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[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
I have a cold. I'm blaming climate change and El Niño for screwing up winter; Arkansas practically had no winter at all and there were mosquitos out in January and I'm considering bug spray for my walks in the morning already. I've had a sore throat since March 3, I'm grumpy because of the time change, and I'm behind on everything it's possible to be behind on (especially laundry).

Last week I felt like sludge scooped out of the gutter, microwaved, stirred into some sawdust, and then poured into a human skin. But it turns out I'm not contagious and I don't have an infection; my allergies are making me feel like a sentient, oozing blob which is unreal because at one point last week I couldn't swallow without feeling like I had tilted a barrel of radioactive acid down my throat. I'm behind. I'm going to stay behind for awhile. Learn to live with the disappointments of your super organic and fallible meat suit, Renay!

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers


I'm lagging behind at this epically. Books I need to finish:
  • Downbelow Station (lesson learned: I can't finish a Cherryh book in one week, or even TWO weeks, so books of this length are Bad for this challenge. Also I'm terrible at politics.)
  • A Darker Shade of Magic (cute so far!)


Week 10 & 11: Legend by Marie Lu and The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Marie Lu by Marie Lu
Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle


I finished Illuminae and then got over-excited when I hit the library to pick up Legend:

I couldn't resist, but my allergies may get the last word on finishing this glut of books this considering I have the mental fortitude of an anesthetized toad. I remain glad I wrote up most of my comic book commentary before I got ill.



cover for Illuminae


Illumine by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff — Kady takes her truck to school in order to avoid having to interact with her ex, Ezra. BeiTech attacks illegal mining colony Kerenza. Kady saves both their asses, and they in other refugees end up in a makeshift fleet running from BeiTech ships intent on making the survivors from the illegal mining colony go boom. And then there's the biological weapon BeiTech used when attacking that some the survivors were exposed to and the terrifying reality that only a damaged AI and one military ships stands between them and Certain Death.

Illuminae combines all the space adventure, romance, and horror tropes that I love, adds some AI and tells the story through documents, chats, and transcriptions of video. I love the book version of found footage! I should have read Illuminae much sooner because it's my jam. I gobbled it up in a few days and want the sequel immediately.

There's some big ideas in Illuminae beyond the interpersonal drama, which is pretty heartbreaking: the nature of legality and what circumstances it becomes a useless barrier, whether it's appropriate to place trust in groups of authority when those groups aren't truthful, and how reliant is too reliant on machines to help us survive. The way the book tackles AI and consciousness was fascinating but dark as hell.

Kady is an excellent hero: talented and a little cocky, but so fragile and human and terrified. Even though this is, at its core, a story about two people coming back together, it's also a story about how smart, resourceful, and badass women can be when everything is going to hell around them. I'm not sure if Kady will show up in the companion sequel as a supporting character, but I hope so. She was great. ♥

cover for Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 2


Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 2 by Hiromu Arakawa — The second volume of this went dark side almost immediately. It was also less episodic, which made it feel heavier. It takes child abuse to make me go, "Whoa, this is WAY LESS CUTE than last time." Although there were several brother parts that were adorable. I'm not sure I have a grip on the world building yet, but the characters are great. This setting feels very dystopic and dire and unpredictable, and also one of the villains eats people like snacks. *shudder*

Other items read:

  • "The Man Who Saved Manhattan" by Sunil Patel — This was cute! I'm a big fan of how Sunil builds really original character voices in small spaces.

  • All-New All-Different Avengers #6 by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar, & Dave McCaig — An okay resolution to all the drama; I like that we see Thor get to be both fragile and a savior, and oh man, the ending was super sweet. I've actually come around to Sam/Thor! Surprise. As always, could have used more Kamala.

  • Black Widow #1 by Chris Samnee, Mark Waid, & Matt Wilson — This was an issue of explosions. That's all it was. It was constant action. Nothing happened but Natasha running away, people chasing her, and things exploding. I have no idea what to expect from the character based on this because Natasha says maybe two things. It was not very interesting, even with the ~secret~ of Natasha and SHIELD being at odds. I'm dubious about this and am really annoyed I won't be able to get a sense of how they're going to characterize her without spending even more money. Predictably: everyone else I know who read it loves it because this writer/artist team can Do No Wrong. It's actually made me feel a little crazy and like everyone else got a excellently characterized/nuanced comic and I got dudebros going "HUR HUR MAKE THINGS GO BOOM". This one one of the comics I was most excited about and I'm super bummed because I'm just not here for issue-long explosions that provide very little context or characterization; that's not what I want from a Black Widow comic at all.

  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #4 by Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, Natacha Bustos, & Tamra Bonvillain — This issue was so sad. :( Lunella keeps struggling to make people listen to her, and The Hulk stands in as the cultural authority she can't seem to get to see her, much less the things she's terrified of in her future. I am hopeful for an epic jailbreak next issue.

  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5 by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, & Rico Renzi — I love Doreen in whatever iteration she comes in! There are so many time travel shenanigans in this issue it was a little hard to keep it straight but omg, the callback to the original Squirrel Girl's fight with Doctor Doom!!! ♥

  • Lumberjanes #19 by Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Carolyn Nowak, & Maarta Laiho — Mermaids. :| This is continuing April's mission to reunite a friendship even as she risks her own. I liked the end the best; still haven't gotten used to this artist. :(


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