Black Panther

February 18, 2018

It’s good. It’s gorgeous. It’s an MCU movie, and ten years into this franchise I continue to be impressed by how well they’ve been able to take all these many pieces/parts and fit them into the same universe, the same continuity.  There’s a lot going on in the film thematically, about tradition and moving forward and what people’s responsibilities are to each other. I’m writing a long review for Lightspeed so I’ll get into more details over there.

Another thing this film does that all the MCU movies do is give us a whole cast of delightful supporting characters who all deserve their own comic book series. I love that everyone seems to have a different favorite character.

Mine is Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. Stole every scene she was in, and now I’m on the verge of writing fanfic about her, Tony Stark, and Rocket in some gadget-laden roadtrip adventure.

Like this:

(Tony and Rocket are arguing about some broken piece of machinery they can’t seem to figure out. Rolling her eyes, Shuri takes it away from them and just fixes it.)

Shuri:  You white boys.

Rocket:  Hey, I am not a boy.

Tony:  You’re not white, either.

Rocket (looking himself over in shock):  I’m not?!

**

Yeah, just that, for like two hours. I’m so there.

 

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fallen ace

February 15, 2018

Wild Cards writer Victor Milán passed away on Tuesday. George’s announcement is here. He was there at the start of the series and the creator of Capt’n Trips, and he will be badly missed.

And in one of those fits of cosmic strangeness, his newest story, “Evernight,” went live on Tor.com yesterday. (He has a couple more stories in the pipeline as well).

Go have a read, so that the words will live on

 

winter, ugh

February 12, 2018

I spent the weekend in Lamar, Colorado, looking at snow geese during the High Plains Snow Goose Festival. (They’re already migrating north and stop off in the area for a break this time of year. Thousands of snow geese, just hanging out.) Here’s how the weather breakdown went:

Thursday, the day I arrived:  60 F, sunny, beautiful.

Friday, birding day 1: 20 F, overcast, very cold.

Saturday, birding day 2: 20 F, snowing, OMFG cold.

Sunday, the day I left: 40 F, bright and sunny.

I am officially done with winter. I hit the wall. I can’t do this anymore. WTF.  And it wasn’t even the cold. It was the cold on exactly the two days I was trying to be outside, with gorgeous weather on either end. So angry making.

I logged 38 species. The most interesting were probably a merlin, a greater yellowlegs, a golden eagle, and hooded and common mergansers.

There were a lot more birds out there. I could tell they were out there. If I had been patient, if I could have stood out there and waited for them to come out I probably could have seen them. But it was very cold, so I didn’t.

But I have seen the snow geese, so the next time I go to that area, I’ll do it well into springtime, I think.

 

a new story! and others

February 7, 2018

One of the things I’ve been waiting on is being able to share this:

Where Would You Be Now is a new story of mine on Tor.com.  It’s a prequel to Bannerless by about 60 years, and features a side character from the novel.  I’m pretty excited about it and hope you like it.

A couple of other things:

Here’s a new interview with me, mostly about Martians Abroad and The Wild Dead.

On March 3 I’m going to be at the Colorado Book Festival, signing books and speaking on a panel.

And on March 9 I’m taking part in a Google Hangouts reading and Q&A in support of Read for Pixels, which works to end violence against women. The link goes to the full schedule and instructions.

So yeah, keepin’ busy.

 

It’s award nomination season time again (I’m eligible to nominate for both the Nebula and the Hugo, and I try really hard to do both). I’ve already posted my own work, and now in the interest of completion I want to post about other people’s work that I really liked.

As usual, I haven’t read nearly as much as I should, especially in the area of short fiction. One of my goals this week is to try to cram in some reading to find some gems. I have, however, managed to get in a few novels — mostly new entries by old favorites.

Tool of War, by Paolo Bacigalupi. This is set in the same world as his Shipbreaker and The Drowned Cities, and nicely wraps up the stories of characters from all those books.  These are some of the best action/thriller novels you’ll read, and all grounded in really solid and thought-provoking science fiction, mostly in the areas of climate change and bio-engineering. Good stuff.

Persepolis Rising, by James S.A. Corey. The latest in the Expanse, and this book does something I don’t think I’ve ever seen space opera of this kind do. Plenty of space opera deals with galactic empires and the fall of galactic empires. This one covers the start of one.  It’s great.

Best series:  The Hugos have a Best Series category with some pretty specific requirements, and I’m happy that once again Wild Cards qualifies. I know I’m totally biased on this one, but this is a series that’s been running for 30 years, with 20+ volumes, and has remained cohesive and consistent and is also some of the best superhero storytelling in the genre. It really deserves a nod.

Movies:  Always a fun category. I’m definitely going to nominate Colossal, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Downsizing (I gave it an A for effort if not execution).  I’ll probably also nominate Wonder Woman.

But TV is where things are really going to get tough this years. We’re at some kind of peak TV. It’s amazing how much good TV there is out there. Enough that so-so shows I would have put up with 10 years ago are just right out now. Who has time for so-so when there’s so much great?

