the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for July 2020

What’s coming back in January, 2021?  Apex Magazine, that’s what!   The Magazine went on hiatus last year, and now funding their 2021 year through a Kickstarter Campaign.   The Kickstarter ask, for $7500 to fund two issues out of six, was reached in less than 24 hours.  Stretch goals include funding the whole year,  higher pay for writers, more fiction published, and more.

 

Any of these award winning authors or groundbreaking story titles ring a bell?

“Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” by Rebecca Roanhorse

“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow

“Candy Girl” by Chikodili Emelumadu

“Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon

“Turning the Leaves” by Amal El-Mohtar

“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky

Yep, they all appeared in Apex Magazine.

 

As of the writing of this blog post, the Kickstarter has raised over $17 thousand dollars, enough to fund four out of a planned six issues.   There’s 20 days to go, and at $22,500 the entire year will be funded.  I know times are tough, but if you’d like to throw $10 or $20 (or more!) towards this project, I sure would be appreciative.  I’d love to see this baby funded for the whole year, and for 500+ backers to get all sorts of cool stuff.

 

 

What’s in it for you? well, beyond cool swag like bookmarks, stickers, enamel pins, and postcards, you’ll be helping a short fiction magazine stay alive, to continue to offer groundbreaking fiction, podcasts, interviews, amazing cover art, and more.  It’s hard out there for small mags, my friends!

 

and hey, even if you don’t throw anything towards the Kickstarter, Apex typically puts all their fiction on their website for free, so you can enjoy it anyway!   But if you’ve ever been involved with a magazine, a newsletter, a webzine, a fanzine, or anything that has content and deadlines, you know how much work goes into putting an issue of a magazine together. Apex Magazine did that for 10 years solid. I can’t wait for them to do it again.

 

Y’all know Apex Magazine is close to my heart.  I’ve been interviewing authors at Apex since 2014, it’s where I learned to be a better interviewer.

 

Huh. $22,500 to produce a magazine for a whole year.  That would cover paying the writers, paying the cover artist, paying the editors and the podcast producer, paying someone to keep the website all shiny and making sure everything works.  I figured all that would cost a lot more than that. What’s so fascinating about some of the magazine Kickstarters, is that it really shows you the costs behind magazines whose fiction we tend to read for free on their websites.

To put things in perspective, I think we paid around 22K for our brand new Honda.

Witchers,  Space Adventures, and Vodka.  those three things all go together, right?

 

well, they do in the way that you can be reading a Witcher Book and a Space Adventure Book at the same time, and also be infusing Vodka in a mason jar on the counter. . .   at the same time.

 

Last weekend I went on a farm stand adventure, and found what is now my favorite local farm stand. Fresh sweet corn, chard, pick-your-own herbs,  and my first ever gi-freakin’-gantic fennel.  What to do with all those grassy, slightly licorice-y fronds?  throw ’em in a jar with booze, that’s what!    It sat on the counter for 5 days, and I tasted it last night.

 

 

this smells and tastes 100% better than it looks, I swear.  it’s got a slightly medicinal start, that turns a little grassy, and ends with a clean and slightly licorice finish.  Smells more licorice-y than it tastes.  I had it with Ginger Ale and it was nice and refreshing.  Might not try this particular infusioni again, but my pickling / fermenting obsession might have just turned the corner into an infusing obsession (although the mint infused oil was an epic fail).

What about the books you say?   Oh Yes, buckets of reading happening!  I’m ever so slowly coming out of my reading slump.  It was a matter of not putting any expectations on myself, of reading “easy” reads, and of feeling absolutely zero guilt about NDFing things and reading guilty pleasures.

 

I blew through The Time of Contempt, and once i got into it, I really enjoyed this Witcher novel.  The beginning is a little all over the place, and it ends with a bit of a fizzle, but the middle!   Not a spoiler, but Yennifer drags an annoyed Geralt to a sorcerer gathering, and everyone at the gathering is spying on each other, stabbing each other in the back, there’s buckets of intrigue, and Geralt is all like “this is dumb. When’s dinner”.  There’s also mention of the Tower of Swallows, eeeee!!!! The dialog is dry and hilarious and flirty and adorable. This series is such a guilty pleasure!!!

