snick_backup: (Yuletide)
Have been slowly working through the scads of YT fics downloaded to my Kindle. Here's the first batch of recs. :D

Imperial Radch, Sunshine (McKinley), Sunless Sea, Cthulu mythos, Discworld, Twin Peaks, Gladiator (music video), Fucked My Way Up to the Top (song), Guys and Dolls )

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books read

Sep. 8th, 2016 10:46 am
snick_backup: (mood reading)
The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge. A girl and her family go to live on a desolate island off of England, and the girl determines to salvage her father's unfairly tainted scientific reputation. This didn't hit my iddy spots quite as hard or delight me quite as much as Cuckoo Song, but it was still very good. I love how complicated Hardinge's relationships are and how no one is ever as good or as bad as they seem - which is very much one of the themes in this book.

The Cloud Roads, by Martha Wells. In a land of many and varied humanoid species, a winged loner stumbles across the first one of his kind that he's met since he was a child and gets embroiled in winged politics. Someone told me this author wrote fic before she went pro and I was like "YUP, MAKES SENSE," because she knows to punch the id buttons like a fic writer. But also politics! Fighting! Romance (that made me cry on an airplane)! This is the first of a series, and I look forward to reading more.

The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon. A story about several women a century apart and their experiences in a possibly-haunted old farmhouse in Vermont. I loved so much about this - the varied female cast, the setting, the careful peeling back of layers as we discover what happened. I wanted something spooky with a legit supernatural element, and this totally delivers.

HOWEVER. spoilers )

Dreamships, by Melissa Scott. 90s SF about AI and spaceships and stuff. I got recced this one for canon gay, but honestly I got 50 pages in and gave up because I found it such a slog. Too much tell instead of show in the narrative, and so much very dull worldbuilding exposition. It was like it was trying to be cyberpunk but didn't have the chops.

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Books!

Aug. 11th, 2016 03:23 pm
snick_backup: (mood reading)
60 Essential SF reads, aka A Bunch of Books by Women, a Genderqueer (?) Person, and John Scalzi. I have no idea what John Scalzi did to place himself in such exalted company, although having read Old Man's War, I can't say it seems to have been his writing, really.

I have read 20 of the authors represented and 17 of the specific books suggested, which mostly tells me the people who wrote the list did a decent job of choosing which of an author's books people were most likely to have read, as opposed to all those lists that have something other than Pern as McCaffrey's representative book.

the list )

A few of those people/books are on my immediate to read list - I have The Cloud Roads on hold at the library as we speak - and some I've never heard of. A few authors I didn't bold because I'd only read short stories, not novels.

Overall, this list MUCH better represents my reading interests than your average "X Import Books" list, as I usually never get as high as 30% on them. Of those I've read, Tam Lin and Sunshine are all-time favorites, and The Raven Boys, The Dispossessed, and A Wrinkle in Time are all very good. (I think. I actually don't know if A Wrinkle in Time is good. L'Engle is so unique that I have trouble comparing her in any useful fashion with anyone else.)

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snick_backup: (mood sf)
In case people are looking for things to consider for the Hugos or just good stuff to read/watch. For the short stories, lucky you, you get the off-hand blurb I put in Excel, with later thoughts in brackets.

I would really like to find at least one or two things to nominate for the novelette and novella categories. I welcome suggestions. I know there are two novellas on Tor.com that I need to check out, and I would also be willing to spend small amounts of $ to read stuff for that category.

Short Story
Pocosin by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine)
Beautifully told, Pratchett-esque witches. I cried.

Cloth Mother by Sarah Pauling (Strange Horizons)
Parental AIs, pet holograms. Bit sentimental? Yet I loved it. [The longer I think about this one, the smarter it gets.]

Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld)
Funny, deft, pokes at AI tropes. [One of those that will probably age quickly. Whatever, it was fun.]

Three Cups of Grief by Aliette de Bodard
People birthing ships. Neat worldbuilding.

