must see magic love horror

Hello, readers.

I’ve finished Neuromancer. I believe this counts for 8 additional sci-fi cred points (sfcp’s, as the kids call them, the ones in my head that I made up anyway).

Here are a few links of note for you, this Thursday, the ancient day of the god Thor and the slightly less ancient god of NBC’s Must See TV.

An awesome Storify put together by Alyssa Wong wherein she asks writers to send her their favorites of stories they’ve written, and share why they favor them so very much.

I sent Alyssa a link to this old gem, Some Things about Love, Magic, and Hair, which I wrote about the why’s and wherefore’s in Some Things About Some Things.

Stories, like love, are a kind of magic, even to the writers and lovers. Especially to them, maybe, because some part of them, like the magician, knows that everything around them is an illusion, a carefully orchestrated system of smoke and mirrors and forevers designed to conceal the truth—that the woman is still in one piece, that the flying man is held up by wires, and that love, however true it seems, sometimes lasts for only a month, a year, or a day.

An interview with Kelly Link by Helen Oyeyemi

I do reread books and stories, all the time. Often children’s books and ghost stories, especially anthologies of ghost stories. Stephen King’s novels or collections. I reread things that I loved, or that had a particular effect on me. I once asked a bunch of horror writers why it was still pleasurable to reread scary stories when their power to scare us has diminished. The writer Nick Mamatas said, “I read to feel a sense of dread.”

A great interview with one of my favorite writers. ^_^

A review of Uncanny Magazine’s 4th Volume, Come into the Valley, by Angel Cruz.

It’s all tied together by Tran Nguyen’s astonishing cover art, if anything a tribute to the untameable nature of science fiction and fantasy, and the possibilities within. If there was ever a time to start reading Uncanny Magazine, Volume 4 confirms is it, with stimulating and truly enjoyable fiction, and a strong developing nonfiction base.

Happy gods and television, readers.


get in trouble

Hello, readers.

It’s terrifically blue out there today. This morning, I finished Kelly Link’s newest collection of stories, Get in Trouble. I really loved the one with a haunted space ship. And the one with shadows too many and too few.

If you have a moment, here’s an interview with Link on Between the Covers, in which she discusses doubles and income inequality and how being a well-rounded writer shouldn’t be your goal.


GRRM responds to Larry Correia’s response to his posting about puppies sad and rabid.

If nothing else you will learn a lot of acronyms people use as shortcuts to hating what they believe other people represent.

Other things of joy:

Life is Not a Shoujo by Isabel Yap

House of Aunts by Zen Cho

Read. Rinse. Repeat.

Be wary of shortcuts.


emptying my pockets of puppies

Hello, readers.

This morning, I watched a periscope of Tom Warren trying on a $17,000 watch. We live in the future and it’s ridiculously expensive.

The best part of my Apple Watch periscope was the guy who was wearing the iPod nano as a watch! Legend

And I almost bought one of the cheaper versions before I noticed it wouldn’t be delivered until the end of May, and I figured if one must wait that long, one might as well wait a little bit longer and see how the thing works. Also, I might find something more interesting to spend that money on, in the meantime. Perhaps a post-wedding adventure, or two.

Also, the hugo award nominees were announced at Eastercon. A fairly fervent fervor occurred in the wake of those announcements involving puppies. To make a long story short, there were some angry puppies angry about the supposed lack of good old-fashioned, traditional futuristic science fiction and possibly elf-laded fantasy(?) and they campaigned to get a lot of certain types of writers on the Hugo ballot and succeeded in large part this year, as opposed to last year, and here’s a whole lot of people of note who’ve written on the subject.

Why SAD PUPPIES 3 is going to destroy Science Fiction! from big puppy Brad R. Torgersen

In other words, while the big consumer world is at the theater gobbling up the latest Avengers movie, “fandom” is giving “science fiction’s most prestigious award” to stories and books that bore the crap out of the people at the theater: books and stories long on “literary” elements (for all definitions of “literary” that entail: what college hairshirts are fawning over this decade) while being entirely too short on the very elements that made Science Fiction and Fantasy exciting and fun in the first place!

