A few years back at my first GeekGirlCon, I got the opportunity to interview Jane Espenson and Kelly Sue Deconnick about their writing tools and process. Both conversations turned out to be enlightening and fun; and then I sat on them all this time because it took me a while to get this podcast thing going. Now they’re out and you should listen!
I love having guests on the Tempest Challenge! They often introduce me to books I hadn’t heard about, and, after hearing them talk about said book, I want to run right out and read them. Such is the case with this week’s book, Hell, written by Kathryn Davis and praised to the sky by Maria Dahvana Headley.
“All of the sentences are going to kill you, they’re so good,” Maria says about this and all of Kathryn Davis’ books. This short, experimental work “rewards multiple readings” and should be appreciated by everyone.
I hope you’ll also check out Maria Dahvana Headley’s books and short stories–I have enjoyed many of them and I’ll tell you why in upcoming Challenge videos.
Would love to hear your thoughts on Hell on the #KTBookChallenge tag on Twitter and Tumblr or the comments here or on YouTube. And, as always, you can support me making Tempest Challenge vids by clicking the links below when you…
The “Women Destroy” issues of Lightspeed, Fantasy, and Nightmare Magazine are master classes in how women have always been important to all of these genres–yes, even science fiction. They’re really anthologies with a mix of original fiction, reprints, flash, essays, and author interviews.
In this video I talk about a few of my favorites and about the importance of these issues to the genre, both present and past. If you have ever wanted to introduce someone to SF, fantasy, or horror and give them a taste of modern as well as classic, this is an excellent place to start.
Would love to hear your thoughts on how women are destroying everything on the #KTBookChallenge tag on Twitter and Tumblr or the comments here or on YouTube. And, as always, you can support me making Tempest Challenge vids by clicking the links below when you…
Buy Women Destroy Science Fiction directly from the publisher, at Powell’s, or at Amazon. Buy Women Destroy Fantasy directly from the publisher, at Powell’s, or at Amazon. Buy Women Destroy Horror directly from the publisher, at Powell’s, or at Amazon.
Another guest challenger for this video: Gabriel Squailia, author of Dead Boys. Gabriel is actually taking the Tempest Challenge and this is the first book he read for it. Delicious Foods by James Hannaham sounds like a super intense book for many reasons, including the fact that Crack cocaine is a viewpoint character. “A silky, Satanic voice,” according to Gabriel. That’s deep.
Would love to hear your thoughts on Delicious Foods on the #KTBookChallenge tag on Twitter and Tumblr or the comments here or on YouTube. And, as always, you can support me making Tempest Challenge vids by clicking the links below when you…
Last year at ReaderCon I asked some friends to be guest challengers for the Tempest Challenge and several said yes! Score. This is the first of those videos. Author Gabby Reed, who is the best, talks about why you should read Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias. It’s a book that deals with issues around immigration, which is in no way relevant to current events, right? Science fiction, oh you.
Would love to hear your thoughts on Ink on the #KTBookChallenge tag on Twitter and Tumblr or the comments here or on YouTube. And, as always, you can support me making Tempest Challenge vids by clicking the links below when you…
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
A couple of years ago a website called The Wirecutter published their recommendation for Best (non-fountain) Pen Ever. This post is over 6,000 words long, and not only gets into which pen they picked as the best and why, but also about types of pens and the differences between them and what qualities they were looking for in determining a Best Pen. Intrigued by all the gushing about their pick, the uni-ball Jetstream, I decided to try it and compare to my favorite pens. You can find out if I ditched by Pentel EnerGels for the Jetsteam in the podcast.
I also ask: is it really possible to determine a Best Pen for everyone? Plus, I wanna know what everyone else’s favorite pens are and why.
The number of writers I know that don’t back up their stuff is scary. Y’all, you need to do this. It’s not even hard. And if you’re willing to spend a bit of money, you don’t even have to actively deal with it. In this episode I detail all the different types of backups for computers and tell you how to make a set it and forget it backup system, even when using physical external drives.
I also talk about that new-ish kind of frightening virus–Ransomware–and which backups help protect you against them (and which don’t).
Hugo Award voting opened not long ago, and the Nebula nominations are out. Awards season is in full swing! And that means it’s time (long past time, actually) for me to mention that I generated some award-eligible content last year. And I’ll be honest: I would indeed appreciate you considering me when you fill out your ballots.
I didn’t publish any fiction last year (damn novel taking up all my energy), so all my eligible works are in other categories.
Best Related Work: io9 Newsstand
“Works of literary criticism” fit in this category, and my io9 column fits that label. Every week I posted links to short fiction (stories, novelettes, novellas) that I loved and wanted everyone to read. I hope I also shined a light on stories and authors the io9 audience wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Best Fancast: JEMcast
Just in case you think Jem and the Holograms was not a genre show, I will remind you that it was about a woman who changed her appearance via hologram-generating earrings controlled by an AI that was magically able to connect to government computers via wireless Internet, which did not exist in 1985, when the show happens. And that’s not even getting into the time travel.
Every week on the JEMcast we analyze (and sometimes make fun of) an episode of the show. We also provide commentary on Jem-related stuff, such as the movie we’ve already all forgotten exists. I love our little show and I’m very proud of the episodes we produced last year and continue to produce this year.
Links to some of my favorite episodes:
- The Music Awards: Part 1 & Part 2
- The Jem Jam: Part 1 & Part 2
- Bonus: Jem and the Holograms – The Movie
Best Fancast: The Tempest Challenge
Fancast includes vlogs, and thus my challenge videos are also eligible. I didn’t produce that many last year, though, so I’m putting more effort into boosting the signal for JEMcast. However, I will not stop anyone from nominating the videos as well.
Some of my best:
Best Fan Writer: K Tempest Bradford
Writing from my blog is what counts toward this–well, the blog and social media posts and such, perhaps? I’m not the most prolific blogger these days. Though when I do write I tend to drop a bunch of stuff at once then go back to social media.
Here is the link to all my 2015 posts and here are a few I’m particularly proud of from last year:
- KidLit Authors and Illustrators: Time To Step Up
- I Challenge You To Support and Signal-Boost Marginalized Voices
- Sometimes Allies Are Bad Actors
- Good Writers, Coasting, and How You Can Avoid Joss Whedon’s Mistakes
- The Historical Accuracy Fallacy
- Further Discussions of Rape in Fiction and Media
And that’s it. As I said, I hope you will consider me when making your nominations. In my next post I’ll list the stories and other stuff I loved from last year that I think you should also consider.
- Do I need to put a disclaimer here saying NO SLATES, OH GOD, NO SLATES? I doubt it. Just in case: No slates, y’all. Nominate stuff you love and vote for what you think is best.[↩]
Razorhurst is set in Sydney, Australia 1932. The protagonists are women and the characters AREN’T all white. What. How can this be? It’s a sneaky plot by Justine Larbalestier to make her books realistic and relevant or something. Justine continues to eschew uncomplicated and simple narratives about young people with this amazing historical novel. If you haven’t read her other books, start here and work your way back and do not pass Liar or How to Ditch Your Fairy on your way to GO.
Would love to hear your thoughts on Razorhurst on the #KTBookChallenge tag on Twitter and Tumblr or the comments here or on YouTube. And, as always, you can support me making Tempest Challenge vids by clicking the links below when you…