Tis the holiday season, when the days grow shorter and many of us are compelled to curl up under a heavy blanket and sleep until mid-January when the light returns.
I blame Darwin.
Through a bizarre and serendipitous series of events, I’ll be starting a new day job next week (yes, yes, I still have a day job – why do you think I also have a Patreon? Fiction writing is not lucrative and comes with no benefits ?), which I feel will be a better fit for me overall. This also led to a two-week downtime between jobs, which I’ve been enjoying.
COVID burnout is real, and I certainly needed the break.
I’ve been ingesting a lot of media in the meantime, finishing the first season of For All Mankind (I cried through the entire season, in a good way). I also started watching Amazon’s Wheel of Time series, which is a solid adaptation; not perfect, but solid.
I believe it was Ann Leckie who talked about how many of us grew up on science fiction and fantasy stories that didn’t include us, or that actively “punched us in the face” and our response, as writers, is often to write the stories we wished we’d gotten as kids.
Some spoiler-free thoughts: WoT does try to be a peice of feminist science fiction, starting with the feminist assumption that women are equal, but is not a story necessarily about women, if that makes sense. And that’s fine! For all the great worldbuilding, the female privilege, etc. it’s still ultimatley the story of three male friends from a small town – the hobbits on the adventure.
But it nonetheless gives women in its fantasy world female privilege, power, and agency. I keep hearing folks berate it for “being just like LoTR” and I’m like: you are correct! Also, it’s like Dune, King Arthur, Dragonlance… but Dragonlance aside, spot the difference between WoT’s remix and some of those properties. There are actual women characters in this series that DO things. Dune never does nearly as much with the Bene Gesserit as it could have; and for all that Jessica is bad-ass, let’s be real: count book and/or screen time between the male and female characters and it won’t even be close to equal, let alone mostly woment alking.
So despite this being a “chosen man” type of story, I find the worldbuilding alone wholly engaging. Many of the changes (save that very glaring one in the first episode) are also about gently correcting some of the source material’s focus so that we are getting a somewhat more equal focus on the male and female characters as agents of prophecy and change. Which is ironic, really: you literally have to create a world where only women can safely do magic to even get anywhere close to a mainstream fantasy saga where women have female privilege.
Yes, I’d love the day when more feminist SF properties get optioned and made, instead of backing into the feminism by reimagining problematic properties from the ground up (looking at you, Y the Last Man) but this is the current landscape.
My left eye for a Nyx series.
Speaking of Nyx, I’m halfway through Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor novels, which is like if someone had written a series where Nyx is a drunk ex-cop turned dodgy unofficial PI in Ireland in the late-90s. The middle novels so far aren’t as strong as the first five or so, but hey – five or six strong books is a good run.
Holiday Haul: Signed Books and Light Brigade Patches
It’s also the season of holiday gifting, and I’ve been sending out batches of Etsy orders containing signed books and other ephemera.
I usually throw a few free extras in with these orders – I’m out of Lesbians in Space pins, but I still have the commemorative Nyx pins from the 10-year anniversary of God’s War, which are included FREE with every order until I run out.
These are limited run, so once they’re gone – they’re gone.
I’m hard at work on the November story for subscribers, “The Other Doors” which is a Nyx adventure I’ve been noodling on for a bit. However, you can snap up October’s story right now about an inconvenienced interstellar assassin who faces a moral conundrum: REGOLITH.
Around the Garden
And finally, some fall garden shots…
Have a safe and thankful November.