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Staff blogger Diane Severson’sdivadiane1 latest post is up at the Amazing Stories site, & this time she’s offering a themed November 2015 Round Up.

Entitled Women Destroy Hard SF Poetry!!! ( title permission granted by John Joseph Adams), this comprehensive look at women writing verse on the harder end of the SF spectrum includes links to work by 22 poets. Five are featured, and one of those five is Yours Truly. Here’s the full list:

Lisa Timpf
Roxanne Barbour
Landon Godfrey
Wendy Van Camp
Sarah Blake
Margaret Rhee
Ruth Berman
Ann K. Schwader, featured
Marianne Dyson, featured
F.J. Bergmann, featured
Christina Sng, featured
Liz Bennefeld, featured
Deborah Guzzi
Renee M. Schell
Lark Bertran
Deborah P. Kolodji
Marge Simon
Stephanie Wytovich
Snigdha Chaya Saikia
Ada Hoffmann
A.E. Ash
Bronwyn Lovell

Though I don’t generally consider myself a hard SF writer, I do enjoy taking inspiration from the sciences (astronomy is a favorite), and I’m delighted to be part of this distinguished sisterhood. There’s lots to read – and think about – here!


My Goodreads review: The Martian

Posted on 2015.11.10 at 16:30
Tags: , , ,
The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love SF. I love Mars, and the whole idea of going to Mars.

But somehow I just couldn’t quite love The Martian.

I suspect this is due to my own limited tolerance for very hard SF, or the level of geekery required to rescue Mark Watney after he gets stranded. Certainly Andy Weir does his best to make Mark likeable and quotable, on subjects ranging from duct tape to Martian agriculture. I had no trouble believing that the science was at least feasible. And I did enjoy experiencing (as closely as anyone would probably want to) life in the Hab.

Unfortunately, every exciting turn of events seemed to be followed by several pages of technical detail. I skimmed what I could, understood not much of it, and felt a bit frustrated by the time the problem was solved and the plot continued. Though I cared enough about all the characters to want them to succeed, it was a relief in more ways than one when they finally did.

View all my reviews

Received my contributor’s copy of She Walks in Shadows this week – just in time for Halloween!

Edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Paula R. Stiles, this anthology of Lovecraftian tales by women features authors & artists from several countries, all investigating & expanding upon the feminine side of the Mythos. Some provide new views of established characters / entities, others (including myself, in the anthology’s one poem) offer entirely new creations to stretch the bounds of Lovecraftian weirdness.

Find the whole TOC – plus easy ordering information – here. She Walks in Shadows is available in both paperback & ebook formats.

And I am so thrilled to be a part of this puppy.

The Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2015 Halloween Poetry Reading site is up, and expanding day by day. Edited by Liz Bennefeld & Shannon Connor Winward, this annual online tradition offers atmospheric art & horrifying poems for the haunting season.

With a couple of exceptions, most of the poems are read by their creators – who also share snippets of information about the poems themselves, as well as web sites or blogs where more work awaits discovery.

This year, I finally managed to hold my mouth right long enough to contribute a reading to this project! Listen to my long measure poem “Wind Shift” (and many other spooky verses!) here.


Madness & Poe on the Sofa

Posted on 2015.10.21 at 14:56
Tags: , , , ,
If you’ve got even a passing interest in Poe (and I’m guessing that’s most everyone reading Yaddith Times), Dr. Amy H. Sturgis’seldritchhobbit latest Looking Back in Genre History on StarShipSofa No. 406 is a don’t-miss listen.

In this segment, she reviews an intriguing temporary exhibit at The Poe Museum in Richmond, VA. Entitled “Madness: Insanity in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe,” it offers her a springboard for discussing the (often dark) history behind many of Poe’s more notable tales.

The exhibit itself has closed, unfortunately, but the podcast is still available for free on iTunes & at the StarShipSofa website. And The Poe Museum website is darkly fascinating all on its own.

