But I still have updatey things!
Followup from Worldcon panels:
Older Women in Speculative Fiction: Catherine's book and story list of older women as protagonists in science fiction, fantasy and horror. Sidsel Pedersen had turned it into a Goodreads list that you can add to or use to build a reading list of your own. Catherine has a shorter Goodreads list of her reviews of some of the books in the bibliography.
LGBTQ Science Fiction Goes Worldwide - Catherine's original history of LGBTQ speculative fiction posts here now here. Her updated versions which include more horror and are longer are being posted on a monthly basis on Queer Sci-Fi and her list of speculative fiction with queer female protagonists cane be found here. The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards have a reading list of early works here (see also the award lists) and LGBTQ Reads for more recent works.
Podcasts - I had a two part interview up at author Heather Rose Jones' Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast. Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 is my work and Part 2 is book recommendations.
Most of our content is free to read and stream, but a paid magazine membership lets you read ahead of the free serialization, download the content, and support the creators.
Sparkler Monthly is a multimedia, digital shojo/josei magazine of original English-language fiction. Our carefully selected creators are paid advances for their work and go through a thorough editorial process. After a book or audio story is serialized in the magazine, it’s bundled with bonus material and sold as ebooks, limited paperbacks, and/or CDs in the Sparkler Shop (similar to the magazine –> tankoubon system in Japan). In addition, our paperbacks and products can be found at a number of retailers; see our Retail & Libraries page on where to buy, and how to acquire books for your business or library.
The primary audience for Sparkler Monthly is girls and women aged 15 and up, or anyone interested in the rough ballpark of Female Gaze. Our four founders and most of our staff identify as female and are committed to promoting inclusive, fem-positive, and ridiculously fun content. We welcome creators of any gender and are particularly interested in entertaining, engrossing stories that tap into the variety and diversity of fandom.
This is a link to their Kickstarter campaign. The FAQ gives great advice if the options are overwhelming.
I love their content, from scripted audio dramas to comics to light novels. I love getting paperback copies of things I've tried online, so that I can more easily share them with other people.
If you've thought about supporting Sparkler or trying it out, now is the best [and, potentially only] time to do so.
Powell’s Books beckoned to us in red, black, and white, like a flag for a new America. One that’s educated, homegrown, and all about sustaining local book culture.
Libraries are where nerds like me go to refuel. They are safe-havens where the polluted noise of the outside world, with all the bullies and bro-dudes and anti-feminist rhetoric, is shut out. Libraries have zero tolerance for bullshit. Their walls protect us and keep us safe from all the bastards that have never read a book for fun.
Juliet is a fat 19yo Puerto Rican lesbian writer from the Bronx, spending her summer in Portland, Oregon, interning with Harlowe Brisbane, the white feminist author of Raging Flower: Empowering your Pussy by Empowering your Mind. Shenanigans ensue, and they are gloriously, heartbreakingly real: a science fiction writing workshop honoring Octavia Butler; a reading at Powell's that goes horribly wrong; a queer POC party in Miami.
Rivera is brilliant on the rollercoaster that is growing up one or more kinds of "other" and trying to be true to your authentic self before you have quite figured out what that is.
You are your own person, Juliet. If it’s a phase, so what? If it’s your whole life, who cares? You’re destined to evolve and understand yourself in ways you never imagined before.
She is also extremely acute on the specific failures of white feminism. At a moment in history when our alliances may or may not save the world, it's on white women to understand how our thoughtlessness can inflict deep injuries on our best allies. And it's on white women to stop that shit.
This is a first novel and unpolished, but it's a huge shiny diamond full of light and color and my favorite thing I've read in the challenge so far.
Likes: For the most part, what I want out of my fandom experience is not what is already doled out in canon. I'm generally fond of the various canon iterations of these characters and their relationships, so if a request seems to contradict that for you, I'd prefer AU or poly over cheating. I have a STRONG affinity for themes of domesticity, being kind and helping one another, replacement (being with someone because you/both of you cannot be with the person you really want to be with, being with someone while thinking of someone else), forced space-sharing scenarios like sharing a bed, cuddling for warmth, or snowed in. Fake dating/fake married. I don't mind AUs that displace in time/space, but like to keep things like power and relationships at least close to the same. I like all kinds of women. Neurodivergence. Women holding their own, defending themselves. And cuddles. I like cuddles. I love explicit consent, even (especially?) when sex is not involved. Non-binary/genderqueer people being respected.
Dislikes: Racism. I realize that racism is discussed in several of these fandoms, so if you do address that (and I encourage you to!) I'd just rather avoid any new/more intense/awful forms than are already depicted. The "everyone knew you liked x/were gay except you" trope. Explicit sex that isn't part of a story or characterization (PWP). Several of these fandoms also include non-binary or not explicitly cis female characters. While I don't have any ride or die headcanons, I do ask that you respect what is presented in canon.