I’ve got three shows I really want to push this year. The Expanse, of course. Probably episode 2.13, “Caliban’s War.” You know, the one where everything goes to hell. Again. Love it.

Legion. I can’t stop thinking about this show. My favorite episode is “Chapter 7,” the one that operates on three different levels of reality, where David talks to himself and figures out some of his past, and then becomes a true and honest-to-goodness superhero, much to everyone’s consternation.

And finally Star Wars: Rebels hasn’t just grown on me, it’s become one of my favorite things on TV, and I’m kind of dreading the show ending this year. It’s because of the prequel thing:  with the exception of a couple of cameos in Rogue One, most of these guys don’t show up later. I’m very worried. But never mind that for now. Last year included what may be my favorite episode of the show:  3.15, “Trials of the Darksaber,” in which Kanan Jarrus finally comes into his own as a mentor, and Sabine finally comes to terms with her past. And they do it at the same time, together, in a great piece of storytelling. (In looking up this episode #, I discovered the Kanan is voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., which I somehow had not figured out before. The man who starred in Wing Commander, all grown up.)

 

Friday!

February 2, 2018

Just a couple of links to share:

This month’s issue of Lightspeed includes my December movie reviews: The Shape of Water, The Man Who Invented Christmas, and The Last Jedi.  I feel like I’ve talked about all these movies a lot, but the fun challenge of writing these reviews is to arrange my thoughts in a compact and cogent form that also maybe says something about the genre, the tropes, the movie’s thematic cohesiveness, and so on.  I think just about every movie is saying something, whether it means to or not, and I always like to try to suss out what that is.

The February issue of Locus Magazine has a cover interview with me.  I knew this was on the way. What I didn’t expect was that I’d be sharing the cover with Ursula K. Le Guin’s obituary. I’m a kind of a mess over that, especially since in the interview I talk about Le Guin’s influence on me — namely, writing across genres, writing anything and everything, and not really worrying about categories.  If I ever have even a fraction of the career she did…

Also included in the issue is the 2017 Recommended Reading List. Just in time to get some reading in as award-nominating season starts.  I have two works on the list: my short story “I Have Been Drowned in Rain,”  and Bannerless, the little novel that could. I need to go back and check, but I think this is the first time one of my novels has made the Locus Recommended list. So you know, there’s always more milestones to cross.

 

“You know, it’s exhausting,” Ben said, and took a long draw on his bottle of beer. “It’s like every other month there’s this new ‘Once every hundred years’ super-special moon-related event we’re supposed to be paying attention to. How do we know? How do we really know if it’s important? Are we really letting Facebook decide this stuff for us?”

We were naked, sitting next to each other, backs propped up against rock, part of a pile of boulders slumped up on the hillside. He offered the bottle. I took a drink and handed it back. The beer wasn’t cold anymore, but it was still bubbly and sent calm through my limbs as it went down.

“Yeah,” I said. “Before social media no one really paid attention to this stuff. But it’s not like it isn’t *interesting.*”

“Interesting, sure, but is it *relevant*?”

Across the clearing a wolf howled. The sky wasn’t full dark yet but had that rich deep blue edging to twilight. Soon, the fat full moon would rise. Our werewolf pack had gathered, like we did every month — or every now and then, on a blue moon, twice a month. A few of us had already turned, and the wolves yipped and played. Others were still in human form, pacing, resisting the call of their other selves demanding to burst free.

All of us were waiting to see what it meant, this super blood moon thing or whatever the hell they were calling it. What supernatural forces we’d be subjected to, out of our control and knowledge. Ben was right, it really was exhausting.

He continued. “What if Earth had five moons, hm? What if we were on, like, Jupiter, with thirty moons? Then what would happen? What would it be like being a werewolf on Jupiter?”

“We’d be crushed under the massive pressure of its atmosphere and tremendous gravitational forces,” I answered.

“Oh. Yeah. I suppose so. So everyone who’s ever talked about a cure for lycanthropy–has anyone suggested just blowing up the moon?”

I looked at him, his scruffy brown hair and his scrunched-up, thoughtful expression. He was awfully cute.

“No, honey, I don’t think they have.”

We were waiting for something–something else, apart from the usual full-moon madness to happen. A few more of us shape shifted. The clearing had more wolves than people now. Another howl burst out.

“Are you really worried?” I said, turning so I was curled up next to him. Ben set down the bottle and put his arms around me.

“I’m always worried.”

Yeah. Couple of werewolves in this crazy world? A lot to worry about.

I said, “Maybe. . .what if. . .just this once. . .we didn’t worry about it?”

An oversized wolf raced up to us, yipped eagerly, and darted away again. The moon was rising. It was time to go.

Ben bent his forehead to mine. “You know what? That’s so crazy it just might work.”

And then we all howled at the moon, the inconstant moon, together.

 

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