Yes, people do read the non-Puppy novels up for the Hugo and Nebula Awards from Jason Sanford

All of these numbers indicate that people are reading the novels on the Sad Puppies slate AND the novels their campaign implies no one reads. In fact, if you take VanderMeer’s novel into consideration, then far more people read the first novel in his Southern Reach series than all the other Hugo and Nebula shortlisted novels combined with the exception of Skin Game by Jim Butcher.

What these numbers tell me is there’s no reason to say that the Sad Puppies campaign represents the true genre fandom any more than people should say the novels which made the Nebula Awards are the true fandom. People in the science fiction and fantasy genre are reading all of these works.

So the next time someone tells you their view of SF/F represents the genre’s true fans, don’t believe them. Because the numbers say otherwise.

Also very much worth reading:

The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They’re Only Political. from Charlie Jane Anders

A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year

Where’s the beef? from George R.R. Martin, and a guardian article about his post.

Hijacking the Hugo Awards Won’t Stifle Diversity in Science Fiction from Kameron Hurley in The Atlantic

Holding the Hugos–and the English Language–Hostage for Fun and Profit from Cat Valente

The 2015 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees from Abigail Nussbaum

Happy weekend, readers.



eastercon wrap-up

Hello, readers.

IMG_2621 (1)
the line for platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross



A six-step survival guide for EASTERCON 2015 in case you are me and end up going back in time.


1. You should take the next the train.

Be aware that the train you board with eg and sd will, alas, receive the wrong signal and end up going in the wrong direction, forcing everyone on the train to alight, cross over, go backwards, and then board and go forwards and arrive an hour or so later than they expected. So, when you meet sd on the platform, and see the train with your destination show up, skip it. Take the next one. It’ll be faster. Trust me.

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me and my shoes.



2. Meet all the people.

The best part of any convention is the people. Friends, old and new. People who surprise you with their energy and awesome shoes. People you’ve worked with but never met in person and so have no idea how fantastically tall they are. People you’ve read but never thought you’d meet or share Indian food with. People you’ve known only a little while but will discover new secrets about their hair and the problematics of “not presenting as geek.” Crazy cool panelists who surprise you with their collection of rubber guns and monkey’s faces. Crazy not-so-cool but totally fascinating people who wear capes and quiz you on your knowledge of dungeons and dragons. You don’t immerse yourself in crowds very much. But, you’re here now. Look. Listen. Take notes. You might end up with awesome quotes like: “It was basically sex pollen,” or “It was cool. He turned into a bird,” or “I had dinner with Yoda’s mum!”

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aliette de bodard reading awesome.



3. Seanan McGuire

The lady’s a troubador. Go. Listen. Enjoy the show.

the picture of a troubador



4. Don’t bother with Periscope.

Look. It’s the future. I’m traveling back in time. Live video is big. People do it. You’re not ready for it, though. You’re too self-conscious to hold up your phone for any length of time worth people watching your live video of EASTERCON. Maybe, someday when they allow people to volunteer to periscope panels and get to set up a tripod.

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the girl with a fake fireplace.



5. Be prepared to ask ridiculous questions of yourself and the people sitting next to you during panels that feature people saying things that bug you in the best and most interesting ways

Such as. Why does everyone always assume robots possess no morality? Did they not see that tear in T2? Or, if they’re robots from outer space, who built them? And if no one built them, doesn’t that mean they’re aliens?

truth, justice, and the home office w/charlie stross, jim butcher, and a woman whose name they forgot to put in the program. 😦



6. You don’t have to eat according to a regular schedule, but you should probably drink more.

Look. It’s totally fair to eat Indian food for dinner, and lunch, but also there’s fruit and rice cakes and granola. It’s portable. And healthy. And less likely to result in a bag full of curry sauce and a food box full of dry vegetables.

