Fairyland meets Art Nouveau

Enchanted Living, Summer 2019: #47 The Art Nouveau Issue

by Carolyn Turgeon (Editor), Mary Sharratt, Theodora Goss, Grace NuthKatharyn Howd Machan

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Photography of all things Art Nouveau—jewelry, present day portraits, interior shots of old buildings and new decorations, tarot decks, ceramics, fashion/costumes… There is also poetry, paintings—Klimt‘s The Kiss makes an appearance—, illustrations, interviews, articles on a variety of topics, recipes for homemade cosmetics and cocktails… A pretty eclectic mix. 

I flipped though this magazine twice. Some of the photographs I liked, most of the magazine’s content was not my cup of tea. Too much fairyland, not enough actual Art Nouveau.

I liked the abandoned Art Nouveau buildings…

… and the ceramics…

The centerfold is about Solarpunk Design with an interesting cityscape. That was pretty much it. Sorry.

July 2020 Wrap-Up

My July 2020:

BR novels:
– Limit, BR with Dennis, TBR challenge, ongoing & carry-over into August
– The Traitor Baru Cormorant, BR, ongoing & carry-over into August

– Dragonflight, as part of The Dragonriders of Pern, ★★★★☆, in the beginning there was a queen‘s dragon egg… Who wants to continue with this series?
– The City We Became, June SF GR, audible, ★★☆☆☆, not for me.

Solo reads:
– Lullaby for a Lost World, short, ★★★★★, magic comes at a high price. Vengeance!
– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, HarryPotterAtHome, read by various actors (https://www.wizardingworld.com/chapters), TBR challenge (most reviews/highest ratings), ★★★★☆, #HarryPotterAtHome
– Dwarf Stars 2020, poetry, ★★★★☆, SF poems of 10 lines or less.
– Grace Immaculate, short, ★★★★☆, first contact via SETI, alien aliens…
– Wohllebens Waldführer: Tiere & Pflanzen bestimmen, das Ökosystem entdecken, nonfiction, ★★★★☆, easy guide about 250 species of plants and animals in central Europe.
– David‘s Head, in Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156, ★★★★☆, short story about a roadtrip with an AI
– 2389, ★★★☆☆, space horror brain candy.
– Das Seelenleben der Tiere: Liebe, Trauer, Mitgefühl – erstaunliche Einblicke in eine verborgene Welt, nonfiction, ★★★☆☆, the inner life of animals, pop science.

Comics, aka my guilty pleasure:
– Skyward #13, ★★★☆☆
– Skyward #14, ★★★☆☆
– Skyward #15, ★★★½☆, the end!
– Ascender #6, ★★★★☆
– Ascender #7, ★★★★½
– Sea of Stars #1, ★★★½☆
– Black Science #1, ★★☆☆☆, Lost in Space, travelling other dimensions.

Wanted to read, but didn‘t:
– Unconquerable Sun, BR, wasn‘t that interested anymore
– Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea, #8, 9 & 10, plan to read it eventually…

Skyward #13 by Joe Henderson Skyward #14 by Joe Henderson Skyward #15 by Joe Henderson Ascender #6 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #7 by Jeff Lemire Sea of Stars #1 by Jason Aaron Black Science #1 by Rick Remender 
Dragonflight (Pern Dragonriders of Pern, #1) by Anne McCaffrey Dwarf Stars 2020 by Robin Mayhall Grace Immaculate by Gregory Benford Wohllebens Waldführer Tiere & Pflanzen bestimmen, das Ökosystem entdecken by Peter Wohlleben 2389 by Iain Rob Wright Lullaby for a Lost World by Aliette de Bodard 
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Das Seelenleben der Tiere Liebe, Trauer, Mitgefühl - erstaunliche Einblicke in eine verborgene Welt by Peter Wohlleben Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156 by Neil Clarke 

Plans for August:
I am in the middle of several things that I need to finish. Plus there is a vague committment to read Shark Week related stuff… 😝

2020 Hugo Finalists, the short stories

Here is what I thought of the Best Short Story finalists…


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Set in colonial India, during the Bengal famine of 1943. A revenge story with a magical twist. The story is harrowing and shows the brutality of colonial rule. However, the telling of it didn‘t really do much for me.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

“An alternate history short story looking at decisions and consequences, and what it takes to pull the trigger.“

I really liked this. What a barbaric idea, although I can see where they are coming from. Not a decision that should be taken lightly and that can be debated hotly.

