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September 6th, 2017 08:01 pm - FMK: Enchantress from the Stars and Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe
Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl is, above all, a good book. And I don't mean in the sense of well-written or I liked it (although those are also true) but good the way a good person is good. Good like a video of a puppy rescuing a kitten. Goodness baked into it all the way through. It was exactly the sort of book I needed to read these last couple weeks.

When I started I honestly wasn't expecting to call it good in any of those senses. The main character, Elana, is just. Super-annoying in all of the best YA ways. The book starts with Elana, who we are told is a disciplined trainee with lifelong dedication to the most elite, dangerous, and important of careers, stowing away on her dad's dangerous and vital mission because she was bored.

Then we start getting right into love triangle territory.

But. Somehow, it all works. )

Anyway, I liked it, it reminded me that sometimes there are good things that are just good when I needed that, I'm glad I read it and it's definitely a keeper.


I also read Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe by Robert Asprin and George Takei. Imagine if someone had gone to George Takei in the 70s and said "if you could publish any book, what would it be about?" and he said "Japanese-American fencing ninja vs. corpocratic killer robots in space."

If your reaction was "yes, good, do that" you would probably find this book at least mildly entertaining.


I'm also trying to read Han of Iceland by Victor Hugo but, folks, it's... not good. Also I added it to the poll on the basis of I've had an ecopy on my phone for several years waiting to be read, and also it was short so it couldn't be too painful, but the OCR on all the online versions was terrible so I got a library copy, but then it became apparent that all of the online versions must just be Part 1 of 2 despite not being marked that way, because in fact it is not short. I dunno if I can do this.

My mom saw the library copy lying out and since she's also been reading books about Iceland she picked it up and said "the very first line of the introduction is about how terrible this book is, why are you reading it?" (I told her my internet friends dared me to. She has learned to just accept answers like that.)

(5 comments | Reply)


September 6th, 2017 05:32 pm - FMK #22: Yuletide Fandoms
...Let's just pretend today is Tuesday, okay?

Last week's poll was very close until the last minute, but Omnitopia Dawn edged into first for F at the last minute, just beating out The Android's Dream. The most K votes was Down And out In The Magic Kingdom, which I honestly did not expect! However it did not have a majority of K votes. The only one with a majority of K votes was Radio Freefall.

Reviews post for the ones I've read lately DEFINITELY coming later today, yes def.

This week's theme: Yuletide fandoms! (As measured by number of fics on AO3, because that was easier than trying to figure out what had actually had noms.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Asaro, Bujold, Feist, L'Engle, Lackey, Le Guin, Levine, Martinez, McCaffrey, McKillip, McKinley, Moorcock, Norton, Scalzi, Shepherd, Wellman, Wilson, Wrede, Zelazny )

Bonus Round: Comics )

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(53 comments | Reply)


August 29th, 2017 08:37 pm - FMK #21: Cyberpunk
FMK is back! Yay! Review of Enchantress From the Stars coming shortly. (Also I continue to read City Watch books to write Sedoretu AU fic, and can I just say, it's really hard to write Vimes/Vetinari AU fic because rewriting the first couple books as if it's their courtship changes NOTHING in their scenes together. Like: "I wonder if there's canon on whether you can see the Patrician's Palace from Sybil's house so I don't have to check the maps," and then "Of course there is, here's the scene where VIMES STARES WISTFULLY ACROSS THE CITY AT THE LONELY LIGHT IN VETINARI'S BEDROOM WINDOW.")

Anyway! Last time's winner was The Beekeeper's Apprentice. This is the first occasion where you have voted me into finally reading a canon that I have already written fanfic about. :P Who knows, maybe this will inspire me to actually finish the next part of the story with Mary Russell in it. Loser was The Ghosts of Bly, so off it goes.

Also I have finally made up my mind that I will be reading The Dragon and the George out of the tie from a couple weeks back, because I had a dream that crossed it over with Heimskringla (which I also have not read yet, but apparently Earl Hákon got his brain transferred into a falcon as part of a palace plot, and then ended up being taken to a wizard who was all "I do dimensional portals, not political intrigue, go away!")

