Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indriðason.
Based on your recommendation, I borrowed several of his books from the library, got this one first, and forgot to check where it was in the series—last.
Wow, talk about full-circle endings! Best read next to a fire, burrowed under a blanket.
Back-tracking to The Draining Lake now, with Hypothermia following on its heels.
Provenance, by Ann Leckie—set in the Imperial Radch universe, but in another human society with three genders. Great world-building, lots of heist and intrigue elements, and numerous queer characters!
Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip, an urban fantasy blend of the Mabinogion and Parzival—the setting has a lot of PNW flavor, and there's so much talk about good food!
Also reread Patricia McKillip's Riddle Master Trilogy, with much paging back and forth this time to cross-check revelations, which made it much more satisfying.
After a brief sojourn in the homeland, it's a pleasure to be enjoying Seattle's drizzly, low-40s (both high and low) weather. Also adding to my displeasure with the homeland, I recycled a book on Disney promoting the gay agenda that my sister's caregiver snuck into her book stash (fortunately, there was zero chance of my sister reading it anyway). I guess I should be glad said caregiver is perfectly friendly to me and my wife in person? But ugh.
On the other hand, I DO recommend Ann Leckie's new book Provenance, which has a ton of queer and genderqueer characters. (It's set in the same universe as the Imperial Radch trilogy, but stands alone fairly well.)
David knott 242 wrote:
"Hon, could you please grab that potion from the back room while I get the rest of these fine heroes' purchases tallied up?"
I'm playing a noncombat mechanic, and my stealth drone has been working out great—not only for scouting, but also for breaking into facilities and hacking systems while my underarmored and -armed character hides a safe distance away. The Int penalty hurts, but not as bad as my character's terrible Stealth would.
So glad to hear from you, Cindy! That's rough news, though—my thoughts are with you. :-(
Unrelatedly, for everyone: Please check your phone and see if it has an option to set an emergency contact (ICE) on your lock screen. If so, set one! That way if something happens (or even if you just drop your phone while running for the bus or whatever), EMTs or a helpful bystander can alert your loved ones. (Spoiler: All involved are now safe and sound, but I was sure glad to get that call.)
Reading Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution by Peter Andreas, an amazing true tale of family dysfunction and leftist international politics of the late 20th century. I'm enjoying it, but am glad to have been spoilered in advance that...
everyone in the family survives the main period covered by the book (the book's frame is that the eponymous mother had recently passed away, but of natural causes at age 71).
My wife is a proponent of Habitica for the same purpose. Since playing games like that don't work for me, we've worked out some goals where she gets points for me doing things. (While I'm not personally motivated by points, I am motivated by her clear satisfaction at earning them.) In the same discussion, she also asked me what habits I wanted her to work on. We've found that each targeting a couple behaviors that bug the other person has helped reduce frustration and nagging and generally had a disproportionately positive effect on our relationship. :P
Three cheers for support systems that enable and reinforce success!
For folks in Seattle, the Twist queer film festival is coming in mid-October! I strongly recommend I Dream in Another Language, which I saw at SIFF. Looking forward to an enjoyable evening browsing through the other offerings (though the films with knitting and luchadors seem like strong contenders)!
Recently finished: Turn Right at Machu Picchu (spoiler: farmers were living at the site when Hiram Bingham "discovered" it; also, the Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu is appallingly overpriced) and The Bridge at San Luis Rey (he didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!).
In progress: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (recommended by numerous friends as professional development) and The Fire of Peru, which I can't read for too long at once or I get too hungry!
Next up: The Subversive Copy Editor and ongoing browsing of Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition.
A hard copy of Station Eleven arrived at the library just as I finished the third volume of the Chronicles of Alsea, so I've switched gears to mostly reading that, reserving the fourth volume of the Chronicles for kindle/insomnia reading.
Saved for the future: Newsflesh 3.2: How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea (conservationists fighting zombie wildlife in Australia!)
I loved these books so much. The themes of colonialism, minority rights, de facto slavery, complacency/unwillingness to rock the boat of those in power (rather than monolithic evil), etc. run through all three, getting more overtly central in books 2 & 3. I got the same feeling as Davia D that those two books felt more like two halves of a whole with the first book standing on its own more.
I also really enjoyed the notion of a music-obsessed ship AI using her ancillaries as a choir (and successfully got One Thousand Eggs stuck in Sutter's head :D). And it was unexpectedly relaxing to read sci fi that wasn't a dudefest—other than a couple characters who are gendered via in-world translation into languages with grammatical gender, you're free to imagine people as you will, and the physical descriptions of characters almost entirely support that.
Between SIFF and Pridefest, we saw the following:
Check It: Documentary about what is possibly the first ever LGBTQ gang, formed by kids in the DC projects for self defense. I have not felt my privilege so hard in years.
Forever Pure: Documentary about a Jerusalem soccer team backed by far right nationalistic fans; the team's Russian war criminal owner hires two Muslim Chechen players. Spoiler: It does not go well, though no one ultimately dies.
