Revenge and desperation

Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020
by Lynne M. Thomas (Editor),  Michael Damian Thomas (Editor)

A tenjō kudari (“ceiling hanger” yōkai) defends her theft
BY BETSY AOKI | 246 WORDS

„at night I hover above the beams you’ve hammered
between heaven and your spread silk coverlet“

https://uncannymagazine.com/article/a-tenjo-kudari-ceiling-hanger-yokai-defends-her-theft/

A poem about a yokai, a Japanese spectre/demon and her revenge. I like it. Great visuals, I can see here hovering under those rafters…


You Perfect, Broken Thing
BY C.L. Clark | 3930 WORDS

“When I leave the kill floor, my legs are wasted. I shuffle to the women’s locker room. I can’t stand anymore, but I know if I sit, I’ll never get back up. At least, not for another hour.“

https://uncannymagazine.com/article/you-perfect-broken-thing/

Short story. Winning a race to stay alive. And to give life to loved ones. Interesting and emotionally compelling.

More of the uncanny

Uncanny Magazine Issue 16: May/June 2017
by Lynne M. Thomas (Editor),  Michael Damian Thomas (Editor)

Sun, Moon, Dust by URSULA VERNON
A farmer inherits a magical sword from his dying grandmother. But he doesn‘t want to become a warrior

HUGO 2018 short story finalist. 

Very poetic, from an author with a love for potatoes, apparently. Satisfying ending. 


Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time by K.M. SZPARA
“I am trying to piss against a wall when the vampire bites me.“
As first sentences go, this is a pretty good one!

Not bad. An alternative world, where vampires are a known part of society, combined with a trans character. Unusual, thought provoking, slightly sexy. I am curious to know, what those small changes could turn out to be. I have ideas, obviously. 

Hugo Awards 2018 Novelette Nominee


What to expect from the Hadron Collider as a college roommate
BY BETSY AOKI | 201 WORDS, poetry

It will probably not be home for supper anytime soon.
Things will get broken and not put back together again.

Pretty amusing poem. I liked it!

Uncanny poetry

Uncanny Magazine Issue 41: July/August 2021
by Lynne M. Thomas (Editor),  Michael Damian Thomas (Editor)

I read the four poems in this issues: 

Hitobashira by Betsy Aoki

Sonnet for the Aglæcwif by Minal Hajratwala

After The Tower Falls, Death Gives Advice by Ali Trotta

Radioactivity by Octavia Cade

Or I tried, at least. The poem by Ali Trotta didn‘t work for me. I didn‘t get it.

BY BETSY AOKI | 136 WORDS

Every year the water flows up to the banks and beyond,
reaching slick algae fingers to the sky:

I read this poem twice and didn‘t understand it. I then looked up Hitobashira and learned something new. I didn‘t know there was such a thing as human sacrifices in Japan. Now the poem makes a lot more sense…

BY MINAL HAJRATWALA | 193 WORDS

Classic mum-in-law she was, Ma Grendl:

Beowulf is a story that keeps on giving! Not the first or only version that tries to shed a different light on Grendl‘s mother.

BY OCTAVIA CADE | 386 WORDS

Ranunculus aquatilis and radium.
One has petals that are pale in vases and reflect moonlight
the other walks in empty spaces, and footprints glow behind it.

A poem about Marie Curie. Interesting. It makes me realize, that I apparently need poems that not just tell a story, but also teach me new things and make me look up and research details.

My September 2021

Here is what I read in September:

Ancillary Sword ★★★★★ audio, Imperial Radch #2, re-read. I remembered most of this and this time around liked it better than #1. Loved Dlique and Tisarwat.
– Return to the Center of the Earth ★★★★☆ KU, sequel, re-tracing the steps of Jules Verne. Brain candy. Fun!
– Babylon’s Ashes ★★★★☆ audio, Expanse #6, re-read
– City of Bones ★★☆☆☆ ebook, dystopian fantasy by Martha Wells. Not enough sarcastic AIs. I liked parts of it a lot, but as a whole it didn‘t excite me. I pretty much skimmed through the second part, because I didn‘t care.

Poetry:
– “You’d Have Me Be White” by Alfonsina Storni, https://betterthanstarbucks.wixsite.c…, ★★★★★, feminist poetry, made me smile and nod my head…
– Scifaikuest Online, https://www.hiraethsffh.com/scifaikue…, ★★★★½, great SF haikus
– “Among the Scythians“, Deborah L. Davitt, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #49, August 1, 2021, ★★★☆☆, https://www.heroicfantasyquarterly.co…
– Horrific Punctuation, poetry, KU, DNF, my ebook was barely readable and the poetry too abstract.

