Book meme

4 Jan 2015 08:42 pm
salinea: Emma Frost, sitting comfortably (chill)
Stolen from [personal profile] flo_nelja

For reference, a list of the books I read.

How many books read in 2014?
About 50.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?
All fiction

Male/Female authors?
Only 8 books by a male writer this year, the rest by one or two female writers.

Favorite books read?
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore was not flawless but is probably the one that will stay the most with me for its complicated treatment of how one recovers of trauma on a country wide scale.

Least favorite?
Precious Dragon by Liz Williams bored me enough I decided to drop that seire sof book. Also I thought The Winds of Khalakovo by Bradley P Beaulieu was thoroughly confused and mediocre.

Oldest book read?
Probably the Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, lol. (Which I thought felt rather painfully British at times.)

Probably the Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. At least it is the "new hot book people are talking about".

Longest book title?
Well I reread "First Against the Wall" which is always a nice, long title.

Shortest title?
Cold Fire by Kate Elliott

How many re-reads?
About 6

Most books read by one author this year?
I read 10 books by Kate Elliott between the Crown of Stars and the Spirit Walker series.

Any in translation?
All in English.

How many of this year's books were from the library?
Zero. Haven't been much to the library this year.

Book that most changed my perspective:
I don't know that any really did that >_<

Favorite character:
Especially liked the protagonists of Kate Elliott's Spirit Walker trilogy (Cat, Vai and Bee), Alain in her Crown of Stars, Bitterblue in Bitterblue, Oda in the Kate Griffith books, and Sin in Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon series. Oh the protagonist from Slow River was pretty awesomely well realised as well.

Not counting characters from the books I've reread this year because OF COURSE I'm ridiculously fond of them.

Favorite scene:
hahahahahaha, go away.

Favorite quote:
Sorry, I don't write them out while I read, what do you expect?

Most inspirational in terms of own writing?
I don't know. Maybe Song of the Basilisk because Patricia McKillip's writing is always stunningly and hauntingly beautiful.

How many you'd actually read again?
Not quite sure, I could see myself reread about 5 of them (not counting those that were already rereads).

(she had two of them, but I got lazy).
salinea: Emma Frost, sitting comfortably (chill)
Where did I previously leave off? Shit, that long ago? I need to remember to be at least trimestrial about this!!

Havemercy, Shadow Magic, Dragon Soul, Steelhands by Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett
A series of fantasy novels with steampunk dragons by the authors of the shoebox project.
Those are very average stories. The writing is fluid enough and the characters endearing enough that it is enjoyable to read; but the plots and worldbuilding are seriously lacking. It gives me the impression of treading water, all shallow glitter, no depth. Especially it's frustrating how most of the books are made of entertaining and sometimes witty characters interacting with characters in a slashy or canon gay way; and then oh shit, we need to have a climax; let's go with a rushed plot resolution! Most characters have very little agency; and even when they do, it doesn't feel very earned by the progress of the story. Quite aggravating after a while.
There's also very few female characters. And a maab character presenting as female whom the narrative is very unclear whether they are trans or a crossdresser.
The dragons - in themselves - are pretty neat, but they are the only details of world building that actually are. I also liked that the big war was ended in the first volume; and the rest were stories dealing with the aftermath of said war. There are not enough books dealing with aftermaths.

Roman Blood, Arms of Nemesis, House of the Vestals, A Gladiator Dies Only Once, Catilina's Riddle, Venus Throw, Murder on the Appian Way, Rubicon, Last Seen in Massilia by Steven Saylor
A series of Murder Mysteries set in the latter days of the Roman Republic.
I've been enjoying those a lot. Very solid storytelling and characterizations; that really manages to set the world of antique Rome and the complex mix of quasi modern urban life and completely foreign thinking that was the norm then. Murder mysteries are a great way to explore that world - and its politics - although it feels like it tries too hard to showcase the important historical events in ways that make the plot suffer from times to times. Though with the importance of corruption and muddled morality, some of the stories take an almost Noir atmosphere which is very interesting to see in this setting. I also appreciate the sense of sensuality in the writing - details like cooking and sexual appeal being underlined very frequently (and in a very bisexual way).

