storyrainthejournal: (Default)

Reality crumbling in our hands

Like some Dickian nightmare

Evidence of infection in the veins of every day

Monsters who are monsters because they

Care only about themselves and

Will only support those who either

Resemble them, fawn to them,

Or provide gratification to them,

Passively, like surfaces mapped with

Scars, the impress of

The monsters' warped psyches

Naming the monsters—white, cis, male, heterosexual—is not

Helpful, because like any monsters, they are distinct from others

Who wear the same labels and are not


Naming doesn’t help, as it does in fairy tales

They go on raining destruction

Undermining bridges

Burning all that nurtures, protects, is beautiful or


I, who as a child daydreamed of being one of

Arthur’s knights, I want to slay them

I guess I’ve always been a little blood thirsty

But only for the blood of the evil

Like a cursed sword, lost

In a very deep lake


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Blade Runner 2049 has lots of great technology riffs and visuals of a beautifully (unnuanced) dystopian nearish noir future. I love that stuff—gadgets, technology, future landscapes, urbanscapes, interiors. I am a science fiction loving girl.

But the movie has zero other science fictional world building—that is, social world building that admits of any desires or worldviews of any individuals other than heterosexual, normative, white men. Even the replicant protagonist is a het, white, normative guy—who projects his perfect dream woman onto a sex worker to have sex with her. And, ooh, ahh, what a cool scene. /sarcasm. It made me sad, annoyed, and bored as shit, that scene. Because it’s just an externalized realization of the Same. Old. Story.

High heels, naked women objectified all over the place—where are the beautiful, objectified young men, large women, androgynous individuals? Where are the desires of literally everyone else? Where are the women and people of color who aren’t props and furnishing for the world of straight white men? Every single female character in this movie is a prop or foil for white straight males, either the protagonist, or Deckard, or the Jared Leto character. And do I even need to mention the few PoC minor characters? Yeesh.

If that’s how humanity develops, admitting nothing of the diversity of aims and needs, worldviews, strengths, and desires of anyone but the ones western culture has always served—to say nothing of the visions of all the very intelligent people working on green answers to the issues that become Blade Runner’s environmentally bereft future—humanity may as well be killed off right now. When science fiction does little beyond spinning the worst technologies forward while reifying the oldest, most retro, and tired of male, western, heterosexual angst, desires, and projections onto others—literally mapping them onto others in that one scene, and projecting them hugely into the landscape in others—science fiction is lazy and not doing what it needs to do.

You could say that all this objectification of women was in keeping with the noir aspect of Blade Runner, but I’d say there was cherry picking there, too. And I’d also say I want more, I want better. Given everything going on in our world right now, I think we need better from big budget Hollywood movies, which command so much attention and money. Maybe that’s hopeless, but I think we have to ask, and keep asking, for it.

At the very least, for Blade Runner 2049 to have been truly remarkable and worth doing, for my money anyway, the protagonist should have been a gay man, or a woman, or a PoC—or all of those.


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sometimes it's the only way I can say what's in me...

Standing here

Wondering where exactly

Here is

Thinking of my ancestors

Thinking, should I leave now—leave

This here, where now the nightmare drifts

A deadly gas

Promise of horror

Do I fight on?

And writing—how

In this midst, this here, this now

Write my far flung, deep-set

Stories of others and self, self as others

Adventuring, fighting the dark forces

How do you fight a deadly gas?

Go always masked

Wear clown noses

Bury your face in the cat’s soft fur and breathe

Only the scent of love and warmth?

Hide in the woods

Deep in the water, breathing through reeds

Listen for far off music

Listen, for hope, for love, for strength, hands to hold

An embrace of comfort in the dark—


Weren’t those
Only stories?

storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Here 'tis, my ArmadilloCon 2017 schedule.
Friday I'm teaching in the writers' workshop, an all day affair.

Saturday, 5:30 PM-6:00 PM Reading, Room 102
I'm reading with the most fab E.J. Fischer, two brief readings of outstanding wonderfulness

Saturday, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Fiction for Empathy, Ballroom F
How do reading and writing fiction help us to understand one another?

*Sunday Noon-1:00 PM, Signing, Dealers' Room

Sunday 1:00 PM-2:00 PM, Dystopias (and utopias) in a dystopian age, Ballroom E
Reading and writing dystopias (and utopias) in a dystopian age

*If you bring me a copy of SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS to sign, I'll give you a full set of my limited edition postcards from space, which I made, me my ownself, good for sending postcards, framing, making notes on, fanning oneself, admiring.