Novel
Cuckoo Song, by Frances Hardinge. MY FAVORITE PRO THING I HAVE READ FOR 2015. Gaiman-esque dark-ish YA fantasy with rich female characters and emotional complicatedness. If you read only one thing in this post, read this.

Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear. Steampunk lesbians in kind-of Seattle.

The Just City, by Jo Walton. Athena and friends attempt to make Plato's Republic thought experiment a reality, which works about as well as you would expect. A book full of very cerebral characters.

Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie. Space opera about identity and embodiment and personhood and fish sauce.

Graphic Novel
Bitch Planet: Vol. I, by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Valentine de Landro, others. Sharp and rich and vicious in its criticism of patriarchy, in the best ways. I feel like Deconnick's voice and approach doesn't always suit the stories she writes, but this book is a pitch-perfect fit for her.

Copperhead: Vol. I, by Jay Faerber, Scott Godlewski. Space western with single mom sheriff, colonization/racial tensions. Still haven't decided if these creators are just very lucky at not putting their foot it in yet or if they know exactly what they're doing. Either way, first volume was A+.

Dramatic Presentation: Long
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. I'd nominate this in all five slots if they let me.

Agent Carter: Season One.

Best Fancast
Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men.

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snick_backup: (Yuletide)
I have a bunch of fics downloaded to put on my Kindle later, but I'm pretty much done with my pre-reveals reading, so have a final batch of recs.

Beauty and the Beast, The Dispossessed, Sunless Sea/Fallen London, Strange Empire, Sunshine (McKinley), Imperial Radch )

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snick_backup: (Buffy close)
Things I read/watched/wrote/what have you in 2015!

a numbered list, with commentary and also large images )

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snick_backup: (Yuletide)
My focus this Yuletide has been largely space stuff, stuff with lots of focus on female characters, or both, which informs most of this list. (I have been having the BEST time, too. I'm going to use this strategy every year.)

Dune, Jane the Virgin, Saga (Comics), Vorkosigan Saga )

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snick_backup: (mood sf)
I finished Ancillary Justice this morning, and then of course I promptly went and got Ancillary Sword from the library. (It amuses me that there are 40 holds on 15 copies of Justice, but 6 holds on 17 copies of Sword. The first-in-the-series effect is a powerful one.)

I've heard rumblings of people not liking the sequels as much as the first, and I will say Sword so far has 100% less trekking through the snow, which is one of my weak spots. However, so far if anything I'm enjoying it even more than the first one, because Leckie just keeps digging deeper into the ramifications of her worldbuilding.

spoilers through beginning of Ancillary Sword )

Just a note, please no spoilers for either Sword or Mercy, even "you'll see more of that." I want to be surprised. :)

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snick_backup: (mood sf)
I finished, at long last! Unspoilery thoughts:
* I enjoyed the first two thirds for the human drama aspect.
* The last third was not worth reading - if you want to know how it goes, get someone to spoil it for you.
* Neal Stephenson would stop mid-coitus to tell you how condoms work. At length. At least three times.

spoilery thoughts )

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snick_backup: (mood reading)
I continue to work on thinning out my recs tag on Pinboard, so have some more recs! The theme this time is book fandoms.

Carrefour by Merlin Missy - Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Anaesthesia + Ingress gen, 10k. Possibly my favorite fic I have ever read for this book. Because all of us needed the fic where Anaesthesia survives, rescues/is rescued by Door's missing sister, and saves the day, did we not?

Of Five Adventures That Occurred During The Reign Of The Raven Barista. by Lanna Michaels - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Gen. 1.2k. Because we all needed a JS&MN magical coffee shop AU, too.

Shalbatana by [archiveofourown.org profile] ellen_fremedon - The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
Nadia, Hiroko, Ann. 8k. With Ann's guidance, Nadia and Hiroko set off across Mars to find the Sojourner rover, still wandering. I love this integration of the canon with RL Mars events that have happened since it was written, and I love seeing fic of this particular cast of characters, who never interacted much in canon. ellen_fremedon also does a great job of capturing the majesty and isolation of Mars, the way Robinson did.

