Marion Deeds

Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

WWWednesday: May 5, 2021

Semicolon



Books and Writing:

The European Institute of Astrobiology is launching a Kickstarter to fund an anthology. Some good authors attached to this one.

Publishers Weekly is inaugurating a virtual book conference, the US Book Show, May 25-27. There is a cost to register. This is broad based and not genre specific. (H/T to File 770.)

Clarion West is taking a deep look at the Clarion model of workshopping, with an eye to change. The workshop model had its foundation in academ... Read More

Exiles of Tabat: Ancient magic and more threatens Tabat

Exiles of Tabat by Cat Rambo

Everything that made the Winter Gladiator Bella Kanto who she was has been stripped from her. She’s exiled from Tabat, the city she represented and loved, sent off to a distant outpost, guarded by a woman who hates her. Her only trustworthy companion is the dog who ran away from Duke Alberic at the quay and leaped aboard her ship at the last second. Bella doesn’t know who the dog is, but we do.

Bella not only faces the loss of all the trappings of her former exalted position. Hours of torture in the Duke’s dungeons have left her vulnerable, questioning everything she was. There’s a little more to those doubts that just the aftermath of torture; Bella’s recollection of what happened in the dungeons is distinctly different, in one respect, from what readers of Beasts of Tabat remember.
Read More

WWWednesday: April 28, 2021

Books and Writing:

Shadow and Bone Cover, image from Book Smugglers.



Here are seven author-owned bookstores. This article is about an early woman-owned bookstore in New York. The place must have been wonderfully bohemian.

The Last Dangerous Visions anthology will open Read More

The Ikessar Falcon: Come for the fight scenes, stay for the dragons

The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso

The thing I loved the most about The Ikessar Falcon is the dragons. This second book in K.S. Villoso's CHRONICLES OF THE BITCH QUEEN, published in 2020, has plenty of action, world-building, political intrigue and romantic conflicts, but in this book, we learn much more about the dragons, their connection to the magical substance agan, and their role in the nation of Jin-Sayeng.

This review may contain spoilers for the first book, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro. By the way, Orbit, the publisher, has put the words “Chronicles of the Bitch Queen” right on the spine of the hardcopy books, so that’s what I’m calling it. Amazon chooses to call this series the “The Chronicles... Read More

WWWednesday: April 21, 2021

Mars, image courtesy of NASA



Ingenuity:

 

On Monday, April 19, 2021, the Mars helicopter Ingenuity conducted a 39 second test flight, while Perseverance filmed it.



Here’s an article from NASA with detail about the helicopter.

Writers, Reading, Writing, Books:

Tor.com announced Comeuppance Served Cold an upcoming Jazz Era fantasy, written by me! It will be available in spring, 2022.

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WWWednesday: April 14, 2021

Gray dorcopsis, mage courtesy of Wikipedia



Books and Writing:

It looks like a good Hugo year. File 770 shares where to find works at no cost.

This very long article ranks portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, (after a lengthy description of the criteria and the screening out of various people.) Enjoy.

Speaking of Holmes (kinda) File 770 was one of the stops on the Adler blog tour. Read More

WWWednesday: April 7, 2021

Mars Art by Lisa Mozzini McDill



Writers, Writing, Reading, Books:

Some people don’t know how to daydream? Nancy Jane Moore shares an essay on this valuable gift.

Serial Box has a new name and an expanded mission; it’s now Realm, and it includes podcasts.

The Booknest Fantasy Award winners were announced last week.

Read More

WWWednesday: March 31, 2021

Spring image from Alamay.com



At least it's not April Fool's Day.

(Actually, I came closer than I thought, since I nearly grabbed the file for last week's column in error!)

Writers, Readers, Books:

Larry McMurtry and Beverly Cleary passed away last week. Both leave huge legacies.

Silvia Moreno Garcia and Lavie Tidhar Read More

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro: An indomitable queen fights for her throne

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

I judged this book by its cover and steered clear of it for more than a year, until by a strange, convoluted road I ended up reading it.

The cover of 2020’s The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, written by K.S. Villoso, is beautiful, featuring a gorgeous woman in profile, wearing body-hugging leather armor, with a sword over one shoulder and a decorative cut on one perfect cheekbone. This, combined with the blurb from a well-known fantasy writer and the back cover-copy which starts, “They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf…” made me think I was taking on a gory military (or quasi-military) fantasy where a deposed queen hacked and slashed her way through enemy armies for some reason. At the time (pandemic?) I just wasn’t up for that. (The series is called THE CHRONICLES OF THE BITCH QUEEN on Goodreads, although Amazon may show ... Read More

WWWednesday: March 23, 2021

Image courtesy of the NY Times.



