storyrainthejournal: (Default)
So, as I watch my lovely book sink into obscurity, here are some reader reviews of Substrate Phantoms to make myself feel better, since apparently it doesn't merit reviews in the critical key venues, or enough notice or attention to get on any best of lists or summer reads lists in major publications, which, frankly, breaks my heart. *Shakes fist at people ignoring my beautiful book.*

But I am very thankful to those individuals who have read it and said very best-of kinds of things. A sampling:
 
Oh, yes. Jessica Reisman definitely writes my kind of science fiction. The kind which includes wonder. 

I also particularly enjoy novels about life in a particular place, whether a space station or a starliner. What it is like to live in such a culture....
I also enjoy good worldbuilding. This book is full of not only a richly detailed world but complex well-developed characters who I was sorry to let go. (Sequel, please?) I particularly enjoyed her use of language. This culture has its own slang but there was enough context and enough that reasonably could be extrapolated from today's world that I was able to keep up smoothly.
...
Substrate Phantoms has it all. A well-told tale and a very satisfying read indeed. I highly recommend Substrate Phantoms to all who enjoy speculative fiction and have not lost their sense of wonder!
- Margaret A. Davis on Amazon

I started out liking this book. By the two-thirds mark, I loved it. At the end, I was sorry it was over.

In this far-future space opera, Reisman spins a tale both intimate and cosmic. Its two settings are vividly realized. One is Termagenti Station, a manufactured world with a deep structure and culture, appropriately exotic yet accessible to the reader--a combination not always easy to pull off in far-future fiction. The other is Ash, the planet below, a world slowly being adapted for human use. Jhinsei is a young man of unknown parentage who, after losing the only family he has known, becomes aware that the station--or is it Jhinsei himself?--is haunted, and by no conventional ghost. Meanwhile, another young man, Mheth, discovers uncomfortable truths about his own powerful, privileged, damaged family. Their fates are intertwined with that of another being--one that is sought after for its power to transform, or to destroy. What might first contact with another intelligent species really be like? What might we do to it--or it to us?

Reisman shines in her use of language. She captures the perceptions and emotions of her characters, and limns the worlds around them, in words both evocative and precise. In this way she sometimes reminded me of my favorite speculative-fiction writer, Jack Vance, especially in her rich but deft descriptions of Ash's beauty and strangeness. (I smiled to see the particularly Vancian word "nugatory" at one apt point.) The events and ideas of this novel are large, but there is power in the author's evoking of their interior repercussions. Highly recommended as an example of character-driven space opera.
- Rebecca Stetoff Amazon & Goodreads
 
storyrainthejournal: (fable)
No spoilers beyond what you get in a preview or blurb.

Snowpiercer
I saw Snowpiercer with an excited crowd of Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow attendees. We’d all ridden on the Hill Country Flyer steam train (I was in the Silver Pine car and my seat mates turned out to be very fun young women, one of them friends with Genevieve Valentine, whose new book I actually happened to be reading at the time, more about, below*) to the screening site in Burnet.

One of the coolest things about seeing the movie this way, besides the very gracious, funny, and informative presence of director Bong Joon Ho for Q&A, was the way the outdoors managed to augment the film at key moments, with a brief cooling and rise of the wind, a well-timed blowing of train horn, the arc of stars above as the night darkened.

As for the movie, despite the presence of some fairly large and hard to swallow world building and narrative leaps, I very much enjoyed it and was thoroughly engaged throughout. The world of the train is fantastic, and the performances are all around extremely fine--the presence of the two main protagonists from The Host very welcome. The entitled vs. marginalized/have vs. have-nots/grueling struggle with violent, psychopathic social injustice embodied in the film is one that easily finds traction for me, but it’s also one I think Bong Joon Ho dramatizes to devastating effect.


*The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
Very much enjoyed this, and read it compulsively fast. The Twelve Princesses is beautifully transposed to prohibition era New York. It's one of the more compelling fairy tale on its own, but The Girls at the Kingfisher Club makes something much darker, realer, and emotionally truthful of it. It rings true the way the best fairy tales do, while also being historical fiction with a PBS/BBC-like quality costume drama factor.