The Bloody Chamber and Other StoriesThe Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although this short but incredibly concentrated collection is apparently a modern classic, I’d never run into it until now. And that’s a shame, because it’s one of the more elegant bits of darkness I’ve read in some time.

In these ten tales, Angela Carter doesn’t so much retell various fairy tales & legends as rip them apart and rebuild them entirely. Her style is elaborate, poetic, and measured. Her viewpoint is unabashedly feminist, yet critical to the point of cynicism. Her obsessions – and she seems to have had quite a few – are worked out over & over again, reflections in a series of precisely warped mirrors.

Whether this approach works or not depends upon the individual reader. It certainly worked for me – once I slowed down enough to absorb these stories as the near prose-poems they are. My personal favorites were “The Bloody Chamber,” “The Tiger’s Bride,” and “The Lady in the House of Love,” but YMMV – and it’s almost sure to. Do yourself a favor, though, and read this collection in order. Many of the tales play off previous ones, and skipping around may dilute the effect.

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Searchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and FantasticSearchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic by S.T. Joshi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology. I won’t be discussing it here.]

Taking its inspiration from a quote by H.P. Lovecraft (in “The Picture in the House”), this anthology focuses on weird places and disturbing locales – from a variety of perspectives. Not all are Lovecraftian, though a goodly number are.

Although the stories do have some flow between them – assuming they are read in sequence – this is a remarkably diverse assortment. Straight-up Lovecraftian adventure? It’s here. Haunted house tales? Also here. Ditto for dark SF, literary weirdness, at least one bit of graphic violence, and many approaches in between. The quality in general is quite high, though these tales skew toward “disturbing” rather than “blatantly horrific.”

My personal favorites in this one were by John Shirley, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Simon Strantzas, Brian Stableford, and Nancy Kilpatrick.

View all my reviews

I just got a boarding pass for Mars.

Nope, not the trip – just the boarding pass, for NASA’s InSight lander due to launch in March 2016. All names submitted & approved will be inscribed on a chip which actually is headed to Mars with the lander.

It’s all free, but unfortunately I just found out about this -- & today is the last day to register. If you’re a fellow Mars-o-phile & reading this before 11:59 PM ET, you can go here for all the information.

See you – or your name, at least – on Mars!

The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bob Howard’s wife – and fellow Laundry agent – Dr. Dominique “Mo” O’Brien finally gets her own adventure in this highly entertaining sixth volume of the Laundry Files. Recruited to help combat a growing plague of superheroes (yes, you read that right), Mo and her soul-devouring bone violin must assemble their own team of heroes while dealing with eldritch horrors, The King in Yellow, and British institutional bureaucracy.

Guess which one creates the most havoc?

As with all the Laundry novels, this one offers a satisfying mixture of tongue-in-cheek humor and genuinely chilling moments. Character depth seemed a bit better than usual, and female fans of the Laundry will probably find Mo’s “voice” convincing. Some familiarity with Robert W. Chambers might help this time around, though.

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I haven’t posted about this poetry project before, because I wasn’t at all sure when it would be available . . . but I’ve finally been told that it’s coming out for Lovecraft’s 125th birthday.

Which is August 20th!

Dark Energies is my first collection of poems since 2011 -- and my first collection ever published in Australia, from P’rea Press. It’s a little over 100 pages of Lovecraftian, cosmic, archaeological, historical, & just plain weird darkness, including a brand-new sonnet sequence for Keziah Mason. The cover and elegantly creepy black & white illustrations are by David Schembri, with preface and afterword by S.T. Joshi and Robert M. Price, respectively. There’s also a short interview with me, done by editor Charles Lovecraft.

Dark Energies will be available in both paperback & hardcover editions (another first for Yours Truly), with an ebook format to follow later on.

If you’re attending NecronomiCon Providence 2015, Dark Energies will be available at the Ulthar Press table in the Vendors’ Hall. Otherwise, just check here for all the details – including how to preorder. (The current link is for the hardcover edition, but there are ordering options for both editions.)

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