Recommended Book: BLACK SUN by Rebecca Roanhorse


BLACK SUN
(Between Earth & Sky I)
by Rebecca Roanhorse

Roanhorse has an easy reading style that quickly immerses you into this wonderful world filled with tales of gods and sea-people, crow-riders and spearmaidens. There are giant water spiders and blood magic and a city that stretches vertically above a river. And that’s just the tip of the awesome world-building.

This is a political drama mixed with an adventure journey featuring three lead point of views: a Sun Priest, a Crow God and a woman of the sea. This is a tale about setting right past wrongs, about vengeance and power and, ultimately, the desire for peace and respect.

Serapio, a blind man from the mountains, journeys with Xiala, a captain in need of a ship, toward the great city of Tova where the Sun Priest and all her dedicants prepare to welcome the eclipse. This is the beginning of an epic fantasy trilogy inspired by historical cultures in the Americas.


Recommended Short Fiction: SHE’D NEVER HAD A NAME BEFORE by J. R. Dawson & YOUR OWN UNDOING by P. H. Lee


The stories for this week are both about possibility. They’re about what might have been or what might be.

SHE’D NEVER HAD A NAME BEFORE by J. R. Dawson is a story about a woman who meets the sister she never had, the two of them from neighboring universes. They discover parallels about themselves and their lives. At its core, this tale delves into what-ifs in a literal sense, touching on what-could-have-beens had things been just a little different. Published in Lightspeed Magazine.

YOUR OWN UNDOING by P. H. Lee is a second person narrative where a familiar takes on different shapes in order to sneak in where their witch is being kept. They tell her a story, the story of her life, pushing her to understand what is real and what is story. This is a dark tale with a beautiful metaphor. Published in Apex Magazine.


My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Graduating Class!

And here we are! Brand new graduates! Survivalists! Word-Wizards!

I wanted to say a few things/memories about everyone, maybe show you how they’re people and not just faces :)

TOP ROW (Lf-Rt):

Jeanne – our fearless, ingenious leader. Ever insisting that a character’s uppance is coming. Always giving us one-on-one encouragement. Never allowing us to wallow in despair. A taskmaster. But a kind one, who sees and acknowledges our development and progress.

Adam – Out of all of us, he was the one who liked to move around, his background changing to another part of his house now and then. He had a huge amount of energy during a Conan reading! That could not be forgotten for the rest of the workshop as people would tap him to read passages of passion. I’m pretty sure he’s a borderlands fan and he’s been giving us all marketing tips as that’s part of his background.

Ola – My virtual roommate! We got to talk before the workshop started and would chat in private messages (but only during casual conversation time, of course). She lives in New York City, is incredibly organized and super driven. She commemorates aspects of her experiences in script tattoos on her wrist (that I thought were bracelets at first) and I find that to be an amazing way to keep those experiences alive. [She has also started a brand-new pro-paying magazine called khōréō magazine that has a focus on elevating stories of immigrants and those affected by diaspora, so be sure to give it a check!] Continue reading

Recommended Book: A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik


A DEADLY EDUCATION
Naomi Novik

This novel is what you get when you mix Hunger Games and Harry Potter together. In fact, I could easily imagine that as the actual pitch for A Deadly Education. So if that combination sounds fascinating to you, you will likely enjoy this one!

The protagonist of this book, Galadriel (or El for short), is a student in a deadly, underground school where all the lessons are taught without teachers and monsters literally crawl up from cracks and lower floors in an attempt to eat the students who radiate power and magic. The students band together in alliance groups resembling raiding guilds or fellowships in order to have the power needed to survive their graduation day—when they’ll be forced to fight their way free from the school.

The writing style is a little more YA than Novik’s previous books, a style more in-line with recent series that have been incredibly popular. This comes from the easy, chatty first person point-of-view, her limited scope, and occasional unreliability as she views herself as a loner in the beginning and has to learn to truly understand the other students around her. There’s a lot of coming to terms with reaching out socially, seeking help when needed, as well as being willing to give of oneself in order to help the group as a whole in order to see wider success.

Please Note: there was some controversy over the use of the word dreadlocks in relation to being dirty and this is most definitely a line that is unsightly in the novel, however, the author has come out with an apology and future runs will not have the comment.


Recommended Short Fiction: MY LOVE OUR LADY SLAUGHTER by Christine Lucas & GIRLS WITH NEEDLES AND FROST by Jenny Rae Rappaport


Both stories this week are on the longer side, the two of them taking the time to deal with resistance against tyranny.

MY LOVE OUR LADY SLAUGHTER by Christine Lucas takes place on Mars, in a setting that feels science-fantasy, where certain people have the capability of inter-body telekinesis and are set apart, healing wounded without regard to which side of a war they fight. When found, they are forced to take a stand to protect their own morals and each other. Published in Strange Horizons 2020.

GIRLS WITH NEEDLES AND FROST by Jenny Rae Rappaport is a tale about seamstresses who slowly, slowly build a revolution against their oppressors. What I love about this story is that it acknowledges the humanity in the oppressors while maintaining the need for the oppressed to rise up. There’s also something metaphorically wonderful about the summoning of a dragon that can represent the congregation of the people finally being able to stand together. Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2020.