Back from Philcon. It was, in a word, fabulous. I made fabulous friends. I went to some fabulous panels (including one that was actually awful in a fairly fabulous way). I had fabulous Indian food. I met Catherynne Valente and she was fabulously gracious and remembered the essay I wrote about Silently and Very Fast and Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto. So yeah. Fabulously fabulicious.
by Katie Rose Pipkin
Here are a couple other fabulous things:
- My short work of SF eco-horror, “Invasives”, is up to read for free in the current issue of The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. It has some awesome art. For those who care about such things, it came from an experience I had as a child camping with my father, where the trees around the campground were covered in disgusting gray caterpillars and I refused to go near them because I think on some level I was afraid they were going to leap on me. Childhood trauma for the literary win.
- The Scheherazade’s Facade giveaway is still technically going on here, but I decided that Tumblr might be a slightly better tool for this, so you can also enter to win there by simply reblogging. Same terms: I choose a winner at random this upcoming Friday. Goooooo.
Then just mosey on over here and follow the instructions.
Not hosting the contest here because I frankly like Dreamwidth’s comment system better, and I feel like having everything in one place makes it easier to wrangle.
But yeah. Gooooooo.
Well, it’s finally here.
“For starters, honey, I don’t believe in Hell–that’s just some old man’s way of telling me reasons why I can’t be me. Like “biology is destiny” means I have to be a boy.”
— “Lady Marmalade’s Special Place in Hell” by David Sklar
There have always been stories of those willing to blur or transcend the traditional gender roles. Some do it out of necessity, others are merely embracing their true selves. Sometimes it’s for fun, other times survival. Every culture has their gender benders, their cross-dressers, their rule breakers. From Bugs Bunny to Mulan, Alanna of Trebond to Klinger, our folk heroes and cultural icons push boundaries and challenge expectations.
In Scheherazade’s Façade, twelve of today’s most intriguing authors spin tales of magic, mystery, self-discovery and adventure, each with a twist. In these pages you’ll find shape-shifting dragons, triumphant drag queens, tragic selkies, lost princes and would-be warriors. You’ll find star-crossed lovers and mysterious travelers, cross-dressers and gender bending heroes of all sorts.
Featuring all-new fantasy and urban fantasy from Tanith Lee, Sarah Rees Brennan, Tiffany Trent, Aliette de Bodard, Alma Alexander, David Sklar, Melissa Mead, C.S. MacCath, Paolo Chikiamco, Sunny Moraine, Lyn C.A. Gardner, and Shanna Germain.
“Each [story] is guaranteed to make the reader question the roles and qualities often assigned to gender and sex. Jones (also a PW reviewer) provides a strong start for Circlet’s new Gressive imprint of works that explore outside the gender binary.” – Publisher’s Weekly
Basically if you like a little more queer in your SF this is probably something you want to buy.
As of right now the ebook edition is what’s available but the print edition is coming soon.
I also want to mention that this is the first cover I’ve co-designed (though not the first one I’ve been a model for) and I’m super-pleased with it and really grateful to have been given the chance to do it.
Seriously, buy it, enjoy it, review it, get the word out about it if you like it and if this is the kind of fiction you want to support. Queer/Trans* SF still has real trouble finding a voice sometimes and word of mouth is invaluable.
Per the title above: This site is three years old on the dot today! Kind of can’t believe it. They grow up so fast.
In honor of the blogiversary, I’m posting a free story. It’s one that I’ve been working on for a while, that was inspired by a bunch of ideas from a bunch of different places. For those of us who prefer our fiction in audio format, I’m also including an mp3 of me reading the story. Whichever format you chose, I hope very much that you enjoy.
My slipstreamy short “The Scarred Utopian Takes a Wife” is now available to read for free in issue #14 of Jabberwocky.
On the day of her wedding, the bride of the Scarred Utopian pulls her veil down over her face. She does this unassisted by her attendants, assembled around her in silence of the most solemn kind—this is a thing that she must do herself, her fingertips slipping over the intricate needle lace. She sees patterns of flowers and winding vines spiraling endlessly around birds in flight, leaping stags, wild hares, other creatures impossibly strange. Shapes that change forever, altering themselves the very instant she identifies their nature. She sees this, and then the veil is over her head, a vague white blur, and that is all she sees.
The story itself actually comes out of a paper I wrote in my second semester of grad school, after I’d been devouring a lot of Zygmunt Bauman and Omer Bartov’s writing on utopian ideals and how destructive they can be. Stuck that onto my desire to write something about fairy tale tropes and the removal of women’s agency and here we are.
Here’s the first of a series of posts introducing the world of Line and Orbit and the people who inhabit it – since I think I’ve actually talked very little about that. The worldbuilding in this book is one of the things that we’re most proud of, and I want to talk it up.
First up: A rundown of the various factions and species that show up in the book. Enjoy.
[Image by JazzLizard]
An earlier version of this post appeared on my Dreamwidth
So I finished Harbinger yesterday, or at least a draft of it. It clocks in at about 79k words, which is respectable. There’s still a lot of work to be done on it, but it feels good to be done.
I suppose. It honestly doesn’t feel like much of a big deal. Which is weird. It should. I’ve been working on it for nine months now. You guys it has literally been like I’ve been pregnant with a book.
And now it’s done–or at least a draft of it is–and I just feel tired. And disconnected from it. I wrote -end- at the bottom of the page around 1:30 and then went to eat lunch and didn’t really think about it all that much for the rest of the afternoon. Granted, I had the first lecture of the semester to deal with yesterday evening and that always makes me nervous and preoccupied but still. I realize that it’s kind of the height of callous assholery to be all like oh yawn I finished another novel but I honestly do feel a little like that.
