First, a couple of days ago the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards Finalists were announced. As always, I check out the list to find out if any of my favorite reads or authors are included, or if there are books that may interest me. I was very happy to see a few of my favorites among the finalists: (Click on titles to read reviews)
- Gay Erotica: The Bears of Winter by Jerry L. Wheeler
- Gay Memoir/Biography: The Prince of Los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco (read in 2015)
- Gay Mystery: Fair Game by Josh Lanyon (although I'm wondering if it's supposed to be Fair Play (2014) since Fair Game was a 2010 release?)
- SF/F/Horror: Butcher's Road by Lee Thomas
Congratulations to everyone!
In February I read a few sff novellas, novelettes, and other shorts works. I reviewed two separately here and here. The two novelettes below are very different in content and structure. I liked one more than the other. Yet, they have something in common. Both stories made an impact and stayed with me long after I read them.
online read at Tor.com that has been nominated for a Nebula Award. Last year, this author's short story Super Bass was among my favorite.
With "The Devil in America," Kai Ashante Wilson introduces fantasy elements while making a strong social statement. He combines ancient African magic with the left over legacy of slavery in America. The central story, where the fantasy elements of the story are focused, takes place in a post Civil War South. Small sections, depicting racially motivated crimes committed against African Americans throughout US history and to contemporary times, are inserted throughout to punctuate consequences of events occurring in the magical section of the narrative. This excellent novelette is short, to the point, and packs a punch.
This story has excellent sff elements that are utilized throughout the story as a whole. The central character works as both the focus and narrator, and the world-building although murky in its inception, is clear enough for the story's purpose. This novelette, however, is sff/horror, one that is filled with the kind of violence, blood, and mutilation that is horrifying and truthfully not for everyone. That aspect of story did not bother me personally. What this very well-written, fascinating novella was missing for me, was a real representation of the psychological torture that the living should have been experiencing. Instead everyone is portrayed as very sophisticated and for the most part clinically detached. Yet, this novelette stayed with me and I will probably reread it. There is so much going on in this story that I may have missed something. Check out that great cover illustration by Victo Ngai! Free online read at Tor.com.
This fantasy romance has some gushingly sweet lines between two people who find each other physically repellent. That's because Ildiko and Brishen genuinely like each other from the moment they meet.
She drew a circle on his chin with her fingertip. "Your skin color reminds me of a dead eel I once saw on the beach."Draven does a fantastic job of utilizing a growing friendship and understanding as a building block to romantic love. Political intrigue is well integrated with both the fantasy and romantic elements of this novel. But there are also battles of wit as well as physical battles, warriors, magic, dark, light, and more. My one niggle is the overly formal dialog that creeps in between the main characters even during intimate moments. But that was not enough to spoil my enjoyment of this story or the beautiful romantic ending to Radiance. That is until you get to the epilogue, which almost serves as a prelude to what promises to be a more politically complex and fantasy-filled series. I will not miss the next installment.
Brishen arched an eyebrow. "Flattering, I'm sure. I thought yours looked like a mollusk we boil to make amaranthine dye."
What have I been reading recently? I just finished Vision in Silver: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop. More of Meg, Simon, Lakeside Courtyard and Thaisia intrigue. I'm hoping to review this book next week. I'm also trying to catch up with Patricia Brigg's Alpha & Omega UF series and finished Hunting Ground with the hopes of reading books #3 and #4 in March. Maybe I will write one of my series overviews for this one? Let's see if I get going on that!
Right now I'm attempting to read a few books: Echopraxia by Peter Watts, a hard sci-fi novel (stuck at 17%); the contemporary novella Snowed In (Kentucky Comfort #3) by Sarah Title(almost done), and We Are the Cloud by Sam J. Miller, a free online sff novelette at the Lightspeed Magazine site (just began).