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: (bookship)

Here are the postcards (from spaaace!) I made (they refer to things in the book):

Here is something a smart and talented person said about the book:

"Substrate Phantoms is beautifully written and richly imagined, with themes and imagery that remind me of Samuel R. Delany’s Babel-17. It’s a lovely book; I hope we’ll see more of this universe and these characters."
—Judith Tarr, award winning author of FORGOTTEN SUNS

Here is the giveaway package:

If you would like to have this (yes, this very one, pictured above) advance reader copy of the book and a set of my bespoke postcards (from spaaace!), printed on nice recycled stock, please enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway. Begins Monday May 8, ends midnight Wednesday May 10. Once the winner is chosen and mailing address obtained, package will be sent! (Only entrants with USA or Canadian mailing addresses, please--sorry.) (Pillow fox not included.)

I got my ARCs pretty much too late to do a Goodreads giveaway; I don't have a huge following (yet), so RTs and spreading of the word is very much appreciated. Let's launch this book. (Into spaaace!)

storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Advance praise post #2! And the last in my postcards-from-space series! Full postcard set and how to get your paws on the printed set to follow later this week.

"It’s a testament to Reisman’s storytelling chops that after reading just the opening chapter, I could hardly wait to get back to the book to find out what was going on. There is a threat and a promise in that opening, and what followed did not disappoint. Reisman’s world-building skills are no less impressive than her storytelling. I was immersed and invested in the characters immediately and was pulled into their story by the way the author continued to expand my view of the universe she had imagined. This is the whole package: fully-realized characters with a mystery to be solved, set in a vivid science fictional world."
— Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, New York Times Bestselling co-author of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Mr. Twilight.

SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS is out May 16. Get it direct from the publisher, at Amazon, B&B, or Indigo, or ask for it at your local library or book store.
storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Fixing to get a little promotional here and in my various channels. SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS is out in less than a month! I am excite.

In the category of advance praise (the inelegantly named "blurb"), the very kind and entirely wonderful Michael Bishop had this to say about the book:

"Jessica Reisman’s Substrate Phantoms strikes me as a parsec-pioneering SF novel of the highest pedigree. It exists in a matrix of lucid far-future prose, to wit, fresh English with long-tomorrow noir twists. Every page discloses evolved or augmented human beings against the backdrop of a hermetically radical space station, Termagenti, or the dirt-rich gravity well of a partially terraformed planet called Ash.

Substrate Phantoms presents immemorial human acts in variations as strange as any 21st-century reader could imagine, but always in contexts emotionally resonant. I think it an out-and- out breakthrough, with mystical and sociological roots trailing back to Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. Indeed, true aficionados of humane hard SF will applaud Ms. Reisman for bequeathing them this beautiful tale of a heretofore uncreated tomorrow." —Michael Bishop, author of A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire

Pre-order the physical book through the Resurrection House page & get a free epub download. Or get it any of the usual suspects, Amazon, B&N, Indigo. Or ask for your library to get it. Mmm, libraries.

If you're a reviewer, you can get a review copy through the Resurrection House page.

storyrainthejournal: (what?)

I have a little cat in my lap

He is bony in places and

Has shrunk a bit in the last year

As have I

Both of us

A little more fragile

The white parts of his fur

Aren’t always as clean

As they once were and


I have to wash a little schmutz off his nose

He still puts a paw over one of my hands to hold it there

So I must type one-handed

And we both sigh

Only, I think, because there is comfort in a sigh, because it is a breath

Taken deep


storyrainthejournal: (owl&pussycat)
Appearance alert! I'll be at Houston's Comicpalooza, May 12-14

I'm on the writing & literature program track, the quiet side of a comicon that features celeb guests, big artists' alley and dealers room, a maker faire, etc.

I'm doing two panels:

Saturday 2:30 - 3:30pm  Creative Collaborations - How, Why, and With Whom?
Sunday 2:30 - 3:30pm  How to Publish a Short Story

Other than that I'll be around some, and will have some full sets of my SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS postcards, and hopefully, an advance reading copy or two.

storyrainthejournal: (bookship)

Postcards from space! Being postcard 3 in a series of 4. Collect ‘em all! Visit the planet Ash in SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS, out May 16 from Resurrection House. Get your ticket to travel here. Or wherever books are sold. Or ask for it at your library!

storyrainthejournal: (bookship)
Second in the postcard series. SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS, May 16, 2017. Get your ticket to travel.

see you in wave space.jpg
storyrainthejournal: (bookship)
Termagenti what you need.jpg
 Three months. Visit Termagenti Station, Palogenia System.