The Spanish Castle by [archiveofourown.org profile] LookingForOctober - The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Valancy gen, 3.4k. Valancy visits a real life castle and finds a kindred spirit there. Just a sweet and lovely post-book moment.

The Witch [ART] by [archiveofourown.org profile] sassynails - The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein
I'm not familiar with this character, but it doesn't matter, because this multimedia piece is just stunning.

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snick_backup: (mood sf)
All conversations worth having about space voyages were couched in terms of "delta vee," meaning the increase or decrease in velocity that had to be imparted to a vehicle en route. For, in a common bit of mathematical shorthand, the Greek letter delta (Δ) was used to mean "the amount of change in..." and V was the obvious abbreviation for velocity. The words "delta vee," then, were what you heard when engineers read those symbols aloud.


Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying this book. The Big Thing happened thirty or forty pages ago, and I got a little teary for a moment. But SERIOUSLY, GET AN EDITOR.

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snick_backup: (mood fantasy)
Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson.
I figured out why Stephenson's books are so long. It's because they feature sentences like this:

And also so they could give the peoples of the world some agency. ... "Agency," in the lingo of the sorts of people who had set up this announcement, meant giving people options, giving them some things that they could do to have an effect - imaginary or not.

I've read similarly 3rd-grade-level explanations of, for example, Soyuz spacecraft. At the time I assumed he just wanted to be clear for any non-scientific audience, but now I don't know what audience he's going for. And even supposing your audience is familiar with neither agency nor the Soyuz spacecraft, there are more elegant and less patronizing ways to convey that information. Was he this bad back in the day, like in Cryptonomicon? Maybe he was and I just didn't notice.

In any case, I'm maybe ~60 pages into a 860-page book. This'll be a while.

Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho.
I found this pleasant but not entirely satisfactory. The jacket cover suggests comparisons to Heyer and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, but it has too much serious subject matter for the former and none of the ambitiousness of backstory, worldbuilding, and footnotes of the latter. Someone suggested that perhaps I'd like it better on a second read, now that I know what to expect, and I think that might be true. Even then, the ending seemed weak, and I suspect I will still want more worldbuilding.

In any case, it is a Regency fantasy romp with familiars and magicians and also lots of women, people of color, and examination of various forms of oppression. If that is your sort of thing, then I suspect you would enjoy it.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson
I finished this a bit ago. It was suitably psychologically twisted, as I'd hoped, although it lacked the building menace of Haunting of Hill House. I couldn't decide if the reveal towards the end of the book was actually intended to be a reveal, since I'd assumed it to be true since about page two. Anyway, a very Jackson book. I want to read more of her novels.

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snick_backup: (mood horror)
THIS WAS SO GREAT. I've hit some really fun books so far during this Hugo reading project, but this one brought me by far the most unalloyed joy. It also does every single thing I never knew I wanted in a book about [SPOILER]. I am so happy right now, I can't even tell you.

If you like Gaiman but also female characters and emotional complicatedness, GET THEE TO THIS BOOK.

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fyi

Sep. 19th, 2015 10:34 am
snick_backup: (mood horror)
If you want something spooky and alarming along the lines of Coraline but subtler and with much more complex family dynamics, Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge is the book for you.

(Disclaimer: I did not like Coraline that much. I really am enjoying this, though!)

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snick_backup: (mood reading)
Have just finished The Just City, the first of Jo Walton's trilogy about a colony of time travelers the goddess Athena collects on the island of Atlantis to create Plato's Republic. very mild spoilers )

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snick_backup: (SPN)
YAY, I did this exchange last year and am super excited to do it again. I hope you are also excited! I tried to include both fluffy/sexy prompts and horror prompts for each character/fandom I requested. However, they’re just ideas, so if you have something else you’d like to write or draw related to my requested characters, feel free! I've also included lists of stuff I like in general, to help inspire you.

