Sunday recs: art magic

Have been way too exhausted to blog lately. Should learn better time management, or possibly just somehow learn how to be less busy…

Anyway, small rec for today because I don’t want to get too badly out of the habit:

Do Not Touch by Prudence Shen (with some charming art by Noreen Rana and Faith Erin Hicks) (at Tor.com) – Awww this is an utterly charming story. I absolutely love the central concept in this, and fiction where visual arts are a major thing. This story made me giggle quite a few times, and I liked the characters. Not a recent story (this is from 2013) but utterly worth checking out!

On a somewhat related note, I read the novel The Golden Key this summer, and it was awesome. Written by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott. An intriguing novel with painting-magic and obsession with fame as a central aspect. I loved all the descriptions of art and the art process, and how the writers showed a society changing as time passes. A wonderful and involving read, highly recommended.

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Sunday recs: Liminality

Liminality is a wonderful magazine of speculative poetry. All the issues have been full of really interesting and challenging SFF/genre-bending poetry. Here’s a few special favourites of mine:

The Word for Love by A.J. Odasso, in Issue 1. A.J. is a tremendous poet (with two lovely collections out!) and this poem is gorgeous.

Entwined ‘Neath Stars and Empty Suns by Merc Rustad, in Issue 2. I’ve recommended this before but really it’s just so awesome and space opera that I’m going to rec it again.

Among the Dead by Lev Mirov, in Issue 3. A beautiful ghost story.

A Visit with Morgan le Fay by Sofia Samatar, in Issue 4. A bone-achingly lovely prose poem.

I’m still in the process of reading Issue 5, so let me just recommend the whole issue to you!

Sunday recs: cuteness, mythology and pirates

I was just making a start on editing my upcoming Finnish short story as per the editor’s suggestions – very good suggestions! I love it when someone reads your work and points out possible things to improve and you’re like yesssss this will make it so much better.

Now for recs before I go to sleep in preparation for a superbusy week of journeying and conference.

Archana and Chandni by Iona Sharma (in Betwixt Magazine) – a charming tale of a wedding in space. This was ultimate comfort-reading for me.

ζῆ καὶ βασιλεύει by Sonya Taaffe (in Ideomancer) – inspired by Greek mythology, grimmer than the previous but beautiful.

The Saga of Captain Jens by C.S.E. Cooney (in Uncanny Magazine) – and finally, a silly, awesomely rhyming poem. I just love how Claire Cooney uses her rhymes! So inventive, so hilarious. Also, pirates.

Sunday recs: Just faerie things (and Uncanny)

I promised Sunday recs, and then I went away and did other things and forgot about it till I was about to go to bed. It’s past midnight here now, but it’s still Sunday somewhere in the world! And there’s always time for recs. :)

The Woman Sings Her Marriage Into Being by Lev Mirov (in Through the Gate) – an utterly wonderful poem! Word-magic and a loving story contained within it. Such delicious words, I loved tasting them in my mouth when reading. The other poems in this newest issue of Through the Gate are lovely too – it’s a short issue but the poems work so well together thematically, birds and death.

Monkey King, Faerie Queen by Zen Cho (in Kaleidotrope) – a great melding of folklore/mythology from east and west. Trickster tales are such fun! The narrative voice here is full of cheeky humour and authorial insertions. I’m reading Zen Cho’s short stories so that I have some sense of her style before I get my hands on Sorcerer to the Crown – and based on this story, I really like her writing!

A Riddler at Market by Rose Lemberg (in Uncanny Magazine) – ohhh this poem is so happy and charming! I mean that in the best of ways! This is a comfort-read poem with glorious word use (as one expects of Rose’s writing!).

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Speaking of Uncanny Magazine, their Kickstarter campaign for Year Two of the magazine is still ongoing! A few more days to go. They’ve already reached their basic goal, but more backers will mean more stretch goals, including getting more unsolicited stories and poems! Go and support them if you can – Uncanny is amazing and I would love to see even more stories out there.

Sunday recs: Court of Fives and other stories

Firstly: get yourself a copy of Kate Elliott’s newest book, Court of Fives. I finally got myself one and glommed the book in a few breathless sessions. I would’ve read it in a single day (I got halfway through in a few hours on my first reading session) but I was helping people move on Fri & Sat, so no book marathon for me. Anyway! It’s definitely the kind of book you want to enjoy in long, deliciously breathless sessions. Here’s how Kate describes the book:

I call this “Little Women meet American Ninja Warrior in a setting inspired by Greco-Roman Egypt” while the publisher has pitched it as “Little Women meets Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games.” (source)

I could go on and on about how much I loved this book. :D I’m a huge fan of Kate Elliott’s work and look forward to her new releases. I was a bit apprehensive about the YA part, because in general I’m not a big YA fan – but Court of Fives was just a damn good book, and the YA was mostly in the protagonist’s age and some of the conventions in the book. OK, so I guess the YA thing also meant that the awesome worldbuilding couldn’t be described in as much detail as Elliott usually likes to do (and which I like). But it was also cool to see how much can be revealed through rather little overt description.