Art-specific Notes (if applicable): I can give or take detailed backgrounds -- what I'm interested in are the characters. Please don't skin-lighten. I strongly lean towards not wanting NSFW art -- nudity/explicit sex acts tend to make me uncomfortable. But sex poses while clothed are A+.
Additional notes and possible inspiration live at my dear author tag. I would be happy to answer any questions anon here, or through gloss or saturnofthemoon . If you (assigned creator or treat creator) would like a fandom- or pairing-specific prompt, please ask. Otherwise, my spoons are terribly low and providing so many would be quite difficult for me.
I am requesting:
Degrassi Next Class: Grace Cardinal/Zoe Rivas, Grace Cardinal/Zoe Rivas/Rasha Zuabi, Yael Baron/Lola Pacini
Degrassi the Next Generation: Fiona Coyne/Holly J. Sinclair, Mia Jones/Jane Vaughn
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Amanda Brotzman/Bart Curlish, Farah Black/Amanda Brotzman
The Good Place: Eleanor Shellstrop/Real Eleanor Shellstrop | Vicki, Tahani Al-Jamil/Eleanor Shellstrop
GLOW: Arthie Premkumar | Beirut/Rhonda Richardson | Britannica, Carmen Wade | Machu Picchu/Rhonda Richardson | Britannica, Ruth Wilder | Zoya the Destroya/Sheila the She-Wolf
Big Love: Nicolette Grant/Margene Heffman/Barbara Henrickson, Nicolette Grant/Barbara Henrickson
You should also know that I have a very involved full-time job, and two children at home (including an infant), so I may be slower to respond to queries and may be a little late with feedback when creations go live. I will do my best to be prompt, but sometimes things happen.
Uncanny Magazine -- whose editors have personal relationships to disability -- picked up the mantle of "create a wonderful anthology themed by marginal creators" from Lightspeed.
Even if you can't contribute money, Uncanny is posting free essays from SF writers about the connection between SF and disability. The essays are wonderful, and I've learned something from every one of them.
I kept meaning to post a highlight entry, and wowza beatrice_otter has done it for me!
So, go read this post and read wonderful essays
I'll leave you with this handy keyboard tip.
When I realize I want to delete a lot of text in the middle, I start a new line before and after. That way I can use the triple-click or keyboard commands without fussing with selecting between words.
The novel is at its sharpest and funniest when Amal is reporting his Pakistani parents' reactions to his horrible in-laws:
‘What she means is, we wish you all the luck in the world, Amal, but you must watch your back. Her people look like a bunch of backstabbers. Never trust them for an instant.’
There are also some moving passages where Amal imagines what he and Claud would be like as parents:
Theirs would not be paraded about like Sussex show ponies. There were plenty of cool, funky children they could take as their template.
or what their lives would be like child-free:
They could buy a holiday home abroad. Two. One on each hemisphere if that is what would make her happy. He racks his mind to think of the childless couples they know – not the kids from the office; guys their age and older – but cannot dredge any up. In their immediate circle, there are no trailblazers, only conformists. No matter. They are taste makers, she and him. They can set the precedent.
As with McEwan, though, I found these characters difficult to warm to. Amal and Claud both struck me as joyless corporate drones, preoccupied with status, their world devoid of beauty and pleasure. A technically adroit book, but not for me.
In a classic Tom Haverford move, rather than just write the obligatory you-have-succeeded-as-a-comedian-on-TV book (Bossypants, Girl Walks Into a Bar, I'm Just a Person, Paddle Your Own Canoe, Self-Inflicted Wounds, The Bedwetter, Yes Please... yeah, it's a genre), Ansari teamed up with Stanford sociologist Eric Klinenberg to figure out both why technologically-mediated dating is such an unrelieved horror show and, reading between the lines, why Ansari was finding it difficult to meet a nice woman.
The resulting book reminded me a bit of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything in that it's as curious and interesting as it is funny. Ansari's quizzical sweetness shines especially in his reporting on the specific dating scenes in Buenos Aires, Doha, Paris and Tokyo.
In Japan, posting any pictures of yourself, especially selfie-style photos, comes off as really douchey. Kana, an attractive, single twenty-nine-year-old, remarked: “All the foreign people who use selfies on their profile pic? The Japanese feel like that’s so narcissistic.” In her experience, pictures on dating sites would generally include more than two people. Sometimes the person wouldn’t be in the photo at all. I asked what they would post instead.
“A lot of Japanese use their cats,” she said.
“They’re not in the photo with the cat?” I asked.
“Nope. Just the cat. Or their rice cooker.”
“I once saw a guy posted a funny street sign,” volunteered Rinko, thirty-three. “I felt like I could tell a lot about the guy from looking at it.”
