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: July 28, 2021

Next week’s column will probably be single-topic, because I will be leaving for the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference earlier in the week.

The Ladies of Horror Fiction announced their annual award winners.

Mari Ness had a fun story in Daily SF this week.

The British Fantasy Awards short list is out, and included Alix Harrow, Read More

The Midnight Bargain: A charming frolic of a book

Reposting to include Tadiana's new review.

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk 

By the bottom of the second full page of text, when the protagonist of The Midnight Bargain (2020) walked into Harriman’s Bookshop, I was hooked. When Beatrice Clayborn entered the second-hand shop and I saw it through her eyes, the book claimed me, not unlike the way a spirit might claim a sorceress in Beatrice’s magical world.

It’s bargaining season, or marriage season in Beatrice’s world, and young women of the upper classes, like Beatrice, jostle and compete for the hand of a suitable husband. Suitability is decided by their fathers, of course, and usually determined based on wealth, status and influence.

Beatrice loathes the bargaining season. She wants to study magic and become a full-blown Mage, a path closed to women, especially upper-class wome... Read More

WWWednesday: July 21, 2021

Charlotte Nicole Davis writes about getting her first Harry Potter tattoo at 21—and getting it removed. A moving essay about the things that get us through childhood, and the things we leave behind.

On Kalimac’s Corner, DB thinks about what they loved about Tolkien, and what other writers they found it in. (Thanks to File 770.)

There’s a new Shirley Jackson biography coming out.

Coincidence, or curse? You decide. Just like the original CW show, Read More

A Broken Darkness: Nick’s in more trouble than ever

A Broken Darkness by Premee Mohamed

At the end of Beneath the Rising, the first book in Premee Mohamed’s cosmic horror trilogy of the same name, I thought narrator Nick Prasad couldn’t be worse off. Yes, he and his prodigy friend Joanna “Johnny” Chambers had closed an interdimensional rift and stopped the Ancient Ones from invading earth, but at the end Nick is left heartbroken, betrayed and disillusioned by what he has learned about Johnny. Like I said, I didn’t think it could get worse for him.

I was so wrong.

This review contains mild spoilers for Beneath the Rising.

Johnny and Nick did manage to close the rift, but it was open for nearly two minutes. In that time period,... Read More

WWWednesday: July 14, 2021

Thanks to Terry Weyna for this link to the Aurealis Award winners.

Congratulation to Natania Barron and other winners of the Manley Wade Wellman Award.

The Ladies of Horror site have unveiled their finalists for 2020. Premee Mohamed, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Read More

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures (2020), by Merlin Sheldrake, is an always informative and often fascinating look at the (mostly) hidden world of fungi. There’s a lot more to them than those shitakes you’re adding to your stir-fry and Sheldrake makes for an enthusiastic tour guide to all that lies beyond the edible mushroom (though he touches on those too).

Sheldrake begins with truffles (he goes on a truffle hunt with a couple of dogs and their trainer) and uses this early part to introduce us to the basics of fungal life and their development on Earth. Like the entirety of the book, this section is filled with choice details (a 2 to 8000-yr-old fungus in Oregon taking up ten square k... Read More

WWWednesday: July 7, 2021

One commenter chosen at random will get the paperback ARC of Nancy Jane Moore’s For the Good of the Realm.

Did I mention I’ll be on The Story Hour tonight? Oh, I did? Well, let me mention it again. It’s tonight, July 7, at 7 pm Pacific Daylight Time… or you’ll be able to find the recording through the site.

Dream Foundry is offering a speculative fiction contest.

Here’s an update on Hugh Ho... Read More

WWWednesday: June 30, 2021

Kelp farming. Image by Matt Cosby.



A “shivoo” (noun) is a raucous party.

