Friday, March 25, 2022

Quick Sips 03/25/2022

Hi all! Apologies for skipping last week’s weekly update. There was some unexpected medical travel (I’m fine) that made for a bit of a crunch in my schedule, given my fourth Locus column was due on the 20th. So I opted to skip so I could get to what I wanted to get to for that (and even then, I wasn’t entirely successful, though I did get my column in on deadline if again a little over-wordcount). But I’m back now, not that I’m any closer to figuring out what I want to do with this space besides generally unwind and blog and touch on this or that. I might add in other things as I recover and get into a place where I’m not so…burned out all the time. Which, I mean…might be getting a little better? Sigh. We’ll see. I’m a work in progress.

In SFF-related stuff…I did manage to turn in a blurb on an upcoming Neon Hemlock novella which was really good. And I have the immense pleasure and honor of reading R.B. Lemberg’s Birdverse novel that I am SO EXCITED ABOUT. Truly this book deals with things that I’ve been eagerly looking forward to since I read “Ranra’s Unbalancing” at Strange Horizons years ago. There’s something magical, too, about knowing something about the history of the setting and…cringing in anticipation because of how bad things are going to go, and yet also somehow rooting for the characters to avoid what I know is happening. It really does speak to Lemberg’s power as a storyteller that they’ve created this immersive world that holds together so well from short fiction and poetry and now up to novel-length.

Anyway, around that I’m also reading short fiction and doing as much of that as I can. Unfortunately my non-profit work has been a bit more pressing and time-consuming of late, so until that settles down I fear I won’t be getting too much “free time.” Though I did get a little bit of time over the weekend to send out some poetry on submission, which marks I think my first real dip back into that this year. I have all of one story out on sub otherwise, plus one forthcoming in an anthology, and…not too much else. We’re close to an announcement about the second We’re Here volume, and I am so excited about it. L.D. Lewis finalized a stunning ToC and the art—THE COVER ART! So good! The first volume, guest edited by C.L. Clark, is also still very much available and I’ll definitely be bringing some copies with me to WisCon and hopefully WorldCon to hand sell alongside my collection, The Burning Day. I have been blessed with great artwork for all of my books so far.

In my media habits outside short SFF, Matt and I are still watching Father Brown. The introduction of Bunty as a sidekick is actually…not that big of a radical shift, sadly, though I suppose she makes an adequate amalgam of Sid and Lady Felicia. We just got to find out that Sid’s character’s absence was written to be that he’s been in jail for a year on a false assault charge that Father Brown apparently didn’t try too hard to solve. It is what it is I guess, and it continues to be…a mystery series. Part of the problem with the show is the same problem with most mystery shows—namely, they have a general liberal morality but an incredibly conservative execution. Not only does a lot of the “cozy” feeling get lost the more you think about all the people that Father Brown (and other detectives) are getting hanged…but every time there is a progressive element/character, something awful has to happen to them to make it jive with how people think of the time period. Queer people can’t be happy (or alive, most of the time). In this season of Father Brown, in back-to-back episodes we were introduced to lesbian and/or bisexual women who were either murdered or murderers (or both). It’s…not great, though I’m not sure if I prefer it to, say, Grantchester’s take on things. I don’t think I want to watch season 6, which features the cast’s main queer character, Leonard, facing a trial for homosexuality. Just…maybe no thanks, unless I find out somehow that it’s done particularly well.

Anyway, that’s that. A bit more satisfying, though frustrating in its own way, has been my continued reading of all the X-Men comic books. I’m to the point now where I have caught up to ~1995 on all the ongoing series and miniseries. Reading things vaguely in order across a whole line of comics is…interesting. I never got the chance to when I was younger, only being able to afford 2-3 titles at once (I tried to follow X-Men and Uncanny X-Men, with Wolverine as often as I could manage). Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a whole lot of cohesion between the titles as a whole. Excalibur especially has been off doing its own thing while Cable and Wolverine often struggle to find what really separates them from X-Force and X-Men respectively. Fatal Attractions attempted to bring them all together, to lackluster results, and unfortunately Phalanx Covenant was similarly underwhelming. Since then, and with the addition of Generation X (which makes eight ongoing X-titles with X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor, Excalibur, Wolverine, and Cable), things are staying a little more connected, and we’ll see how the next big event is going to go. Seeing as how it’s still the largest X-Crossover to date, I think it will be something to behold. Age of Apocalypse really did set a bar that I don’t think any X-Men event has topped since. It takes all eight of the core X-Men titles for four months. Plus extras. It’s going to be…something. I just hope it’s a better something than the last few crossovers.

Anyway, that’s about it for me right now. I hope all is well with you! Cheers!


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