Comics:
– The White Trees #1 ★★★★☆, KU, eComic, high fantasy, x-rated, ex-killer has to pick up his weapons again to save his family
– The White Trees #2 ★★★☆☆, eComic, not as good as the first issue

Return To The Center Of The Earth by Greig Beck Horrific Punctuation by John Reinhart Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse, #6) by James S.A. Corey The White Trees #1 by Chip Zdarsky The White Trees #2 by Chip Zdarsky City of Bones by Martha Wells Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch #2) by Ann Leckie 

Currently reading:
– Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, ebook, #ReadBIPOC2021, TBR pile, Netgalley
– Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paperback, TBR pile
– Ancillary Mercy, audio, Imperial Radch #3, re-read

Planned, but lacking in motivation:
– Persepolis Rising, audio, Expanse #7, re-read
– Tiamat’s Wrath, audio, Expanse #8, re-read
I might abandon the plan to read those two and just jump to the new book…

Movie watched:
– Dune ★★★★★ — I considered deducting a star, because it‘s only „Part One“. I was pretty frustrated about that. The beginning took forever! Is Caladan supposed to be Caledonia, aka Scotland? Never really thought about that before. My first visit to a cinema since 2019! 

Feminist poetry

I am still working my way through a list of poems in my inbox. This was the one I connected with the most, when I read it tonight:

You’d Have Me Be White

Verse translation from the Spanish, “You’d Have Me Be White” by Alfonsina Storni, Better Than Starbucks Vol. VI No. III, Aug. 2021, https://betterthanstarbucks.wixsite.com/aug2021/poetry-translations 

This poem shows nicely that feminism is not something new. The poet, Alfonsina Storni, died in 1938.

Scifaikuest Online 

I am not much of a haiku reader. However, I am curious and I look around… and I came across this interesting page

Here are three my favourites on that page:

ice queen crone

theirs was a love

to last for ages

cryogenic sleeping

Benjamin Whitney Norris

frosted window

my escape pod bounces

off the atmosphere

Stephen C. Curro

And apparently there is such a thing as a HORRORKU

Dahl, baby

Not a tattoo

Her skin crawling

Over to you now

Benjamin Whitney Norris

I seem to like Benjamin Whitney Norris. I didn‘t find much about him, but I will keep my eyes peeled.

Abstract poetry

Horrific Punctuation
by John Reinhart

I got the kindle edition and sadly it‘s barely readable. On my tablet it doesn‘t display at all and on my kindle the script is tiny and the layout doesn‘t really lend itself to maximizing it. I gave up after a few pages. This needs a printed version.

What I did catch was‘t really my cup of tea either. I couldn‘t really make heads or tails of it, it was too abstract for me.

About the poet and his work

Re-released and expanded into 32 pages by Arson Press in 2021, Horrific Punctuation is where commas scratch poisoned marks in blood on oblivion, Thor makes an enthusiastic appearance! shotguns make dark holes to mark the end…or maybe the beginning of something new. Zombies, harpies, Odin, Schrödinger’s cat, Hermes, yetis, the Loch Ness Monster, and more nightmares are here to remind you that while punctuation can be bad, sometimes it is horrific.

October Wrap-up

BR novels:
– Monstress, Vol. 5, comic, ★★★★★, siege of a city, war, revelations about the past. This was good, although different to the previous ones. More of an ensemble cast and more focused on setting up the scene for that siege and the war that will probably pick up speed in the next volume.
– Dragonquest, paper, ★★★★★, fun 2nd Dragonriders book. Fire-lizards! I enjoyed this a lot and it was much better than I remembered it.
– The Only Good Indians, audio, ★★☆☆☆, revenge, indigenous people, hunting. Carry-over from last month. There were some good parts in this. Some of it I even liked. It just didn‘t come together well. 
– The Ministry for the Future: A Novel, ebook, Netgalley, ★★☆☆☆, DNF at 56%, climatefic, too little plot, more a collection of essays, too much economics, blockchain, weird surrealistic meta-fic somethings. The plot that was there, I liked. The rest bored me silly.

Ongoing BR:
– The Doors of Eden, audio, featured BR, 6 hours left, will finish in November… Good so far, I like it. Tchaikovsky writes well and is great at world-building. I have to get to his back catalogue one of these days.

Planned BR, but didn‘t read:
– The Butterfly Garden, ebook, didn‘t manage to squeeze it in and after reading a friend‘s review I am not sure if I want to. Postponed.

Solo reads:
– Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory, short, ★★★★☆, intermezzo for Mensah and Murderbot 
– Shakespeare’s Sonnets, poetry, ★★★★☆, read-along with Sir Pat on Instagram.
– BLAME! Vol. 4, manga, ★★★★☆, fighting and exploring the megastructure.

Plans for November:

BR novels:
– The White Dragon — started already! Fun!
– Phoenix Extravagant, netgalley 
– Conventionally Yours, netgalley — romance readers
– Great Expectations, read-along on wordpress — this will be postponed, month tbc

Poem a day

Shakespeare’s Sonnets
by William Shakespeare

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sir Patrick Stewart, lovely man, read Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram, one a day, starting in March 2020. It took a while. It was lovely to listen to his gorgeous voice and very relaxing. He must be the most adored man in social media. 

I did not listen to him daily, but rather had a peek now and then. I liked that Jonathan Frakes checked in one day and read a sonnet, too. And Ian McKellen visited for SirPatStew‘s 80st birthday.

I definitely need to revisit this at some point, as I haven‘t read or listened to enough of these sonnets. WIP.