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[personal profile] helloladies
Welcome to Reflections, where we look back at the previous month and our posting accomplishments. \o/ January was a great start to the year, full of media celebrations and lists and project launches from new editors!

Looking back over January 2016 )

It was a great few weeks and we're excited to continue on into February. We hope you'll join us. ♥
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[personal profile] justira
 photo cover_planetfall_zpsl8doeyuf.jpg

From the award-nominated author Emma Newman, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity’s future might be its undoing...

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony's 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart...


This review is split into two parts: the spoiler-free and the hella spoilery, because this is one of those books that's hard to talk about without ruining some or all of the experience. And Emma Newman's Planetfall is an experience I highly recommend, so if you're not sure about it, read the first half of this review and perhaps that will convince you. Afterwards, come back and talk about anxiety with me!

I mention anxiety because it is a central theme of the novel. No, that is not enough. Anxiety is more than a theme, it is the immersive medium of the novel. Renata Ghali, or Ren, is the 3D printer engineer for a colony on an alien world. When her love, if not her lover (the text is never clear on this), Lee Suh-Mi comes out of a mysterious coma with visions of humanity's destiny on an alien world, Ren and roughly 1,000 colonists follow her to the stars. One of the first things I want you to know about this book is that it stars a 70-year old biracial bisexual woman. That alone is worth remarking on. But beyond that the books is a fascinating exploration of the spaces between community and privacy, religion and science, and, yes, anxiety and ritual.

Spoiler-free review )

Unlocking the mysteries behind the anxieties is the driving force behind Planetfall, and it's a thoroughly enjoyable process.

And now, to SPOILERS

Spoilers beyond this point! )
helloladies: Horseshoe icon with the words Lady Business underneath. (Default)
[personal profile] helloladies
Last year, Renay co-edited a speculative nonfiction anthology and both Jodie and Renay made a decision to read more short fiction. It was only a matter of time until we combined our experiences! \o/

We decided it would be neat to imagine what an anthology of short fiction we loved would look like after our 2015 short fiction reading. We are, in some ways, non-traditional readers of short fiction, looking specifically toward marginalized writers, as well as for stories with a core of optimism.

We don't have the resources to create a tangible fiction anthology of our own (reprint or otherwise), but we decided to pretend. We don't have any rights to these stories and this is purely and 100% for fun. We're happy to bring you the favorite short fiction we both read in 2015, a pretend anthology/rec list we like to call "Seeking Brighter Horizons". We highly recommend all these stories!

Seeking Brighter Horizons: Cover Art and TOC )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
The Book Indecision bug is still hanging around and I went back to therapy this week which was a guarantee I wasn't going to get much reading done. "Fine," I thought. "I'll focus on my last Jar Selection!" Except it turns out C.J. Cherryh was not messing around when she sat down to write her some science fiction and this book is dense. On the plus side, there's been no animals (not counting humans) harmed so far so it does have that going for it. Can't say the same for the other stuff I've been reading.

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

Week 5: slight hiccup. I'm going to have to spend some time with Downbelow Station, but will plug away at it until I finish! For Week 6, my next title selected from The Jar and presented by Doreen, is Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall:

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall


I also didn't read anything else for free choice because I couldn't make up my mind and the time I did read I worked on Downbelow Station. It only took me a month to get behind! I'll make it up later, though. :D



Reading for last week! )
helloladies: Horseshoe icon with the words Lady Business underneath. (Default)
[personal profile] helloladies
Clare & Renay's Adventures in: Xena


In a time without a Black Widow movie on the horizon, two fans in turmoil cried out for a heroine. She was Xena, a mighty female protagonist forged in the fires of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The action, the camp, the queer subtext. Her adventures will rock their worlds.


Xena: Episode 122, "Callisto"


Clare: Renay, do you think Xena and Gabrielle finally made out between this episode and the last? You know, in the throes of "I'm so happy you’re not dead"? Because their dynamic in this episode is so much more affectionate and emotionally honest. I am loving it.

Renay: If this coda doesn't exist by another fan writer, it's a horrible oversight and I should write it, right? It can open with Xena being impressed by Gabrielle and Argo's closer relationship and then devolve into feelings from there. Y/YYY? Read more... )
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[personal profile] bookgazing
If you're planning to nominate for The Hugo Awards you need to have your membership (supporting or otherwise) for MidAmeriCon II by now. Nominations for The Hugo Awards have opened. Hugo PINs are now apparently on their way out. This thing is really happening.

If you're anything like me, then you briefly freaked out when you saw the announcement that nominations had opened. THERE'S JUST NOT ENOUGH TIME - my brain screams until it calms the fuck down and remembers that I can nominate right up until March 31st. It's going to be OK, everyone.

Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
It was a slow week because I was sick several days (ugh, bodies) and also have entered every book blogger’s dreaded state: New Year Book Indecision. I am surrounded by so many great books and I can’t decide what to choose. I want to jam everything new in my eyes and also want to reread a bunch of things. Everyone’s so prolific. So I have kind of flopped around uselessly and fallen behind on my reading goal.

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

Week 4: almost complete! I’m finishing the last story in Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due today (current assessment: I still don’t like prose horror much as I am an Anxious Person and Worry Too Much About The Dark, Serial Killers, and Slime Monsters). For Week 5, my next title selected from The Jar and presented by Doreen, is Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh:

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh


My free choice book last week was Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes. Not sure what my next free choice will be. Planetfall? Illuminae? Maybe I should give Barrayar another shot? I also have some nonfiction by a few new to me authors on my shelf...too many things!

Since January is over, I looked back to see what my month looked like for authors that were new to me. Per my rules, I did well! 9/100! :D
  • Marguerite Bennett (A-Force Volume 0: Warzones)
  • Rosemary Kirstein (The Steerswoman)
  • Sarah Knight (The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck)
  • Nnedi Okorafor (Binti)
  • Carolyn Ives Gilman (Dark Orbit)
  • Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the Sky)
  • bell hooks (Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood)
  • Shonda Rhimes (Year of Yes)
  • Tananarive Due (Ghost Summer: Stories) — counting here since I only have one story left

Onward to my reading for the week!



Read more... )
helloladies: Horseshoe icon with the words Lady Business underneath. (Default)
[personal profile] helloladies
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.


Read more... )
spindizzy: A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic style portrait of me. (Lady Business)
[personal profile] spindizzy
How's my reading going this year?

A screenshot of a tweet that says 'I have underestimated how much manga I read.'


Yeah, about like that!

This fortnight I have seriously failed out of reading prose, but have done quite well on manga and graphic novels! I do have a stack of crime novels and queer lit about three feet high to get through (I will measure it if I have to), including like eight J. D. Robb books, so I need to crack on through that.

Before I do, though – internet! I have a request! Do you have any recommendations for women-centric stories set in Ancient Greece and/or the Roman Empire? I have Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin, Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn, and I've got Lindsey Davis' The Ides of April on order... I'm just not sure where to go from here. A lot of the stuff I can lay my hands on is focused on male characters, and quite frankly that's not what I want from fiction about the ancient world. Can anyone give recommendations?

Anyway, on to what I've read this week!

Books, graphic novels and manga read:
  1. Chii's Sweet Home Volume One by Konami Kanata

  2. The Heroic Legend of Arslan Volume One by Hiromu Arakawa and Yoshiki Tanaka

  3. The Wicked + The Divine Volume Two: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillon, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson

  4. The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi by Pat Cadigan

  5. Manga Dogs Volume One by Ema Tooyama

  6. Yotsuba&! Volume Ten by Kiyohiko Azuma

  7. Yotsuba&! Volume Eleven by Kiyohiko Azuma

  8. The Losers Volume One by Andy Diggle and Jock

  9. Yotsuba&! Volume Twelve by Kiyohiko Azuma

  10. Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something by Kaoru Mori


Short stories and single issues read:
  1. City of Salt by Arkady Martine

  2. Monstress #3 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda


So many books behind the cut! )

So, that's me all caught up! How y'all doing?
helloladies: Horseshoe icon with the words Lady Business underneath. (Default)
[personal profile] helloladies
Because we haven't quite managed to work out a way for us to consume ALL the entertainment yet: to keep us from emerging haggard and zombie like after regular all night box set marathons, book splurges and music overload we've set up this quarterly space where we can express our pure fannish glee at the fact that so many projects of awesome potential are continually being made. All of our past wants and desires can be found in the We Want It! tag.


Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
Goodreads kept telling me I was behind on my reading challenge which was stressing me out. I could not figure out how I had managed to fall behind in the very first month with such careful planning, but the numbers didn't lie. Then I discovered I had utterly forgotten to add a book.

I'm a genius.

There's less than a week to join up MidAmeriCon II to nominate for the Hugo Awards (unless you have another membership that gives you the right). I have been pretty laid back about it this year. In part because I've made peace with the fact my favorite part is collecting awesome recs and also because I don't want to get my hopes up and have a repeat of last year.

Anyway, it is still my firm belief that Archive of Our Own is eligible in Best Related Work. DO WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE WHAT YOU WILL.

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

Week 3: complete! I read Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood by bell hooks (reviewed below, holy crap). For Week 4, my next title selected from The Jar and presented by Doreen, is Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due:

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due


Books read this week:



Read more... )
helloladies: Horseshoe icon with the words Lady Business underneath. (Default)
[personal profile] helloladies
Fanwork is awesome and sharing fanwork is even more awesome. Join us as we keymash and squee over our favorite fanwork, from fic (both written and podfic) to art to vids and meta and back again.


