the Little Red Reviewer

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Welcome to a new-ish feature here at Little Red Reviewer, called Five for Friday. The concept is simple – it’s a Friday, and I post a photo of 5 books, and then we chat about them in the comments.

The only things these books have in common are:
– they were on my bookshelf
– I’m interested in your thoughts on them.

have you read any of these? if yes, did you like them? If you’ve not read them, does the cover make you interested in learning more about the book?

Fearful Symmetries – I picked this anthology up from a used book dealer. Edited by Ellen Datlow, the TOC includes Pat Cadigan, Laird Barron, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Michael Marshall Smith.  That’s the extent of my knowledge. How do you fare with anthologies?

 

The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez – Yes, this is the collection that has the famous robot panda sex story. and it is a damn good short story!! Actually, every story in this collection is fantastic (review here), as is Hernandez’s kids book that is out in March (review coming soon)

 

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells.  My favorite Murderbot book. review here. If for whatever reason you only read the first novella in the series and then stopped, please do yourself a favor and read this second one.

(huh. hadn’t realized until right this second that I had so many short stories/novellas in this five for friday photo. oh well)

 

Rule 34 by Charles Stross.  I really like Stross’s Laundry Files books, enjoyed Accellerando and Glass House (although I worry those two have not aged well).  Anyone read Rule 34? How is it?

 

Fix by Ferrett Steinmetz – Crap. I meant to put the FIRST book in this trilogy in the photo, and instead I grabbed the LAST book. OOPS. What a fun urban fantasy read! If you like stories where everyone has unique magic, and they have to learn most of the rules as they go, this is the series for you! Protagonist is a father who is just trying to protect his daughter, and you’ll get to meet Valentine, one of my favorite female characters, ever.  Oh, do you like the movie Fight Club? you will really, really love the second book in this series! here my review of the first book, Flex.

 

 

have you read any of these?  What did you think of them?  If you’ve not read these, do any look interesting to you?

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As you all know by now, my Kickstarter for The Best of Little Red Reviewer did not fund.  Of the $5000 I was asking for, I was at less than $2000 when the campaign ended.

 

Those first 24 hours of the kickstarter were amazing! I was a “project we love” on Kickstarter.  Amazing people (you know who you are!) put in $50 or $100 right out of the gate to give me a good start. At work that day, I refreshed my phone incessantly, and didn’t know if I was going to happy cry or puke.  The last time I was this excited/happy/nervous for something was the day I got married.

 

My kickstarter didn’t fund, but I had an amazing experience, and more importantly  I have the best, kindest, most supportive friends in the world. All day on February 1st, my phone was blowing up with text messages, e-mails, twitter DMs, and phone calls from my friends saying how sorry they were that the KS didn’t fund.  Those messages? That support? People saying how much they cared about me and my project, and saying they hope I try it again? Those messages are worth more than $5000 could ever be worth.

 

My KS did not fund,  and I am not devastated.  The KS failed, but I did not.

 

Let me say that again:  I do not equate a kickstarter failure with a personal failure.  There were a lot of things I feel I did right, a lot of things I missed, and about a million things that I learned. I accomplished more than I expected. I have always viewed blogging as a journey, not a destination. The kickstarter was the most interesting, most intense, most emotional rollercoaster place I’ve ever been! Just doing it was an accomplishment I’m proud of.

 

Did I want it to fund? Yes.  Was I a little intimidated of what funding would mean, in reality? Absolutely.    Am I a little relieved that the stress is ending now, instead of months from now? Yeah, actually.

 

Do I still think this is a good idea? Oh hell yes.  Do I have a ton of work to do before I’m ready to go at it again? Oh hell yes.  I’m happy I did the kickstarter, I had an incredible experience. This was quite literally an experience of “what have I got to lose by trying this?” and the answer was nothing, so why not give it a try?

 

I have  a very long list of things I’m proud of accomplishing, and a rather shorter list of things that I will do differently next time, and a list of things I need to accomplish (some very easy, some more complicated) before I’m ready to go at this again. I won’t bore you with the lists, because they are very long. and boring.

 

One thing I will share with you about what I won’t do next time:  I won’t run a Kickstarter in January, during a polar vortex. Having a social media presence was made even harder when my daily commute was doubled from crappy driving conditions. What the hell possessed me to do this in freakin’ January??

 

Alright my friends, I have a lot of e-mails and message to return.  I love you all, the public support you’ve given me these last few months means more to me than you can ever know.  I had described this kickstarter as a viability test: are book reviews viable outside the internet? Are pixels on a screen worth becoming ink on a page? And the answer I got was “not yet”.   Which means one day, the answer will be yes.

 

Until then, it’s back to book blogging!