This kind of made sense to me. If you post a photo of something interesting, maybe it gives some sense of your personality? I showed a photo of a bowl of ramen I had taken earlier in the day and asked what she thought of that as a profile picture. She just shook her head. OH, I GUESS I CAN’T HOLD A CANDLE TO THAT STREET SIGN DUDE, HUH?
For me, the most engaging part of the book was seeing insights that later ended up as jokes in Master of None. I endorse and seek to emulate this kind of creative reuse! As for meeting a nice woman, the gossip rags tell me that Ansari was in a relationship with pastrychef Courtney McBloom for a while, but they parted amicably last year. So it goes.
Contains: shame, sexual violence, shame, internalized misogyny, eating disorder, shame.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to finish it.
The reports look at the impact of technology on society. They're piecse extend beyond the gee whiz to always consider technology's political impacts as well as social justice concerns.
What initially caught my eye is their sensible assistive tech reporting. No inspirational nonsense, no "this one gadget will change everyone's life!"
( two samples that spoke to me )
I find their weekly newsletter handy, as it's got has just the right amount of teaser text plus links to the full stories.
I am also thinking seriously about a third Incarceron novel, and have already drafted a synopsis. I once thought I had said all I needed to about this world, but there has been such a constant demand for more about Finn, Claudia, Keiro, Jared and Attia etc that I have been forced to think again. And yes, now that I'm working on it, it's a very exciting prospect. But it all depends on the publishers. As soon as I know anything definite, I will post news here.
I am SO EXCITED now. And also terrified, because I am about 99% sure Fisher doesn't care about Claudia/Jared nearly as much as I do (actually, Catherine Fisher does not appear to care about romances of any kind, period, even on those super-rare occasions when she seems to be trying to write one).
But still, more of these characters and this world would be AMAZING. *hyperventilates*
General likes: plot, women working together against common enemies, non-mundane AUs (coffee shop in space yes, coffee shop in modern day Earth no)
General dislikes: rape/non-con, non-canon character deaths, adult/teen or adult/child sexual interaction, mindless zombies, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic AUs, character or pairing bashing
I've tried to put several prompts for each of the fandoms and a general idea of what I like about them, but if you want to do something else completely, please do! These are just suggestions.
( American Gods (TV) )
( Crossover - Denise Bryson (Twin Peaks)/Dana Scully (The X-Files) )
( Marvel 616 )
( Murder Most Unladylike Series - Robyn Stevens )
Fandom: Person of Interest
Characters/Pairings: Root/Sameen Shaw, Harold Finch/John Reese, Harold Finch/Grace Hendricks, John Reese/Mark Snow, Michael Cole, Robert Hersh, Joss Carter, Kara Stanton, The Machine, Bear
Warnings/Content: Sentinel/Guide AU, mind-bonding, show level violence, show level torture, emotional hurt/comfort, canon character death (Michael Cole). Some Mark/John dubcon in chapters 4 and 5. Follows some events from Ep 1.10 Number Crunch, Ep 1.23 Firewall and 2.16 Relevance.
Notes: Written for wipbigbang 2017.
Thank you to my amazing betas: lilacsigil and musyc. You guys were awesome and got me from "I want to write POI Sentinel/Guide fic with soft face touching" to actually getting it posted.
Title is from the Elton John song. ("Subway's no way for a good man to go down.")
Summary: In 2001, Harold advised on a project called Cascade, not knowing he was a Guide himself. Years later, he and John, a Sentinel on the run from Cascade, must help Shaw, who has just lost her own Guide when the Project turned on her. Complicating matters is Root, searching for Harold's Machine and interfering with their rescue of Shaw.
Also at the Archive
The HIV Crisis In The Deaf Community
This excellent article highlights big troubles.
Just one story:
A gay Deaf man new to DC attempts to set up an interpreted appoint at a queer friendly clinic; after waiting for 45 minutes he's escorted to a room with a video relay interpreter:
Some context: Since Washington DC is home to Gallaudet University, they have a very large and skilled interpreter workforce. ( Two videos with ASL, captions, and audio )
All I wanted to do was to set up an appointment at a later date with the doctor and a live ASL interpreter. That’s all I want.
She looked at the note, smiled, and wrote, “We don’t do that here. ASL interpreters are expensive. This is a cheaper alternative.”
I looked at the note, shook my head, “No.” I got the feeling that this was not going to be a “Deaf-friendly” nor “Deaf accessible” and got up and started to leave when she grabbed my arm. I looked at her quizzically with her writing furiously on the note. She wrote, “You do qualify for our services but you have to understand, we can’t afford it.”
I looked at her disappointedly and wrote: “I find it ironic that the HIV-positive community is knowledgeable with the ADA law and uses it to the betterment for the community and yet can’t provide for their own.”quote ends