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The Halfblood War

My long-lost critique partner Liz Colter has published her novel from those dreamy days, and her final project is worth reading. “A sweeping story of love and war, prejudice and acceptance”: The Halfblood War lives up to its tagline. The Halfblood War rotates between many points of view: Tirren the crown prince of Thiery, Chayan

Animism and Writing II: Embedding the Past in the Present

Last post I spoke of concision: that simpler and direct language resonates better with our hunter-gatherer selves, descibed by neo-primitivists like David Abrams. It also emerged with the back-to-original-nature philosophy of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism, influenced by Taoism. Thus concision is great in fiction: writing that connects to our natural selves is entertaining. The dynamics of

Zen, Animism and Writing. Part I: Clarity and Concision

If my title irritates you, it should. We got Zen breakfast cereal, and Zen memes of someone in a leotard on a mountaintop. No mention of how that fresh feeling comes from rigorous if not painful continuous attention to reality. This post is about actual Zen and how it relates to concise writing, based on

Fogcon

After my second year Fogcon has become my favorite conference. Modeled after the elder Wiscon, it’s a feminist sci-fi/fantasy/horror con. Like Wiscon, it’s not only feminist but commits to overall representation: gender, race, disability, sexuality, neuro-divergence. However, having also enjoyed Wiscon, something I like about Fogcon is it’s focus on reading and writing, where Wiscon

Time Travel, Prophecy and Free Will in Fiction

Reviewing Wings Unseen in my last post, I articulated my feelings about time travel and prophecy in speculative fiction: “Two strong themes in this novel are rarely to my liking: (1) an emphatic good and evil binary, and (2) prophecy or destiny as a plot driver … Prophecy is like time travel for me: it’s

Wings Unseen

My friend and fellow critique group member, Rebecca Gomez Farrell, has published her debut novel, Wings Unseen with Meercat Press. In the land of Lansera in a fantasy other world, three heroes must not only face but accept their destinies, despite their passions and dreams to do other stuff, in order to save their country

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

My friend and colleague Margaret Killjoy has published a new novel/novella (It’s novella length in it’s own printed volume, so how about we call it a “short novel?”) The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion. Danielle hitchhikes to Freedom, Iowa, a ghost town settled by anarchy-punks. She’s searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious suicide,

The Divided Steve

I read a book by Margaret Atwood called Negotiating With the Dead, that’s about writing, but not about how to write. It’s six essays about writers’ relationship with readers, and about how the act of writing connects one with the underworld, thus the title. After reading the book, I can’t tell if she means this

Vacui Magia

At the local Fogcon, I met L.S. Johnson, who I briefly worked with on my Online critique group, the first such person I’ve met face-to-face. She provided with her recently published collection of stories, Vacui Magia. I read it, and I suggest you do too. The back cover blurb starts, “Where does magic live? At

Generation Snow

Robert Wildwood has a new novel, Generation Snow, which like his previous work, combines science fiction, radical/progressive politics, and punk/artist culture. Duffy lives on Earth in a lush tropical region with frequent hurricanes, formerly known as Canada. A climate refugee from the south stops at Duffy’s robo cafe and Duffy is accused of harboring illegals