Things I loved: the worldbuilding (Ptolemaic Egypt creates great fodder for inspiration!); the sibling relationships (sisters being sisterly, yessss); the Fives game itself (great descriptions of action too); how the protagonist Jes kept on being sensible and making rational decisions despite being a teenager amid difficult circumstances.

I wish the next book was out already! :D I loved the ending for CoF, but damn, it was a tantalising one.

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In case you can’t get out and buy CoF right this minute, here are two delightful things to read in the meantime:

Et je ne pleurais jamais les larmes cicatrisantes magiques; c’est seulement un mensonge joli: Aarne-Thompson Index No. 310 by Elizabeth R. McClellan (in Niteblade) – a great Rapunzel poem with a twist. I do love a good narrative poem.

Stone Hunger by N.K. Jemisin (in Clarkesworld) – an excellent secondary-world story with creepy and compelling worldbuilding (as is usual for Jemisin – she has such good worldbuilding in all her novels too). After reading this and finding out that it was a sketch of sorts for the world of Jemisin’s newest novel The Fifth Season, I got even more excited about reading said new novel. I asked my local library network to order the book and apparently three copies are making their way to three libraries. Yay!

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So many exciting novels coming out or just appeared! I’m especially excited about Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings, Fran Wilde’s Updraft, and Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown. I wish I had more money so I could buy all the books, but I will ask my local library network to order them if nothing else – as in the case of The Fifth Season, it’s so great that they’re very much open to ordering new books based on customer recommendations. I heart libraries.

Sunday recs: birds and the earth

One rec today, a long and wonderful read:

The Earth and Everything Under by K.M. Ferebee (in Shimmer Magazine).

I just read this story last night (it appeared last year) and was struck by a strange, melancholy sense of beauty. I absolutely love the way Ferebee writes! She creates a strange world both like and unlike our own, and paints such images with her words. I love it. This was the perfect reading after an exhausting, busy day. Such word-magic to sink into!

Sunday recs: pirates, space, ghuls

Sunday recs! Three stories I’ve enjoyed lately:

With a Golden Risha by P. Djéli Clark (in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly) – a fun epic tale of air pirates and music. I enjoy it when music is used to further plot.

Monsters in Space by Angela Ambroz (in Shimmer) – featuring an extremely entertaining narrator, such an awesome voice.

The Girl, the Ghul and the Gift-Keeper by Rhea Daniel (in Silver Blade) – a cool Middle Eastern influenced ghul story.

Sunday recs: Recent faves

Here’s some stories I’ve read and really enjoyed these past few days:

Forestspirit, Forestspirit by Bogi Takács (in Clarkesworld) – a great SF piece, and superyay for nonbinary character and nonviolence!

The Cure by Malinda Lo (in the new issue of Interfictions) – feat. a great atmosphere and creepy (based on history) hysteria cures.

Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds by Rose Lemberg (in Beneath Ceaseless Skies) – oh this one made me especially happy. Rose Lemberg’s writing is utterly gorgeous, and I am soooo into hopeful fantasy stories. Also, the novelette form is excellent for more intricate worldbuilding and really getting into a story; Rose uses it to great effect here.

Sunday recs: art lessons, limestone, berries

Two poems and a story today.

First, an oldie but goodie from 2010: “Art Lessons” by Yoon Ha Lee (in Stone Telling). This is a really good poem, witches’ daughters transforming into a great feminist punch.

Then something more recent, from February this year: “Limestone, Lye, and the Buzzing of Flies” by Kate Heartfield (in Strange Horizons). This story is vivid, strange and lovely. Such a strong summer atmosphere, with the weirdness creeping slowly in.

Finally: “Chant for Summer Darkness in Northwest Climes” by Neile Graham (in Goblin Fruit, the same summer 2014 issue I have “Sorrow-stone” in). This is utterly gorgeous! The atmosphere reminds me of a Finnish summer (which is finally almost upon us!), the mysterious white-night countryside and berries bursting on the tongue.

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Bonus book rec – well, series rec actually – Jo Walton’s Small Change series (Farthing, Ha’penny, Half a Crown). I just finished reading Half a Crown today and was in tears at the end. A chilling vision of an alternative Britain where fascism has reared its ugly head. But they weren’t depressing books, although they did make me feel that heart-clenching horror I always do when I think how inhuman people can become because they simply don’t care enough to defend those who are weaker.

Sunday recs

I’ve had a flu for the past eight days and it doesn’t seem to be going away. I think it’s going and then… back it comes, mostly in the form of a sore throat. So, I haven’t had any extra energy to spare. I’ve tried to keep up with PhD work, but creativity has been difficult. I tried to get a story submitted to a fairytale anthology but missed the deadline because my energy levels have just been too low for creative work. It sucks, and I’m tired of this lurgy.

Still, I thought I’d post because it’s been a while since the last rec post! Here’s a wonderful story that made my day brighter when I read it:

Under Wine-Bright Seas by A. Merc Rustad (in Scigentasy) – this gorgeous story brought me to tears by the end. Sisters being sisterly, yay (one of my favourite things)! Awesome trans protagonist, yay! Hopeful ending yay! Merc’s writing is so beautiful. Also, the artwork (by Jake Giddens) is fantastic and really suits the atmosphere of the story.