                              Get your ticket here.
storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)
I have been pretty spotty on the social media webnet of inters recently. The constant stream of outrage model of Facebook or Twitter engagement was burning me out like an old-tech bulb. With smoke wisping out of my ears. Meanwhile, it's hard enough getting fiction written with a dayjob--even harder when I wake up at 3am with visions of going all Ripley with a flamethrower on some lying, abusive, fascist jerkwad bullies who are taking over our government intent on dismantling everything it does that is good or protective or forward thinking, in the service of more money for the already too fucking wealthy.

So, recalibrating.

What I've decided is that it's everyone's personal responsibility to stay informed and be aware of the outrages being perpetrated daily (which has been the case since well before this egregous uptick in awfulness, btw), to be aware that things perpetrated by these lying fucks are already impacting the lives of people and other animals in serious, injurious, and life-threatening ways. Further to that, here are a couple of links to resources for staying informed, if you don't already:
Going forward, while I will be making calls, writing postcards, and going to marches, and will surely still sometimes post things political, my focus when doing so will be on positive things--calls to action, amazing things women, queer folk, PoC, and others are doing. Otherwise, there will be joy on my FB, Twitter, etc., (Tumblr, my happy place), stuff about what I love: books, movies, art, whimsy, rain, beauty, cats, animals, music, the funny.

I can't let those horrible people take up so much real estate in my brain and imagination, I need it for better, much more attractive, things. Given the state of my lungs and other health issies...I just don't want to waste my beautiful mind on them. And, as it says in this nice little op-ed piece from Arianna Huffington, "The goal of any true resistance is to affect outcomes, not just to vent. And the only way to affect outcomes and thrive in our lives, is to find the eye in the hurricane, and act from that place of inner strength."
storyrainthejournal: (bookship)
Here it is, the cover art for SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS. I am so excited to show you this cover. I may be in love with it:

SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS is set for a May 16 publication from Resurrection House. I am very thankful to everyone involved in bringing this novel to its best, including my late agent Linn Prentis, her successor Trodayne Northern, Mark Teppo of Resurrection House.

More info at Amazon, Indigo, or Barnes & Noble pre-order pages, and at my website.
storyrainthejournal: (yoruichi-light)
No has been echoing through my head a lot lately, in giant bold font. Every time I see another outright lie of DT’s repeated unquestioned by “news” outlets; every time violent racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic, homophobic threats, rhetoric, and abuse are treated as valid platforms or schools of thought; every one of DT’s appointment announcements; every time DT is allowed, without check, to threaten the press, sic his violent, unhinged followers on a private citizen to threaten abuse, rape, murder and harm to their families; every time—

It looks like this:

DT tweets a straight-up lie, like taking credit for job creation or economy boosting that’s to Obama’s credit, not his, and mainstream media news orgs repeat or report it unexamined—


CNN entertains questions about whether Jews are human—


DT appoints egregiously racist individual—


Anyone tries to equate the protests and free speech of hate that threatens harm to others with protests and free speech about protecting lives and the environment—


DT appoints individual who is entirely anti-whatever the post is—


DT tweets displeasure with a private citizen and his followers besiege that person with threats—


Organizations and individuals normalize white supremacy—responsible for the worst crimes in recorded history—as if it’s legitimate and can reasonably be part of civilized discourse—


People in a position to standup usefully against him are silenced or say we need to get along, we need to wait and see—


Every affront to justice and our better natures—


Say it loudly. Keep saying it. However you can, with whatever resources you can muster.

Of course, no’s cognate YES must also be liberally (heh, see what I did there?) applied: YES, to art and science, to kindness, to generosity, open minds, learning, teaching; YES to growing our awareness and understanding of others (except hateful bullies and the psychopaths and sociopaths in power those bullies support, none of whom have any interest in growing or learning or understanding back, because NO to victimizing ourselves over and over for a lost cause); YES to the beauty and reality of diversity, possibility, supporting and celebrating all that is good; YES to standing up for each other, for our amazing, precious planet, for animals, and YES to saying NO to individuals and regimes that threaten any of it.
storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)
It has, in myriad ways, been a pretty difficult year. Certainly I am, and have been, beside myself with our country's seemingly unstoppable slide toward most decidedly not-a-democracy, but a fascist kleptocracy.

Lost a lot of bright lights from the humanscape, too.

