Meet Alethea Kontis | #FriendlyFriday

It’s #FriendlyFriday, the day I tell you all about my fabulous friends and the brilliant things they’re up to. Have a fabulous friend of your own? Share a link to their awesomeness in the comments or on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag.

I’m moving Friendly Friday posts over from Patreon to my blog. This is where I’m posting all content going forward and the design over here is better, anyway!

I don’t plan to repost the old Friendly Fridays here, though I’m making an exception today. Why? Because today is the birthday of the illustrious Alethea Kontis, who is not only my dear friend but also the person who came up with this great concept. Wish her a happy birthday by dropping a buck or two into her birthday fundraiser :)

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may recognize Alethea’s name from my frequent visits to Florida. She and I have ranted about fairy tales together, challenged people together, and had magical times at the Space Center as well as the beach. Most of the time when I tell people I know her they ask: “So, the princess thing–is she like that ALL the time?” As with most beautifully complex people, the answer is a complicated mix of yes and no.

Continue reading “Meet Alethea Kontis | #FriendlyFriday”

I Heart This Thursday

The Monster Cafe | #IHeartThisThursday

On #IHeartThisThursday I share the art, writing, music, performance, or other creative endeavors I love and admire. Want in on the fun? Share something you heart in the comments or on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag.

Last year around this time I was hanging out in Florida with a bunch of romance writers having a fabulous time at the beach. The Coastal Magic convention was a good time for many reasons, and the thing I remember best about it was the awesomely adorable Monster Cafe booth.

Monster Cafe Booth

I’m a sucker for some cute fuzzyness and big eyes just like anyone with a soul. However, there’s something extra special about these ones. The creator, Justine Birmingham, has an artist’s eye for what colors will work well together and creating creatures that have a definite personality. She doesn’t only make glitter-eyed fuzzballs. Oh no. Check this out:

She made my friend Alethea Kontis a teddy bear using the Marriott carpet pattern! Those of you who go to DragonCon will get the significance of this. OMG I love that bear.

Justine is an all-around crafting goddess and if I wasn’t a nomad I would be surrounded by her creations all the time.

You can see her latest stuff on Instagram and, if you can’t get to a con where she sells stuff, she has some things up on Etsy. Go forth and follow!

comic titled How People Are On the Internet. First panel shows two young men against a blue background. the man on the right is pointing off panel and says I love the work of that guy. Second panel, the man on the right says So tell him. The man on the left says Oh there's no need for that. Third panel, the man on the left has an angry face, again pointing off panel, and says The work of that guy though I don't like. Forth panel, the man on the left yells Hey! You suck and I hate you! while the man on the right looks shocked.

#FriendlyFriday and #IHeartThisThursday

Earlier this year my friend Alethea shared the comic above on her Facebook.

Around that time I’d also seen another graphic or post or something with a similar sentiment: People don’t tell the creators of the things they love that they love said things nearly as much as they yell at creators of things they have a problem with.

I don’t completely agree. As I said in response to the first comic: Saying “I Love This!” doesn’t get the same amount of attention as saying “I don’t like this!” coupled with “because it’s a problem.” The real issue here isn’t that people don’t talk about what they love. The problem is that people don’t give attention and signal boosts to the people talking about what they love.

In the time between me first saying this and now, things haven’t changed. In thinking about the kinds of links I see shared multiple times on Facebook or Twitter, they are more of the “Do you see this awful/problematic thing?” variety than “Do you see this amazingness?” People DO post the latter stuff, but it’s not shared and boosted as many times.

This is not only the fault of All Of Us, I know. Facebook’s horrendous algorithm seems designed to suppress squee unless it comes from very specific sites (who I can only suppose are advertisers) and boost things that get us riled up. Or, if that’s not the design, then perhaps it’s just that Facebook is not here to help you spread the word about that book or that musician or that artist unless they are huge, mainstream creators with corporate backing who, again, are likely paying Facebook some money in advertising dollars.

And with Twitter… well, it’s hard to get anything noticed on Twitter unless you share it forty million times.