I Dream in Another Language: My favorite of the bunch, a magical realism-style film about a linguist trying to reconcile the last two speakers of a dying language, who haven't spoken in decades. Beautiful and heartbreaking and funny story.
Mr. Long: The unexpected marriage of Tampopo and a hardcore gangster film, it had both a shockingly high body count for a cooking film and a surprising about of heartwarming interactions with wacky and intrusive but sincere neighbors for a gangster film.
All my library holds came at once! Looking for something lighter, I sped through The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones (finished by her sister Ursula Jones). I didn't realize until I got to the end that it was completed by another author, which is a mark of success—helped in this case by them having grown up telling stories together and Ursula being a playwright in her own right.
Next was Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was by Angélica Gorodischer (translated by Ursula K. Le Guin), which is all lyrical and episodic and sometimes inexplicable and whose stories are bookended by humorous heckling of the audience by the storyteller-narrator.
Now on to Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee as a refresher of the Ninefox Gambit universe before the sequel, Raven Stratagem, comes out in July!
Consider hitting up some of Three Dollar Bill Cinema's free Pridefest film showings!
The only downside to this was actually caused by a combination of the unexpected late start + one of my games being left off of the posted schedule outside the Cascade rooms; as it wasn't listed, a group of people quite reasonably assumed the table was vacant and open for pickup games, so my players and I all showed up at 2:00 with no table.
Potential approach that might help: "reserved" signs for tables with event times listed on them. *adds to feedback list*
James Sutter wrote:
In fact: Kostchtch! Kostchtch has no regrets about their choice of name... though they might had some cultural misunderstandings about humans' ancient history. *waves appropriate arms dismissively*
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
This can happen with your dryer, too, and as our neighbor learned, can start fires. :-/ (Spoiler: They caught it really fast, so injuries or major damage, but scary.) If your dryer seems wimpy (often the first sign), get it delinted!
Selene Spires wrote:
If ordering from B&N, you can also have books sent to your local store. (And if the system still works like it did 10+ years ago, contact details for orders placed through the store did not have to be verified in any way—people would sometimes order books as J. Doe + fake phone number and pay in cash to preserve their privacy.)
Just finished Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, which was EXCELLENT. Dystopian space opera, with surreal future warfare shown from both the command level and the boots-on-the-ground level, that has great character development, humanization of the lives touched (whether friend or foe), multiple queer characters, queerness presented as no big deal, and actual gender balance (!!!). And special bonus dark humor.
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
Oh, the book is Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.
Hold placed! Also now waiting on The Kingdom of Gods, because I forgot the rule of ordering sequels when you get the book before, at the latest.
Btw, Comrade, there was a convo of "dubious historical merit" with a Communist taxi driver in The Shadow of the Wind about the state of Stalin's health, which made a pleasant comedic break from people being beaten in the street by Franco's police while neighbors look on in guilty fear from their doorways.
Turns out being in flu-recovery mode for me means sitting around reading for hours. Read The Counterfeit Madam and The Fourth Crow by Pat McIntosh (1490s murder-mysteries set in Glasgow). Best read with internet access to decode the Scots dialect terms and investigate the fascinating details of material culture, like pattens and box-beds. I also started but abandoned The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Now rolling on The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin.
The DC version was packed. So packed that if you wanted to move over ten feet it might take ten minutes.
Yeah, even out here, starting near the end of the marchers, the first 5 blocks took 2 hours. (It sped up significantly once we hit a long straightaway.)
Also, good luck, LuniasM!
If you haven't been on a panel before, see if you can meet with the other folks in advance to working out talking points, answers to likely questions, etc. That'll help you all guide the conversation. ^_^
Just finished The Winter Over—fundamentally implausible (more below) but the mayhem in the constant darkness and –60°F of Antarctic winter and the tough, capable main female main character made it a fun read.
The experimental design is appalling and the ultimate villain is Agatha Christie-esque. There's also climactic villain exposition. But there's also creepy ice caves, survival in an extreme and precarious environment, and Antarctic traditions, so still net positive.
The Taste of Honey and Lighthouse at the End of the World both came in from the library at the same time, so now I'm spoiled for choice on what to read next!
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
And, speaking, of adaptations, Mr. Comrade insists that we should go to the musical-ized version of The Parable of the Sower coming to Boston in March.
Oooh, passed on to my Boston compatriots! I hope the show travels eventually, would love to see it.
Read The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (this is the way the world ends—race politics plus all the natural disasters and planning for multi-year catastrophes!), then raced through Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson (fantasy Africa with queer protagonists). I recommend both, and they make a good pairing! Now reading The Original Dream by Nukila Amal while I wait for my holds on two more Jemisin books, another Wilson novella, and Verne's Lighthouse at the End of the World.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Really sick of this "crazy trans lady is a murderer" trope, when we're so frequently the victims in violent crimes and so rarely the perpetrator.