Child of a Hidden Sea
Just out, this is the first book in A.M. Dellamonica’s Stormwrack series, a very different feeling kind of portal fantasy set, largely, in an age-of-sail world somewhat like ours might be, someday--but then again, not. The world building, on an environmental, natural world scale, is phenomenal, detailed, and endlessly interesting; the magic system, deeply entwined with an equally complex and well-articulated legal system, reveals a great deal about the world and the many cultures inhabiting it. There’s swashbuckling adventure, moral quandaries, and a lot of fun.

(Full disclosure, the author is one of my dearest friends, and I read early drafts of this book, and the next in the series, a while back. The world and its characters have stayed with me, vivid and loved.) 
storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
If you haven't read Karen Joy Fowler's WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES, which just won the PEN/Faulkner award, you have a truly amazing book waiting for you.

This interview with the author is short, but excellent.

The best takeaway line from KJF, for me: "But mostly I believe that we shouldn’t do things we are unable to look at."

Should be required philisophy for all.
storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
"It is difficult -- and diminishing -- to separate the self who writes from the one who reads. Both acts belong to the communion of the word, which is a writer's life." Patricia Hampl

Over on [livejournal.com profile] beth_bernobich's lj, she talks about books she loves to pieces, with comment thread for yours.

The Other Half of the Sky, a collection of space opera stories with women protagonists that sounds AWESOME.

Today/tonight is World Book Night/Day. I don't have a bunch of books to give away, but if I did, I'd have the first collected volume of Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites.

*
Some books I have literally loved to pieces (and then bought new editions):

Patricia McKillip's Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy and her Forgotten Beasts of Eld

Tanith Lee's Don't Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine

Diana Wynne Jone's Archer's Goon

Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog
storyrainthejournal: (snowy)

Sweet, huh?

There were many other lovely, thoughtful gifts (which I refuse to laundry list on the grounds that it's not interesting for anyone but me) (I am very lucky in my friends and family), two lovely dinners with N&C & the kids (teenagers now), plus xmas day antipasto, and some precious time off to live more at my own pace, doing those things I love most, writing, meditating, reading, hanging with my cats, seeing movies, and going for walks. Back to the dayjob tomorrow, for two days, then another four off. Yay!

The cats all say hello, or zzzzzzzz:

  Scaramouch
  Tinker
Aristotle
storyrainthejournal: (fable)
Rachel Maddow, yay! She has some important things to say, well stated, from around 14.00 to the end. Math and science (Nate Silver!) facts, reality--please republicans and conservatives, come out of your bubble.
*

This is one amazing planet we're on.
*

Two more things of reading. I posted about this story on FB & tweeted, but lest you missed it, A.M. Dellamonica's "Wild Things," up at Tor.com, is a lovely, wild, weirdling ride of a love story.

The sequel to Laini Taylor's beautiful book Daughter of Smoke & Bone is now out; I went to hear her read from Days of Blood & Starlight last night at Book People, and it promises to be every bit as deep and wondrous a book. Highly recommended.
storyrainthejournal: (fable)

From the Twitter feed of the awesome @CharlieJane:
Most really important propositions are not provable using data. It's just that you're an asshole if you don't accept them as true. Like "all humans have equal worth" or "women should control their own bodies" or "LGBT people shouldn't need to earn your acceptance."

Truer words.

*
90 Days, 90 Reasons - Some of these are my reasons, too. And some of the essays are worth a read.

*
In other news, I seem to have finally, after 22 years, contracted one of Austin's allergies. ugh. snot. cough; writing is slow because dayjob has been hella busy & annoyingly demanding (I don't get paid enough, seriously); lots of good books read lately, in brief stints before sleeps, among the most enjoyed: Gwenda Bond's BLACKWOOD, Ben Aaronovitch's WHISPERS UNDERGROUND, the latest Laurie R. King Mary Russell mystery, and Leigh Bardugo's SHADOW AND BONE.

Also, I gave the first two of the FLORA SEGUNDA books to a newly minted 13-yr-old girl and definitely hit the spot.

storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
CIRCUS - FANTASY UNDER THE BIG TOP, which has a load of stories by awesome folks, and my own “The Vostrasovitch Clockwork Animal and Traveling Forest Show at the End of the World," is orderable through B&N or Amazon, in print or e-format.

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In other pleasurable reading news, Kathe Koje is offering a new story about Istvan and Rupert of UNDER THE POPPY--a lovely wonderful book, recently out in paperback edition--for the price of a picture of you with the book.

