monsters and evil Ancient Ones will sweep you along and get deeply under your skin.

Joanna Chambers, who goes by Johnny, is more than a genius and more than a prodigy. She might be a miracle. In a world much like ours but very changed by Johnny’s inventions and discoveries, her best friend Nick, a regular guy, tries to be a lifeline for his rich, brilliant celebrity friend. Although she hasn’t turned eighteen yet, Johnny has found a vaccine for HIV, created improved solar panels that are in use around the world, developed clean water systems and food sources for hundreds of millions. When sh... Read More

WWWednesday: March 25, 2020

This week, a few videos for you, including two that your sequestered kids might enjoy:

Kid-friendly! John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton perform a staged reading of a section from Redshirts, at Burbank Library, in 2012. It’s about 11 minutes long. At 5.30 minutes, Scalzi loses it.



Kid-friendly! From the Georgia Aquarium, a 6 minute video about a handler and an orphaned otter.



From January, 2019, here is Rebecca Roanhorse being interviewed at the San Francisco Public Library. It’s about 33 minutes long. Your teens might get a lot from this.



NSFW language, and a long commercial in the first minute (and at the end). Jenna Moreci lists 10 Science Fiction tropes that she is tired of. And I think she is unfair to Captain Kirk, but otherwise, the 11-minute video is fun.



Books and Writing: Read More

Coyote Songs: Literary horror that rewarded me beyond my expectations

Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias

I’m giving 2018’s Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias five stars, and I’m going to recommend it highly here. Then I’m going to post warnings, because this is one of those “this book is not for everybody” things.

On Twitter, Iglesias describes his writing as “barrio noir,” and also “a mix of horror and noir.” Coyote Songs follows several characters on either side of the Mexico/USA border as a mysterious rage-filled entity comes into their lives. The short book (not quite 200 pages) is lyrical, hyper-violent at times, blood-drenched, fantastical, satirical, and contains a hefty slice of body horror in the storyline with Mother (a pregnant woman) and Boy. Descriptions are as vivid as a neon sign in a desert night, and often as disturbing as the buzzing of a colony of flies on a dead animal. It starts bloody and dark an... Read More

Stormsong: A gripping, thought-provoking sequel

Stormsong by C.L. Polk

2020’s Stormsong, in THE KINGSTON CYCLE is the long-awaited sequel to C.L. Polk’s wonderful Witchmark. This review may contain spoilers for Witchmark.

Witchmark followed Miles, a doctor and former prisoner of war, and a member of his world’s faerie race, the Amaranthine, as they solved a murder, uncovered a plot to assassinate Aeland’s queen, and revealed the murderous corruption that lay at the root of Aeland’s magical progress. Along the way, we met Miles’s bright, ambitious and privileged sister Grace.

In Stormsong, Grace is the main character. The second book is more of a political t... Read More

WWWednesday: March 18, 2020

The Meal of Lord Candlestick by Leona Carrington



I hope you are all safe, healthy, and, if you live in the USA, you have toilet paper.

This is the CDC’s COVID-19 site. Much of the information is general, but it’s all in one place.

Books and Writing:

The Minecraft virtual “loophole” library holds works by banned and murdered journalists. An inspiring story.

LitHub shares indie booksellers’ recommendations.

Publish... Read More

The Secret Chapter: The one with a heist in it

The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman

The Secret Chapter (2019) is the sixth book in Genevieve Cogman’s THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY series. Librarian Irene and her former apprentice Kai, who is a dragon prince, hop between realities, trying to maintain a balance between order (personified by the dragons) and chaos (exemplified by the Fae). “Maintaining a balance” often involves the judicious theft of books from different realities. In this outing, Irene must barter for a book in order to save a world she spent her childhood in, and the barter takes the form of participating in an art theft. While the plot uses a “heist” structure, large parts of The Secret Chapter involve mocking and giving a critique of the James Bond films.

Readers who really enjoy Read More

WWWednesday: March 11, 2020

Unnamed, by Jessie Arm Botke



Awards:

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) awarded its Specialty Press Award to Short, Scary Tales Publications. 

