Max Gladstone’s CRAFT SEQUENCE Omnibus!

AAHHH! All five Craft Sequence books are available as an e-omnibus for $12!!!

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If you don’t know my feelings about Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence you probably haven’t known me very long. But you’re in luck! I reviewed the series (up to the third book) as a whole for NPR Books a couple of years ago, and it’s only gotten better since then. Five books for $12 would be a pretty sweet deal under most circumstances, but these books are brilliant and witty and sharp and smart and push me to parataxis, so, you know, go get them!

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In Lieu of Tweets, This Post

I miss the Toast. Where else can I pitch an article about Beyoncé and writing fantasy and trust it will find its truest audience?

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Today I’m wearing a key on a necklace. It turns no locks. It hangs between either side of the lanyard on which I wear the keys to my offices on two campuses. I can’t look at my chest without thinking about ornament and utility and the significance of choosing or not choosing between them.

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This photo is overexposed and blurry but I love it and keep pulling it up to look at it.img_2560

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A Marceline funko-pop sits on my desk, behind a red button-pin exhorting the world to Drop Student Debt. I can’t look at her without smiling, but lately I find myself substituting “Marceline” for “Jacqueline” in the Franz Ferdinand song and writing Adventure Time fanfic through the lyrics in my head while I should be finishing Caleb Williams.

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Back to work.

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Max and Amal Go to the Movies

Photo by Navah Wolfe

(We didn’t take the swords to the movies.)

One of the stretch goals for Uncanny‘s Year 2 Kickstarter campaign was a movie column by Max Gladstone and me, in which we chat about a film we’ve seen recently, kicking it podcast-style (or discussed-in-gchat-style, which is more or less the same thing). Said goal was reached, and you can read our first column here!

In it we discuss Rogue One, at length with several rambly asides, detouring into The Great Escape, Walter Benjamin, and Rudolph Otto’s conception of the holy. As you do!

Enjoy.

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THE DJINN FALLS IN LOVE Available Today!

the-djinn-falls-in-loveToday sees the release of The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories worldwide in ebook and in paperback in the UK; it’ll be released in paperback in North America on March 14.

I just read this review of the anthology by Liz Bourke on Tor.com, and it’s made me even more excited to read the whole, to see how my (genuinely very small) contribution fits in with Jared Shurin and Mahvesh Murad’s project. What delights me most is how global this anthology is — how I can look forward to something that will definitely not be tired rehashings of ideas about djinn, something that will introduce me to new writers, new imaginative dialects.

My story, “A Tale of Ash in Seven Birds,” was written last summer, in a bubbling over of fury and misery over the state of a world which has, in large part, only gotten worse since then. It’s a fable about migration, and borders, and nations, with a core of magicians’ battle that I first encountered when I was little and reading The Arabian Nights. It’s definitely written from the same emotional place as “Anabasis,” that appeared on Tor.com yesterday in the context of the Nevertheless, She Persisted project.

It’s funny to me that being as allergic to body-swap narratives as I am, shape-shifting is at the heart of the last several stories I’ve written, and is a major concern in the novel I’m writing. I think I’m circling the difference, though: I hate stories where we’re aware of the lie, where shape-shifting or cloning or body doubling is a means of stealing identity, lying to loved ones, violating trust — maybe partly because I feel like shape-shifting, code-switching, flexibility and malleability are survival tools that deserve better than to be reduced to facades. To change and be changed is something viscerally intimate to me.

Something to think about, anyway. Meanwhile, here are handy links to where you can obtain The Djinn Falls in Love, which I hope you’ll do!

 Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Google|Kobo|Rebellion Store

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“Anabasis” Live on Tor.com

nevertheless_thunderhouse

My contribution to Tor.com’s Nevertheless, She Persisted collection is called “Anabasis,” and it’s live.

In addition to the prompt, it draws on this news story.

I’ve been reading everyone else’s contributions with awe, marvelling at what different things we all did, and just bubbling up with love for everyone in this bar.

Usually short stories leave me feeling sated, needing to sit with them for a while, before I can read the next one. Anthologies take me ages to finish. But each of these stories leaves me hungry — for the next one, for a new voice, a new take, a different way of speaking to each other. I love them. I hope you’ll read all of them.

#SFWApro

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NEVERTHELESS Stories for International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

LONG AGO, all the way back on MONDAY, I noted that today would be the day Tor.com would release the flash fiction stories written in response to “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

I busted out this gif of Burr, even. I made a commitment. I said

wait for it

But what do I find, today? I find that Tor.com is MERCILESSLY releasing these stories in batches. Three at a time. THROUGHOUT THE DAY. Now?

