Tag Archives: Books

My Superpower: Kameron Hurley

2 Sep The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome Kameron Hurley to talk about how the power of preternatural calm relates to The Mirror Empire.

—————————————–

My mom and I share a similar superpower – the ability to stay preternaturally calm during times of great stress and turmoil. Grievous injury, car accidents, difficult births… if something horrible happens, we’ll calmly bind wounds, give the injured a soothing pep talk, call 911 and do the shit that needs to get done, with no shaking or screaming or crying or fuss. This response to times of great stress has made nearly every movie where folks scream and seize up and flail in the face of terror difficult for me to watch; I never find it terribly believable. Yes, of course, you startle for a minute, but then you center yourself, you go cold, right? You move through it. Breakdown later, when you have the time.

In truth, this calm in the face of extreme stress has gotten me called all sorts of names over the years:  unfeeling, inhuman, monstrous. What many folks don’t understand about this stress response is that it’s not that I don’t feel things – it’s that I simply delay feeling them. When the stressor has passed and everyone is cared for and there is nothing more to do, I crash. I’ve used this response to trauma a few times in building characters in my novels, too, most notably in the character of Lilia, the protagonist of my novel The Mirror Empire, whose ability to push through horror makes her one of the few people in her country who can adjust to the coming war of attrition thrust upon her pacifist people. Continue reading

Tobias Buckell on the (New) Art of The Xenowealth Saga

1 Sep The Apocalypse Ocean by Tobias Buckell

In 2006, I came out with my first novel in the US, a somewhat hard-to-categorize (I’m told, I think it makes perfect sense, I wrote it after all) science fiction novel with Caribbean peoples settled on an alien world that have long since lost touch with their home world. That was Crystal Rain. I alternated between calling it Caribbean steampunk (a few years early, I think, for steampunk) and Caribbean SF.

It had a cover I adored — created by the amazing Todd Lockwood, a well known fantasy artist who’s work is amazing. I have a print of the art framed on my wall:  an airship above a verdant forest being chased by another distant ship. But when the novel came out, booksellers emailed me to say that the cover looked like the book was a fantasy, creating confusion among casual browsers. Core SF readers didn’t want to pick up the book. Fantasy readers put it down when they realized what it was. Continue reading

219. Kameron Hurley (a.k.a. The Patriarchy Smarsher) — The Mirror Empire (An Interview at CONvergence)

25 Aug

Grimdarkiness, mirrors, and patriarchy smarshing, oh my!  With a two Hugo Award wins nomination under her belt, Kameron Hurley joins the crew for a heart to heart about her new novel, The Mirror Empire.  We tackle the political nature of fiction, Grimdark, feminism, and silly things.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 219 — Download (MP3)

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

English as the Center and Its Privileges

24 Aug

Daniel José Older recently uploaded an appropriate video titled Why We Don’t Italicize Spanish:

This incited reactions from several people, including Bryan Thao Worra:

Previously, I once asked an editor why we italicize Filipino words. “Charles, there’s a difference between away in a manger from away in a manger.” (Away being the Filipino word for fighting.) There is, of course, context:  readers should be able to immediately distinguish if people are moving away from the manger, as opposed to a fight taking place in a manger, if such a sentence was used in a story. But I doubt if the style guides of various publishers (including the one I work for) will be changing anytime soon. Continue reading

218. Live at CONvergence w/ Martha Wells and Carrie Patel

22 Aug

World SF, the secret history of genre, and live audiences, oh my!  In this special episode, Paul, Mike, David, and Shaun are joined by Martha Wells and Carrie Patel for a live recording of show!  Shenanigans may ensue…

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 218 — Download (MP3)

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Book Review: The Silk Map, A Gaunt and Bone Novel, by Chris Willrich

21 Aug SilkMap

Come, come, sit by the hearth here with me. This fine traveler’s compound doesn’t get much traffic this time of the year. The snows are threatening to close the passes to the west of us. You *are* going  home to the West, of course.  How did I know? No, no I am no sorcerer or magic user. I don’t need such things. The color of your skin, similar to mine. The cut of your clothes. The manner of your speech, when you bargained with the innkeeper for food, drink and a room. The load of porcelain and jade you are carrying, as evidenced by the small white jade ring you have kept for yourself and are wearing on your left hand. The manner of your shoes. I notice these things, I’m a storyteller. I notice details. And, as you see, the common room here is relatively empty.

I find that my skills are best honed when I practice them, and I’ve not been able to ply my trade. I’d like to tell you a story.  No, I wouldn’t say no to you buying me another cup of wine, you are very kind. Now, I heard this story from a storyteller named Chris, of the family of Willrich. A fine man, Chris. He tells tales of a poet and a deathless thief, Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone, a married couple, who adventure across the world. You’ve heard of them already, perhaps? Their adventure against the sorcerer Spawnsworth, maybe? The story I want to tell you on this cold night, though, is about their adventure on a Silk Road very much like this one. It begins in the western part of Qiangguo…

Continue reading

216. Max Gladstone (a.k.a. the Soul Merchant) — The Craft Sequence (An Interview at ICFA)

18 Aug

The desire called capitalism, soul currency, and nerdgasms, oh my!  The endlessly enjoyable Max Gladstone joins us to talk about the world of  his Craft series, the wild economics of selling souls, and other nerdiness.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 216 — Download (MP3)

 Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,721 other followers