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Buhold
Bujold's book about Ivan, at last!
I was... a little bit disappointed with it? I enjoyed reading it a lot; there was a lot of fun bits to it, and it developed a lot of my favorite characters, not only Ivan, but By, Duv, Alys, Illyan... but it had a very... soft middle. Very mellow and lacking in plot. And the eventual plot resolution was a little bit silly. And I resented its Fruits Basket syndrome (happy het ending for EVERYONE! I mean, not that I wasn't expecting Ivan/By seriously, or that I mind By being bi in itself; but going out of your way to have him bi and set up in a het romance when most of the major characters in the series have already ended up in het couples was... pushing it to an uncomfortable point.) Tej was pretty endearing, and the whole In Law thing rather hilarious in execution. And OMG, the fan teasing, THE FAN TEASING!

Iorich by Steven Brust
You know, I'm not sure what's wrong with me and Vlad Taltos bookss. I read them and I enjoy them, and two months after, let alone 6, I have absolutely no memory about what happened in them.
Oh wait, was it the one with Aliera being accused and Vlad having to play lawyer? Yeah, I think it was.
Yeah, it was cool.

Man, I'm the absolute worst at reviewing Brust's books.

Spy Hill by Dusk Peterson
A war story/gay romance novella. It was okay I guess? Except like most Peterson stories it has that undertone of preachiness with is irritating.

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
Third book in the Rivers of London series. Continues being very cool, very well written and atmospheric urban fantasy. The metaplot advancement is slow, but continues. Not much else to say.

Fer de Lance by Rex Stout
So I tried reading a Nero Wolfe book, and so, I was a little bit bored? Not bad, just not really anything to grab my attention.

Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones
Neglected adopted kid liberates "Luke" from his magical prison and he becomes his BFF but shit, now "Luke" 's family is coming to try to get him.
Awesome, utterly charming story. Loved the narrator and how ressourceful he was, this is a delightful, extremely charming as well as dangerous version of Loki; but I especially want to hit this book with most writers - fan or pro - of comics Asgard stuff to tell them "THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE ODIN KAY?" ♥
(poor Tyr, tho).

Snake Agent & The Demon and the City by Liz Williams
Those are... somewhere between urban fantasy and magical realism (perhaps with a dash of cyberpunk too) crime novels set in Singapour. Very neat atmosphere and world building, filled with rich details and Chinese mythologies. The characters are pretty neat so far, although I'm very unsure about the treatment of the female characters (lots of threats of rape and being sold into sexual slavery - at a cosmic level, since hell - which is a big part of the setting - has a lot of brothels) and of the portrayal of lesbian relationships in the second novel. I think I need to read the two other novels of this series before I say more...

A Night in the Lonesome October by Zelazny
The players and their animal familiars gather, to take part once more in the ritual that will or will not open the doors to Cthullian creatures. Seen from the pov of one of the animal familiar.
That novel is still as awesome as I remember it. Very fun and quirky.

The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson
A Heian era fairy tale rewriting about a fox falling in love with a man, and how far she'll go to try to seduce him.
This is a lovely story, with great writing and wonderful bittersweet nuances in characterizations, somewhere between a romance and... something else? Not sure exactly how to describe it, but in many ways it felt much more like a literary novel than a genre one.

Keeper by Greg Rucka
A noir/crime stories about a bodyguard hired to protect a doctor working at an woman's health clinic as she recieves a lot of threats from a Pro Life movement.
I thought I might as well what prose works Greg Rucka has done, and... well actually I found it not very much to my taste. It's a solid story and certainly well told; but I think it lacks what I like in crime stories (the exploration of a peculiar setting) too much for me to really enjoy.