Knocking off half a star, because I am somewhat unsatisfied with the abrupt and open ending. Still debating with myself, if I consider this special enough for an award? Does it really bring anything new to the table?

Pretty cover art.


Rating: 2 out of 5.

 A young girl, a slave in the South, is presented with a moment where she can grasp for freedom, for change, for life. She grabs it with both hands, fiercely and intensely, and the spirit world is shaken.

Odd. Very wordy, very bloody, with a faint touch of romance and hope at the end. The tale was unsettling and had no rewarding features for me. 


Rating: 2 out of 5.

Climate fic. About storms, wind, sisters and mothers. It went right over my head, couldn‘t get into it.


Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270
(Beneath Ceaseless Skies #270)
by Scott H. Andrews (Editor)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

High fantasy, war, genderfluid characters. Death and blood and endless war. Loss, betrayal, hope.

Betrayal is a fearsome armor against love.

The world building was pretty good, but I did not connect with the characters. I liked the ending, although I did not really agree with the choices everyone made. It got me thinking though, so I can see why this is nominated for a Hugo.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I listened to the podcast on the Nightmare Magazine website. Very odd story. I am using the word story loosely here. To have a male narrator was an interesting choice. A story about colonialism.

From the author‘s website

Possibly the structurally weirdest thing I’ve ever written; it’s in the form of an MLA bibliography and it’s about colonialism in academia, monstrous appetites, and oh yes, lesbian cannibals.

Another one that went mostly over my head. While the structure of the narrative was clever and somewhat intriguing, it didn‘t really work for me. But that‘s on me.


So, that was all of the short story finalists for this year‘s Hugo Award. Not a great average for me this time around. Leaning strongly towards Fantasy—maybe that is the reason. I am more of SF and UF fan.

Which of these stories was your favourite?

There is something in the walls…

Uncanny Magazine Issue 27: March/April 2019
by Lynne M. Thomas (Editor), Beth Cato (Goodreads Author)

Review for Childhood Memory from the Old Victorian House on Warner BY BETH CATO, ★★★★☆, May 2020

SF poetry is still something new for me. A learning process. Right now that means: do I grasp what is going on and does it generate an internal picture or movie in my head. This one did. I saw the room, the wallpaper, the butterfly trying to escape and I felt the horror of the narrator, wanting another room…. am I too simple?

I was five years old

when I began to awaken

before dawn

to watch the first beam of sunlight

coax the green wallpaper awake

Complete poem can be read for free here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/c…

But some of us are the next step in evolution.

Asimov's Science Fiction, September 2016Asimov’s Science Fiction, September 2016 by Sheila Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE MIND IS ITS OWN PLACE, CARRIE VAUGHN, ~24 p., ★★★★☆

“Carrie Vaughn is best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio show.“
I really liked that series! But it seems as if she is more of an SF author than UF, right?

“If someone locked you in a room full of crazy people, was there any chance that you weren’t crazy?“
Well, that is the question. How delusional or crazy is our MC here?

“But some of us are the next step in evolution.”
And wouldn‘t that be cool… Not telling you, what exactly, sorry. I enjoyed this!