Books:

BBC Culture asked well-regarded writers to give their recommendations for overlooked novels. Here are the results. I was surprised at how many I had read. (Thanks to File 770.)

Nerds of a Feather discusses six books with K.B. Wagers.

Read More

WWWednesday: March 4, 2020

Not genre at all, but interesting: The Washington Post explores the need for, and implications of, the “momcation.”

Awards:

File 770 is gathering information to help people vote on the Hugos. This column discusses those eligible for Best Editor, Long Form.

World:

The Centers for Disease Control have issued guidelines for Read More

FanLit talks to Juliette Wade and gives away a copy of Mazes of Power

Juliette Wade is a native Californian who has traveled extensively and lived in Japan on three occasions. She has advanced degrees in anthropology and linguistics and knows several languages. Her short fiction has appeared in Analog and Clarkesworld. “The Persistence of Blood,” a novella set in the world of Mazes of Power, following characters that appear in the novel, was published in Clarkesworld in March, 2018.

Juliette is working hard on the second book in THE BROKEN TRUST series but she took some time to answer some questions for us. Her publisher will give one copy of Mazes of Power to a commenter we choose at random. USA mailing addresses only.


Marion Deeds: Juliette, thanks for taking the time to do this. I ... Read More

Keeper of the Winds: Not for me, but perhaps for some teen readers

Keeper of the Winds by Jenna Solitaire & Russell Davis

The cover of my ARC of Keeper of the Winds (2020) shows it co-authored by Jenna Solitaire and Russell Davis. This edition is a reimagining and slight updating of a book originally published in 2006. Its author was Jenna Solitaire. Davis come up with the conceit of an imaginary author, narrating her own adventures as she discovers that she is the Guardian of a strange set of magical spirit boards, at least four of which control the elements. Now, fourteen years later, with a new publisher, Davis is revisiting the DAUGHTER OF DESTINY series and substantially rewriting them, although he says in his afterword that this one faces the fewest plot changes of the original quartet.

The series is marketed to YA, with a 19-year-old protagonist, as she discovers her supernatural abilities and interacts with t... Read More

WWWednesday: February 26, 2019

Awards:

The Nebula finalists have been announced. Some interesting works on this list.

Katherine Johnson, shown here as President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.



Obituary:

Katherine Johnson, African American mathematician who worked for NASA and helped put people on the moon, died this week. She lived to be 101 years old, and an inspiration to many people. 

Books and Writing:

Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Scientific breakthroughs

Companies like Apple, Samsung and Tesla put out new versions of their high-tech toys every six months practically. Watches get more elaborate; computers get smaller and thinner, TVs larger, flatter and higher in resolution. Electronic technology isn’t the only area that is booming with discoveries though. From exo-planets and the possibility of life on planets in our home star system, to the secrets of the human genome, science is also having a boom. Doors to mysteries are being stormed, and in many cases, unlocked.

We know more about our fellow animals than we ever did before; from the brilliant octopus to the micro-animals who live on the thermal vents at the ocean floor. Seismology, botany, disease research and cellular biology are changing what we thought we knew, and how we think, about just about everything. And I didn’t forget the continued forays into the concept of machine intelligence or AI.

Which scientific breakthrough or theory intrigues y... Read More

WWWednesday: February 19, 2020

Bass Reeves, the first African American Deputy U.S. Marshall west of the Mississippi.



Conventions:

Walnut Creek, CA’s FOGCon conference will be held March 6-8 at the Walnut Creek Marriott. Mary Ann Mohanraj and Nisi Shawl are the Guests of Honor. I have heard both these writers before (at this conference and at ReaderCon) and both of them are wise, thought-provoking and lively. Other participants include Juliette Wade, Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms.

... Read More

Mazes of Power: A fascinating start to an intriguing series

Mazes of Power by Juliette Wade

Juliette Wade’s 2020 debut novel, Mazes of Power, is the first book of THE BROKEN TRUST series. Wade has created a rigidly stratified society in a subterranean world as a way to answer big sociological and biological What-If questions. The book explores genetics, distribution of resources, social mobility and what happens when people prioritize the consolidation of political power above their own self-interest or even their own survival.

