FSF Wiki Work

I started editing the FSF Wiki page on women and works eligible for 2009 awards. It’s quite short at the moment, and mostly consists of things I copied from the 2008 page, so there’s room for additions and improvements.

Anyone can edit a page and I encourage anyone who is interested in SF/H/F to take a look at the wiki and consider contributing. As with many FSF projects, it depends on the community to work.

Hey everyone. I thought it’d be a good idea to just catch up on all the print magazine stories in 2008 so far. I’m getting all of my data and review excerpts from The Fix, which is an awesome review magazine run by the amazing Eugie Foster. It’s a good site to keep up with if you’re interested in short fiction.

January

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

  • “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Michaela Roessner
  • “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” by Ruth Nestvold
    • Nestvold gives us a poignant glimpse into the desperate requests for information from a computerized travel guide, made by a stranded traveller doomed by a series of freak accidents. Those who have studied transport disasters will recognize the horrific inevitability of supposed fail-safes not working in a cascade. It’s a better, stronger story than the Powell, and an object lesson in how to write very short stories.

Asimov’s

  • “The Whale’s Lover” by Deborah Coates
  • “The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald” by Tanith Lee
    • Lee has come up with a clever twist on viruses and on the need they have to propagate themselves. Her quiet, subtle description of a population that has lost hope and who only attempts to live life, one day at a time, is masterful. Recommended and the issue’s standout for me.

Weird Tales

  • “Landscape, With Fish” by Karen Heuler
  • “Events at Fort Plentitude” by Cat Rambo

Polluto

  • “Werewolf of Sappho” by Deb Hoag
  • “A Deck of Cards” by Jess Freeborn

OnSpec

  • “Daystar” by Sarah Carless
  • “Pressina’s Daughters” by Angela Slatter
  • “Re-Annunciation” by Nancy Chenier
  • “Pest Control” by Kate Riedel

February

Asimov’s

  • “The Egg Man” by Mary Rosenblum
  • “Sex and Violence” by Nancy Kress

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

  • “Retrospect” Ann Miller
  • “Philologos; or, A Murder in Bistrita” by Deborah Doyle and James Macdonald
    • This compact, fleetly paced and beautifully crafted mystery demonstrates what Sherlock Holmes would be like if he investigated monstrous affairs.

Realms of Fantasy

  • “The People’s Republic of the Edelweiss Village Putt-Putt Golf Course” by M.K. Hobson
  • “Hobnoblin Blues” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “The Singers in the Tower” by Peni R. Griffin
  • “And Spare Not the Flock” by Margaret Ronald
    • In my humble opinion, Cormac embodies the essence of Christianity, far more so than those who presumed to judge his actions or condemn his new companions. Kudos to Ronald for showing us a real man of faith, who perseveres in doing what he believes is right, despite personal danger and his own doubts.

Interzone

  • “Pseudo Tokyo” by Jennifer Linnaea
  • “The Faces of My Friends” by Jennifer Harwood-Smith

GUD

  • “Painlessness” by Kirstyn McDermott
  • “The Salivary Reflex” by Tina Connolly
  • “Jamie Hawkins’ Muse” by Vanessa Gebbie
    • [The author] crafts a subtle and affecting tale. It is full of emotion but never sentimental. … There is nothing overtly supernatural in this story, but it is extraordinary.

Andromeda Spaceways

  • “Motor Skills” by Eugenie Edquist
  • “The Last Deflowerer” by Karen Maric
  • “The Children’s Crusade” by Susan Wardle
    • …one of this issue’s strongest stories.

Escape Velocity

  • “The Appliance of Science” by Sheila Crosby

March

Asimov’s

  • “Kallakak’s Cousins” by Cat Rambo
  • “Spiders” by Sue Burke
  • “Shoggoths in Bloom” by Elizabeth Bear
    • Bear depicts her setting with authenticity, tackling issues of race and social class in addition to Harding’s quest to understand the shoggoth lifecycle.
  • “Master of the Road to Nowhere” by Carol Emshwiller
    • I loved the description of the group’s customs; how they manage to survive on the edge of the society we know is completely believable. Emshwiller succeeds admirably in depicting an alien way of thinking but one we can still empathize with.

Analog

  • “The Spacetime Pool” by Catherine Asaro
    • This is a very good adventure story… [it] entertains, surprises, and moves at a good pace.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

  • “Rumple What?” by Nancy Springer
  • “Exit Strategy” by K.D. Wentworth
    • Wentworth’s lighthearted tone, which appears dismissive at first, dances elegantly across questions of teenage autonomy, parental concern, cults vs. religion, even transgender identity, coming to rest in an unexpected (for me, at least) and very fitting place.

Black Static

  • “The Morning After” by Carole Johnstone

Leading Edge

  • “Last Heir” by Laura Ware
  • “The Book Of Thuti” by Karen L. Kobylarz
  • “At The Gates Of White Marble” by Aliette de Bodard

April

Asimov’s

  • “An Almanac for the Alien Invaders” by Merrie Haskell
  • “Ghost Town” by Catherine Wells
  • “Strangers When We Meet” by Kate Wilhelm
  • “Memory Dog” by Kathleen Ann Goonan
    • Goonan paints a complex picture of the future; her idea of smackers and of the way information would be transmitted in a world gone mad is brilliant. She handles the relationships between her main characters very well, especially the point of view of the memory dog—a hard act to pull off.
  • “The Room of Lost Souls” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    • If the universe is nothing special—colonies, spaceships, and ruins from an elder race—the Room itself is a brilliant idea, and Rusch successfully creates a creepy myth around it, building up the intensity of the narration until the final, shattering reveal.