Oh, also, I reread the Administration series, and it is still the best.
salinea: Emma Frost, sitting comfortably (chill)
Inda, The Fox, King's Shield, & Treason's Shore by Sherwood Smith
A very interesting series which I am at a loss as how to sumarise. It's about this guy who we follow from his childhood to adulthood, and as we do the story expend to include a whole lot of characters and the scope of the plot widens in nifty ways; but it's still mostly about this guy, Inda, who is kind of a tactical genius, born of a noble family in a country that turns out to be the barbaric, warlike and imperialistic upstarts of the region, which scares more than a bit their more civilised & peaceful neighbors and are also feeling threatened by the big byzantine Empire (- and at this point I start cracking myself because I guess that makes them the fantasy Barrayar, which is funny because asides from being a tactical genius, and, well, gathering himself his own army out of sheer happenstances and charisma while very young and away from home, Inda is nothing like Miles. Although Evred is a little bit like Gregor.)
The narration was told in omniscient 3rd person PoV, which i've realised that I've grown very unused to, and I generally doesn't like. It works for the sake of this story though, although it frequently left me feel a bit remote from the emotional action. In particular, despite having romantic & sexual relationships having a strong effect on the plot (in very various ways, this is a world where heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, demisexual, polyamourous, monoamourous, & so on people all clearly exist and are represented at some point in the text) it never feels like a romance, because we're often plainly told of shifts in relationships. It's a bit off putting at times, but definitely not bad either.
The plot is overall very good; focused on the military and political events as well as how they affect all sorts of characters. In the end quite affecting.

Fearless by James Campbell
Sequel of Dauntless. Don't have much to add from what I said of it, it's more of the same.

Rivers of London & Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Very good urban fantasy crime stories set in London about a freshly minted cop who ends up apprenticing as a wizard to deal with weird crimes. I especially enjoy the writing, in those, very nice quality of atmosphere and mood. Very, very British in ways both modern and old for all you guys on my flist who seem to like that sort of things. And the protagonist is a smartass which I always enjoy (also biracial, which is nice).

Dangerous Grounds, Old Poison, Blood Heat by Josh Lanyon
Two elite partner cops having arguments about their relationships and whether they should have one while fighting bad guys, etc. Mostly decent.

Storms & Stars by Jaydon Neena
Space opera stuck on a desert island planet. M/M novel. It was... err, not very good yet kept me entertained for some reason.

Smiley's People by John Le Carré
Third & last of the George Smiley series. I... don't actually have much to say about it? But it was good. Probably as good as Tinker Tailor. Great conclusion.

A Strange Place in Time by Alyx Shaw
A M/M fantasy novel with very little plot, and mildly entertaining banter & characters. I feel like I was much more entertained by it than its quality warranted, actually.

Archer's Heart by Astrid Amara
The Mahabharata as a M/M romance novel. Asides from the fact I feel it short changes Hindu philosophy quite a bit, this is a pretty solid M/M novel and an entertaining read.

Bundori by Laura Joh Rowland
Boring crap. I remember way back when I read Shinju I thought ti was boring too. Why did I try this series again?

Shadow of the Templar by M Chandler
Pretty good M/M caper series about a FBI and a catburglar. The catburglar character is very good as a cross between the mild-mannered badass & the smooth & smug badass character type ; and there's some very fun banter (if sometimes overly indulgent). I also like the solid use of the supporting cast; and there some very emotional twists here and there to keep the plot entertaining. Also a plus, Amanda Waller makes an appearance as a supporting character at some. (I mean, not really, but hardass middle-aged CIA agent who is an awesome pain in the ass of our FBI protagonist - I couldn't not picture her as Amanda Waller OKAY).
salinea: Emma Frost, sitting comfortably (chill)
The Cloud Road & The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells, the two first volumes of a fantasy series about Moon, a guy shapeshifting in to a flying reptile finally finding out about who the people he's of are, and trying to integrate into their society, while they face great threat.Read more... )

A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette & Elisabeth Bear, the first novel in a fantasy series about a group of warriors who are a mindlinked to magical wolves who war against trolls in a northern flavoured setting. Read more... )

The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly, an early fantasy novel of Hambly, with a modern earth woman being thrust into a medieval-but-on-the-verge-of-industrial-revolution world in a way related to a mysterious series of death involving magic and wizards. Read more... )

The Irregulars by various authors, is an anthology of urban fantasy mystery M/M short stories by various authors all revolving about a secret state organisation having to deal with magical creatures related threats and crimes. It was pretty cool, most of the creatures had a faery vibe which was refreshing and well done, most of the characterizations is decent. Some of the plots were better than others, but overall it was an entertaining read.