Also. Carry a bottle of water. Keep it full. Drink it. Dehydrated con-goers are sad con-goers.

putting fantasy into history, and history into fantasy. w/kari spelling, jacey bedford, ce murphy, tiffani angus, and clearly a fifth person not in the program. eastercon, look into an app next time^^



7. Surprise

Be careful how much cash you carry. There are usually book stores at cons, and, at this one, there’s a used book store where you can buy 5 books for 5 pounds. You don’t have enough space in your bag for the amount of books you want to buy.

Happy fandom, readers.



eastercon 2015

Hello, readers.

I’m off to the British National Science Fiction convention today, otherwise known as Eastercon, and this year known as Dysprosium.

Looking forward to meeting internet friends and colleagues and basically having a weekend slumber party with a bunch of beautiful nerds who are smart and fun and stuff.

Follow the adventures on twitter, @cuvols.

I might even Periscope some stuff.

The future!

It’s here.

Happy good weekend, readers.


Time and its Discontents

Hello, readers.


It’s Sunday and, so, as it sometimes seems to happen, I’m writing to you. Outside, there is Saigon, and there is rain. My dad was here many decades ago. That’s strange to think about.

I’ve been putting together short reading lists to share and discuss with my crit group in Saigon. The first list featured three stories about space and aliens: “Surface Tension” by James Blish, “Semley’s Necklace” by Ursula K. Le Guin, and “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang.

The second list featured stories about space and time: “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed” by Alfred Bester, “The Fire Watch” by Connie Willis, and “The Remeberer” by Aimee Bender. This second list I titled, ‘Time and its Discontents.’

Earlier today, I had sad thoughtful thoughts about my sister and our mom and the house where my mom lived, and where her parents lived, and where her brother lived, where, for different and sometimes overlapping periods of time, I and my sister lived. Mom died earlier this year. The house is still there. At some point the house will not be there. At some other point, it may or may not belong to other people. This got me to thinking about how a long time ago maybe people stayed in one place for a very long time because it was hard to move. It’s still hard to move, but people do it a lot now. I’ve gotten quite good at it. I wonder sometimes if I will ever be some place for more than a couple years. I imagine if I stayed in one place I would want a house with secret passages and a bookshelf or twenty. It seems silly to stay in one place and not make it worth it.

A lot of my favorite stories focus on memory and time. Solaris. Eternal Sunshine. The Rememberer. Prisoner of Azkaban. Etc. So on. My head is full of time and space. So is yours. I wonder what my cats think when I’m not there, or when they move houses. Do they remember? Science probably knows the answer to this.

I finished Alif the Unseen. It was magnificent. Here are some articles about it. The book had me thinking again about myth and time and gods and spirits and how very much I love to exist in a place of uncertainty and how much it scares me, too. Roger Ebert said of belief that he’s much more interested in questions than in answers. I don’t know if I agree with that. But, I do know that I love asking questions.

How are you today, readers? Well, I hope, or if not well, then gainly occupied with the business of traveling through time and adding some joy to the goings on.


New review and other things.

Hello, readers.

Today, I find myself in a cafe very near my home. It’s called Sleepy Town. Howie Day is singing about the best falling down. There is a bicycle hanging on the wall and, across the room, a scale-model of giant electrical towers connected by power cables that bounce when people walk by.

I spent the large part of my morning at the top of my very tall house writing a story about a girl and magical things and stuff. It is one of my favorite ways to spend a morning. Later today, I will visit a fine Indian restaurant and eat delicious jalfrezi’s and korma’s and maybe some channa. Possibly a dosa or two. Probably not all of those things or I would die.

Earlier this week, my review of Karen Russell’s latest collection of stories, “Vampires in the Lemon Grove,” appeared at Strange Horizons. They are in the middle of their fund drive. If you’ve got some spare change, toss it their way. They’re good people.

Happy Sunday, readers.

p.s. I am loving Alif the Unseen. It mixes religion and myth and hackers in a way that delights me terribly much.

p.p.s. Finally figured out a background that works for both me and iOS7. This was, not kidding, a highlight of my week. I like when things are pretty and functional.

p.p.p.s. This is pretty.


p.p.p.p.s. This is cute and sad and fun. I found it walking about the streets.