Realms of Fantasy

  • “Gift from a Spring” by Delia Sherman

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

  • “The Fountain of Neptune” by Kate Wilhelm

Have you read any of the stories listed? I’d love to see some other thoughts on them from folks here.

I first wrote most of the entry back before the beginning of the year, but it’s taken me a long time to put the pieces into place and make everything work. Already our little operation has been through a fitful start and a rebirth, and now it’s time for some more changes. Not unpleasant ones, though. Hopefully the changes I talk about here will make the bookswap even more useful for everyone. It’s just a shift in philosophy based on some learning I’ve done through this process.

When I first started the bookswap, my idea was a lofty one. To create a community of people who were interested in women’s F&SF and wanted to participate in the genre’s awards process. I figured that everyone would be excited about getting new books, reading them, passing them along, and reviewing them. I was partially right. There were many people who were interested. However, the thing I failed to understand at first (which I completely do now) is that most readers, even voracious readers, are not interested in reading every available book in order to decide which books are worthy of nomination and awards.

As I said, this is not a notion I am laboring under, anymore.

I also really failed to take into account that, on most award ballots, there is one, maybe two slots for novel-length work and 3 – 5 slots for short fiction. And though novels get most of the attention, it’s much easier to read widely in short fiction.

This led me to ponder what changes we can make in the SFBookswap.

First, we’re going to put a lot more emphasis on reviewing books and calling attention to stories here. Jasmine will continue highlighting all of the online stories written by women. I will start collecting information about print stories and pointing to reviews of them. We now have several new book reviewers associated with the site, and in the next few months you’ll start seeing their reviews on a regular basis (more on that later).

Second, in terms of swapping, I would like to bring those interested to the blog itself instead of trying to maintain a community elsewhere. This way, you won’t have to sign up for yet another bulletin board/social networking site/whathaveyou. We’ll also focus on swapping magazines more than books, since they’re cheaper to ship/pass around and, again, contain short stories. Plus, people are more willing to let go of magazines than they are of books, especially books they love.

I would also love if we could set up the swap so that most of the transactions happen at cons — the major ones throughout the year: Worldcon, World Fantasy, Readercon, WisCon, Boskone, etc. — with some happening through the mail. I feel that this will only happen if the community is interested, so I’m willing to sit back and see if it develops, rather than attempting to coordinate it right away.

Each time we post a review, we’ll indicate whether that book or magazine is available for swap. If you’re interested in it, just comment (and leave your real email — no one can see it but the admins). You just have to be willing to post your thoughts on the book once you’re done with it. And if you pass it on after that, all the better.
The idea is to make the bookswap blog a nexus of information on SF literature written by women and a guide to those that are worth reading and perhaps even worth nominating. It will also be a place that readers can come to if they don’t have access to recent fiction. The basic ideal is still there — to provide readers who need it with recent fiction so that they can take part in genre award nominations.

If you’re interested in becoming part of the swap, all you have to do is keep an eye on the blog. You can bookmark us, subscribe to our feed, or friend the feed on LJ. If you definitely want to get books to swap, the best way to do that is to become a reviewer. For details, send us a note through the Contact page.

And if you’d like an introduction to the reviewers who’ve already agreed to be part of the project, check the comments. A few of them will come by to introduce themselves.

–Tempest

P.S. We have some other changes coming up this summer, including adding fiction written by People of Color to the swap. Keep watching!

Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing
Edited by: Delia Sherman and Theodora Goss
Genre: Short Stories/Fiction
Pages: 291

What is interstitial fiction? This short story anthology does its best to find out. From the intro, which defines interstitial being between borders, but something that’s not a hybrid, to each of the 19 stories crafted by some damn talented voices in fiction, I have to say, I learned a lot. Interstitial writing isn’t just about genre, or only about genre. In some stories, interstitality had to do with place, or with character, or with a particular moment in life. This book is shelved in the SF/F section of the store, and indeed, some of the stories certainly have a magical realist flair, but if I had to classify this book as anything, it’s literary fiction. It’s not an anthology that’s for everyone, but for anyone with a love of language and fine writing with an open and inquisitive imagination, I think you’ll find this anthology worth your while. I know I sure did.

The full review, which contains a story-by-story reaction (and some reactions contain spoilers, others do not), may be found in my journal. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.

REVIEW: Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing

Contributers:

Christopher Barzak
Leslie What
Anna Tambour
Joy Marchand
Jon Singer
K. Tempest Bradford
Csilla Kleinheincz
Michael J. DeLuca
Karen Jordan Allen
Rachel Pollack
Veronica Schanoes
Mikal Trimm
Colin Greenland
Vandana Singh
Matthew Cheney
Lea Sihol
Adrian Ferrero
Holly Phillips
Catherynne M. Valente

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