And I look back on the other two books I wrote/co-wrote–Line and Orbit and Communion–and I think about the differences in the two. At the end of L&O I was fucking elated. I was almost dizzy with joy. I had also written about 10k words in a single day so I was just dizzy, period. And then at the end of Communion I was considerably less excited but it still felt like kind of a Thing. And now… yeah.
Maybe some of it is just that I have more visceral sense of how far from done a draft actually means–from being in publishable shape and then actually being published. It took us about two years to sell L&O, from completion to signing the contracts, and this was after it took a good year or so to write. And then there’s been the edits, which were extensive, and it still won’t even come out for another few months. And I still haven’t sold Communion. I’m sure I will but it might take a while longer.
And now there’s Harbinger. My third baby. I love it but it’s got some defects that need fixing, and that’s work that has to be done before I can send it anywhere–and even then the work won’t be done.
That’s the thing about writing books: You’re never done. Not really. You take a breath and then you’re shoved back into it again. One of the reasons why I was so set on finishing Harbinger this week is because I want to start the next thing (which I’m very excited about but am not ready to talk about yet). And there are other things after that–I have a wonderful/awful feeling that the next thing is actually the first of three things, and there are another couple of things that might come after L&O… and I guess finishing just isn’t enough for me anymore. Which feels kind of sad, even though I guess I should be mostly pleased about what it means.
So. On to the next one.
I definitely want to pick up the Muse Monday thing I used to do wherein I would write about writing, but I’m not quite there in my head yet, and I have a feeling I’ll have a chance to do a lot more of that as promo for Line and Orbit heats up. So for now have some delicious treats.
- This is seriously the month of Publisher’s Weekly for me; three anthologies that I’ve had the privilege to be involved with have garnered positive reviews (one starred!):
- Scheherazade’s Facade: Fantastical Tales of Gender Bending, Cross-dressing, and Transformation – “Gender is flexible and surprising in 12 stories of characters transformed by the trappings of a different sex…each one is guaranteed to make the reader question the roles and qualities often assigned to gender and sex.”
- Fantastic Erotica: The Best of Circlet Press 2008 – 2012 – “This brilliantly imaginative compilation of short, steamy tales of contemporary and period fantasy, fairytale, future dystopia, and space opera, chosen from Circlet’s e-book anthologies by a popular vote of readers, succeeds both as speculative fiction and as erotica.”
- Heiresses of Russ 2012: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction – “Showcasing a mix of authors, from superstars like Nalo Hopkinson to promising newcomers like S.L. Knapp, this solid, well-chosen collection will be enjoyed by genre fans of all genders and orientations.”
- Author Nathan Bransford with the publishing process depicted in gifs. To it I say: accurate. Much. Except I can’t even speak with firsthand experience about the agent thing (hopefully only yet). That’s the thing: what Bransford is showing is the best case scenario.
Line and Orbit is getting a happy ending and it’s still taken two years and change and a shit-ton of angst from the date of completion to get it published.
- Harbinger is still not finished. It’s close. I have an awful feeling that it might remain “close” for a couple more weeks. At least.
- I’m teaching Introduction to Sociology this semester with a heavy SFnal component. For those interested in one person’s take on this, I offer my syllabus.
Okay, so, once again I’m late with WIP Wednesday. HOWEVER: the consolation prize is a new book release! So that’s lovely. The book in question is Like a Cunning Plan: Erotic Trickster Tales, edited by generally fantastic human being Michael M. Jones and published by the good people at Circlet Press. It’s available in a variety of delicious formats for your consumption pleasure.
From Coyote to Loki, Anansi to the kitsune, tricksters are a staple of mythology, folklore, and pop culture. Some might call them selfish, but we all know the truth: they’re just focused on the next big score or clever trick. Armed with a sly smile and quick wit, they act as agents of change, leaving chaos and confused victims in their wake. Of course, tricksters also make great lovers–unpredictable, creative, adventurous, and experienced in all the right ways.
In Like A Cunning Plan: Erotic Trickster Stories, gods and mortals alike interact in sexy, playful, sensual ways, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who comes out on top. A bounty hunter gets more than she bargained for when her mark shows up on her doorstep, a masked ball provides ample opportunity for an intimate encounter, a god on the prowl discovers a new side to his desires, and much more.
Featuring stories by Nica Berry, N. Violett, Nadine Wilmot, Elizabeth Schecter, Gayle C. Straun, Kaysee Renee Robichaud, and Sunny Moraine, Like A Cunning Plan is sure to surprise and satisfy.
My story “The Kitsune’s Laughter” is one of two featured takes on the kitsune legend; mine makes use of the old couple-unable-to-conceive trope — with a twist. NSFWish excerpt under the cut.
I’ve been working on this one for a while now — a few months — and it’s in that awfulGod will I never be able to stop working on this stage of it, but I’m plugging away, I’m about two-thirds done, and I do at least have a pretty good idea of where it’s going.
As I said a few weeks back, it’s set a hundred years or so into a future where the US is in shambles and the gap between the rich and the poor has become unbelievably huge, where the currently questionable line between corporations and governments and the military has eroded into meaninglessness, and where augmentation of the body is commonplace and, for certain elements of society, basically necessary. My protagonist is a Good Samaritan for Michael, a guy who ends up having weird and worrying powers and who may — or may not be — an angel. And the two of them get wrapped up in trying to find a stolen and highly dangerous weapon. And there’s a sister with dubious allegiances. And yeah.
Excerpt after the cut. Quick setup: Samir, Michael, and Ashmita have arranged to meet with a dissident group who they think is involved in the theft of the weapon. But they aren’t the only ones looking for it, and — predictably — things don’t go smoothly.