As a celebration of the publication of the paperback edition of Under the Poppy,  due out on 9/10 (and available now for preorder from Small Beer Press, B&N and Amazon, among others), I’m offering a PDF of never-before-published Poppy fiction, called “An Interlude of the Road”: the tale of a young Rupert and Istvan, and their encounter with Herr Nagler, the smiling herring-monger in the satrap’s robe.

To receive the story, all you need to do is send a picture of yourself and your copy of Under the Poppy.

*
And, in not so pleasurable, but educational, reading, Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, long form journalism in Rolling Stone.



storyrainthejournal: (bunny)

Recently I heard most of Watership Down on audio book while roadtripping. I first read Watership Down when I was nine (the year it came out, as a matter of fact), and reread it about a bazillion times shortly thereafter.

Listening to it all these years later (and then rereading the last couple of chapters, as my sojourn on the roadtrip ended before we'd finished the book) I realize that a lot of what's important to me in fiction came from it. Characters you truly root for and care about, a sense of both this world's realities and of some extra or otherworldliness--of the fantastic, hand in hand with the wonder of the natural world. All of that, but most strikingly, I think, is how deeply this book spoke to and deepened a love of nature and the naturalist’s eye in me.  

From near the end (but the novel is so rich in such observations of nature): Along the edge of the wood a sheet of wild clematis showed like a patch of smoke, all its sweet-smelling flowers turned to old man’s beard.


That's writing, wonderful writing.

*
I'm working toward establishing an actual blogging schedule for myself, with a loose rotating set of topics. I have a bunch of ideas I'm refining, but if you have requests, toss 'em at me. I'd especially appreciate any thoughts on a guest post format, what you'd want to hear about from any future guests here.

*
Jay Lake states here a lot of what disturbs/scares/drives me crazy about the conservative party in this country. Add to that that Mitt Romney clearly--based on his own words and actions--does not care about the wellfare of ordinary (that is, anyone not ultra wealthy or a corporation) people at all, and the idea of the man as president is terrifying. That isn't hyperbole. It hollows me out with shuddering dread. For this country, for the people who live here.

*
This, btw, is what corporations as people, unregulated financial and industry sectors, and the greed is good motive of business have gotten us.


storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Really pleased about this reprint sale! My story (which originally appeared in Crossed Genres magazine, currently kicking Kickstarter ass to make a comeback) "The Vostrasovitch Clockwork Animal and Traveling Forest Show at the End of the World" will appear in Ekatarina Sedia's Circus - Fantasy Under the Big Top. That's an Amazon pre-order link, which gives you a peek at the not quite final cover. 

*
The newest book in Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series, Casket of Souls, is out and already in my to be read next pile.

*
The Clarion West Write-a-Thon, ninth annual, starts in June. If 200 writers sign up to participate, a good donation is promised to the workshop. Plus, you know, write-a-thon!
storyrainthejournal: (yoruichi-light)
About the Avengers: thank you Joss for the central and nuanced portrayal of Black Widow and general acknowledgement of women as capable, serious, interesting people--heroes, even--making an already super yay fun movie more awesome than awesome sauce. I may actually see this movie a second time in the theater--first time in a loooooong time I feel like doing that.
*

To celebrate that the book's up on Amazon for pre-order, Martha has posted the first chapter of The Siren Depths, third book in the Books of the Raksura series, for your teasement. I heart this book, like the ones before it a great and satisfying fantasy read.
*

In conclusion: bioluminescent bloom like waves full of stars.
storyrainthejournal: (bookship)
Tody is the book birthday of A.M. Dellamonica's BLUE MAGIC, sequel to the award-winning INDIGO SPRINGS.

For some interesting words from Alyx on the book and its writing, check out M.K. Hobson's three-question interview with her, here: http://www.demimonde.com/2012/04/10/three-questions-with-a-m-dellamonica-author-of-blue-magic/ 

Then order the book, or go buy it, or request it, from your local bookstore.
storyrainthejournal: (in the library)

It's a smidge less than three weeks until the sequel to A.M. Dellamonica's award-winning INDIGO SPRINGS comes out, but you can read a Blue Magic excerpt over at Tor.com right now.

Authors Lynn Flewelling, Harry Connolly, Juliet McKenna, Martha Wells, Robert Mancebo, and Julie Czerneda, among others, are featured in this Kickstarter project, Tales of the Emerald Serpent.

