the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

 

Zipped right through An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, because it is a fun, super fast read. First person perspective, all dialog, no one really thinks before they act,  buckets of fun escapism. Review (or something) coming soon (maybe).

 

I usually shy away from horror, because I am a ‘fraidy cat.  If Angeline Jolie’s movie Changeling is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, y’all really think I can handle anything scary?

 

So of course I started reading Daryl Gregory’s We Are All Completely Fine.  it’s  a novella, and it is about a bunch of people who are doing group therapy. All these people have been through terrible, awful, traumatic things. When I read the back cover copy, i immediately got an earworm of Heathens, by 21 Pilots (huh. I get a lot of 21 Pilots earworms).

 

The older, chatty guy in the group was the survivor of a group of cannibals. When the artist lady got thinking about the scrimshaw thing, I noped right outta there. Like I said, I’m a total ‘fraidy cat, and this novella was gonna way too scary for me.

 

So I started reading Crosstalk by Connie Willis, which like a lot of her books, is supposed to be a scifi screwball romantic comedy.  I’ve only ever read her Oxford time travel books, and the only one of those I’d describe as remotely comedic was To Say Nothing of the Dog.  anyway.

 

The premise of Crosstalk is. . .  it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this conversation. The main character, Briddy, is overwhelmed with people trying to get a hold of her.  Her sisters text her a few times an hour, and call her at work if she doesn’t respond, and they also randomly show up at her office, at work, because they want her attention/opinion.  That’s fine, because she can’t even get to her office at work, because as soon as she steps into the office building, people are pestering her every five feet, and it takes her a half hour just to get down the hall (this is supposed to be funny, but to me, it was horrifying!).  When she does finally get 30 seconds to herself at her desk, 90 emails come in.  Of course having family that won’t give you a moments peace means you are loved, and being bombarded with emails at work means you are important, right?

 

Umm . . . the Daryl Gregory is suddenly sounding much less scary.  At least when those people go to their group therapy meeting, their phones are turned off and people aren’t barging in the room asking them their opinions on online dating sites.

 

(by the way, i kept reading Crosstalk, because it was so so freakin’ cute. It’s not exactly super scary anymore. Only a little scary. I KNOW Briddy will end up being thankful for her meddling family who doesn’t give her a moment’s peace. . . because it’s better than not having any family at all, and that’s kinda how these Willis books work, so . . . )

 

stay tuned!

 

I owe you a Deep Space Nine post, don’t I?

Fellow lady-bloggers, I need your insight on something, because maybe you have had a similar experience as me.

Gents, you are welcome to read as well, but this is not a conversation for you, as you’ll see.

 

 

Sisters, lets talk about reading and blogging and PMS. Specifically, do you react more emotionally to books, to #allthefeels, to angsty stuff in books, when you are PMSing? Do you write more emotional reviews / blog posts when you are PMSy? Do you notice when it is happening?

 

Like, earlier today I finished a novel where the main character dies at the end. It wasn’t a surprise, in like the 2nd chapter, the main character tells the reader that they are dead at the end of the book. There was literally no other way for this book to end, except for the character to die. So what did I do when I got to the end, and this person, who isn’t really a likable person, dies? I burst out in ugly sobs, of course. Thanks PMS. I won’t tell you the book, because that is a huge spoiler for people who haven’t read it.

 

Also, my PMS can be fucking brutal*. I get every single emotion at once, and on a scale of one to ten, they are at about fourteen. This lasts for about five days, and I usually figure out what’s going on on like day three, when I realize I’ve said “about to cut a bitch” six times in one sentence. And it’s hard to describe in specifics to a doctor or to anyone really, because I have no idea how I compare to anyone else. Are my mood swings less or more than the medical average? Um, how the fuck would I know? Does eating high fiber vegetables, meditating, avoiding caffiene and alcohol, and putting my life on hold for 5 days help? Actually, yes. Do I have the flexibility in my life to do that for 5 days every month? Omg, that’s hilarious. Especially the part about avoiding caf and alc!

 

(what does seem to help? allowing the mood swings to happen, not feeling ashamed of them, and thousands of calories of carbs)

 

Honestly, for all I know my PMS is off the charts cray-cray. Or maybe it is completely normal. Or maybe I have it easy, and 80% of women have it way worse. It’s not a broken bone than I can compare to someone else’s x-ray, or an objective test score about reading comprehension or spelling. All I can do is ask questions along with the rest of us on the women’s health subreddit.