And the book is a novel of manners, a story of young love, and a tense political thriller in a world where assassination is simply one more tool in the toolbox, frowned upon but still utilized.

Mazes of Power follows three characters: two brothers of the First Family, Tagaret and Nekantor, who belong to the ruling Grobal caste; and Aloran, of the Imbati ca... Read More

WWWednesday: February 12, 2020

Bessie Coleman, African American pilot who got her license in 1921. She was flying before Amelia Earhart was.



Science:

A scientist at Stanford has turned jellyfish bionic, with plans to turn them into living information-gathering devices. 

Awards:

File 770 shares the British Science Fiction Association shortlist.

Books and Writing:

In the New York Times, Brit Marling talks about Read More

WWWednesday: February 5, 2020

The Gwen Ifill Forever Stamp is unveiled.



Inspiration:

Gwen Ifill is now on a first-class postage stamp. Since she was first-class, this is inspiring. PBS New Hours has video of the event.

Giveaway:

One commenter will get a paperback copy of Mark Lawrence’s novella One Word Kill.

Books and Writing:

At Polygon, Read More

Battle Mage: An engrossing epic fantasy with dragons

Battle Mage by Peter A. Flannery

2017’s Battle Mage, by Peter A. Flannery, is an epic fantasy adventure, a coming-of-age story set against a backdrop of war and some political treachery. It’s filled with magic and dragons. I reeled that off like I didn’t have to think about it at all, but in fact that capsule description emerged after a Twitter conversation with Flannery himself.

Battle Mage was in my AtomaCon swag bag. The title and the cover looked like military fantasy to me, which is not one of my favorite subgenres. I would have read it anyway, because 1) I do try to read outside of my self-imposed borders and 2) dragons! While troop movements and battle scenes play a large part in this long story, the book is not genuinely military fantasy, and military purists will no doubt roll their eyes the fourth of fifth time our handful of young heroes treat or... Read More

WWWednesday: January 29, 2020

White lion dancer costume for Lunar New Year.



Books and writing:

Imaginary Papers launched its first issue here.

Publishers Weekly gives a capsule review of N.K. Jemisin’s latest, The City We Became.

Cat Rambo hosted Jasmine’s Arch’s post on creating an online haven for writers.

Read More

The Secret Commonwealth: It’s complicated

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (Ray  Jana)

With the release of La Belle Sauvage, readers were finally able to return to the universe of Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy after a seventeen year wait. The story was a prequel to the original trilogy (though Pullman described the new series not as a sequel, but an 'equel.') Being only a baby, it was not Lyra who took centre stage in that novel, but a young boy called Malcolm Polstead, who used his boat La Belle Sauvage to rescue Lyra from a terrible flood and an even more terrible man in pursuit.

Now in the latest addition to the series, The Secret Commonwealth Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Favorite SFF Adaptations

Speculative fiction is a gold mine for content providers and streaming services. In the past ten years we’ve seen an explosion of adaptations of written-word works to the small screen in particular, and most particularly in the form of series.

The series almost never follows the book(s) exactly (movies don’t either) but the best of them capture the sensibility of the written story, and the characters.

Game of Thrones is probably the Monster King of this subgenre, but series like The Expanse and Outlander have done pretty well too.

Which is your favorite adaptation? Which adaptation are you most a... Read More

WWWednesday: January 22, 2020

Cons: 

Arisia 2020 went forward and File 770 provides some fun photos here. 

Books and Writing:

Via File 770, the Heinlein Scholarships program is open until April 1, 2020.

LitHub shares genuine pulp covers of classic literary works—at least they say they are genuine and, like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. I nearly fell over when I saw the Wuthering Heights cover, and then I got to Heart of Darkness.

