Monthly wrap-up

My October 2021:

– Ancillary Mercy ★★★★★ audio, Imperial Radch #3, re-read. I really liked this. Not sure what I did during the first read, but I definitely did not pay attention, because I barely remembered any of this. Great fun, I loved all the AIs and their dynamics. And Translator Zaiat was precious.
We Have Always Been Here ★★★★☆ ebook, colony ship (is it?), AI, a litte horror, mystery, dystopia.
– Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen ★★★★☆ audio, about institutionalized racism in Germany and the experiences of a black woman growing up in Cologne. Not bad, a bit on the shallow side. Very readable.
– Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora★★★★☆ ebook, #ReadBIPOC2021, TBR pile, Netgalley. This is a very strong anthology. Even the stories that didn‘t fully grab me gave me plenty to think about. Recommended! 
– Dark Path ★★★☆☆ ebook, TBR pile, mystery fluff. Buddhist forensic pathologist solves a case in Florida.

Short stories:
– The Lottery ★★★★☆ online. Famous story by Shirley Jackson from 1948.
– You Can Make a Dinosaur, but You Can’t Help Me, Uncanny Magazine Issue 23: July/August 2018 ★★★★☆ online. About a trans man and his Jurassic Park-inventing dad.
– You Perfect, Broken Thing, Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020★★★★☆ online. Dystopia? Winning a race to stay alive…

Poetry:
– Uncanny Magazine Issue 41: July/August 2021 ★★★★☆ online, I read three of the four poems, about Japan and sacrifice, Beowulf and Madame Curie, here: https://uncannymagazine.com/issues/un…
– What to expect from the Hadron Collider as a college roommate, Uncanny Magazine Issue 16: May/June 2017 ★★★★☆ online, pretty amusing poem.
– A tenjō kudari (“ceiling hanger” yōkai) defends her theft, Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020 ★★★★☆ online, a spectre gets her revenge.

Currently reading:
– Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paperback, TBR pile
– The Resurrectionists, ebook, Netgalley, TBR pile

Abandoned reread:
– BR zombie Persepolis Rising, audio, Expanse #7, re-read
– BR zombie Tiamat’s Wrath, audio, Expanse #8, re-read

Movies & TV watched:
– No Time to Die ★★★★★, last 007 with Craig, cinema.
– Smoking Aces ★★¾☆☆, action thriller comedy with lots of blood, pretty pointless. 

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.

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.

Short story time

Children of Thorns, Children of Water (Dominion of the Fallen, #1.5)
by Aliette de Bodard

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Desperate people come to take a test, in hopes of being taken into a house of fallen angels. Two of them are spies from a dragon kingdom. Dark magic ensues.

I liked it. There was nice, creepy imagery and I identified with the main characters quickly. The world building was well done and the narrative flowed well and kept me hooked.

Hugo Awards 2018 Novelette Nominee

Story can be found here

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…

Uncanny poetry

Uncanny Magazine Issue 11: July/August 2016
by Lynne M. Thomas (Goodreads Author) (Editor)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I just read Good Neighbors BY JESSICA P. WICK.

I am pretty new to SF poetry and poetry in general. I haven‘t read many poems since my school days. So I am very unused to analyzing and understanding them. This one I found quite gripping, although I am not sure if I understood it correctly. Does she turn into those she was afraid of to protect herself?

If you liked that poem, have a look at this one:
The Root Queen’s Winter by Jessica P. Wick

I like it, although I think I understand it even less than the other one…

Ghost story about a ghost story. Meta ghost?

Uncanny Magazine Issue 25: November/December 2018Uncanny Magazine Issue 25: November/December 2018 by Lynne M. Thomas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review for “The Thing About Ghost Stories“ by Naomi Kritzer, 22 pages, ★★½☆☆

“The most interesting thing about ghost stories is that almost everyone has one.“

A story about a woman collecting ghost stories. Meh. A bit rambling, not quite boring but nothing interesting for me. Her mother‘s Alzheimers and her changing relationship with her was the only redeeming feature, but it was too little to matter.

Can be read for free here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/t…

————
Review for “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher, 1.885 words, 4 pages, ★★★½☆

“There was a land of elven halls and hollows, … there was a campfire, and around it sat a half-dozen men, and a great bull selkie, and a horse the color of night..“

Normally humans fall for the fey and pine after them…

It was ok. Not sure what makes it so special that it gets nominated for a Hugo award.

Can be read for free here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/t…

View all my reviews

Good riddance for some…

Uncanny Magazine Issue 23: July/August 2018Uncanny Magazine Issue 23: July/August 2018 by Lynne M. Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review for “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat“ by Brooke Bolander

Entertaining take on fairytales, with unusual protagonists.

“Once upon a time, long, long, long, long, long, long, ago, there were three raptor sisters, hatched beneath a lucky star. They lived in a wood together, they stole sheep and cattle together, and all in all, there was no tighter-knit hunting pride of matriarchal dromaeosauridae between the mountains and the sea.“

Nothing too surprising, an easy read. Enjoyable.

Can be read for free here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/t…

View all my reviews

Pining and appreciation…

Uncanny Magazine Issue 25: November/December 2018Uncanny Magazine Issue 25: November/December 2018 by Lynne M. Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review for “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher, 1.885 words, 4 pages, ★★★½☆

“There was a land of elven halls and hollows, … there was a campfire, and around it sat a half-dozen men, and a great bull selkie, and a horse the color of night..“

Normally humans fall for the fey and pine after them…

It was ok. Not sure what makes it so special that it gets nominated for a Hugo award.

Can be read for free here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/t…

View all my reviews