This week's theme: Cyberpunk! Because I kept whittling it down by using the books in other sets so I figured time to do it while I still had enough left. (Themes are going to get harder and harder as we approach the halfway point of my unreads.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Devenport, Doctorow, Duane, Foster, Jarpe, McKillip, Moran, Scalzi, Stephenson, Swanwick, anthology )

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(30 comments | Reply)


August 8th, 2017 06:31 pm - FMK #20: Holmesiana
Last week's K winner was Hounded. I guess I do not get to read it and find out if the second-most-popular male UF lead gets sexually assaulted as often as Harry Dresden does. ;_;

The F winner was Truckers, which is good, since I went from thinking about urban fantasy tropes to reading old Marcone/Dresden fic to reading all the Vimes/Vetinari(/Sybil) fic to reading all the Watch books to working on that prompt about the First Sedoretu of Ankh-Morpork.

(Finally reading Snuff was what convinced that that okay, Vimes could manage to be married to Margolotta, they have many things in common and also he can see in the dark now and she and Sybil as pen pals is canon, so.)

...which also explains why I still don't have any more reviews for you, oops.

But! We have made it to FMK #20! Which means another non-SF option! This week: Holmesiania.

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Chabon, Douglas, Estleman, Gardner, Gilbert, Hall, King, Kurland, LeBlanc, Meyer, Peacock, Smith, Springer, Stout, Thomas, anthologies )

(14 comments | Reply)


August 1st, 2017 05:41 pm - FMK #19: Urban Fantasy
Last week's F winner was Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe! I am pretty excited, gotta say. Hopefully it will be both amazing and terrible. None of them were anywhere near a plurality of K, so we get another week with no K. How sad.

I have not finished reading any fmk books since last time, but I HAVE finally finished reshelving all my nonfiction books by dewey number! \o/ (Okay, there were about 90 left after I'd pulled everything in the catalog - I think they are about half ones that I just couldn't find on the first pass, a quarter ones that are in the catalog wrong, and a quarter ones that never made it into the catalog. But that's only about 5%, so not bad. Dealing with them is tonight's job.)

Next step: actually weed the nonfiction now that I know what I have. <_< Also, move things from the 900s to where they actually belong (the 900s are tied with the 300s for my hate, I think.)

Since I was thinking about urban fantasy tropes in my last review post and also moved on to re-reading old DF slash, this week is Urban Fantasy!

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Caine, Harris, Hawke, Hearne, Klause, Lisle, Martinez, McGuire, Pratchett, Simmons, anthologies )

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(26 comments | Reply)


July 25th, 2017 07:25 pm - FMK: Discount Armageddon
Poll post coming soon! But first, I have finished Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire!

It was fun! I enjoyed it! The characters were great! Much like the other McGuire I have read, I felt like the more I thought about it, the less there there was there! (I can't think of a single piece of internal evidence other than Verity's word that it took place in Manhattan instead of, like, Columbus, Ohio. The Price-vs.-Covenant thing really doesn't work with the logistics that are set up in the book. Verity's main character note is that ballroom dance is the most important thing to her, she tells us this at least every fifth page, and yet at no point does she ballroom dance, even as practice. Etc.)

And I did really like the variety of cryptids and the cryptid community, but the "cryptozoologist" thing still bothers me, in that a cryptozoologist is a very specific thing situated in a very specific time and culture - it is not something like "witch" that has enough meanings with enough history you can basically go with whatever - and I would really really love to read an urban fantasy about cryptozoologists - and Verity Price is really really not one. (I mean, you could make a cool backstory about how the Prices and allies adopted the terminology ironically in the 60s to further distinguish themselves from the Covenant - or that Sanderson got himself in WAY over his head with a Price girl at some point and came out very confused, which is a fanfic I would definitely read - but she does not seem to be doing that.)

But! It is a urban fantasy in which ALL OF THE SEX IS UNAMBIGUOUSLY AND EXPLICITLY CONSENSUAL, and I didn't even know that was a thing that existed, so I will forgive it A LOT for being that. (I would also enjoy the fanfic about how Price family sex education includes a unit about how part of their mission is to introduce the urban fantasy community to the idea of "affirmative consent" which it had previously lacked entirely.)

