inspiration

January 26, 2018

My friends went to Paris and brought me back a used book, and I have to talk about how happy this makes me.

This is a book about a killer robot. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m going to, because it’s by Kate Wilhelm. Multiple award winning, co-founder of the Clarion Writing Workshop Kate Wilhelm. One of the great beloved authors of SF&F Kate Wilhelm.

Now, I have never heard of The Killing Thing. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this book. It’s…shall we say it’s not a classic? The title…it’s not precisely riveting, is it?

And isn’t that great?!  The great writer Kate Wilhelm once wrote a skinny paperback novel about a killer robot.  What this means for me, what I thought about the minute I saw this:  not everything has to be a classic.  Writers sometimes worry so much about every single thing they do getting attention, getting accolades — especially in the online world when it seems like everyone is talking about awards and bestsellers lists and year’s best and all these bells and whistles.

But not everything we do is going to get bells and whistles. And that’s okay.  It’s more than okay. It’s just a fact of life. Write the thing. Then write the next thing. Write a novel about a killer robot. Win the Hugo for a different novel ten years later.

You just keep writing.

It’s great.

 

 

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Ursula K. Le Guin

January 24, 2018

She’s gone.

I have no words.

I have too many words, but they’ve all turned to ash.

She was always exactly what a writer ought to be.

 

This week, the new Wild Cards novel Mississippi Roll is out! This includes my story, “A Big Break in the Small Time,” in which my character Wild Fox has become a lounge singer in love. Wild Cards has a reputation for being incredibly dark and grim at times, so I really love doing these lighter, comic stories. This world is so big and flexible, there’s definitely room for both.  This is the first book in what we’re calling The American Triad, checking in on some other parts of the country.

The latest novel of The Expanse by James S.A. Corey is also out this week:  Persepolis Rising. I like the TV show a whole lot. I love the books. This latest one. . .I’m plugging it because it does something I don’t think I’ve ever seen a space opera do. I hesitate to say what because it involves the entire arc of the book, and the thrill of discovery is part of the fun. It impressed the hell out of me.

And in case you haven’t picked it up yet. . .the e-book of Bannerless is on sale this month for $2.99!

So many books. . .

 

December has arrived…

December 1, 2017

….and not a moment too soon. This year has just seemed to drag. Probably because we’ve all aged about ten years, given current politics, amirite?

So I did it, I wrote up a long review of Geostorm for Lightspeed. Because I had some things to say about it, you know? The December issue is now available to purchase.

I had a good time at Loscon but it’s taken me a few days to recover, so I’ve been laying low this week. Reading books, even! I’m in the middle of two right now. One brand new, The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, a prequel to the magnificent His Dark Materials trilogy. I love that world, but I have to admit, while engagingly written, this one suffers a bit from being a prequel — I know how it all turns out, right? And “Lyra is such a magical baby!” is not that interesting as it turns out.

The other is the cyberpunk classic Synners by Pat Cadigan, which I somehow had not read before now. It’s dense and complicated and pretty much perfectly predicts the current social media landscape. It also fits neatly into my Grand Cyberpunk Evolution Theory as a transitional text between the classic 80’s cyberpunk era and the next generation of cyberpunk ala Snow Crash, for lots of various reasons. (Synners was released in 1991.)  I’m also giggling like mad because around page 170 or so we meet the spontaneously arisen AI entity, right on schedule. Spontaneously Arising AI is one of the classic 80’s cyberpunk tropes, and I’m just so pleased to see it here.

Not finished with the book yet so no spoilers!

 

Reviewer extraordinaire James Nicoll has been doing a “20 core lists” series — 20 core books of various sub-genres that everyone should read. He’s just done one for Urban Fantasy — hooray!  And Kitty and the Midnight Hour is included. Double hooray!

I know some of my readers are always looking for suggestions:  here ya go.

For my own self I would add Agyar by Steven Brust and Sunshine by Robin McKinley.

 

Friday roundup

November 17, 2017

At long last, my in-depth review of Blade Runner 2049 is live at Lightspeed. I could have said a lot more, there’s really a lot here to pick apart, and I wonder if it’s only worth the effort because the expectations were so very high. I wouldn’t have spent so much time thinking about this if the words “Blade Runner” weren’t attached to it. Then again, maybe I would, thinking back on how much time I spent talking about that wretched Total Recall remake.

A bit of trivia:  the title “Blade Runner” actually comes from an entirely different science fiction novel, The Bladerunner, by Alan E. Nourse, which I have actually read, and which I think would make a fantastic movie or TV series. Particularly relevant now, in how it deals with the health care system.

I’m way behind on pretty much all TV watching. My usual gang of superfriends have all been busy and traveling this fall, so we haven’t had a chance to sit down at our usual shindigs. I’m hoping to get through it soon, because ep. 4 of this season’s Flash was amazing.  Hilarious and serious and over the top and cohesive and Danny Trejo and the worst pun in TV episode title history. (“The Elongated Journey into Night.” I KNOW RIGHT?!) It’s great.

And I will go see Justice League at some point, for purely academic reasons of course. I just have to see for myself what they’ve done with it.

 

This is a movie about William Moulton Marston, the psychologist who created Wonder Woman, and the two women he made an unconventional family with. Spoiler:  Marston, was married to Elizabeth, but later started a relationship with a student, Olive Byrne.  Eventually they all lived together and both women had children fathered by Marston. They were all raging feminists.

I have to confess, I would have liked the movie a lot more if I hadn’t already read the definitive biography of the family, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore. To be fair, the movie isn’t based on the book, which isn’t at all mentioned in the credits. So I can’t really complain. But the movie basically took these people who really did exist and really did invent Wonder Woman, and used them to tell an entirely different story, a more conventional romance narrative, that isn’t at all accurate to what really happened, based on what I read in the book. I got annoyed. But people who hadn’t read the book first liked it just fine.

In my own opinion, the book is way more interesting. Read it.