 

Happy February, happy winter is hopefully almost over, and HAPPY FRIDAY!

welcome to a new feature here at Little Red Reviewer, called Five for Friday. The concept is simple – it’s a Friday, and I post a photo of 5 books, and then we chat about them in the comments.

The only things these books have in common are:
– they were on my bookshelf
– I’m interested in your thoughts on them.

have you read any of these? if yes, did you like them? If you’ve not read them, does the cover make you interested in learning more about the book?

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, published 1987  – I’ve read this, and loved it. The banter! the romance! the snark! You’ve been hearing the term “Tremontaine” all over the interwebs? This novel is where it all started.

 

Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard, published 2010 – I’ve read a bunch of de Bodard’s Xuya stories, but not her other stuff. Trying to decide if I should give this one a try.

 

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, published 2006 – I think I’ve read this? maybe? I know I at least started it.  Have you read any Sanderson?

 

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, published  2015 – Amazing freakin’ book. Won the Hugo. So did the sequel, and the one after that.  Some readers were turned off by the switch up in POVs, and that part of the book is 3rd person and part of it is 2nd person, but I loved everything about this book!

 

Annihilation, by Jeff Vandermeer, published  2014 – I do love me some New Weird. Vandermeer, and new weird, is an acquired taste. and Annihilation is weird as fuck.  And I loved the movie too!

 

Your turn!  Which of these books have you read? Which of them (if any) look interesting?

What Vintage scifi posts have been popping up in the blogosphere?  So much good stuff, I can’t even keep track of it all!

 

My VintageSciFi Month co-host Jacob at Red Star Reviews has something to say about Gordon Dickson’s Wolfling.  I agree a million percent on the joy that is sparked by the greenish edges of so many vintage-y paperbacks.

 

In case you missed it a few days ago, I was over at Every Day Should Be Tuesday talking about C.L. Moore’s groundbreaking stories Shambleau and Black God’s Kiss. Hard to believe both of these stories were written in the 30s!   Check out the post just for the photo that Justin posted, I really am little and red in that photo!

 

Tip The Wink‘s Forgotten Book feature is Space Tug by Murray Leinster. I appreciate that Richard mentions that this book is realistic with the knowledge and scientific development of the early 1950s in mind.

 

Jean at Howling Frog had a tough time deciding which titles to read first on her Ace Double.  Good thing she enjoyed both Kar Kaballa by George Henry Smith. Unfortunately The Tower of Medusa by Lin Carter was a disappointment.  Ya’ll, read this blog post just for her entertaining take down of Tower of Medusa!

 

Science Fiction and other Suspect Ruminations (have you seen his cover art gallery? go look at it, right now!) reviews A City in the North by Marta Randall, which takes story telling in the direction of anthropology and relationships between humans and aliens.

 

SFF Book Reviews had a lot to say about Ursula K Le Guin’s quietly powerful The Left Hand of Darkness.  speaking of, I’m due for a reread of this novel that is completely different every time I read it.

 

Dinara Tengra has an excellent summary of Clifford Simak’s titles. If you keep hearing about Simak but don’t know where to start,  start with Dinara’s post!  (My fave is Way Station, btw)

 

And speaking of Way StationKaedrin has an excellent review that talks about the novel’s strengths and weaknesses, along with some commentary about what Way Station was up against that year for the Hugo award. It won against Cat’s Cradle?  WHAT.

 

Beamer Books has a concise and informative article on some Andre Norton titles, and the connection between Andre Norton and Martha Wells.

 

Planetary Defense Command reviews John Brunner’s Secret Agent of Terra, a novel that discusses how higher tech civilizations should interact with lower tech civilizations.  Years before Star Trek, Brunner was discussing The Prime Directive.

 

Galactic Journey discusses The Wonder War by Laurence Janifer, along with some biographical info about the author. Unfortunately, this specific title by Janifer did not impress.

 

I KNOW I missed some excellent Vintage posts from the last 10 days or so.  Leave links in the comments, so the rest of us can find them too!

 

Updated to add:

PC Bushi enjoyed Edgar Rice Burroughs’ At The Earth’s Core, and compares it to A Princess of Mars

 

Howling Frog Books had a great time with A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C Clark, enjoying the balance between solving scientific problems, and keeping human problems at bay

 

On the other hand, Bookforager did NOT have a good time with Philip Jose Farmer’s To Your Scattered Bodies Go (I’m pretty sure I DNF’d this one)

 

With only a few hours to go in the month of January, yet MORE UPDATES! yay! These updates include reviews that are linked to in the comments below.

Richard at Tip the Wink enjoyed Islands in the Sky by Arthur Clarke, in which a TV quiz show winner gets to visit the Inner Station and experience zero G for a few weeks.  I’m intruiged by the idea of the Inner Station, it is low Earth orbit, and I’m interested to see what future technology Clarke predicts in this book. It’s got some great Vintage cover art too!