Somebody Kill his Editor & All She Wrote by Josh Lanyon, amateur smartass sleuth M/M novels in which the protagonist is a mystery writers himself. Those were pretty cute, mostly light hearted, with decent enough plots and amusing characters.

Oucast Mine by Jamie Craig, a space opera prison M/M novel, which was crap with a barely coherent plot wise asides from having hot sex scenes.

Counterpoint & Crescendo by Rachel Haimowitz - a fantasy slave M/M story about an elve warrior and the human military leader who got him as a captive, the second book has a semi decent plot, and the main characters aren't half bad, although their romance does not convince and its all very cookie cutter. Also the writing overuse cutesy medieval speech patterns in a way that gets annoying very fast.
salinea: (fairytale)
Still going fine with he reading :)

Brothers of Earth by CJ Cherryh
An early book in her career in which a lone survivor of a battle is shipwrecked on a planet with aliens and one other lone surviver of the battle (from the other side of the war) who sets herself as the boss in the local nation, and basically he has to adapt himself to the aliens' culture, and they have their own issues, and their own forthcoming war.Read more... )

Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Fourth volume in the Thief series, Read more... )

Lord of the White Hell 1&2, by Ginn Hale
Very good M/M fantasy series in which a young man from a culture that is a tolerated minority is accepted as in a big school because he's very, very good at science stuff, and finds himself rooming with the infamous noble whose family pactised with demons. Read more... )

Hunter of Worlds by CJ Cherryh
Another early Cherryh. This one has a member of a rather pacific alien species captured and enslaved by a powerful and very ruthless species, forced into a mind bond with another member of his own species who was slave to them since forever, and a human being. Read more... )

The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carré
Sequel to Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy. Read more... )

Ash by Malinda Lo
A rewriting of Cinderella with added Fair Folks and added lesbian romance. Read more... )

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
A short (post)-apocalyptic novel in which an hardened criminal is forced to drive a armored vehicle across the extremely destroyed America from LA to Boston to deliver the serum that will save Boston from a nasty plague. Read more... )

Doctrine of the Labyrinth (Mélusine, Virtu, Mirador,& Corambis) by Sarah Monette
A fantasy hurt/comfort bromance series about a former prostitute gay wizard and a former assassin cat burglar who end up helping one another from all trauma they have undergone (and sometimes causing more). Yeah, I think that's the best summary I can do, although it might sell the story short. Read more... )
salinea: (left hand of darkness)
Been a while, right?

So having a Kobo did work very well to help get back on the voracious book reading bandwaggon.

I started with Dominion by Celia Friedman,
Read more... )

Then I read the Hand of Isis by Jo Graham,
Read more... )

Dauntless by Jack Campbell, had this one from the public library actually. Read more... )

Call for the Dead by John Le Carré, is cross between a murder mystery and a spy novel. Read more... )

The Andrien English series by Josh Lanyon which is a set of 5 M/M romance/mystery about an amateur sleuth who is a mystery bookshop owner. Read more... )

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré. Read more... )

Jack of Shadow by Roger Zelazny, a fantasy novel in the inimitable style of Zelazny. Read more... )

Fire by Kristin Cashore, a YA fantaszy novel that came heavily reccomended by [personal profile] haremstress. Read more... )

I also tried to read Tiger Eye, Marjorie Liu's first novel in the Dirk & Steel series which I went almost halfway before I decided it just wasn't a book for me, as my eyes were glazing over with boredom. Quite disappointing.
salinea: (left hand of darkness)
WOOT my father got me an e-reader (a kobo), it seems to be working well. I am delighted, I'm gonna be able to read all sorts of things from long form fanfics from AO3 to, err, books on it, yay!

He also loaned me the Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy novels, and then some bonus spy novels that he had it confused with at first, because [personal profile] flo_nelja made them sound very neat and I had asked him about.

salinea: (left hand of darkness)
So after last year's increase, I went back to reading very few books this year. Then again, I was reading a lot more fanfics and comics; which I think balances it out a bit. ^_^;;

How many books read in 2011?
17 thereabout

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?
Err, there's this one book about Chinese mythology I'm halfway through. Otherwise all fiction.