Locus Awards were announced Saturday, June 26. Winners include:

Martha Wells, for Best SF Novel, Network Effect

N.K. Jemisin, for Best Fantasy Novel, The City We Became

Silvia Moreno Garcia, Best Horror Novel, Mexican Gothic

Read More

For the Good of the Realm: Genderswapped swordplay for Three Musketeers fans

For the Good of the Realm by Nancy Jane Moore

2021’s For the Good of the Realm is a gender-swapped swashbuckler heavily inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. Author Nancy Jane Moore creates a world of nation-states much like France and its neighbors of the Musketeers. Against this backdrop, Anna D’Gart, a swordswoman in the Queen’s Guards, serves the queen and the realm against enemies foreign and domestic — although one domestic adversary is powerful, and Anna finds herself swimming in very deep waters.

In the opening chapter, Anna and her friend Asamir are given a secret assignment to recover a necklace the Queen gave to an admirer, because the King wants her to wear it at an upcoming ball. Fans of The Three Musketeers will recognize this plot. In this adventure, we the readers learn that the King and Queen shar... Read More

The Golem and the Jinni: A magical mural of the immigrant experience

Reposting to include Jana's new review.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

A Genie. A golem. Nineteenth-century New York City. Boy, did I want to love this book. Drawn by its come-hither characters, its promise of poetry, and by its dark side in the form of a truly nasty character, I really, really wanted to love it. And truth is, I liked The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker. But in the well-trod words of middle school, I didn’t “like like” it. Oh, it was fun, it made me smile sometimes and think sometimes and feel a bit sad at other times. I enjoyed hanging out with it for the length of its near-500 pages. But, despite that fire-genie at its heart, there just wasn’t that spark. I just wanted to be friends.

We meet our two fantastical characters early on via two different storylines. The Golem, Chava, travels to 1899 New York on a steamer and finds herself ashore in... Read More

WWWednesday: June 23, 2021

SMOFCon, a convention for people who want to run a convention, is offering three scholarships. The con will be held in December in Lisbon, Portugal.

File 770 addresses the Twitter announcement that the Hugo Administrative Committee for DisCon II (WorldCon) has resigned en masse. The issue may be about space limitations imposed by the Con Committee.  Within the File 770 article is a link to one of the Pixel Scrolls that addresses that concern.

Dean Wesley Smith thinks that writers make things hard for themselves when they start thinking about making money too early in the writing proces... Read More

WWWednesday: June 16, 2021

Jurassic Park. Image from The Mary Sue



In Denmark, helmets have always been a good idea.

Many people I know deeply love the original Jurassic Park film. So does The Mary Sue, which celebrates the film’s birthday, calling it the perfect movie.

At Tor.com, L.T. Lukens reminds us of five books that sail the oceans to reap adventure.

Also from Tor.com, Read More

The Ghost Tree: A well-rendered 1980s slasher that could have gone farther

The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

After I read Christina Henry’s 2020 horror novel The Ghost Tree, I did a bit of research on the writer. It seems like she is well-known for retelling fairy tales, usually with a dark (or darker) twist than the original. The Ghost Tree is not a fairy tale, as far as I can tell, although it has some fairy-tale elements. It’s a 1980s-style slasher horror novel. By the way, that’s what I thought I was getting when I bought it, so there is no mislabeling going on here.

Lauren DeMucci, nearly fifteen, has weighty problems on her shoulders. The year before, her father was murdered in the woods near their house, his heart torn out. The town police haven’t made any progress on solving the murder. Lauren’s best friend since the second grade, Mi... Read More

WWWednesday: June 9, 2021

Happy pride



I have been out of town most of this week, so the column is short today.

The Nebula Awards were announced on Friday. Here is the list of winners. Network Effect by Martha Wells took Best Novel and Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark took Best Novella.

Chris Salisbury muses on the power of night, and what we’ve lost ... Read More

The Chosen and the Beautiful: A five-star book I will read again

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

What if Jay Gatsby literally sold his soul to a demon, in order to woo and win the love of Daisy Buchanan? With that one question, Nghi Vo ushers us into a strange, familiar, wonderful and terrifying world with her first full-length novel, The Chosen and the Beautiful (2021).

In a 1920s USA where magic is common and ghosts walk side by side with people, Vo introduces us to Jordan Baker, bosom friend of Daisy Fay Buchanan. Through Jordan’s eyes we see the story of Gatsby, a man doomed to destruction by his love for Daisy, from a different angle. Unlike the expository Jordan Baker character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, this Jordan, while she was raised wealthy and inherited money, is an outsider and always will be. She was adopted by the Bakers, from the country of T... Read More

WWWednesday: June 2, 2021

 

Carol Williams, town Crier. Image from Atlas Obscura



Ta-Nehisi Coates says farewell to Black Panther.