On the personal front, I've had some pretty demoralizing health patches--but, 2016 has also brought a few very goods in my life. SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS found a home with awesome Resurrection House Books and I couldn't be happier about that; I got to go to Sycamore Hill and--painful fingers wrapped like sausages despite--really loved being there and spending time with a bunch of wonderful fellow writers; and the luminous Ellen Datlow bought my Sycamore Hill story, "Bourbon, Sugar, Grace" for

I also got to spend lovely time with my beloved sister for the occassion of her daughter's wedding and have felt the support and love of friends and family.

Good things happened in the world, too, and will continue to do so, evil dystopic abusive bullies in power despite--unless of course that giant meteor takes us all out. Until then, however, it behooves us each to be the best and kindest--to ourselves, other humans, other animals, and the environment that sustains us--that we can be, in whatever ways that we can encompass.
storyrainthejournal: (alice&bun)
A few things.

If you must use alt-right, it's neo-Nazi alt-right, or fascist, racist, hate is our brand alt-right. Those are the correct terms. Use them. Or just use Nazi, because, despite sophistry about neo vs. old-style, or about how some are nazis and some are KKK and others are just 'white nationalists,' Nazi is still, in terms of aims and behaviors, correct. See also: worst element of regressive evil in humanity, right there beside Isis. They are not the future, they are the worst of the past. Not the "children of the sun," the children of hate, they create nothing but misery for others.

This is not normal. We cannot move forward with these people. I know that sucks; we all want our normal lives back. But perhaps you should go look at some pictures and reports from Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and other documentation of Nazi Germany's normalization of 'alt-right' philosophies, go look so you can see exactly what it is you're enabling.

Then stand up, call it out when you see it or hear it, don't allow it take hold in your community, in your life, in your own self. Take whatever nonviolent action you can, make our systems of law and our checks and balances work for us. Hold the media to task when they enable--and they're doing it now.

Speak up. However it is that you can. Whether it's encouraging or facilitating real conversation and critical thought as an educator; making art; calling out silent acquiescence to fascist, abusive, racist, misogynist, ableist behavior; organizing, writing letters, going to protests, signing petitions, making phone calls; providing support to the most vulnerable or to organizations doing good work; subscribing to news orgs and then demanding truly clear headed, real reporting from them (hint: If they use 'alt-right,' correct them and tell them not to do the Nazi's rebranding PR work for them).

If you think this is an overreaction, please behold my psychic powers: you are white, have some financial resources, and are probably not Jewish (though the phenomenon of individuals punching themselves in the face exists widely. See: white women who voted for Trump). And then think about how Nazi Germany ultimately turned out for everyone in that country. Hint: not good. And if you are a white person with some financial resources, it's so fucking important for you to stand up, speak up, and not remain silent.

This kind of action, is what Trump, in all his corrupt, delusional, thin-skinned self-aggrandizement, represents for everyone who is not one of him. (He has financial stake in that pipeline.) The list of what these people don't actually care about is: everything and everyone but their own power and deluded self-interest.

And by the way, a majority of Americans picked Hillary; she won the popular vote by roughly two million.

I'm not saying run around like a chicken with your head cut off; I am saying don't accept this as normal. Yes, continue to live your life, but live a reality of kindness, compassion, love, speaking up for what's right, taking action, dancing, singing, celebrating what's worth celebrating, giving back, engaging in joy, and don't let the slimiest, nastiest elements of human society raise a flag of hate and horror over us all.

ETA: Here's an online curriculum: WHO, IF NOT YOU?
How you can intervene when witnessing racist assaults
storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)
Please stand up for those being targeted wherever and however you can. I refuse to live in Nazi Germany 2.0 and if you don't think this is the beginning of that, you're not paying attention. White nationalists who want to dismantle democracy are taking over our government. This is not like other elections, not at all. I'm white, but I'm descended from jews and I know my history. Just because they're not going after people who look like me right now, doesn't mean they won't.

Day 1 in Trump's America

Welcome to Trump’s America: 87 reports of people bullied by emboldened bigots — and the list is growing

How to Intervene in a Racist Attack
storyrainthejournal: (clockwatch)
The Germans who put Hitler in office had reasons, too. Anyone who can't see what a vote for Trump equals gets no sympathy from me. The Nazi parallel is clear & announced here. It's not hiding. Mass suffering, dead children, violence, rape, horror upon horror, that's what Trump stands for.

If you abstain from voting or vote third party this election, whatever your reason, you are standing by and watching in silence while the horror machine ratchets up. This is not hyperbole. If you care about anybody who is a woman, a person of color, disabled, LBGT, muslim or jewish, ffs vote, and vote for Hillary.

This is not a fucking drill, people.


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