If you're hungering for some more or less recently published fiction by me, there are my stories in Subversion ("A Thousand Wings of Luck") and the Unfit for Eden ("The Bottom Garden") edition of the wonderful Postscripts.

storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
Just out:
THE PILLARS OF HERCULES - has a really cool site that definitely whets my appetite for the book.

E.C. Myer's debut YA, FAIR COIN, garnishing praise where'er it goes! 

Stina Leicht's sequel to OF BLOOD AND HONEY, AND BLUE SKIES FROM PAIN, also garnering praise far and wide!

Books you probably don't need me to mention, but they're on my read list, Gail Carriger's TIMELESS and Naomi Novik's CRUCIBLE OF GOLD.

Coming soon:
BLUE MAGIC, sequel to A.M. Dellamonica's Sunburst award-winning INDIGO SPRINGS is out in early May.

Elizabeth Bear's RANGE OF GHOSTS, for the advance copy of which you may remember my great love, is out March 27, soon soon soon!

And, far ahead, in January 2013, the third in the Books of the Raksura series, THE SIREN DEPTHS, from Martha Wells, the ms of which I am just now finishing, and wow, guys. It's so good. That thing they say, riveting? That. I love these books. In anticipation, you can get the first two books, and check out some fun ephemera from the Three Worlds Compendium on Martha's site. Like the quick guide to distinguishing Raksura from Fell. It may save your life. 
storyrainthejournal: (catwhale)
First, one for a story of my own, "A Thousand Wings of Luck," which appears in the Subversion anthology. Kay Holt gives it a very swell little review over on her blog, as part of a series of reviews of the whole anthology. An excerpt:

Without being heavy-handed, A Thousand Wings of Luck explores the interplay between faith and skepticism and invites the reader to take no assumption for granted. To question tradition and dogma, and examine superstition and the influence of interpretation upon the law. In its elegant way, this story also advocates for experimentation as both a threat to empty faith and the remedy for blind literalism.

She got it!

*
I've already posted about these books, but here it is again: The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea - wonderful fantasy reads.

*
Available near the end of March, Elizabeth Bear's Range of Ghosts, to quote my own earlier review, is epic and has "true brilliance and greatness of heart."

*
Pico Iyer's article, The Writing Life: The Point of the Long and Winding Sentence, is worth a read. Iyer touches on some stuff about language and writing that's near and dear to my heart... The point is certainly not that every sentence should be long, but that we need to make more room and grow more appreciation (as writers and as readers) for the long sentence and its unique and twisty power of revelation.

*
Lastly, food! For locals and visitors, from the current menu (don't know how long it will last) the winter root vegetable croquets over kale and a carrot puree/foam thing at the East Side Show Room is, oh, sooo good. I don't usually like carrots very much, but I snarfed every bit of this foamy orange incarnation. Follow it with the Show Room's pear poached in burgundy with whipped honey chevre and homemade biscotti. Glory.

To end as I began, with a self rec, here's the easy way I make really yummy baked tofu:

slice firm tofu into rectangle slabs about a half inch, or less, thick
line a cookie pan or toaster oven pan w/tin foil (otherwise known as aluminum foil)
put down some butter dabs or olive oil, soy sauce, & garlic powder
lay tofu pieces over this in one layer
top with more butter or olive oil, *soy sauce, & garlic powder  

*be pretty liberal with the soy sauce

cover loosely w/another bit of tin foil
bake at about 400 for 45 minutes to an hour

serve w/a steamed veggie

storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
The second of Martha Well's Books of the Raksura, The Serpent Sea, is out! I read an early draft of this, but am now very happily reading the shiny new published version, and I am just as engaged and enthralled and pleased about it as the first time.

Go get this book!

(If you don't already have The Cloud Roads, get that, too!)

Seriously, these books are wonderful. And I so want to live in the mountain tree.

storyrainthejournal: (littleowl)
I was priveleged and pretty squeeful to read an ARC of Elizabeth Bear's RANGE OF GHOSTS, due out in the world March 27, 2012.

If I could have holed up at home and done nothing but read this book for a couple of days, I would have. Life doesn't permit that to me these days, and I can barely stay up past 10 most nights, so it took me a while to finish, but that's not the fault of the book. As it is, I'm now cursed to wait for the second book in the series (the Eternal Sky series), THE SHATTERED PILLARS, for freaking ever. Want now. whine.