Whatever the reasons and the back-end machinations, I do think that us individual users of these platforms have a major role in this as well. How often are you moved to share, retweet, reblog a post that’s just about someone loving on a thing they love? How often compared to boosting stuff that isn’t these things?

Don’t worry, I am not judging you cuz I do this, too. And I aim to be better about it. Thus this post.

A few months ago the aforementioned Alethea Kontis started doing a thing on her Patreon called #FriendlyFriday: “where I tell you all about my fabulous friends and what brilliant things that they are up to.” I decided to follow suit. I know so, so, so many talented creators involved in a plethora of projects that deserve more attention that I will never be at a loss for people to write about. I’m sure this is true for a bunch of the people reading this. So, I’m challenging you: join us for the #FriendlyFriday party.

Every week create a blog post, a Facebook status, a Tumblr blog, or some other public thing wherein you talk about a creative friend, their current project, and why you like them. Doesn’t have to be long, complex, or even erudite. A simple “XXX is an amazing artist and you should click through her gallery and also support her on Patreon” is just fine. The point is for you to show your friend some love and maybe expose them to some folks who’ve never seen their stuff before. Oh, and be sure to tag it #FriendlyFriday.

Now that’s all well and good, but there’s a next step to this. When you see a post on the #FriendlyFriday tag, share it. Just do it. Unless you look at the art or book or or whatever and think “Dear Zu’ul, that is horrendous!” You don’t have to share things you don’t like. But if you do like it, even a little, share. Seek out #FriendlyFriday on Twitter or Tumblr and wherever else. If you leave it up to the social networks, they’re not going to show you. Now is the time to be proactive.

Continuing in this theme, sometimes there is art and music and dance and writing that you love that isn’t created by a friend. In that sense, the #FriendlyFriday tag might not be the best fit. I have a solution for that, too: #IHeartThisThursday.

This is for sharing links to stuff you love that you don’t have a personal connection to (other than how it speaks to you!). For my part, I plan to post something I love here in the #IHeartThisThursday category. I’ll post to Twitter and Instagram with the tag as well. You can join by making a post on your blog or tagging stuff on social media. Don’t forget to tag the creator, if possible, when you do. They want to know how much you love them as much as everyone else does.

Just as with the #FriendlyFriday tag, seek out #IHeartThisThursday posts and share them. Widely. Be proactive in boosting the good work and amazing creations that exist in the world.

We have to do both in order for this to work.

Who’s in?

table full of hugos

Awards Season Is Upon Us #2: My Fiction Reccomendations

table full of hugos

At some point I’m going to write a post about why it’s important to nominate for the Hugo Awards if you can and why you don’t need to have read everything or even widely to nominate. That’s a long post, though, and it’s Friday. What’s good for Fridays is giving you a list of things to read that will give you pleasure. i.e. My recommendations for Hugo nomination-worthy fiction.

Novel

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin

A book that tells the brutal truth about oppression and marginalization. And it’s just damn good.

The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu

I’m not a huge epic fantasy person and this book still managed to hook me. The combination of a book set in a China-influenced fantasy world that isn’t white-gaze-Orientalist nonsense, a fantasy world that isn’t mindlessly patriarchal by default, and a grand story that encompasses gods and mortals without being as tiring as Homer made me a fan of this book.

Uprooted, Naomi Novik

One of the most well-crafted books I’ve read in a long time.

 

Novella

 

The New Mother by E. J. Fischer | Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine [Read It Here]

This novella takes place in a very near future. So near that the issues it tackles are barely removed from their current counterparts. Reproductive rights, personhood, our culture’s puritanical views on sex, religion, cloning, and so many of the other conversations connected to these topics. Fisher avoids preachiness (well, I say that because I happen to be the choir) and instead uses all of this to explore what it means to be human.

The Bone Swans of Amandale, C.S.E. Cooney [In This Collection]

It’s beautiful. I mean… I don’t even know what else to say except this is just beautiful and moved me deeply.

Trixter – The Trix Adventures, Volume 1, Alethea Kontis [Standalone]

If you’re a fan of mixed up and remixed fairy tales then you need to read all of Alethea’s middle grade books. Though this is part of that whole series/world, you can start with this short novel as an entry drug to the rest. Trix is a lot of fun.