Male/Female authors?
8 Male to 9 Female authors.

I don't think I read of any PoC authors :/

Favorite books read?
Dragons of Babel by Swanwick or Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

Least favorite?
Les Pilleurs d'Âme by Laurent Whale. Very mediocre, badly written and sexist attempt at a SF pirate story.

Oldest book read?
The Persian Boy by Mary Renault

A Dance with Dragons by GRRMartins, which I got upon release.

Longest book title?
The Gatherer of Clouds by Sean Russel

Shortest title?
Cethe by Becca Abbot

How many re-reads?
One: Last Call by Tim Powers

Most books read by one author this year?
The whole Psycop series by Jordan Castillo Price. Very decent m/m urban fantasy romance. I liked the world building especially.

Any in translation?
The Initiate Brother by Sean Russel and Knight Moves by Walter Jon Williams, translated from English to French.

How many of this year's books were from the library?
3, Knight Moves by Walter Jon Williams, The Initiate Brother by Sean Russel and Les Pilleurs d'Âme de Laurent Whale.

Book that most changed my perspective:
Errrr... can't say any had a very profound impact on me. I guess Dance, sheerly for the importance of the fandom in that life, and some shift of opinions on some characters, and some decreased optimism about the overall series.

Favorite character:
Theon and Quentyn for the horrendous things they go through in Dance with Dragons

Favorite scene:
err, I suck at this sort of things.

Favorite quote:

Most inspirational in terms of own writing?

How many you'd actually read again?
Oh, I'll probably reread Cryoburn and Dance with Dragons at some point.
salinea: (littlefinguer)
Up until p.834


I'm growing too tired to pay much attention anymore... Hope I'll have time to finisht he book tomorrow.
salinea: (sansa)
Up to p.350 / Tyrion's seven chapter, not included.


I think I'm going to go sleep now. More spam tomorrow.

book meme

2 Jan 2011 08:32 pm
salinea: (Default)
A very happy new year and best wishes of health, happiness & success for 2011 to you folks ♥ ♥ ♥

Stolen from [personal profile] schemingreader

How many books read in 2010?
39 actual books I could hold in my hand; plus about ten books of online fiction I'd say; so roughly fifty.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?
Err, well 50 to about one half of a non fiction book (which I do plan to get back from the public library to finish, maybe!). Not a big non fiction reader there ^^

Male/Female authors?
9 to 30 (not counting online novels since I didn't really keep track of them); my reading of female authors sort of exploded with my going for original slash novels in majority ^^

Favorite books read?
As previously mentioned, either Cyteen by CJ Cherryh or First Agains the Wall by Manna Francis. Honorable mention to Wicked Gentleman by Ginn Hale, and 40,000 for Gehenna by CJ Cherryh.

cut for no reason but length )
salinea: (Default)
I'm gonna be fast because I read most of those books ages ago

Rusalka by CJ Cherryh
Russian flavoured fantasy: a cynical party boy / dilettante must flee the city when he's accused of sorcery when the husband of the wife he was seeing dies suddenly; and enrols the help of a young hotel stable boy who has a reputation of ill luck and fears being a sorcerer himself. Out in the forest, they encounter quite a bit of sorcery.
There's some great ideas and flavours to the story, and I liked the characters' dynamics. I thought the pacing and plotting overall was much weaker though. Anyway, if you like Cherryh's other fantasy story - especially Forterss series, you'll probably like this one.

The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold
Fawn, Dag and Fawn's brother go on a boat trip.
This volume has more plot than the previous ones, and as a result I rather liked it more. I also liked the setting, the use of the river, and the new characters of this book (especially the female boat captain who had a name which I forgot). On the other hand, I still don't like Fawn and Dag all that much and consider this series one of Bujold's weakest, so you know...

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
When his family gets murdered, and toddler escapes to a cemetery and gets adopted by the ghosts who live there, as well as the resident Undead. Each chapter cover a different stage of his childhood as he grows up.
Very nice story about growing up, transformations and the relationship to death. Great writing, pacing and characterisation.