Writers, Writing, Reading, Books:

Nineteenth century SF writers imagined global warming, and this article take a look at a few examples.

File770 provides a tally of the Hugo nominating votes and it’s a small number indeed. This is worrisome because in 2015, this allowed a special interest group to control the nominations. On the other hand, we’ve had other things on our minds this year that nominating for awards. We’ll have to see wh... Read More

Weaver’s Folly: Great secondary characters enrich a great spring-break read

Weaver’s Folly by Sarah Madsen

Warm weather’s coming, and pandemic restrictions are easing as vaccines become readily available, at least in the USA. It’s almost the time of year for a beach book, a park book, a camping book or even just a sitting-on-the-front-porch-sipping-iced-tea book, and Sarah Madsen’s Weaver’s Folly (2021) is an excellent candidate.

Madsen and I share a publisher, Falstaff Books. I bought my copy of Weaver’s Folly on Amazon and I’m getting no special consideration for this review. Weaver’s Folly is the first book of the SHADOWSPINNER Series.

Weaver’s Folly features elves in a futuristic Atlanta. Alyssa is a “runner” or a thief, whose (charming!) cover job is selling “antiques” — MP3 players, cell phones and tablets, for instance. ... Read More

WWWednesday: March 17, 2021

Shamrocks, courtesy of Depositphoto.com



Saturday, March 13, Writer’s Almanac provided a link to the Arizona Lights page on Wikipedia, in honor of the anniversary of the strange lights in the sky in 1997. I thought I’d share.

Writers, Writing, Reading, Books:

The Odyssey Writers Workshop is open for applications, although they haven’t decided how it will be held yet.

In June Marvel Comics will unveil Pride covers. These look great.... Read More

Transgressions of Power: The stakes are higher than ever

Transgressions of Power by Juliette Wade

With the second book of THE BROKEN TRUST series, Juliette Wade widens her world for the readers, and manages to place her characters in even greater danger than they were at the end of Mazes of Power, the first one. This review of Transgressions of Power (2021) may contain mild spoilers for book one. In any event, you must read Mazes of Power first if you really want to understand what’s happening here.

Transgressions of Power starts about thirteen years after the end of book one. Adon is the last child of First Family heads Garr and Tamalera (although Garr died shortly before Adon was born.) Adon, at thirtee... Read More

WWWednesday: March 10, 2021

Yes, We Have Some Bananas. Image courtesy of Atlas Obscura



Awards:

Nghi Vho’s The Empress and Salt and Forture won the IAFA’s Crawford Award.

C.J. Cherryh won the 2021 Heinlein Award.

Writers, Writing, Reading, Books:

Crime Reads looks at the fine art of dopplegangers and imposters.

In consultation with the publisher, the estate of Dr Seuss dec... Read More

Soulstar: The culmination is chilling and triumphant

Soulstar by C.L. Polk 

“The knock came an hour after we had put up the stormboards and battened down to wait it out.”

With her opening sentence, C.L. Polk starts the action of Soulstar (2021), book three in her KINGSTON CYCLE. And the action rolls on through the first chapter at a breathless pace, with changes that push Robin Thorpe of the Clan of the Peaceful Waters into the spotlight, as she becomes a leader for societal change, and the target of both character assassination and actual attempts on her life.

This review may contain spoilers for Witchmark and Stormsong. I strongly urge... Read More

Trouble the Saints: A deeply, darkly magical Americana novel

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Trouble the Saints (2020), by Alaya Dawn Johnson, follows three people of color — Phyllis (whose friends call her Pea), Tamara and Dev — from the late 1930s into the American involvement in World War II. Not one of them is “ordinary”; Pea and Dev have “saint’s hands” that bestow a gift … or a curse. Tamara has inherited a deck of playing cards, and she’s an oracle. When the story opens, all three are trying to make a living working for the white gangster Victor in New York City.

Phyllis is light-skinned enough to pass for white, which she does, and the hands have given her the power to throw anything with amazing accuracy. She can balance things on her knuckles and the tips of her fingers; whatever she throws a knife at, she hits. The gangsters call her “Victor’s Angel,” meaning Angel of Death, and she is his assassin.
... Read More

The People’s Republic of Everything: An experimental collection

Reposting to include Skye's new review.

The People’s Republic of Everything by Nick Mamatas

I don’t know if I simply wasn’t in the right mood for Nick Mamatas’ short-story collection The People’s Republic of Everything (2018), or if I’m not the right audience for his preferred themes and overall style, but this book and I just could not mesh.