Story excerpt here: https://web.archive.org/web/201610101…

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Little, little bison

Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2013 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #708)Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2013 by Gordon Van Gelder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Give Me a Home By Adam Rakunas | 7651 words, ★★★★½

“I HAD JUST PUT THE HERD into their evening pasture when Leggo came over the rise. He was huffing and puffing on his old mountain bike, pushing his enormous bulk up the brown Sierra foothills. “Dude,” he said, leaning his bike against my Chevy, “you’re getting sued.”“

A story about family, genetics, and bison. Little, little bison. And a company that does sound a bit like Monsanto. The little, little bison were the inspiration for Daryl Gregory‘s teeny 3-inch bison in Afterparty and that‘s how I ended reading this…

Creepy, because this is the battle farmers are actually fighting today, with big companies trying to patent genomes of common livestock, so they can charge for the use. Which is just ridiculously insane. Don‘t even get me started on special fertilizer for GMO crops.

Great ending, I liked that!

Author‘s website: http://www.giro.org

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And another Naomi Kritzer story

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 100 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #100)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 100 by Neil Clarke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

“I want to be helpful. But knowing the optimal way to be helpful can be very complicated. There are all these ethical flow charts—I guess the official technical jargon would be “moral codes”—one for each religion plus dozens more. I tried starting with those. I felt a little odd about looking at the religious ones, because I know I wasn’t created by a god or by evolution, but by a team of computer programmers in the labs of a large corporation in Mountain View, California.

Another AI story. Can she look for a flat for me? Frankenstein is an AI… Interesting.

For free online here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritz…

Locus Awards and Hugo Award Winner for Best Short Story 2016



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More Naomi Kritzer

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 126 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #126)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 126 by Neil Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty’s Place Cafe” by Naomi Kritzer

“I ran out of gas in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, just two hundred miles short of Pierre, my goal. Pierre, South Dakota, I mean, I wasn’t trying to get to someone named Pierre. I was trying to get to my parents, and Pierre was where they lived. I thought maybe, given that the world was probably ending in the next twenty-four hours, they’d want to talk to me.“

End of the World. Nothing else needed to make me read this. Nice. Relationships, family, should you fulfill the usual expectations, just because it‘s the done thing?

Can be found for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritz…

About the Arecibo Oberservatory: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Areci…

Internal soundtrack, while listening to the podcast: GoldenEye by Tina Turner (because of the Arecibo Observatory—watch the movie, if you haven‘t yet, it‘s great).

Quirky podcast. At one point she took a break to drink something. That was a first!



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Naomi Kritzer

I just came across this interesting interview of author Naomi Kritzer… https://www.apex-magazine.com/interview-with-author-naomi-kritzer/

Here is what I found of hers online:

Apex Magazine September 2018

Apex Magazine September 2018 by Jason Sizemore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Field Biology of the Wee Fairies—Naomi Kritzer

When Amelia turned fourteen, everyone assured her that she’d find her fairy soon. Almost all girls did. You’d find a fairy, a beautiful little fairy, and catch her. And she’d give you a gift to let her go, and that gift was always beauty or charm or perfect hair or something else that made boys notice you.

Great story. Creative. If life gives you obstacles, you don‘t have to fight through them, you can also find another way. Girl power! So what, if people expect girls wanting to look pretty and find a boy. Find a way. Do your thing.

Free short fiction, 4.700 words: https://www.apex-magazine.com/field-b…



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Lightspeed

Lightspeed Magazine, August 2016 (Lightspeed Magazine, #75)Lightspeed Magazine, August 2016 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Those Brighter Stars” by Mercurio D. Rivera, 6030 words, ~14 pages
Aliens come to Earth, fairly typical first-contact-scenario. Emphatic skills, three generations of mothers and daughters and their failure to communicate with each other and others. The exploration of Ava’s emphatic skills was interesting, but sadly didn’t go very far. 3/5 stars

“Trip Trap” by Kevin J. Anderson and Sherrilyn Kenyon, 4210 words, ~10 pages
Oh, a bridge troll, that’s different!
“I don’t like fast food. I want something slow enough I can catch!”
I know the feeling! The story was mildly amusing. 2/5 stars

“The War of Heroes” by Kameron Hurley, 8595 words, ~20 pages
“There can be no civilization without war,” the Hero said.”
Depressing, but well written. I loved the ships. 4/5 stars

Source: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/iss…

Total 4 stars, 44 pages read

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