The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia McKillip
Many years ago, on a battlefield at the gate of Pelucir, something horrible rode in and spread death because of the magic of the great wizard Atrix Wolfe, although nobody knows it and he has been hiding since, and the ghosts of the event still haunt the area. Nowadays, the young prince of Pelucir is studying magic when he finds a strange book written by Atrix Wolfe.
This is a gorgeous, wonderful, subtle and awesome book and you should read it.

The Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman
In a chinese flavoured fantasy world, Eon is, despite a lame leg, a candidate for the position of Dragoneye, one of the 12 people channelling the powers of the Dragons of the Chinese Zodiac in order to ensure prosperity and good weather to the empire. Eon is also a girl in disguise, a secret which would cost her direly if it was discovered. But when the ceremony when the dragon of the year, the Rat one, chooses which candidate will connect with him, nothing happens as Eon and her master had foreseen.
A pretty good story, with nice plotting and solid characterisation. I really liked Eon as well as one of the main secondary character, Dela, a transwoman and Emperor's favourite, and who is pretty kickass. The book ends on a cliffhanger for a second volume which is not yet out.

Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow
Boring by-the-number paranormal romance. I think that was the last chance I was giving to this genre.

The Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Third volume after Night Watch and Day Watch, this is probably the best of the series so far, with all three stories of the volume being very solid and well tied with one another. Excellent plotting full of twist, tying threads in unexpected ways, and many interesting ideas as well as many interesting characters, both old and new. One of the things I love about this series is how the writer sets up a very manicheist world in theories, then keeps on playing with the concept of Light and Dark thus defined in ways that bring a whole lot of greys and ambiguities until they are near undistinguishable.

Jhegaala by Steven Brust
Vlad Taltos walks into an Easterner village, trying to find out about the background of hi mother's family. The villagers eye him warily. Then the bodies and mysteries start piling up. Poor Vlad Taltos.
A very good Taltos story in the style of Taltos stories. I was missing the sarcasm, it had been too long.

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
Tied to the Howl & Sophie stories, but not really a sequel. Young book-loving overprotected girl is charged with looking after the house of her distantly related Great Wizard of an uncle. Hijinks ensue.
Not my favourite Diana Wynne Jones story by a lot. Not really bad either, but the beginning was fairly slow and I kinda got annoyed at all the awkwardness, but not a bad story overall.
salinea: (Default)
book meme taken from many people )
salinea: (Default)
I've been reading a little bit more. Woot!

Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells
Read more... )

The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Read more... )

Powers by Ursula K Leguin
Read more... )

Old Tin Sorrow by Glen Cook
Read more... )

Deliverer by CJ Cherryh
Read more... )
salinea: (Default)
Three Days to Never by Tim Powers
Read more... )

Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh
Read more... )

Brazyl by Ian McDonald
Read more... )
salinea: (Default)
From [ profile] oyceter RaceFail '09 : this hurts us all:

SF book fandom, where are you?

Although a few authors and editors have come out against what WS and KC have done, where is the rest of the fandom? Like Jane says earlier, "Where are the con-comms, going apeshit to distance themselves from these serial fails of race and culture? Where are the guests-of-honor, specifically inviting underserved communities to visit at an upcoming con? (Where are the "discount if this is your first con evar" programs?) Why aren't the SF organizations like SFWA (okay, bad example) having a cow and putting out official position statements on outreach? Where are press-releases from the publishing houses, explaining their diversity efforts (in their lists and in their workplaces)?"

Why the resounding silence? Editors, authors, fans—all the people who were not talking about RaceFail and what people in their field were doing: where are they?

If the prior months of RaceFail were "both sides behaving badly" (which I disagree with), what is this, and why has no one said anything?

Mely previously wrote, "Is group protest always right or good? No, it's not. It's a way to establish and enforce community norms, and it's only as right and good as the community norms are. It can be profoundly oppressive and profoundly abusive. But silence in the face of injury is also a way to establish and enforce community norms. You don't opt out of a community by remaining in it and never commenting on its big controversies; you just opt to abide by whatever party wins."