Angelica Satisfied

The stories are being collected as they appear here, and I’ve devoured what’s there — Kameron Hurley’s “Our Faces, Radiant Sisters, Our Faces Full of Light,” Alyssa Wong’s “God Product,” and Carrie Vaughn’s “Alchemy” — but I want more more more, and if you do too, I encourage you to check back during the day!

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Reading Cassandra Khaw for UNCANNY

marapr17_issue15covermed-340x510It’s no secret that I read poems and stories for Uncanny magazine‘s monthly podcast. I love doing it, not least because in months heavy with other kinds of work it feels really good to know that I’m guaranteed to read at least one short story or poem, and that short story or poem is going to be absolutely great.

I confess to having my favourites — which overwhelmingly tend to be the pieces that make me work harder as a reader. Cassandra Khaw’s “Protestations Against the Idea of Anglicization” is one of those favourites.

It’s live today in Issue 15 of Uncanny, along with many other excellent offerings (in particular this essay by Sam J. Miller on Resistance 101). You can listen to me attempt to do it justice here — it starts at 39:07.

Names and the things people call us are as much on my mind as borders lately. Chosen names, names discarded, names on documents, family names, what we accept or reject in a choice, what it means to be forced into the change, how we change ourselves to say that we weren’t forced, to say that it was a choice — all this, and more. It’s been manifesting in writing in fits and bursts.

All those fits and bursts, oddly enough, are appearing this week, in reverse order of production: this reading, my very short story for Tor.com, and my short story for The Djinn Falls in Love are all appearing this week. They make a sort of whole together.

As good a time as any, I suppose, to spit fire and snow.

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Defending V FOR VENDETTA — The Movie — on Unjustly Maligned

It can be told!

logo-ump-1xA long while ago now, Antony Johnston invited me to appear on Unjustly Maligned, a podcast where guests turn up to “explain why that thing you hate is actually really great.” I was stymied by this brief — OBVIOUSLY all the things I love are objectively and universally adored by all people of good sense — until recent events reminded me of V for Vendetta, the comic, which prompted remembrance of V for Vendetta, the film, and my blistered attempts at talking to anyone who loved the comic about how I thought the film was actually a pretty good adaptation oh my gods you’ve already stopped reading haven’t you you’re throwing things at the screen HEAR ME OUT.

Hear me out on the podcast, in fact! I had a wonderful time chatting with Antony about it and the state of the world. And while you’re at it, consider subscribing! Antony’s a fantastic, charming host, this podcast is a fabulous concept I wish I’d thought of, and I hope to appear on it again as soon as I’ve thought of something else I love that most people hate.

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Nevertheless, She Persisted

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In the wake of some truly beautiful poetry being unexpectedly spoken by Mitch McConnell in an attempt to silence Elizabeth Warren, Tor.com is launching a flash fiction collection inspired by it, scheduled to run on March 8, International Women’s Day. I’m honoured and delighted to be taking part, in the company of such magnificent writers as Charlie Jane Anders, Bo Bolander, Maria Dahvana Headley, Kameron Hurley, Seanan McGuire, Nisi Shawl, Cat Valente, Carrie Vaughn, Jo Walton and Alyssa Wong.

For no doubt obvious reasons, borders are much on my mind lately, and my contribution has to do with them and one news item in particular that I can’t stop thinking about. More about it on Wednesday, when it airs — and when I get to read everyone else’s flash-responses to the prompt. I want them NOW, but, well —

wait for it

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His Hands Are Small, We Know

If you lived in North America and listened to the radio a lot in 1998, chances are the title of this post is doing something weird to your brain. Brace yourselves — it’s only getting weirder (and more awesome) from here.

I have a completely earnest love for the song “Hands” by Jewel, and have since I first heard it in high school. I make no apology for this: a space has been arranged to the left for the haters. In recent months, ever since people started commenting on that hairy orange pustule’s hands being notably small, my mind would tick over to Jewel singing “my hands are small, I know.”

There’s a pastiche in that, I thought. But probably no one remembers that song, and deeply earnest somewhat religious yearning folk rock songs from the late 90s are no one’s jam. 

Also I was a bit reluctant to associate a song I deeply love with the aforementioned HOP.

But this morning, while reading through my daily webcomics, I saw that the creator of Sinfest and I have been surfing the same wavelength for some time.

If you’ve not heard the song before, listen to it below first.

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