 

The Architects of Memory is Karen Obsorne’s debut novel. An outer space thriller, it’s tons of failed grav-drives,  first contact gone horribly wrong, and so, SO many secrets.  I’ll share more into after the book releases, at the end of August.  I am pretty sure I met Karen Osborne at a scifi convention, and if she is who I think she is,  she is the nicest, kindest person who loves Space Opera and is a total and wonderful nerd.

 

Much thanks to my friend Elizabeth who mailed me her extra copy of Dread Nation, which I started reading the other day.  the narrator, Jane, has a super fun voice! And that dress she has on, on the cover? I WANT THAT DRESS!   But? This book is way more YA than I expected.  While I’m not sure if I like the YA writing style,  I AM enjoying that it is a super fast read,  I enjoy the narrative voice, and how can you not like a civil war alt history book with zombies?  And? with my middle aged (aka: shitty) eye sight, the fact that the lines of text aren’t crammed together so tightly on the pages is also a selling point.

 

 

Well, that’s me the last week,  what have you been up to?

 

I’m not in the mood to write a review,  so here’s a buncha cool links for you.

I’ve been doing a series of interviews at Nerds of A Feather with the Hugo nominees for Best SemiProzine and Best Fan Artist. Click here, and scroll to enjoy.

Also over at Nerds of a Feather, Joe Sherry talks about the Hugo nominees for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long form (movies. they mean movies)

And over at SFF Book Reviews, Dina takes a look at the Hugo nominees for Best Graphic Story

Jacob over at Red Star Reviews has a really excellent and concise write up of what the heck is Warhammer, Warhammer40K, and Horus Heresy? now I know!

Jake is Reading really, and I mean really liked Chaos Vector by Megan E. O’Keefe

Fantasy Hive offers an indepth interview with Tasha Suri, author of Empire of Sand

Bookforager reviews one of my all time favorites, Swordspoint, by Ellen Kushner (YES! ALL THE HEARTS!!!!!), and thanks to her review I suddenly want to reread this book ten more times!

Apex Magazine has a rockin’ redesigned website, and did you hear? they’ll be doing a Kickstarter to get the magazine up and running again!

Drew at The Tattood Book Geek had a great time with The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

Bibliosanctum reviews Malorie, by Josh Malerman. I really want to read this book!!!

honestly, i love just everything on this website.

I’ve watched this video about a hundred times.

Anyone watching, or interested in watching the new TV show Brave New World? Here’s a nice long review, that might have spoilers.

 

yeah, that aughta keep you out of trouble for a while.

 

what have you been up to lately?

 

what am I reading, you ask?   I read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and really liked it, and I’m reading Time of Contempt by Andrez Sapkowski, and after a slow start now I’m addicted to it.

We’re in the middle of a heat wave, the novelty of getting to work from home has worn off, and I’m in a reading rut.  Buckets of books to read and review, a ton of amazing stuff on my kindle app, and i’m just not in the mood for it right now.

 

on the plus side, I’ve got some fun crafts I want to work on,  my little balcony garden is going crazy with tomatoes and herbs and green onions and flowers,  and I’ll never run out of cool recipes that that I want to try to make.

 

So, I’m going to make fun foods,  read more cookbooks, harvest my basil and mint and parsley, coax my peppers and tomatoes to fruit,  and binge watch the Netflix show Dark.

 

Just a few recent reads –

I enjoyed the hell out of Your Rover is Here, by LP Kindred, in FIYAH Issue #14. This is the urban fantasy / keep the family magic a secret I’ve been looking for for years.  The voice in this story is fantastic. The narrator, he’s just going about his business. He drives for a rideshare app.  And when a fare brings violent magic into the car, he has to fight back to stop even more violence.  So what happens when you use secret magic to stop a dangerous explosion, and you lose your car (and your source of income) in the process?  Seriously a great story.  I kept meaning to read the rest of the issue, but just kept coming back to this story.

