Tag Archives: reading

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: And Sundry!

It’s hard to squeeze everything into these posts. It really is. I scarcely went a day where I didn’t get on Zoom or upload a critique. So these are just a few additional things that didn’t warrant getting an entire blog post to themselves but I thought might be nice to mention:

Before Odyssey began, all of us got our own specialized box of snacks to tide us over through lectures and Q&A sessions. Brain food for our writing times. One of the snacks I got was a bag of lollipops that I kept over in my office because they wouldn’t require me to brush anything off my braces, so that was greatly appreciated.

During Odyssey, I also received a bookmark as a reward for completing the entire first week’s journal entries. That, uh, never happened again. My journal entries became last on my list often and I’d scrape by with three completed a week. I also noticed that the journal entries that I’d gravitate toward were the ones I really enjoyed doing and, consequently, probably the ones I needed to do the least.

We would have weekly check-ins with our resident Odyssey supervisor, Amy Katherine Black (or A.Kat Black). These were random small groups of us and we would sometimes chat for 5 minutes, sometimes for 20. They were meant to be a way for us to get to know one another better despite not being physically at St. Anselm’s, but many of us would have loved more opportunities to have small conversations among just each other.

At the tail end of Odyssey, we crafted a Slack group just for our year’s graduates, where we can chat, remind each other to accomplish our goals, to motivate one another. It’s been a pleasant experience, getting to keep in touch with everyone and I’m incredibly glad for it.

<3 Marie C.

 

Recommended Book: THE LAST SMILE IN SUNDER CITY by Luke Arnold


THE LAST SMILE IN SUNDER CITY
Luke Arnold

Want a little noir in your urban fantasy detective fiction? How about a lack of magic in your fantasy? In Sunder City, we have a bleak protagonist by the name of Fetch who doesn’t work for humans and, quite frankly, isn’t the best at taking care of himself either. But some of that is to be expected given his history and the recent destruction of all magic. Creatures and races that had once flourished have now become frail echoes of what they’d once been. The world has been upset in an awful fashion and Fetch is just doing what he can to help, even when nursing hangovers.

This novel is told in a present timeline with Fetch being hired to investigate a disappearance. As he goes about his investigation, the reader is treated to snippets of his history, of the world Fetch had lived in before the magic had been erased from existence. There’s a real loss of hope in this novel, a sinking feeling that permeates you as you read, a sense that no matter what Fetch does, it won’t make much difference, not to the people who need it most.

And yet, this isn’t a hopeless story, because Fetch is still going, still moving forward in the only way he knows how. And the rest of Sunder City is doing the same, some more successfully than others. You discover the answer to a couple mysteries by the end of this novel. You also get a beautiful sense that things can get better, that no matter how bad the world is, there are always ways to change the narrative, change the scene and move forward.


Recommended Short Fiction: MR. DEATH by Alix E. Harrow & A LIFE MEASURED IN MOONS by Alexandra Hill


Today’s two story recommendations both deal with characters struggling against their bleak natures. They end in vastly different ways, a comparison of the directions one can take and the costs either paid or resisted.

MR. DEATH by Alix E. Harrow is a story about a reaper who has been recently appointed the position. Still learning his purpose and the reasons and whys of death, he is faced with a representation of a situation that occurred when he’d still been alive that puts him in a position of torment, questioning his very self. Published in Apex Magazine 2021.

A LIFE MEASURED IN MOONS by Alexandra Hill is a mysterious tale set in an historical time when a myth roams the woods. As people go missing and tensions are high, two siblings struggle against the hand the world has dealt them, unsure of their choices. Published in Writer’s Digest 2020.


 

Recommended Book: RACE THE SANDS by Sarah Beth Durst


RACE THE SANDS
Sarah Beth Durst

Monster racing! Within the first few words of this novel, you get introduced to an epic sport in this desert fantasy world, one that is both dangerous and hopeful. Our protagonists include Tamra (named after Tamora Pierce) and Raia—the former is a trainer and the latter becomes her trainee. Both of their futures are inexplicably twined as they they not only train together in order to set each of their futures right, but also struggle against governmental forces that are in flux behind the scenes.

Having both older and younger women in the lead seats of the story opens up the audience widely to encompass separate generations, each with a relatable conflict. Along with these two women, there is a third point-of-view character—a man who is striving to find the beast their most beloved and now recently passed-on ruler has been reborn as. His search takes him to the least likely creatures—the monsters (called kehoks) themselves.

This story is for those who want to read about second chances, about paving your own way, about fighting against rules that only exist for rules’ sake. I especially recommend this for those who love immersive secondary-worlds, with imaginative magics and creatures, that you might envision yourself right there with the characters riding your very own kehok.


Recommended Short Fiction: SECRETS OF THE KATH by Fatima Taqvi & THINGS TO BRING, THINGS TO BURN, THINGS BEST LEFT BEHIND by C. E. McGill


Both of these stories were published this January 2021. They are written in completely different styles, both delightful in their own way, and deal with complicated situations or experiences that must be overcome.

SECRETS OF THE KATH by Fatima Taqvi depicts a play with moving, moving parts that reflect reality. There’s ignorance and there’s silence and one is not an excuse for the other. A beautifully written story with depth of meaning about a character faced with the costs associated with her way of life. Published in Strange Horizons.

THINGS TO BRING, THINGS TO BURN, THINGS BEST LEFT BEHIND by C. E. McGill is about Oz, a man chosen by his town to be the one sacrificed to the mountain. This is his journey, both literal and metaphorical, about climbing that mountain in order to provide the blessings his town requires to survive. This is a tale about the weights we carry and those we overcome.   Published in Fantasy Magazine.