Novelette

Entanglements by David Gerrold | The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction [Read It Here] (this was originally listed as a novella. Sorry!)

Reading this story was like wandering into a party at a big con and somehow stumbling on the corner where some giant of the field is quietly holding court, and only those lucky enough to have torn themselves away from (or escaped) some less interesting blowhard get to be witness to it. This giant of the field is telling you a story, and that story probably has a straightforward version, but he keeps veering off into these tangents, and you don’t care because these tangents include tidbits about that time Gene Roddenberry bought his first computer and Majel Barrett freaked out because the simplistic AI was just complex enough to make it seem like it was carrying on a conversation and so on…

But then, oh then, you get to the meat of the story this guy has been trying to tell for an hour and you are stunned, just stunned, because he just blew your mind with insight and you’re wiping tears from your face because you see yourself in bits of that story (especially that bit about still owning a Zune because it was better than the iPod and shut up) and now you’re contemplating the meaning of your life and he’s got up to go to the bathroom and… wait… what was that about killing a man?

Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma | Tor.com

This story is very dark and very engaging. The voice just sucks you in and holds you down as the story slowly builds and builds to the justified, disturbing end. This is the kind of horror I tend to gravitate to even though horror as a whole isn’t my favorite genre. The way it mixes the real and the supernatural and the woman’s tight point of view both contribute to why I highly recommend this story.

And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead by Brooke Bolander | Lightspeed Magazine

I immediately resonated with this piece based on my own history, and throughout the author plucked all the right strings in me to make me love this. It’s about the things one will do out of grief and love and pressing down sadness, wonderfully rendered and woven.

Sacred Cows: Death and Squalor on the Rio Grande by A.S. Diev | Giganotosaurus

This novelette is worth settling in to read and spend some time to think about. The imagery of a herd of cows flying through the sky is somewhat comical, though that aspect quickly dissipates as the narrative goes on. It’s a story about corruption, corporations, and rich men who get away with far too much because they are rich. That concept is hardly futuristic, I know. But so many people fail to question the doctrine of “because we can” that permeates so much of everyday people’s lives.

Something one of the characters says toward the end really sums up everything about this story: “It’s not that they are bigger and stronger. It’s not that they win every contest, and have more of everything, even while some of us truly don’t have enough. It’s that they still want more. They have to be above you, and step on you, and defecate on you. They have to rub it in your face.”

Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu | Uncanny Magazine

Short Story

When Your Child Strays From God by Sam J. Miller | Clarkesworld Magazine

Snuck into this story about an evangelical Christian pastor’s wife dealing with the sinful rebelliousness of her teenage son is a really cool made up drug that sounds absolutely transformative and I want to try it (along with a few close friends… very close). Miller excels at blending cool speculative ideas with characters and situations very much grounded in our world.

These Eyes Are Not My Own by Jennifer Nestojko | Crossed Genres Magazine

Those of you who’ve ever been in a relationship with a person with different privilege or experience of marginalization than you will recognize the personal dynamics in this story. It’s very tense and sad and you’ll find yourself all tangled up in the main character’s emotions almost immediately.

Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong | Nightmare Magazine

This story is so visceral and it doesn’t hold back on all that’s implied in this opening bit. Wong has a talent for creating horrific situations that nonetheless feel right and even righteous. It’s not easy to make a reader identify or empathize with a narrator of this nature, and yet the author manages to do so (for me, at least).

Liminal Grid By Jaymee Goh | Strange Horizons

I love everything about this story. The voice, the tone, the dialogue, the characters, the story itself. I love the core of the story, summed up here: “Tyrants must be told somehow that they will be left in the morass of their own corruption. Everyone has the right to live, grow, dream, build at their own pace. Leaving, too, is resistance.”

Catcall by Delilah S. Dawson | Uncanny Magazine

If you’ve been reading my column for a while you know my fondness for revenge and They Got What Was Coming To Them stories. That’s exactly why I like this one. It’s for every girl and woman who is sick of the neverending cavalcade of unwanted touches and roaming eyes and disgusting words and everything else that comes with rape culture and wishes she had the power to do something about all of it.