Missouri has introduced legislation to create small groups of parents to Read More

The Starless Sea: Visually spectacular

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Given the success of her debut, it would be impossible to write about Erin Morgenstern's eagerly awaited follow-up without alluding to The Night Circus (2011). The bestseller accrued a mass following of 'Rêveurs' – the self-styled fanbase, named after the followers of the circus in the book. It inspired a formidable amount of tattoos and artwork on Pinterest, as well as being translated into thirty-seven languages, no less. It was always going to be a hard act to follow, but can Morgenstern live up to her own success?

The Starless Sea (2019) follows the tale of Zachary Ezra Rawlins, the son of... Read More

WWWednesday: January 15, 2020

Passing:

Mike Resnick passed away at the age of 77. His best-known book was probably Kirinyaga, but Wikipedia lists 69 books for him, including tie-ins and some mysteries. He won the Hugo and the Nebula in 1995 for his story “Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge” and a Hugo in 1991 for his novelette “The Monamouki.” Recently he edited Galaxy’s Edge. On Twitter, Tobias Buckell acknowledged Resnick as one of his Clarion teachers, a mentor and an inspiration.

File770 has an obituary.

Neil Peart, extraordinary drummer and the lyricist for Rush, passed away. John Scalzi added a Rush video to his blog in memoriam. Read More

An Unkindness of Magicians: Dark and brisk with lots of good visuals

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

Wizard tournaments and wizard duels are standard fare in fantasy now, and Kat Howard puts the concept to good use in her fast-paced An Unkindness of Magicians. Published in 2017, the story follows a group of families based in Manhattan, who call themselves the Unseen World. They use magic to enrich themselves, gain power and ensure their comforts. Periodically, they engage in a magical struggle for control called the Turning, in which each family or House appoints a champion who duels other champions, often to the death. The House whose champion wins the tournament becomes the Head of the Unseen World until the next Turning, which is usually twenty years. When the book opens, the Turning has been announced seven years early, and two wild card champions are set to disrupt things in a big way.... Read More

Array ( [SERVER_SOFTWARE] => Apache/2.4.25 (Debian) [REQUEST_URI] => /author/marion-deeds/ [REDIRECT_STATUS] => 200 [HTTP_HOST] => www.fantasyliterature.com [HTTP_CONNECTION] => Keep-Alive [HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING] => gzip [HTTP_CF_IPCOUNTRY] => US [HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR] => 3.234.244.18 [HTTP_CF_RAY] => 57f5d3fcd8b85781-IAD [HTTP_X_FORWARDED_PROTO] => http [HTTP_CF_VISITOR] => {\"scheme\":\"http\"} [HTTP_USER_AGENT] => CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/) [HTTP_ACCEPT] => text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 [HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE] => en-US,en;q=0.5 [HTTP_IF_MODIFIED_SINCE] => Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:47:45 UTC [HTTP_CF_CONNECTING_IP] => 3.234.244.18 [HTTP_CDN_LOOP] => cloudflare [PATH] => /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin [SERVER_SIGNATURE] =>
Apache/2.4.25 (Debian) Server at www.fantasyliterature.com Port 80
[SERVER_NAME] => www.fantasyliterature.com [SERVER_ADDR] => 104.192.226.235 [SERVER_PORT] => 80 [REMOTE_ADDR] => 172.69.63.156 [DOCUMENT_ROOT] => /var/www/fanlit [REQUEST_SCHEME] => http [CONTEXT_PREFIX] => [CONTEXT_DOCUMENT_ROOT] => /var/www/fanlit [SERVER_ADMIN] => [email protected] [SCRIPT_FILENAME] => /var/www/fanlit/index.php [REMOTE_PORT] => 21310 [REDIRECT_URL] => /author/marion-deeds/ [GATEWAY_INTERFACE] => CGI/1.1 [SERVER_PROTOCOL] => HTTP/1.1 [REQUEST_METHOD] => GET [QUERY_STRING] => [SCRIPT_NAME] => /index.php [PHP_SELF] => /index.php [REQUEST_TIME_FLOAT] => 1586116541.985 [REQUEST_TIME] => 1586116541 )