(Do not) see Pretty Little Liars for more of the same. We were hopeful about it for a while, since multiple queer PoC as key characters, but the final season happened. (Not that it was unproblematic before, but ugh.)
For anyone in the Seattle area or who's visiting for PaizoCon, I want to plug Outsider Comics, a new comics store in Fremont that's super welcoming to women, queer folk, and other marginalized people. My wife subscribes to Princeless through them, and says they're super helpful to people like her who are just getting into comics... and other friends report they're also very good at introducing even addicts to things they didn't know they urgently needed. :P Sounds like the store has periodic events, too (a friend is already in talks with them about cross-promotions for a queer romance writers' conference she runs), so we're hoping to check that out soon!
Took a break from Bede's Ecclesiastical History (and Bede's hammering on the wicked perversity of celebrating Easter on the wrong day) to read Mastodonia]Mastodonia, which I found on a library's free shelf while visiting relatives in the Midwest. Highly recommended for people curious about how to structure tax shelters for time-travel-based businesses. I'm now extending my break from Bede to race through The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women, and quickly increasing my list of authors to read more of.
Speaking of love prevailing, oh my gosh, we just saw an early showing of Loving last night, and it was so good! We were very teary and enjoyed it very much. Lots of actors who were new to us, moments of humor, good chemistry between the main couple. If you have the chance, see it this weekend when it opens (which is apparently the only weekend that matters for judging whether movies are successes).
I think it's different enough. It's not as different as a Kurosawa take on Shakespeare, but has been significantly reinterpreted. Most of the Mrs. Sucksby plot is gone, the plot surrounding the uncle is much more complicated (as well as creepy), and there's a whole side business of colonialism and Korean vs. Japanese identity politics going on, too.
Does anyone know any fantasy literature with LGBTQ protags? I've been looking for some!
When in doubt, ask Goodreads! From that list, I enjoyed Malinda Lo's books, and several friends recommend Ginn Hale and Astrid Amara.
In other news, we saw The Handmaiden this weekend—it was gorgeous but not for the faint-hearted.
Trigger warnings for torture, child abuse, and attempted rape; the situation with Lady Hideko's uncle is much grimmer and creepier than in Fingersmith, the book it's inspired by. Also I had a strong sense that the erotic bits were choreographed and shot with an audience other than PNW lesbians in mind (see also After Ellen's review). BUT, it had a happier ending than Fingersmith, which was a pleasant surprise.
Absolutely! (And we track that too.)
Based on our experience, though, increasing representation often improves quality of representation, too. When we made a push to increase the % of female characters, NO author's solution was to simply add more prostitutes or people to rescue—instead, they wrote female NPCs who filled a wider array of roles, like guards, advisors, merchants, con artists, etc.
Historically speaking, women were never underrepresented in RPGs.
Speaking narrowly to this point, women absolutely were underrepresented, even in early Paizo products. We've run the numbers, counting NPCs and representations in art, and it has taken a lot of conscious, ongoing effort to turn that around. See this and the links within for more on the broader phenomenon of highly skewed male to female ratios in media being perceived as balanced.
Speaking more broadly, it's so important to be aware of who is being underrepresented or left out entirely—we value feedback like the OPs, and we're listening.
Just finished the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I loved (Jemisin's language reminds me of Patricia McKillip), and now have The Fifth Season on order. Also finished Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, which I enjoyed, but wanted to be longer and more complex (it was a novella). Hopefully this will be a recurring character who we'll see more of.
Now I'm diving into Storytelling with Data (spoilers: must be read in color, uses the term "upskilling") and making a second stab at Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People (I now have it on Kindle so no more juggling multiple bookmarks on the bus).
Please vote, USians!
We got our ballots on Friday (Washington is an all mail-in voting state), and spent a leisurely Sunday brunch voting over waffles with friends. It was LOOOONG this time, but packed with measures I'm really excited about...
(increasing the minimum wage across the state, strengthening mass transit, increasing protections for vulnerable populations, and gender-neutral language in the city charter, to name a few
There were races where there are clear choices, and races with flawed choices (voting for a judge who opposed marriage equality because her opponent is radically worse). And because we are privileged in some ways, our district has two progressive queer candidates for state representative running against each other. They are both doing so much good in the world and I wanted to vote for both! One has advocated for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and people experiencing homelessness, and the other has advocated for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, queer youth, and the Pacific Islander community. That race was a difficult choice, but one with no wrong answer.
Re: gatekeeping, one (of many) examples I've encountered was having a stranger at Gen Con criticize me as "not really geeky" because I was knitting in the Starbucks line. I was wearing my Paizo shirt and staff badge at the time. No point to the comment other than to try to invalidate my credentials.
Re: "gamer girl," it makes me grit my teeth. If other women want to use it, though, I respect their choice.
Lots of queer characters, no favorite class for them (though the grippli rogue was super fun to play). I've mostly been playing in relatively short-term games, so romance doesn't come up that often, but said rogue did politely decline the advances of a flirty harpy. Harpies' stench is a real barrier to relationships when you breathe through your skin!