If I believed in misandry, I could call this story MISANDRY MISANDRY MISANDRY without fear or shame.

Madeleine by Amal El-Mohtar | Lightspeed Magazine

Falling into memories the way we fall into dreams—with that same hyper-real yet not real tension and thrill/terror of not always being able to escape—sounds like a thing that could be fun at first but would quickly devolve into a terrifying way to live. What if, in these memories, you found the exact thing you needed to make you feel like you should continue existing? El-Mohtar explores this and more in this gorgeous story.

The Great Silence by Ted Chiang | e-flux journal

Chiang collaborated with visual artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla to create a story based on their video piece “The Great Silence.” Not having seen the original video I can’t comment on how well each piece compliments each other. Even without that background, the story is moving, heart-breaking and beautiful — and is made up of at least 60% lines that will be quoted forever.

With the exception of the short story category, I still have room for a few other nominations. I want to what everyone else has on their short list. List ’em in the comments, use the #HugoNoms hashtag on Twitter, poke me on Facebook!

I’ll put up my recs for the not-fiction categories next week. And, of course, I am eligible for some of those categories.

 

You’re Excluding Stories By Straight, White, Cis Men? J’accuse! J’accuse!

You're Excluding Stories By Straight, White, Cis Men? J'accuse! J'accuse!

A year or so ago some dude (whose name I’ve forgotten) who writes reviews of SF/F books noticed that in the year or two (or longer) previous he had not read or reviewed any books by women. This caused him to pause and go: “Huh….” and noodle on in some surface way about how he really should make an effort to read more women.

I suggested that, since he was now aware of the issue, he should do something more “radical” and spend an entire year reading books by nothing but women.

“But I can’t do that!” book review dude exclaimed. “That would be tipping the scale too far. That would be BIAS. That would be excluding men for arbitrary reasons! That would be wrong!i

I knew, of course, when I made the suggestion he wouldn’t accept it. Because it’s just too much of a hardship to read only women. He even said some shit about how he’d miss out on too many good books by limiting himself that way. There was not enough side-eye in the universe for that conversation.

If you’ve spent most of your adult life reading mostly men without consciously thinking about the fact that you mostly choose books written by men or mostly have books written by men recommended to you or shoved at you as Good, then a year of reading only women is not even enough to balance the scales.

Reading only women for a year takes some thought and effort. And if you do that, people hardly ever assume that it happened Just Because or On Accident or because you were Just Reading The Best Books Regardless Of The Identity Of The Author.

Unlike if you just happen to read only men for 10 years at a stretch.

Funny that.

I told you that story to tell you this one.

The first comment on my latest io9 post pointed out that all the stories I featured are by women, and asked if that was a coincidence. I’ve been running this column regularly since July 2014. It took until February 2015 for someone to notice that. Or, I should probably say, it took until now for someone to ask me about it.

A few hours later another dude came by to confront me about this in more detail. His comment is still “pending,” so it’s not initially visible when you look at the page.

In all seriousness, not trying to be a dick here, but you do seem to be purposefully excluding white men from these roundups, correct? I mean you post almost entirely women writers, and the small handful of male authors you do include are either AOC or queer authors. If you have a criteria other than quality to select or filter authors, then shouldn’t you state so somewhere in these posts? I mean at least be straight up about it. At this point there seem to be far more opportunities, in the short fiction marketplace at least, for authors of color/LGBT authors, since there are magazines who won’t accept submissions from white men altogether. And then you have magazines like Lightspeed who were recently only accepting submissions from LGBT authors for the “Queers Destroy Science Fiction” anthology. I guess I’m seeing a lot of editors/magazines making an effort to increase their magazine’s diversity, when it actually seems like there isn’t a bias against minority authors at all? If I’m wrong then please tell me how so. But if only certain types of people are eligible for these “Best Stories” posts, and if many magazines are refusing submissions from white or straight or male authors, while many others explicitly state they’re looking for diverse voices (Shimmer, Strange Horizons, Crossed Genres, Lightspeed, et al), then where exactly is the bias? Is it possible this preoccupation with identity politics has gone too far? I guess I’m just saying, if these “Best Stories” posts really mean “Best Stories By Women, LGBT, or AOC” then shouldn’t you say so?