Set in a very alternate, but still recognizable and real-feeling, northeast Asia of the Mongol Empire, Range of Ghosts is epic, in landscape and scope and sweep of storytelling. This is a big world full of legend, magic, multiple cultures, and intimate human realities. It's the kind of narrative and landscape, both intimate and huge, that stretches you and expands within you, colonizing your dreams and the terrain of your thoughts. It's the kind of book, and the beginning of the kind of series, that literate fantasy fans live for, the kind that you live in and that lives in you. The kind with characters, human and nonhuman, you want to know and spend time with, and that you'll go back and read again.

I think this book, and the series it promises, has true brilliance and greatness of heart.

Also, I want an HBO series based on it.
storyrainthejournal: (snowy)
Martha Wells is a doing a giveaway drawing for your choice of either The Cloud Roads or The Serpent Sea, which follows The Cloud Roads and will be out around the beginning of the new year. These are wonderful books. I read a very early version of The Serpent Sea and am very much looking forward to the published version.

Also, as of this morning, The Cloud Roads is still being offered as a free promo on Amazon Kindle US.

Me, I am keeping my head down, trying to get refocused on revising the draft of Deep Terrain, having sent the Edit Letter revisions of Substrate Phantoms back at the beginning of last week. Kind of slow getting back into it.

Also, not feeling very communicative of late; very inward. This is a thing that happens, and will pass. Not a bad thing, just a thing.

Winter holidays, for me, are about making light. Inside the self, inside the walls of home; kindling it in exchanges with loved ones and others, in whatever we put our hands to. Light, warmth, kindness, celebration.
storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
SUBVERSION, Science Fiction and Fantasy Tales of Subverting the Norm is available as of today! Here, among many very fine tales you can read my story "A Thousand Wings of Luck," of which, an excerpt:

On the fourth of the Nine Days of Luck, the luck moths rose up out of the forest and descended on The House of Wren in a dry, rustling mist. They floated on eddies of river wind coursing down the house's stone corridors, massed in the air above terraces, obscured the gray and blue slate of the Wren School roof.

This story searched for a home for a long time, always not quite right, though generally liked. Big thanks to editor Bart Leib for finding it just right.

Here's a review of the collection that tells you about some of the other stories.

Get a copy as you like it: Print ($11.95): Amazon / Ebook ($4.99): Amazon Kindle or B&N Nook

storyrainthejournal: (Default)
If you're looking for a genre fiction writing class you really can't do much better than A.M. Dellamonica's Creating Universes, Building Worlds through the UCLA online extension program. Some info on it in her post here, with links to more info and to the syllabus. I know few writers who are as truly braw at plot and at conveying all the nuts and bolts of the process in a such useful way. (yes, I'm making another effort to get the work braw back into use)

*
Bunraku is a movie that went straight to DVD, and I guess I can sorta see why, but I really enjoyed it. It's stylized and beautiful in a dreamy, hallucinatory sort of way, a paean to samurai and western films, and to, er, pop-up art books. It also has Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Ron Pearlman, Kevin McKidd, Demi Moore, and some great fight sequences. If you like any of those things, you might like Bunraku.

*
Books read recently include the following, with brief review notes:
The Hum and the Shiver - erm...I can see why a lot of folks have really liked this book (glowing reviews abound, so take mine with grains of salt), but for me it was just okay. I never really believed in or was fully engaged by the characters and I don't feel like the ending was either fully realized or fully earned by what went before. I prefer Justified for my southern gothic, I guess. 

The Night Circus - Quite wonderful. Beautiful and intricate with a satisfying arc, engaging characters, and so much lovely world architecture one could happily wander it forever--which is part of the point. Wonders upon wonders, intimate and revealing. For me, a better book about magic/illusion than some others in that vein. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - I was more engaged in the first half of this than the last half, but it was overall well done and engaging, and ended promisingly. The use of old photographs is pretty great, and also pretty uncanny.

Currently I'm reading an ARC of Elizabeth Bear's RANGE OF GHOSTS and am so very into it--seriously, this book is good. Like, epic canvas, disappear into this world with these characters, deeply textured, good. Excited to be reading it. More when I finish.

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