I have Down Among The Sticks and Bones on its way from the library, but I have learned it is NOT about the Skeleton Girl (with that title how is it not about the Skeleton Girl?) so I find I am not that excited about it coming.

(14 comments | Reply)


July 25th, 2017 07:11 pm - FMK #18: Writers of Color
Last week's F win was a tie between The Dragon and the George and Goblin Quest. I am waffling over which one to pick. Goblin Quest had discussion in the comments, but on the other hand, reading it would break my unbroken streak of not having read any of the many Hines novels I own.

K winner was the Callahan. I am going to keep Callahan's Crosstime Saloon but this may be the nudge I needed to just drop the rest.


Anyway, this week's FMK theme is SF by Anglophone Writers of Color. We will pretend the reason it was tough to get a set of ten together for this is that when I get one of these it doesn't linger as long on the to-read pile. (Actually, it was tougher than I expected because finding out race for a lot of SF writers - especially older and more obscure ones - is not simple. There does not seem to be an easily accessible and accurate masterlist of SF Writers of Color out there. And at some point, for some of then, I found myself thinking that if they aren't interested in making their ancestry part of their public bio, I need to not be looking this hard. I never did figure out if Philip Jose Farmer is actually in any way Hispanic.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Butler, Delany, Hamilton, Hurston, Martinez, Mosley, Reynolds, Takei, White, Wilson )

Tags:

(16 comments | Reply)


June 20th, 2017 11:03 pm - FMK #15: LGBT& Content
Last week's F winner was Journey to the Center of the Earth! K was Malevil, which means another giant tome I no longer have to shelve, yay.

I am still behind on reviewing stuff because I had Six Wakes and All Systems Red and A Close and Common Orbit all in at the library, plus All The Sedoretu, and sometimes you just have to priortize?

But in honor of the Tiptree anthology I picked up for the sedoretu story in it (and Pride), this week's theme is LGBT& content! (Most of these are Tiptree or Gaylactic Spectrum finalists, in fact.)
How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll! Bear, Chabon, Doran, Gerrold, Lackey, Monette, Orlando & Rebelka, Scott, St. Clair )

Tags:

(37 comments | Reply)


June 13th, 2017 06:29 pm - FMK #14: SF in Translation
Hi all! I am back. I did not get my birthday candle wish of having a different president when I got back to the USA, but at least Theresa May is in deep hot water now, so I guess you all did what you could.

The FMK #13 winner is Discount Armageddon, pulling ahead at the last minute in a very close race! The loser was Pawn of Prophecy, in a not-very-close race, although Man-Kzin Wars put up a good fight.

I brought Rocket Ship Galileo and Tarnsman of Gor with me on the trip as two K winners that I couldn't bear dumping without Having Read. I... am about 30% through Tarnsman of Gor; so far it is not bad enough to make me hate-read it or throw it at the wall, but also not particularly compelling a read. I still want to Have Read it though, I think.

Rocket Ship Galileo is going to be K for Keep, I am afraid. I tried! But Jews vs. Moon Nazis! )

Anyway, in honor of my international travel, today's theme is SF In Translation.

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Allende, Chang, Chessex, Enjoe, Gakov, Hugo, Lem, Merle, Nomura, Ogawa, Strugatsky, Verne )

(25 comments | Reply)


May 23rd, 2017 05:30 pm - FMK #13: First Book in the Series
Last week's F winner was Juniper Time by Kate Wilhelm! Should be interesting; it's one where I have no idea why I own it or why I kept it. K was Alas, Babylon.

Since I will be away from my book collection for the next two weeks, there will be an FMK break; next poll should go up June 12. I will keep reading and possibly posting reactions, though - the plan is to take the K books that I really wanted to read first with me on the trip, and leave them there.