Recommendations included:

  • Evangelion — vid (1)
  • Final Fantasy XII — art (1)
  • The Lord of the Rings — gif set (1)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road — vid (1)
  • Sailor Moon — art (1)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens — art (3), fic (1)


On to the recs! )
helloladies: Horseshoe icon with the words Lady Business underneath. (Default)
[personal profile] helloladies
Clare & Renay's Adventures in: Xena


In a time without a Black Widow movie on the horizon, two fans in turmoil cried out for a heroine. She was Xena, a mighty female protagonist forged in the fires of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The action, the camp, the queer subtext. Her adventures will rock their worlds.


Clare: Obviously, Xena is a femslasher’s paradise: we’ve been thrilling to hints and innuendo since we began this project. But "The Greater Good" is the first episode where the word "love" is used, if only obliquely. Apparently, according to Renee O’Connor in an interview with the now defunct Dreamwatch, this was the episode where the writers discovered that Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship was exceedingly fertile ground.

And we’ve all benefited from that.Read more... )
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[personal profile] bookgazing
trade cover for The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium


Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.


The Wicked + The Divine is a statement comic. With its use of pop colours, opulent costumed gods and bold cover images, its art is as much about creating a fashion movement within the graphic novel world as it is about conveying story, artistic experimentation or investigating celebrity culture. It stands out, even in a world of graphic novels where every creative team is working to tie their creation to a distinctive artistic style which will get them noticed.

Some spoilers )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
I have a lot of books out from the library that I'm not sure I'm going to have time to read, but I'm going to give it my best shot. Believe in yourself, Renay! DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR SHOT! Who cares if three of them are new books and you only have two weeks with them? You can do it.

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

Week 2 is complete! I read Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman (reviewed below). For Week 3, my next title selected from The Jar and presented by Doreen, is Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood by bell hooks:

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood by bell hooks


I've never read bell hooks before, but it's on my list because I heard about her nonfiction and all my library had was this memoir and it sounded interesting. That's been a long time, so I'm happy to finally get to it.

Things I read!

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor — definitely read this
  • Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman — read this if you keep ending up on the Schrodinger's Cat Wikipedia page
  • All-New All-Different Avengers #3 by Mark Waid, Adam Kubert, & Alex Ross — they probably won't cancel this because of the all-dude creative team so you can wait for a coherent trade
  • A-Force #1 by G. Willow Wilson & Jorge Molina — our new superhero is GREAT!


Read more... )
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[personal profile] bookgazing
Image of Storm saying Hell yeah


In 2014 and 2015, Greg Pak released 11 issues of a solo title focusing on the white haired, weather manipulating X-mutant Storm. I have always counted the X-Men as my first super fandom. I grew up with X-Men: The Animated Series in the 1990s. I have a list of favourite X-Men that has literally not changed since I was an eight year old tiny person (here they are in order if you're interested: Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Gambit, Jean Grey). I even paid to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine in cinemas. And maybe it's just my British perspective (we do love to talk about the weather) but I think Storm is one of the coolest long term X-Men characters. Yet, this run of Storm comics seems to have gone a little under the radar despite the efforts of critics like Black Girl Nerds. Which is just ridiculous because just look at her on those covers.

Cover of Storm, Vol. 1: Make It Rain Cover of Storm, Vol. 2: Bring the Thunder


Yes, I am going to start my first solo foray into writing about comics with a lengthy look at the covers of the two collected trade editions, Storm, Vol. 1: Make It Rain and Storm, Vol. 2: Bring The Thunder. It's well established that I'm a hopeless imagery nerd, who loves unpicking symbols.Read more... )
helloladies: Horseshoe icon with the words Lady Business underneath. (Default)
[personal profile] helloladies
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.



Read more... )
bookgazing: (Default)
[personal profile] bookgazing
This year, after taking a short break from giving a fuck, I will be paying my dues and signing up to MidAmeriCon II so I can, once again, nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards. And, wow, do I have a lot of opinions this year. 2016 was a good year for science fiction and fantasy, and I'm eager to get loud about all the media that I think deserves attention.

Before I start shouting my mouth off, let me offer up a quick primer in case you don't know what the Hugo Awards are. Basically, they're public choice awards which recognise science fiction and fantasy media. The ability to nominate in these awards is open to anyone who can afford to pay for a supporting membership to MidAmeriCon II, 2016's World Science Fiction Convention. Once nominations close, and the shortlists for each category have been created, everyone with a supporting membership gets to vote on which nominees should emerge as victorious winners.

And when I say 'everyone' that means you! Yes, you can vote for your favs of 2015 to be recognised by this award. For more information, including what the categories are, and how to sign up for supporting membership before Jan 31st 2015, go to the WorldCon website or the Hugo Awards website.

Read more... )

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Queer lady geek Clare was raised by French wolves in the American South. more? » twitter icon webpage icon

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