I am certain that this person is not such a regular reader of my column that they know off the top of their heads the makeup of the authors featured. This person went back through all my posts and tallied this info up before coming back with his observations. And in the process assumed not that I just happen to like stories by women, people of color, and LGBT folks better than that of straight, white, cis men, but that I am actively excluding that last category and should be up front about it.

Funny that.

Sunil Patel, who reviews books for Lightspeed, recently tweeted:

Promoting diversity is about boosting underrepresented voices. It is about leveling the playing field. It is no coincidence that my book review column features no white male authors. They can have EVERYWHERE ELSE. Do I feel like I’m discriminating against white male authors? I kind of do. But I also know that women and POC are reviewed less. Those with privilege are getting by just fine on their own. We need to use what privilege we have to boost marginalized voices.

What I do in my column isn’t precisely reviewing. It’s more signal-boosting of the fiction I read that I liked or loved. That’s why it’s called “The Best Stories from…” and not “Stories out this week” or whatever. When I did this on my own I called it Favorite Fiction. It’s a link, an excerpt, and a short paragraph, maybe two, about what struck me about the story, why I liked or loved it, what elements I appreciated. I rarely do anything that looks like a full-on critical analysis–that’s not what the column is for. I also don’t include stories I don’t like in order to explain why I don’t like them.

Still though, I am very aware that my signal-boosting carries meaning. I’m also aware of which kinds of authors often get more boosts in what venues. That kind of thing matters to me.

I will say this plainly: If I read a story and I like it a lot, I would never not include it in my column based on the identity and background of the writer. Because the whole basis of this is what I read and liked.

I’ll also say this plainly: A reviewer who makes the choice to focus exclusively on marginalized voices is making a good choice. There are plenty of places for the privileged to get and gain attention. Making a space for everyone else is not bias, it’s a step towards balance.

  1. I am paraphrasing. []

Short Stories: We Need More Venues For Discovery, Recs, and Discussion

John Chu Hugo Speech
John Chu accepting his Hugo Award, courtesy Scott Edelman on Instagram.

If you’re interested in the Hugo awards or just SFF awards in general, Justin Landon does an excellent job of breaking down the Hugo votes over at his blog. It’s fascinating to see how the instant run-off ballot affects who wins and provides insight into what voters are thinking (a little). It’s a long read but well worth it.

In the section discussing the short story ballot, this caught my attention:

Given the number of short fiction venues today, the Short Story category is becoming increasingly scattered, making it harder and harder to have a digestible slate of stories to choose from. Hopefully, the Hugo Awards can get a handle on this challenge and ensure a full nomination ballot in future years.

I’m not convinced that this is something that the Hugos or Hugo voters as a group can really change. There will continue to be a ton of great markets and plenty for people to read. There’s about to be an all-new magazine (Uncanny) that could, down the road, complicate the matter further.

What’s needed are more short story reviews and recommendations.

Locus reviews short fiction, of course. But Locus is for people involved in the business of writing and publishing and not so much for the average SFF reader and fan. Tangent still exists but I have no idea how relevant it is. The Fix is long gone. And I just plain don’t hear about most other short fiction review outlets, and I can’t be the only one.

This is one of the reasons why I started my favorite fiction posts. I read a lot of great fiction over the course of a year but might not be able to recall all my favorites once it came time to nominate. And I wanted a way to share stories I thought deserved attention and award consideration in a compact yet concrete way.

I’m really glad I have a high profile venue for those posts now in the form of io9i. This is the easily digestible list of recommendations Landon is looking for, I think. I would love for there to be more of them.

I wish that it was possible to have a Goodreads for short fiction so that people could rate, discover, and recommend with the same energy as novels get. I know there are some shorts with their own entries on Goodreads, but the last time I poked around it didn’t seem like the platform wanted that and there’s not a big community push behind it. I’d love to be wrong about that.

