Recommended Book: DRAGONWRITER edited by Todd McCaffrey


DRAGONWRITER:
A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern

ed by Todd McCaffrey

The dedication for Dragonwriter is to “all those who have found solace in the Worlds of Anne McCaffrey and Pern” and that’s exactly who this collection is for. All of us who’ve dreamed of her dragons, of flying her brainships, of being a Talent in our own right.

These essays all encompass different aspects of the same great woman, yet cross and overlap consistently to paint a picture of this larger than life, mischievous person who is Anne McCaffrey. Some of the essays head into the history of McCaffrey’s career, detailing certain aspects or shedding light on events that became turning points. Some of them give larger, more macro-oriented overviews. And some are more personal, more focused on the relationship between essay writer and McCaffrey.

All of the essays come from the writer’s specific viewpoint, highlighting the ways they knew McCaffrey and how she affected or influenced them. The writers are an eclectic bunch, with some of them being fellow writers who were either inspired by or mentored by McCaffrey in some way. Some of them knew her in other ways, such as being an editor she worked with, convention runners, a singer/songwriter, a cover artist, and, of course, her children, each of whom leave their own mark within these pages.

I recommend this non-fiction book for all who fell in love with McCaffrey’s fiction, regardless whether it was Pern who first brought you to her work or another of her series, especially as The Ship Who Sang is referenced a great deal, particularly in one emotional essay. This will only heighten your appreciation for these stories, as well as making you fall in love with the woman behind the words.


Recommended Short Fiction: ALL WORLDS LEFT BEHIND by Iona Datt Sharma & WINGS OF LIGHT by Anna Madden


This week the stories are about leaving worlds and homes and histories in the past. They deal with heartache, yes, but also of looking forward, into the future.

ALL WORLDS LEFT BEHIND by Iona Datt Sharma is about a woman named Priya whose family had access to a portal world. But as she prepares for both a funeral and her own wedding, she realizes that she is losing her hold on this portal world, that it might very well slip from her grasp. Published in khōréō magazine.

WINGS OF LIGHT by ANNA MADDEN is a tale about an ant warrior desperate to defend her colony from attack, yet is given a responsibility that doesn’t conform to the life and death she had expected for herself. She’ll have to come to terms with this new responsibility, for the future of her colony depends on it. Published in Hexagon Magazine.


Recommended Book: THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern


THE NIGHT CIRCUS
Erin Morgenstern

A black and white circus only open at night; tents and performances that blend the extraordinary with the real; an exhibition competition displayed for all the world to see. Those are the heart and soul of The Night Circus.

From a very young age, both Celia Bowen and Marco have been chosen to be the competitors in a dangerous game involving manipulation and enchantment. They train in vastly different methods under completely different teachers until the venue for their competition is set. From there, their battle spans years and continents and involves more and more people who have come to love the circus as their own. And in the process, the two are drawn to one another.

This tale is told magically, with prose that takes you on a journey through this circus, describing in intricate detail the tents, the performers, the manipulated elements that astound and spark excitement. There is love invested in these details that bring this setting to life, moreso than even the characters that walk and live and love among the black and white tents.

While there is a large cast, this is not a character story. Though there is romance, it is quick and distant rather than intimate. The mystery of The Night Circus is less mystery than it is mystical, with us along for the ride to discover just what might happen to all the people who have become intertwined with the venue.

This is, first and foremost, a story about a circus, and the love one has for that own special place filled with the people we care about most. I’d recommend this story for those needing to be stolen away to a place of wonder, for those wanting to enjoy the reading more than getting to the end of the journey. For those who love circuses and for those who don’t, but would love the chance to fall in love with one anyway.


Recommended Short Fiction: ADVANCED WORD PROBLEMS IN PORTAL MATH by Aimee Picchi & DO NOT LOOK BACK, MY LION by Alix E Harrow


Both of these stories feature women dissatisfied with their life and the culture surrounding and influencing them.

ADVANCED WORD PROBLEMS IN PORTAL MATH by Aimee Picchi is a sweet flash piece told in word problems. It’s about a girl who longs for a chance at a different life, one not foisted upon her, one that allows her to escape from the cultural pressures that hold her down. Published in Daily Science Fiction.

DO NOT LOOK BACK, MY LION by Alix E. Harrow is a tale about a woman, husband to a female war chief. She has spent her life helping to raise her wife’s children, each of them promised to the war god and path of her people. But this constant uplifting of their leader’s wars grinds the main character down, and thus she runs. But running is only the beginning. Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.


“Dance of Wood and Grace” Published in Zooscape Magazine!

Dance of Wood and Grace has been published in the March 2021 issue of Zooscape Magazine! This is my second publication of the year and my first appearance in this adorable furry magazine.

Dance of Wood and Grace is about a sauropod-like creature named Dirt of CrystalSleep who is born into a city where the caste-system is stringent and specific. Yet, that doesn’t stop him from harboring a whisper-want for something different.

The inspiration for this story came from body mutilation and how in many western cultures and religions those mutilations are frowned upon, to the point where career paths and job security is put at risk because of them. I wanted to explore the idea that many of us don’t settle for the “pure” body we’d been born to, for the image we have, the delight we gain, the feeling of belonging in our own skin, is worth facing off against cultural stigma.

I hope that this story speaks to anyone with piercings, with tattoos, with surgeries of any types or desires for those surgeries, for anyone who has felt looked down upon for their choice in expression of their very selves.

In a metaphorical sense, this story also represents going after that which your are most passionate about, regardless of your level of skill. I know so many people who are miserable in jobs they’re well-suited for, who ache for something different. But again, cultural stigma strikes here as well, pushing us all into shapes and places we would rather not live in.

So I hope dearly that this story speaks to everyone who has ever had a passion and yet was told that they weren’t good enough at it, that they were too old to start a new career or a new hobby or a new anything simply because it’s something you’ve always wanted, something where you find satisfaction and contentment.

I say go after your loves and passions regardless that you may not be the best or that the learning curve may be steep. Because it’s better to love what you do/who you are, than be the best at what you do/who you are.

Dance of Wood and Grace can be read for free here!

<3 Marie C.