This week's poll: Books where I own only the first book in the series (and have read none of them.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Banks, Barnes, Cherryh, Czerneda, Doyle & MacDonald, Eddings, Gardner, Hines, Lynn, McGuire, Niven, Scott & Barnett, Weber )

(39 comments | Reply)


May 16th, 2017 04:47 pm - FMK #12: Our Oncoming Apocalypses
Well, happy birthday to me, I guess. I would tell y'all to try to figure out what I'm wishing on my birthday candles but you might and then it won't come true.

Last week's F winner - pulling past Coraline at the last minute - was C. J. Cherryh with Downbelow Station. The K leader was actually Starship Troopers, but for the first time ever, the K leader did not have a plurality of K votes; in fact it in was in the top five for F as well. So I'm invoking the hidden rule that the K winner must have a plurality of K votes and giving it to Hominids instead (I knew that was going to be a hard one for K, you don't get a hugo/nebula win if you're comprehensively terrible.)

I am still skating about a week behind on reading but I did finish Castle in the Air! It was good. Review upcoming. Captain Blood coming soon (hopefully tonight.)

For this week I think it's finally time to pull out Apocalypses and Post-Apocalypses. Whoo.

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Bear, Brackett, Frank, Goulart, Howard, Le Guin, Matheson, Scarborough, Shute, Wilhelm, Wyndham, Zelazny )

(27 comments | Reply)


May 9th, 2017 04:55 pm - FMK #11: Hugo and Nebula Winners
So it turns out my readership is not super-into random obscure sea stories! But there were enough votes that Captain Blood is the clear winner. Should be fun. There was a tie for K for the first time in awhile; I am picking Jack Absolute to K because apparently Mr. Bowditch is full of math so I shall be keeping that.

I still have not read Castle in the Air because there was a library book emergency where something I had checked out before I started FMK hit its renewal limit finally, so I had to read that instead. Hopefully this week you will get a combined response to both of them.

I figured it was time to do one where most of you probably had at least heard of them, so this week is Hugo and Nebula winners!

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Asimov, Brunner, Bujold, Chabon, Cherryh, Farmer, Gaiman, Haldeman, Heinlein, Le Guin, Miller, Pohl, Sawyer, Vinge, Willis )

(53 comments | Reply)


May 2nd, 2017 02:33 pm - FMK #10: Age of Sail
Last week's winner was Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones which I really hope is good. K winner was Tales from Watership Down, which I may actually accidentally have two copies of, so that will help.

This is FMK #10! I kept it up for almost ten weeks! 115 out of 860 unread have already been FMK'd, whoo. In celebration, today we have a non-SF poll theme: Age of Sail.

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Brackenridge, Carlisle, Elmms, Forester, Garrett, Hugo, Humphreys, Latham, Marryat, Sabatini, Swan )

(19 comments | Reply)


May 1st, 2017 09:05 am - FMK: Electric Forest
Huh, today is blog against disablism day. WHAT A COINCIDENCE.

So, only read Electric Forest if you are the sort of person who actively seeks out stories about how people with disabilities are monstrous, hideous, hateful, dangerous, and literally "ab-human".

Also if you are that sort of person, why are you on DW?

I would have thrown the book at the wall much earlier except I had hopes it wouldn't be that bad )

In summary, NOPE. I think this is the first one in FMK to get recycle bin, not even donate.

(19 comments | Reply)


April 28th, 2017 08:28 pm - FMK: The Snow Queen
So, it turns out The Snow Queen is not high fantasy and is a fairy tale AU. Oops.

About the only other things I knew going in was that I had really liked Vinge's Cat books (not actually books about cats, books about a dude named Cat, sorry), that she had at one point been married to Vernor Vinge, and that I was pretty sure that years ago I had heard a rumor that her husband was a total POS.

...turns out that I was unable to find anyone saying anything bad about Mr. Vinge, but her current husband is Mr. Banned-From-Wiscon himself, so apparently I have been thinking poorly of Mr. Vinge for years for no reason. Sorry, sir! See, this is why this stuff needs to be out in the open, not whispers.