What SF book fandom is telling me—a woman, a person of color, and a long-time fan of SF books and a con-goer—what you are telling me is that you don't care. That these are, in fact, your community norms, that you are all right with people who have more power in your community (by virtue of profession, race, and gender) using that power to harm other, less powerful, members of your community. That you are fine with the erasure of women, of people of color, of those without the same professional privileges you enjoy, and that you are willing to stand by silently and let people be hurt. This is how it affects us. This. And this.

Your silence speaks volumes.

So.... what am I, as a fan and reader of SFF books, doing?

Am I linking you to the People of Colour in SF&F Carnival's 12th issue, which was released this week and which much like the awesome Feminist SF Carnival links to various discussions and essays on PoC characters and themes and how they're treated in various SFF media?

Am I linking you to the Asian Woman Blog Carnival which is doing a call for submissions and themes suggestions for its first edition?

Have I mentioned the Remyth Project, which is about PoC writing and creating about their mythologies and legends, so often erased, colonised, appropriated by others?

Being aware of the bias in the publishing industry and book store chains that will make it so that books by PoC and books about PoC are less likely to just come my way when I'm looking for books to read, or to be as widely marketed, recommended and reviewed, have I made a special effort to find those books and review them? Have I joined the [ profile] 50books_poc and taken the challenge to read and review 50 books by PoC?

Have I mentioned that a PoC genre press, [ profile] verb_noire, is getting started?

Have I ever blogged for the International Blog Against Racism? Have I linked to those posts?

Why haven't I? And what else could I do?

And back to the RaceFail '09, did I mention that [ profile] rydra_wong has archived all the links you may want to read know exactly what happened and why it is outrageous, and how people who are writers and editors have been using both their power in the SF industry and their white privilege to silence and sidetrack criticisms of racism and cultural appropriation and have attacked, insulted, demeaned, outed people who were making those criticism? What does it mean when people who are influential and active in the SFF community do so without other people who are active and influential in the SFF community calling them on their shit? Is it something that only concerns the people who suffer from it, or is racism in this community, in my community, something that concerns all of us?

And you, those of you that are also SFF fans, con-goers, forums participants, bloggers and reviewers of the SFF community, those of you that are white and have the privilege of ignoring racism and the people suffering from racist until they start yelling in your ears, what have you been doing?
salinea: (smug)
"Going Native" sf, anthropology and colonialism by [ profile] coffeeandink

There's a recent survey done by the Anti Defamation League about antisemitism in Europe,7340,L-3669706,00.html
A lesson in modern antisemitism and this other post by [ profile] chopchica talks about it and about her own experience with antisemitism while travelling in Europe. As a French Jew, it's a little bit odd for me to see a post talking about this from the experience of an American on a trip, but actually it's a bit of an eye opener because there are many things I taught myself not to pay attention to just because I'm used to them. I'm also used to see my concerns dismissed and being treated like a pain in the ass when I insist on complaining about the lack sandwich with chicken rather than three different choices of pork or cheese at local RPG conventions.

Over at the westeros board (yes, I still read it, just lurking, shut up), Scott Bakker insists on showing his ass to the public in a thread (and its sequel) about the treatment of women in his books and people who think it's sexist (and people who think any reading about sexism and misogynism in a book is a grave insult that should never be done because it's so awful!! yeahhhhhhh right). On the same thread, several people, especially Kalbear, Maia and needle are being awesome.

