OK, despite the post title, I’m not really planning to speak for all authors here. Just me.
Active Nora is active! As I continue to recover from hardcore novel-writing mode, I’ve begun once again exploring activities that had become all but lost in the abyss of time and labor. Like… I went to a movie! I know, it’s been awhile. But I went last week to see “Inception” with the folks in Altered Fluid, and we absolutely loved it. The layers of storytelling; exposition delivered in infodumps that didn’t (to me) feel dumpy, the director’s obvious assumption that his audience would be smart enough to get all that was happening… Ah, it’s been so long since I’ve seen a Hollywood film I actually liked. It wasn’t perfect; I thought the characterization was shallow. But then this was clearly “idea” science fiction, and despite my longtime preference for “character” science fiction, even I can be wowed by an idea for 2 or 3 hours. (Then I get bored. But anyway.) Go see it!
Also, bookses! Recently read the whole of the Running With The Pack anthology, which I had the pleasure of having a reprint in (“Red Riding-Hood’s Child”). I was pleased to find that the whole anthology is full of chewy goodness, as is only to be expected from World Fantasy Award-winning editor (and author) Ekaterina Sedia. Despite the inclusion of my retold fairy tale, I’d been half-fearing a book full of Team Jacob stories, all about hot animalistic guys wangsting over sexually repressed women… yeah, OK, believe it or not I’m not really a fan of werewolf stuff. But that’s only because I’ve read so much of it that’s cliched and terrible — which this anth is not, in any way. So I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Also finally finished Kay Kenyon’s The Braided World, another of her hard-SF adventures and a sort-of sequel to her earlier Maximum Ice. I had a harder time getting into TBW than MI, but ultimately I liked it better, because MI was burdened with some randomly villainous characters I just didn’t care about. The villain in TBW is similarly driven by bigotry, and is similarly over-the-top in her villainy, but in this case I could almost understand her feelings. The story focuses on an alien world, where travelers from Earth unexpectedly find humanlike aliens called the Dassa. I say humanlike because some of them reproduce in typical human fashion, and others reproduce in an inexplicably disturbing way. The story is one of cultural conflict: the Dassa are alarmed by the humans, whose method of reproduction is scorned and considered “degenerate” in their society, and the humans are similarly freaked-the-hell-out by the Dassa. They must work together, however, to solve a mystery that has implications for all sentient life in the galaxy.
I’ve always liked Kenyon’s work because she doesn’t flinch away from the soft science in her hard SF. All of her books contain plausible diversity, sociological conflict, psychological reactions to extreme stress, and of course craploads of biology (which is considered a soft science by some, mostly because of the girl cooties). But she also writes solid characters, each replete with flaws yet doing their damnedest to save the world. I wanted to get a thorough grounding in her SF before I tackled her more recent fantasy novels (“The Entire and the Rose” books), mostly because I’ve had bad experiences with SF writers trying fantasy in the past and I wanted to be sure before I took the risk. So next up is the first book of that trilogy.
Aaaaaand, I’m currently reading Naomi Novik’s latest book in the Temeraire series, Tongues of Serpents. I’m only about 2/3rds of the way through thus far, but am very much enjoying what’s here so far. More on this later.
So what shenanigans have you guys been up to, lately?