Anyway, as for the book itself: it's well-written, I didn't hate any of the characters, the world-building and plot mostly hang together (at least until the very end, anyway), the concepts are interesting, there is no compelling reason I shouldn't have liked it, and yet I never quite managed to get into it. It isn't even that it's not my thing, because it *should* be my thing, and yet )

Anyway, short version: You could probably do a Snow Queen retelling that used the story in a way that worked for me (I should really get my hands on The Raven and the Reindeer) but this was not it; and I would totally read an entire novel about Ngenet and Jerusha (as long as Jerusha got to finally show a tiny bit of minimal competence which she never actually did in the book - a plot line about how she is unfairly treated as incompetent because she's a woman doesn't work if she never actually is competent); and I should have listened to my instincts and run when the summary on the back ended with "...the one man fated to love them both."

...interestingly I also read Makt Myrkranna today (having never read Dracula all the way through) which is also about a pretty, innocent young man who gets lured into the clutches of an ancient powerful beautiful cold devouring woman and her consort, and how his true love traveled across a continent to rescue him and save the world, but somehow I don't have any of the aforementioned complaints about it. A++ worldbuilding, dude does not let heterosexuality make his choices for him, lady makes reasonable choices based on the knowledge she has at the time and caring about him as a human being she is fond of who is in trouble.

I also read Pale Guardian, but I think that's actually the first Ashers book in which nobody ever has to rescue James, so it doesn't quite fit the set.

(eta: no, wait, Simon rescued him at least once in between Simon and Lydia repeatedly rescuing each other, nvm. On a motorbike.)

(I have been sick lying on the couch all day, which is why all the reading suddenly. Also I still have four more library books and two fmk waiting lalala.)

(10 comments | Reply)


April 25th, 2017 07:07 pm - FMK #9: Second Books
Note to self, things your circle is v. interested in: Library classification. Canadian art.

So, back on the wagon with FMK! I posted about Growing Up Weightless yesterday and I am very nearly done with Snow Queen. After that Electric Forest should be quick and then I will be caught up! Except the six library books! But we aren't talking about those!

Fewer of you than I thought voted that you change your poll answers after reading the comments! I am apparently in the more easily swayed group. :P


This week's theme is I Read the First One And It Was Good But For Years I Could Never Find The Next One But Then I Did So Here It Is Yay

(In a it's the first one I couldn't find instead of the next one, but close enough.)


How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

If you want to be extra-helpful, bear in mind that it may have been two decades since I read the first on, and note whether I need to re-read that one first.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Adams, Cherryh, Ellis, Gibson, Handeland, ab Hugh, Jones, Kotzwinkle, Lackey, Monette, Snyder, Watt-Evans, White  )

(26 comments | Reply)


April 24th, 2017 06:30 pm - FMK: Growing Up Weightless
I went to the March for Science yesterday! It didn't have as many people as the Women's March but then what would? It still took a solid two hours to get everyone funnelled down Constitution Avenue.

Also if you are ever at the Capitol end of Constitution with a few minutes to kill, go look at The Spirit of Haida Gwaii outside the Canadian Embassy; it's in a nice quiet corner and I found more to see in that one sculpture than in the entire National Gallery sculpture garden.


...also if you are ever on the Mall and need wifi, find an idling coach bus to loiter near.

I brought Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford to read on the metro, and I don't have a huge amount to say because basically it was everything I wanted for a book about coming of age in the Moon colony )

(11 comments | Reply)


April 11th, 2017 07:03 pm - FMK #8: Short Books
Last week's winner was Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford. I had mixed opinions of his Star Trek novels that everyone loves, so we'll see how this one goes!

Loser was Rocket Ship Galileo which I kind of really want to read after the discussion in comments ;_; I seem to have accidentally planned an overseas hiking holiday in a couple months, so maybe I will save up the K books that I really want to at least read first to take there and leave behind.

You people voted in another MASSIVE TOME with The Snow Queen so it may be a bit of a delay. It's interesting so far!

In revenge (and to give me a bit of a chance to catch up and do my taxes and stuff) this week's theme is "Books under 200 pages", so there.