I bought the print copy of Clarkesworld Year 11, volume 1. It’s a bucket of fiction that was published in Clarkesworld.  I usually really like what gets published in that magazine, but my eyeballs struggle with walls of text.  I’ve only read a few stories, and haven’t connected with many of them yet.

 

Been binge re-watching the Netflix show Dark. The 3rd season just dropped, so hubby and I are rewatching the first two seasons as fast as we can.   this IS the show of the summer!  umm, how to explain?  Think Twin Peaks meets Stranger Things,  plus a metric ton of time travel.  And the soundtrack!  omg, so good!!

DO:  watch the show and take your own notes for a family tree.  Different story lines follow different generations, so you’ll want to keep track of who is married to who,  who is the parent and child of who, etc.

DON’T: use google to learn about this show.   the less you know about the show and the plot going in, the better.  the internet is solid spoilers.

not a spoiler: the first time I saw season one,  I though Jonas was a cool but annoying character. Why is he so quiet? Why doesn’t he seem to react to things? why does he seem so passive?  Yeah, he’s might be quiet, but he is NOT passive. the poor kid is a bundle of nerves and a total mess inside.

I’m not a super crafty person,  but I have two crafts I want to work on this summer.  I’d like to create a Braille sampler (remember samplers?).  My mom let me borrow one of her embroidery hoops, and I bought some tiny beads to be the Braille “dots”.

 

I’m getting bored with the fabric masks I have.  I bought some fat quarters to experiment with the bandana “bank robber” style face covering, where it’s a square folded into a triangle, and you tie it across your face and knot it at behind your head.   OK, so that was working pretty good. . .   then I saw these kinds of “face veils” online:

and i thought to myself “Self, that looks COOL.  and it covers your nose and mouth, and it isn’t BORING”.

so, next iteration,  was I took my triangle folded fat quarter, and instead of knotting it behind my head,  I  bobby pinned it.  where the two ends overlap, I put three downward facing bobby pins, and to “tighten” the mask, I pulled on the ends, pulling them through the bobby pins.  It was super comfy, and not boring. . .  but I still wanted to mess with it some more . . . .

The  craft store was OPEN!  This is the first time I have been to a retail store that wasn’t a grocery store!  I got to BROWSE! and walk through aisles of random crap I didn’t need!  I bought a few plastic hair combs, some seam binding,  some cotton bandanas, and a bundle of fat quarters.   A few things I want to experiment with – sewing the corners of the bandana directly to the top of the comb, and then put the comb tines down into a messy bun or ponytail, and attaching bobby pins to the comb, so they can “tighten” the mask while the comb holds everything place.

Ideally, I’m going for something where it’s the comb that holds the mask in place, and the fabric lies gently over my nose and mouth, with no pressure on the bridge of my nose or my ears.  And in the picture above, there is stuff on the bottom of the mask, weighing it down.  I can do something like that too!

Regardless,  this will keep me out of trouble for a few hours, and I’ll get some cool belly dancer style face veils out of it.  Doesn’t seem like the new normal is gonna go away anytime soon, so I might as well have some crafty fun with it, right?

 

Cooking adventures – I couldn’t find any one to one gluten free flour at the store, but they did have brown rice flour and teff.  Whadya do with teff? You make Injera!   First batch was tasty but undercooked because I didn’t have my pan hot enough. will one million percent be making injera again!

The link in the paragraph above is to Mark Bittman’s injera recipe. this recipe is great for midwesterners like me – measurements in cups and teaspoons, it doesn’t make a ton,  the batter only ferments for a day or so. Injera is a traditional Ethiopian bread,  here are some more traditional injera recipes, from Ethiopian sources:

Marcus Samuelsson’s Injera recipe

from How to Cook Great Ethiopian Food

Adane’s Ethiopian Food Youtube video for 24 hour Injera

Mama’s Majet youtube video for Injera

 

 

 


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.