 

According to Who’s Dreaming Who, Fritz Leiber’s Hugo award winning The Big Time starts out entertaining if a little basic, and then takes a surprising left turn into Locked-room mystery territory.  I’ve only read a bit of Leiber’s fantasy, I’m interested to see what he does with science fiction!

 

Although dated and lacking in characterization, Mervi thought H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine was worth the time.  Mervi also enjoyed Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth,  where people discuss the scientific ideas of the day, and then manly men go on an adventure complete with imaginative creatures.

 

Dinara Tengri gave John W. Campell’s Who Goes There a try, and found it suffered from death by adjectives, but was able to get past that. Report from Dinara is that John Carpenter’s The Thing is fairly loyal to the source material! (a movie that is loyal to the book? when was the last time that happened?)

 

Tor.com talks about my favorite Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It’s been at least four years since I read this, definitely time for a re-read. Why knot, you know?

 

 

 

My definition of “vintage science fiction” is completely arbitrary. I chose anything older than 1979 because that is the year I was born.  Again, it is an arbitrary definition.

 

Regardless,  there is SO MUCH that was published prior to 1979, it is understandable to not know where to start. How do you know what’s any good? How do you know if it is something you’ll connect to? What it you are looking for vintage SFF that is a particular subgenre? For the world’s most unorganized index of vintage science fiction reviews and posts, you might be able to do worse than just clicking on the “Vintage SciFi Not a Challenge” tab up top.

 

This post is not a recommendation list of books, but a recommendation list of essays, collections of essay, and generation information that will hopefully make it easier for you to find where to find what you’re looking for.

 

BBC.com has a super quick, flip-book style of A Timeline of Science Fiction Literature. Not sure where Frankenstein or Overpopulation Fiction fits in the historical trends, this surface reference will help you out.

 

Interested in the history of dystopian novels? Andrew Liptak has you covered with A Brief History of the Dystopian Novel, where he covers everything from Jack London’s The Iron Heel to Zamyatin’s We, all the way up to contemporary dystopias.  Wait, Jack London wrote a dystopian novel??

 

interested in Hugo Award winners, and what those ballots said about that year’s state of Science Fiction?  Between 2010 and 2013 Jo Walton wrote a series of blog posts on Tor.com that discussed the finalists. These posts have been collected in the doorstopper of a volume An Informal History of the Hugos 1953-2000.  These are short, enjoyable columns, and even the comments are entertaining and informative.

 

Also on Tor.com is a fantastic article on Where to Start with James Tiptree Jr., by Brit Mandelo

 

On his blog, James Harris Wallace goes decade by decade for in-depth lists of the defining titles of those years. These essays are incredible, so brew a pot of coffee, get the crock pot going, and start here.

 

When you get to Harris’s discussion of science fiction of the 1960s, take a quick pit stop to this article, When Science Fiction Grew Up, by Ted Gioia.

 

And if you are a visual learner, this History of Science Fiction poster can’t be beat!

 

#SorrynotSorry that I’ve just blown up your TBR lists and also hopefully given you some helpful resources and a lot to think about.

Hello!   I am at ConFusion Science Fiction Convention this weekend,  mingling with my nerdfamily, making new friends, and wearing a sticker on my shirt that says “Ask Me About My Kickstarter!”.

if you are visiting Little Red Reviewer for the first time because we just met at  ConFusion,  Welcome!  This website is eight years of what I’ve read, what I’ve enjoyed, what I didn’t enjoy, and more. To meet the Andrea from eight years ago, use the archive thingy on the right side of the screen (I have no idea what that will look like on mobile, by the way) to travel back to 2011 or 2010.  To meet today’s Andrea, just keep scrolling down, or hit up the Review Index in the menu.

Obligatory Promo Post

I am Kickstarting The Best of Little Red Reviewer,  a print book of my best book reviews. I am super excited about this project,  can’t wait to hit my funding goal!  Backer reward start at $5,  you can get the print book for a pledge of only $15 (plus shipping), and there are some really cool backer rewards starting at $35.  The cool stuff is going really fast, btw.

Here is a link to the Kickstarter page.  I am super cute and dorky in the video. #justsaying

Click here for more info that you ever wanted about the project, and links to all the guest posts and interviews I have done about it.

Thank you for stopping by!

 

Around 6am this morning, I hit the GO button on THIS:

The Best of Little Red Reviewer Kickstarter

 

More info and links to my promo posts can be found here.

I am over the moon excited for this project,  over the moon excited at how far it funded in the first 12 hours,  and will most likely be driving you all crazy with promotion during the next 30 days.  #sorrynotsorry

This is gonna be fucking awesome.

 

Let’s do this!


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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.
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