How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Anderson, Binder, Brunner, Clarke, del Rey, Key, Lee, Lindgren, Norton, Sleator, Turnbull, Van Vogt, Zelazny )


p.s. I am enjoying observing the latest 'harassers at SF cons' redux, but why has nobody filked "Banned from Wiscon" yet? It scans. You could be really scathing. And "Banned from Wiscon" seems to be that dude's official epithet at this point.

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April 4th, 2017 05:44 pm - FMK #7: The Moon and Mars
So, the clear K winner last week was Harry Harrison with Captive Universe and no discussion in comments. What do you people have against Harry Harrison other than him being a boring libertarian-ish white dude? It sounds cool! Generation ships in asteroids! Possibly a hispanic MC! (Possibly he totally fucks up the Mexica culture stuff?)

The F winner was The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge, also with no discussion. All I know going in is that I really like her Psion books, and I think The Snow Queen is probably fantasy but probably not a fairy tale AU? So that should be fun!


This week's theme is The Moon And Mars.

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Bova, Bradbury, Carter, Danziger, Del Rey, Ford, Heinlein, Lem, Temple, Verne, Wells )

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March 31st, 2017 02:24 pm - FMK: The Female Man
The nearest pokestop I can access is approximately 1 hour's walk from my house. Fun facts! (But I did get my third 7-day streak in a row, yay me walking four miles in the rain.)

So, The Female Man by Joanna Russ. This is a book that has A Lot Of Things To Say so I am absolutely not going to even attempt to do that justice in this post, okay. tl,dr: I am going to keep it on the shelf, but I am going to keep it resentfully.

It is very much:
a) second-wave feminist, and
b) literary fiction, not genre fiction.

Read it if you want to read a frequently didactic and/or polemical text that exemplifies second-wave feminism but is relatively readable despite that. Or if you like the sort of literary fiction that is obsessed with its own genius and hits all the cliches from over-elaborate structure to self-insert MC who is a frustrated writer in NYC to the affair with a much younger woman who you are in a position of authority over but you couldn't help it, she came on to you and you were really sex-deprived, what were you supposed to do! Only with white feminists instead of boring white dudes. At least the sex scenes are reasonably well-done.

If you are interested in really cool post-capitalist post-industrialist utopian worldbuilding, read it but skip everything but the sections in Whileaway (and maybe the chapters at the end with Jael, but only if you are willing to wade through the neck-deep transphobia in those). It's pretty easy to tell which chapters are Whileaway and you won't be missing any important "plot" if you skip the rest, I promise; it barely exists and doesn't make a lot of sfnal sense when it does. (Or just read some Monique Wittig instead, 'Lesbian Peoples' is nothing but the second-wave feminist lesbian utopian worldbuilding.)

It's honestly really hard for me to separate my problems with it between the second-wave feminist part and the literary fiction part, because they basically both reduce down to the MC is a self-absorbed asshole with no real empathy in her POV.
spoilers below, as usual. also this book gets warnings for sexual assault, statutory rape, extreme violence, and virulent transphobia. most of which the author pov is okay with. )

The above makes it sound like I hated the book, and okay, I did hate the book a little. But for all of second-wave feminism's issues, it wasn't wrong about the things it did deign to pay attention to, and on the whole, neither is this book. And if there's anything last year in America taught us, it's that the job they were trying to do in the 60s and 70s and 80s still isn't nearly done. And for what it is - for a literary novel published in 1975 but tLHoD was published in 1969 that is too into its own cleverness to get out of its own way and frequently interrupts itself for long tirades of textbook second-wave feminism, it's pretty readable and makes important points, and Whileaway makes up for a lot.

But if an SF writer randomly put in a chapter in the middle of a book that was literally nothing but ranting about how mainstream critics failed to recognize the author's genius, they would be laughed out of fandom regardless of how justified they were.

I mean, even Ann Rice hasn't tried that yet.

There's a self-congratulatory bit at the end about how if a time ever comes where women read the book and don't resonate with it, that means its work is done. a) its work is not done, b) resonating with Joanna is not the way to finish it.

Also why the hell did she feel the need to keep translating the matronyms as ---son even after she learned they were matronyms not surnames, it's not like Evasdottir is an incomprehensible name to modern Earth people.

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