Is Goodreads itself the best place for this kind of thing? It’s a site and community that already exists, and I’m sure plenty of people who love novels are also down with shorts. Since I don’t spend much time on the site I honestly don’t know if it would work.

Is there a place to create such a community easily? As in not having to build something from scratch (who has time for that–no one)?

The short story/novelette categories in all our major awards could benefit from more discussion and engagement, I agreeii. I just wouldn’t leave it up to the Hugos to figure that out.

  1. Don’t forget to head over today and look for the new post! []
  2. Don’t get me wrong: I love the story that won and agree that it deserves the honor. []

Selfies With Books and other things I do for my job

In addition to my weekly short fiction recs over at io9 I have some summer reading recs over at xoJane, too. There I did novels and short story collections/anthologies so everyone is covered. And I took selfies with a lot of books. This is becoming a theme in my life: selfies with products.

Selfies with books

The other day I stopped in a hipster electronics store to take a selfie with some headphones since the pair I owned were stolen from me a while back. The poor guy working in the store was really confused because I walked in, asked after some headphones onthe wall, took a bunch of pictures of myself wearing them, then left. As I was going out the door he was all “Uh, can I help you…?”

“Nope!” I said cheerfully as I sailed away. I’m sure he thought I was loopy. But whatever, this is New York City. He should be used to much stranger stuff than this.

Other than headphones and books, what other products should I give the selfie treatment? I don’t look good in hats. Despite the overwhelming number of beads in my house I don’t wear jewelry much. Any suggestions?

My Faves: Time Travel Fiction and Media

Fans of NPR’s Weekend Edition may have caught a familiar voice when listening to the segment on time travel fiction. I had a great time talking to Petra Mayer about time travel, a topic near and dear to my heart. Yes, I am still writing a novel with time traveling twins (same world as my story in Diverse Energies). Now that all of NPR knows about it I guess I should finally finish.

In the mean time you can enjoy my best-loved time travel books, stories, and other media!

“It’s All True” by John Kessel (contained in his collection The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories)

I mentioned this during the time travel panel at ReaderCon. In this story, a future society has invented time travel and they use it to go to parallel worlds, travel back in time, get famous people from the past, then bring them forward in time back to their own timeline. Thus avoiding changing their future. I swear this makes sense. The story centers around one guy’s attempt to convince Orson Wells to come to the future.

the freedom maze and kindred

The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman and Kindred by Octavia Butler

I mention these two together because they share a basic premise (but are very different in sensibility as well as plot). In both, a person from modern times is thrown back into the era of American slavery, ends up with people who are her ancestors, and has to live as a slave for some portion of time. In Kindred the person is a grown woman who is pulled backward in time multiple times. In The Freedom Maze the person is a young girl who is actually white, but because she’s very tan is mistaken for a mulatto. She stays in the past for weeks and it’s unclear whether she’ll ever get back home. Both novels explore modern perspectives on the past in interesting ways.

Past Tense” and “Trials and Tribble-ationsStar Trek: Deep Space Nine

Some people will try to tell you that the best Star Trek episode about time travel is “The City on the Edge of Forever”. I don’t mind telling you that those people are wrong. As with so many things Star Trek, DS9 has the best episodes using this story vehicle. My ultimate favorite is, of course, the tribble one where the crew of DS9 travel back to the episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” and have to blend in with the original Enterprise crew. It’s awesome on so many levels from how seamlessly the effects crew blended the footage from TOS with the new footage to moments like this:

However, “Past Tense” has stayed with me all these years for a different reason. DS9 was often very social justice oriented, and this episode was chock full of it. For once, when Star Trek people ended up in the past on Earth it was not in the 20th century. Instead, they land in 2024 (still in San Francisco, though) in a dystopian America that is sadly not that hard to imagine. People who are poor, sick, or just undesirable are cordoned off into ghettos. And not just ghettos in the urban sense, but actual ghettos with walls and fences and an inability to get out where people have to fight over food rations and only get a place to sleep if the local gangs think you’re okay. It’s terrifying and not that far off the mark. This episode aired about 20 years ago. 2024 is 10 years from now. Think Star Trek will prove prescient?