I have fewer horror prompts than sexy/fluffy prompts, but that's just because I had a harder time thinking of prompts. Please be assured I would be delighted by horror fic or art! Below I’ve included some general types of horror I like, though, so maybe that will help inspire you.

general likes/dislikes )

Fandoms: Hockey RPF, Supernatural, Karen Memory )

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snick_backup: (mood reading)
I have been reading BOOKS, you guys! I have been finishing them, even! I can't remember the last time I read a bunch of books in a row. The motivating factor has been reading for the Hugos next year, but honestly that's largely just an excuse to get myself reading more.

books! )

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snick_backup: (mood sf)
I've been following the Hugo discussion for most of the year, ever since the 2015 nominations were announced. It seems to me that the most important thing to come out of all the Hugo brouhaha is that if we care about them as awards (not that you have to! plenty of people don't give a darn, and that's fine!), the most important thing we can do to support them is be more active at the nominations stage as well as the voting stage.

With that in mind, I've been actively reading pro literary SFF for the first time in probably at least five years (other than, like, Mieville). So far, the novels I've been reading are old, but within the next week or so I should be picking up Jo Walton's The Just City and Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory at the library, which I am looking forward to.

However, I've been reading a lot of 2015 short fiction! You guys, there is SO MUCH short SFF being published these days. Tons of it's free online - Clarkesworld, Abyss & Apex, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, Tor.com - and there's more that costs, like the big three and Lightspeed.

There've been some threads on ffa for this purpose, which has been keeping me motivated. I've tried a bunch of stuff, but so far Clarkesworld is ahead by a mile in terms of producing stuff I like. What I've read there has been at least moderately successful at least 85% of the time, which is already a better rate than I have previously experienced at any short fiction venue ever. In case you're looking for recs for nominating/general reading purposes, here are a bunch that I enjoyed or found interesting, though sometimes with caveats:
* Cat Pictures Please, by Naomi Kritzer - a would-be benevolent AI who likes cats
* A Universal Elegy, by Tang Fei - unreliable, unstable narrator, creeping alien horror
* Three Cups of Grief, with Starlight, by Aliette de Bodard - mind ships! complicated sibling dynamics
* The 3 Resurrections of Jessica Churchill, by Kelly Robson - compelling, creepy aliens, teen Native girl protagonist, am not sure how I feel about inclusion of 9/11 element, beware graphic rape scene

Anyway, this is a post for talking about 2015 stuff you've read, whether or not you have any intention of nominating things for Hugos. Novels you've read or are looking forward to? Short fiction that you enjoyed?

(FYI if you're looking for things to read, [livejournal.com profile] mrissa posts occasional roundup of short fiction she's enjoyed, and someone's keeping a spreadsheet of recced Hugo-eligible works here.)

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snick_backup: (dragon)
The [community profile] whitedwarfrabbithole fics are live! [archiveofourown.org profile] Sunchales wrote me Soap and Squid, a story set in the Botanical Gardens in Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun universe. If you like the books, you should check out the fic. It is very creepy, as the Botanical Gardens should be.

And since there's no anon period, I can tell you about my fic as well, which is written for China Mieville's The Scar. I've always wanted to write fic for this book, although Tanner/Shekel was not what I ever expected to write. I got to write canon tentacles, though! In fact I amused my Twitter timeline quite a bit a couple of weeks ago, angsting over the porn parts.

It turns out this is in fact the first m/m I've ever written for a fictional canon. I'm not sure quite how that happened, but there you are.

kraken bits (3283 words) by Snickfic
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Bas Lag - China Miéville
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Tanner Sack/Shekel
Characters: Tanner Sack, Shekel
Additional Tags: Tentacles, First Time, Age Difference, Body Image, body shame
Summary:

Imprisoned, Remade, free now and alone but for his work mates and for Shekel, who liked him – simply and easily, Tanner had thought, though the view was cloudier now. Who’d be surprised at an old invert wanting something like desire turned his way again, after all that?



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