Another trove of previously-undiscovered writings of the Bronte siblings will go to auction in July. Now’s your chance.

LitHub has book recommendations based on your Zodiac sun sign... Read More

WWWednesday: May 26, 2021

Sea Turtle, Image from World Wildlife Federation



Sunday May 23 is National Turtle Day every year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) has put together a round-up of facts about this aquatic reptiles.

Oh, yes, the deep hole of research. For LitHub, Rafe Posey writes about the things we look up and where they lead us.

 

John Steinbeck was not above using the “ Read More

The Album of Dr. Moreau: I stayed up too late to finish it

The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory

It’s 2001, and Luce Delgado, homicide detective for the Las Vegas PD, has come to a casino on the strip to deal with a celebrity murder. Dead, “Dr. M,” manager of the hottest boy-band act on the planet, the WyldBoyZ. Suspects? There are plenty, but her top five are the brilliantly harmonizing human/other-mammalian hybrid band members, the Boyz themselves. The challenge? A locked room on the fifty-sixth floor of the casino hotel.

Almost equally important to Luce is her attempt to keep from breaking the heart of the WyldBoyZ’s number one fan — Luce’s nine-year-old daughter Melanie.

Published in 2021, Daryl Gregory’s latest novella, The Album of Dr. Moreau, is a locked room mystery that pokes fun at mysteries, at fans, at boy bands and at Read More

WWWednesday: May 19, 2021

Charlie Jane Anders



The Speculative Literature Foundation is launching a Convention Support Grant, to help conventions get back on their feet as pandemic measures ease. (Thanks to File 770.)

Hugh Howey is initiating a self-publishing contest similar in structure to Mark Lawrence’s Self-Publishing Blog-Off. Ten book bloggers will review up to 300 self-published SF novels. At the end of a year, a winner will be chosen from among the finalists.

Alexandra Petri knocks it out of the park for her Read More

WWWednesday: May 12, 2021

Coyotl Award, File770



Nerds of a Feather gives us a review of Water Horse by Melissa Scott.

From last month, here is Tordotcom’s 2021 publishing sampler.

Also from last month, Orbit provides a cover reveal of the latest by Tade Thompson.

Baen’s home page shows some new releases too.

From The Little Book of Fem... Read More

Victories Greater Than Death: Share it with your teen, then enjoy it yourself

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

2021’s Victories Greater That Death is the first book in Charlie Jane Anders’s new Young Adult space opera series, UNSTOPPABLE. The book is filled with smart, heroic young people, extraterrestrials, space adventures, horrifying villains, bad food and plenty of relationships, as six Terran humans get pulled up onto The Royal Fleet warship Indomitable. The Royal Fleet is smack-dab in the middle of a war with a faction that calls itself Compassion. If you’ve read Anders before, you know that name means nothing good. Within the book, a clue is in the name of one of their ships, Sweet Euthanasia.

Tina Mains is a California girl and a true Chosen One with an extraterrestrial homing beacon in her chest. When it activates, a ... Read More

Oddity: In a folkloric USA, a brave girl fights magic with magic

Oddity by Eli Brown

2021’s Oddity is a wonderful middle-grade adventure, with a valiant and compassionate young heroine, a beguiling take on alternate early-USA history, and a plethora of action and magic. Adults who read it with younger readers might discover it sparks a serious conversation about loyalty, values, and how we decide what’s right and what’s not.

Karin Rytter’s illustrations, which look like woodcuts, enhance the reading experience. So does the tone Brown employs, which reminded me a little of some of Philip Pullman’s middle-grade books, like The Ruby in the Smoke and The Tin Princess. Brown captures the nuance of a folktale while still giving us living, breathing people we care about. Some of those people are other than human.

Clover Cons... Read More

WWWednesday: May 5, 2021

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 academia, which is being scrutinized across the board.

From last week, John Sc... 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

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