There was one story, “Tom Silex, Spirit-Smasher,” which gripped my attention and had everything I look for in short fiction. The story focuses on Rosa Martinez, whose elderly grandmother might — through quirks of legality regarding her first marriage and the question of ownership of her first husband’s pulp publications — own the rights to a series of stories revolving around psychopomp Tom Silex. The character work is strong, the ... Read More

WWWednesday: February 24, 2021

Thylacine image courtesy of Discovery Magazine



Writers, Writing, Reading, Books:

Marvel’s elite artist team created the Fine Arts covers for the final issues of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s run of Black Panther. Click through to see the mouth-watering covers themselves.

Wired provides a collection of interesting quotes from David Gerrold about worldbuilding and life on other planets.
Tonight, SymphonySpace is offering a live online event discussing the works of Oc... Read More

The Planetbreaker’s Son: Excellent introduction to this multi-faceted writer

The Planetbreaker’s Son by Nick Mamatas

PM Press’s Outspoken Authors imprint published The Planetbreaker’s Son (2021) by Nick Mamatas. The slim book includes the titular novella, the SF story “Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring,” a personal essay called “The Term Paper Artist,” and an interview with Mamatas hosted by Terry Bisson.

Honestly, the quirky interview with these two guys was worth the price of the book for me.

In a brief statement at the beginning of “Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring,” Mamatas thanks Jeffrey Thomas for an invitation to write in Thomas’s shared-world “Punktown” setting. (The story was originally published in 2018, in the anthology Transmissions from Punktown.) Punktown is a science-fictional megalopolis, filled ... Read More

WWWednesday: February 17, 2021

James Herman Banning



James Herman Banning was a Black American aviator, part of the Bessie Coleman Aero Club in Los Angeles, and the first black pilot to fly across the continental United States. 

Contests:

Waukegan Public Library’s Ray Bradbury Writing Contest announced its winner: Orton Ortwein. Waukegan is Bradbury’s birthplace.

Writers, Writing, Reading, Books:

Scott Edelman offers hors-d’oeuvres with Mary Robinette Kowal in this episode ... Read More

Beasts of Tabat: Vivid worldbuilding delivers a world in political upheaval

Beasts of Tabat by Cat Rambo

Because I got an ARC of Hearts of Tabat, the second book in Cat Rambo’s TABAT QUARTET, in 2018, I read it before the first book. I thought that would have a negative impact on my reaction to Book One, Beasts of Tabat, but as I was reading, my brain reset itself, and when I got to the end I was almost as shocked as if I hadn’t had some inkling what was coming. That’s some good storytelling!

In Beasts of Tabat, we meet Teo, a village boy. His family are shapeshifters, hunted down and killed by the ruling class of Tabat. When his family plans to send him to the Temples of the Moon, Teo flees from the docks of the capital city, Tabat, where politica... Read More

WWWednesday: February 10, 2021

Matiline Berryman had degrees in mathematics, law and maritime affairs with a concentration in oceanography and sonar engineering. She taught courses on oceanic dynamics and underwater sound at the New Naval Oceanographic Office. Later, she taught at the University of District of Columbia and later served as Chair of the university’s Department of Environmental Services. 

Writers, Writing, Reading, Books:

Is this article on POV helpful?

I like this take on world-building, but of course I would because it’s how I introdu... Read More

WWWednesday: February 3, 2021

Alice Ball developed the first effective treatment for Hansen's Disease.



Awards:

The Infected by Art winners are announced. Some very nice stuff here! (Thanks to File770.)


Writers, Reading, Writing, Books:


Read Bill Capposere’s personal essay on the judgments we make, and the things we don’t know.

Paul Weimer, known as Prince Jvstin on Twitter, had his account deleted last week, ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Favorite speculative fiction soundtracks

Television and streaming services have given us a wealth of speculative fiction content the past several years.

HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and even Syfy have delivered interesting, thoughtful programming with high production values, including outstanding soundtracks.

Which show has your favorite sound track? Why? Tell us in the comments.

One commenter with a USA mailing address will win a book from our Stacks or a $5 Amazon gift card. Read More

WWWednesday: January 27, 2021

Amanda Gorman wowed a lot of us last Wednesday. PBS interviewed her earlier, and this video addressed her preparation for the inauguration.

Obituaries:

Mila Furlan, who starred on Babylon Five, passed away after a long illness. Her character Delenn’s comment, that “we are made of star-stuff,” seemed like a fitting observation for this hardworking actor.

The New York Times published a tribute to a pioneering Black speculative fiction writer, Read More

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