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

This series didn’t get a chance to flourish fully and it ends on what could be a cliffhanger or what could seem like a satisfying end given that we sort of know what happens after. The second season dragged in the middle for sure, but overall this is one of the best entries in the Terminator franchise, right up there with T2 and way better than T3 or what weird one with Christian Bale.

The main characters in SCC don’t do much time traveling themselves. What I loved about the time travel elements is that the war between Skynet and the humans takes place not only in the future but across both the relative past, the future, and the present. Several people and Terminator models are sent back in time at different points for specific and long term missions. And each time a person or group of people are sent back, it changes the future. So that woman you knew in the resistance and see again on the street might not be the exact person you knew, but a version of them.

And even when they strike a blow against Skynet, be it by destroying tech that will lead to it or getting rid of a Terminator come to kill someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean Skynet won’t still rise, it’ll just rise at a different date. All these elements are key to the plot, and kudos to the show for making all of this relatively straightforward and understandable. It’s not just some jumbled timey-wimey mess.

I am always looking for more time travel fiction to add to my to-read pile. Rec me some in the comments, if you would!

Favorite Fiction (Feb & March 2013) plus new ways to find my faves

Favorite Fiction (Feb & March 2013) plus new ways to find my faves

Over at io9 my list of best short stories from February and March is now live. Those ten stories represent my very top picks, but there are several more I hearted over the past couple of months. I listed them below.

Before we get to that, a couple of things! First, I created a Flipboard magazine recently where I intend to collect all the stories I favorite each month. It’s the same list you’ll see here, so it’s basically another way to see the same info. With a Flipboard magazine you’ll get an update every time I add a new story and won’t have to wait for the end of the month. Plus, the stories will just show up in your regular Flipboard, no need to do anything extra. To subscribe, search for “ktempest” in Flipboard. The magazine is called Fantastic Flippin’ Fiction.

I mentioned in January’s post that I was looking for a venue where I could discuss short stories in depth. Not just the ones I like, but any one worth discussing, including stories I don’t like. To that end, I’m doing some experimenting. I created a Google+ community. I intend for it to be a participatory thing, not just me. Anyone can post links to stories, start a discussion, or make recommendations. If you have a Google account, you can join.

Now, onto the picks!

Visit my Favorite Fiction tag to see all the other short stories I’ve liked so far this year.

Favorite Fiction from January 2013; New Related Projects; Fiction Review Contraption?

Favorite Fiction from January 2013; New Related Projects; Fiction Review Contraption?

First favorite fiction post of 2013 and there is a lot to talk about besides the fic I liked! I’ll begin with business.

First, I am posting a short list of favorite fic every month over at io9 now. Click here to see January’s picks. Each month I’ll choose my top favorites, usually 5 or so, to list there. I’ll also do more with print/subscription/non-free fiction there and podcasts. That list won’t mean that these lists will go away, though. There are shorts listed here that aren’t listed there.

Second, I’m now part of the Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth crew, so I will contribute to the Twitter account and possibly the podcast (I’m not in Australia or anything, so I have no clue how that works). So if you want to keep up with the stories I like as I read them, follow that account. I’m not the only one who tweets, so you get bonus thoughts from other folks doing the same thing I am.

Last, ever since I started reading short fic regularly I’ve wanted to have a place where I could go to have discussions about the stories. Not just the stories I like, but the ones I don’t that I still find interesting enough to discuss. Last time I brought this up on Twitter many were interested, so I’m bringing it up again. The thing I’m unsure about is where to host this discussion. G+ communities are now live and could work. DreamWidth communities might be better since it can be a little bit (but not totally) private. I’m just worried about people who may want to join the discussion feeling like they can’t unless they join DreamWidth. Maybe that’s an unfounded concern. Anyway, I would love to hear suggestions on this.

Okay, all that taken care of, it’s now time for the favorites list!

Visit my Favorite Fiction tag to see all the other short stories I’ve liked so far this year.