There's a Celia Friedman interview at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist with some interesting discussions about sexism in fantasy as well, especially in the comments.
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Cartomancy by Mary Gentle
A collection of short stories with very varied themes and settings but which have one thing in common : they almost all feature a female warrior or soldier character. ♥
"The Logistics of Carthage" is a novella set in the same world as my favourite novel by this writer, the Book of Ash. Set in a slightly altered version of our middle age where Carthage is still a big power, and set some time before the series, it talks about the day to day life of a band of mercenaries, amongst which is a women, with some consideration about the way women fighters get erased from (the official) History, through the refusal of the local people to bury one female soldier, and another of the female soldiers insisting for them to do that. It's a very interesting story, though oddly paced and not quite conclusive; and a pretty interesting addendum to the Book of Ash.
"Kitsune" is relatively short and straight forward paranormal/horror romance story between a woman who practice kendo and a female kitsune. Some time ago I had a discussion with [ profile] apapazukamori about the complete absence of lesbian relationship as the main romance of the story in Fantasy, so I had this in mind when I read this short story as a cool example of just that. On the other hand, I was a little ill at ease with the treatment of Japanese culture which seemed to be to very shallow.
"The Road to Jerusalem" is another story with a uchronic treatment of History, giving us a modern day warfare where the knights Templar are involved; and revolving around the trial of a woman templar soldier for possible war crimes. It's an interesting look at the nastiness of war; confusions and petty power plays between factions involved at all scales and soldier's life. A solid story.
"Orc's Drift" is a short and silly story in the same style as Grunts!, that's to say high fantasy parody; and it's not a very funny one at that.
"The Tarot Dice" is a atmosphere story about revolutionaries, conspiracies and forbidden oracular tools. It's very prettily written and evocative, but left me quite confused as far as what the fuck is going on in terms of plot. So I have mixed feelings about it.
"The Harvest of Wolves" is set in a distopic future of the UK and is a huit clot conversation between an old woman who still dreams of forbidden freedoms and cynically comments on the present and the young man charged with monitoring her. While not the strongest story of this kind I've ever seen, it had an appealing brand of cynical twist at the end that made it work.
"Anukazi's Daughter" is a fantasy story about a female warrior and the betrayals she makes in order to be recognised as one. Thematically, I'd compare it to Abercrombie's First Law trilogy, it's an interesting look at what the usage of violence makes of us. One of the best story of the collection.
"What God Abandoned" is set in the Renaissance during a siege of Prague and features (among other things) a young Descartes and considerations about Rosicrucians. It also shows that relationships aren't always easy for genderbending metapmorphs. This made me feel like there was a setting worth exploring more; but I didn't care that much about the story as such.
"The Pits Beneath the World" is a pretty classic Social/Anthropological Science Fiction. Well done but of the been-there-read-that many times already.
"Cast A Long Shadow" is a nice horror story about a divorced mother having to deal with the creepy things her son is doing, with a help of a female friend. Gentle describes it as a comic book story, and I agree it sort of felt like a Sandman short stories in places. It's not a great story, but it does some nice stylistic things.
"A Sun in the Attic" is set in a steampunk-ish world, slightly uchronic, revolving around intrigues and the question of forbidding sciences that can have dangerous results. I didn't think it did a very good job at exploring those themes, but my favourite thing about this story is that the main characters are a polygamous family of one female head of the family and her two husbands who are brothers.
"A Shadow Under The Sea" is set in the same world as Anukazi's Daughter, and deals with similar themes of betrayal, but putting the character at a higher social position. It's almost as good as Anukazi's Daughter.
"Human Waste" is a short story of horror SF, and it does what it was meant to do very well, that is to say slap you in the face. It's kind of darkly funny, but it will make you feel bad for thinking so.

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
This is a take on the Mahabharata through the women's eyes, and in particular Draupadi who married five husbands and was the cause of the war that put an end to the third age of man.
Knowing next to nothing about Hindu mythology, I can't really provide much of a commentary on what kind of spin it gives to the original material; but a a story I can say I really, really loved it. From the beautiful and woven writing to the characters and the stories within stories storytelling and the drama of the war and the texture of the world. I was swept in and mesmerised and loved every minutes of it.

The Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Urban fantasy were the forces of the Light and the forces of the Dark have made a peace agreement, and the Light magicians of the Night Watch try to fight against the Dark ones of the Day Watch while keeping the peace.
There are three tied in stories in this book, and all three are pretty good, solid read, although I found the third one slightly less good than the other (nothing much really happened). If you accept the manicheist setting, this is a pretty fun exploration of it, with solid world building and good plotting. Nothing very deep or mind breaking, but nicely entertaining with a few interesting characters. I'll probably try to read the sequels soon.


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