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who writes 1900 words about a handful of Deep Space Nine episodes?  That would be me.

if you’re wondering where I’m getting these images and some trivia,  most of the pictures and all of the trivia comes from Memory Alpha Wiki.

Looking for my previous Season 3 SD9 posts?

S3 eps 1-4

S3 eps 5-8

S3 eps 9-12

I think we’re now at the halfway point of this season!  These next few episodes balanced humor with seriousness, satisfied my need to hear Wallace Shawn’s voice,  gave me a 21 Pilots earworm, and made me gasp outloud “hey, she looks just like Lisa!”

This post is picture and link heavy.

She looks just like Lisa!

Life Support (ep 13) – See, I KNEW Kira had a boyfriend! What was up with her getting all blushy over creeper not-that-Riker? A Bajoran shuttle was on it’s way to the station for peace talks with the Cardassians, and there was an accident. A semi-conscience Vedek Bareil is taken straight to the infirmary.  Kira and Bareil are a casual item – they spent romantic time (aka sexy times) together when they’re in the same place at the same time, but Kira has never admitted her serious feelings for him. But the way she looks at him? The way her face lights up when he enters a room? It’s obvious to Odo that she’s smitten, even if Kira won’t admit it to herself.

 

The Kai needs Bareil awake and alive, she’s dependent on him to assist with the peace talks. No matter his injuries, she insists that Bashir do everything possible to keep Bareil awake, even as the long-term side effects of the treatments threaten long term damage.

 

Meanwhile, the fun part of the episode – Jake and Nog go on a double date, and it’s a hilarious disaster. Jake is a perfect (and adorable) gentleman to his date Leanne (holy shit, is that Lisa from Saved by the Bell? Omg, it is! Wait, were other Saved by the Bell actors on Star Trek too?), and he tries his best to make sure Leanne’s friend has a good time too.  Nog on the other hand. . . . we don’t have much experience with Ferengi romance and courting rituals, do we? Well, I don’t, and Jake didn’t.  Nog gets offended when Jake treats the ladies “like equals”. Nog tells his date to sit there and shut up, and to cut his meat for him.  The girls storm off in anger, and Nog can’t understand why Jake is mad at him.  The whole scene is hilarious! Nog was just treating the girls the same way he’d treat any Ferengi female, what’s the problem?

Back in the infirmary, Bareil’s condition is worsening, and the Kai keeps pushing for riskier treatments to keep him alive.  He experiences irreversible brain damage, and Bashir gives him a sort-of positronic implant to help that part of his brain that’s no longer worker. (I work in a health-care-adjacent industry, where is the next of kin? WHY is the Kai, who is effectively Bareil’s boss, allowed to make medical decisions for him? Does Bashir not understand how medical power of attorney works and doesn’t work?? Unless the Kai is Bareil’s mom, none of this is ok!!)

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The leaves are turning, the wind is kicking up, the temperature is plummeting, I’m making autumn food and planning for Thanksgiving.

 

that means it’s time to start planning Vintage Science Fiction Month with my co-host Jacob from Red Star Reviews!

 

Every January I go back in time and read/watch/listen to science fiction and fantasy that was created before 1979.  Why 1979?  it’s the year I was born.  You can choose to read/watch/listen to spec fic from before 1979, or from before the year you were born. Up to you!

 

Everyone involved with Vintage month spends January blogging, booktubing, tweeting, insta’ing, FBing, and booksta’ing about the vintage scifi they’ve been reading. We use super modern technology to talk about super old stuff!  If you read a Vintage book and you loved it, we want to hear about it! Did you watch a really old TV show or movie, or listen to an old radio play? We wanna hear about it!  Maybe that vintage book you are reading, it just isn’t doing it for you. maybe it didn’t age well? We wanna hear about it!   Use the hashtag #VintageScifiMonth on all the socials,  and if you’re on twitter, follow us at @VintageSciFi_ .

 

Years past have had bingo cards, blind-date-with-a-Vintage-book, giveways, read alongs, and more.  Not entirely sure yet what this year will bring!  What would you like to see?

 

I’ve got something different that I’m doing this January. Typically, I’d buy or borrow a ton of old paperbacks. I have a ton of old paperbacks that I bought used, over the years. Here’s the thing though – many of these books smell like they were in grandma’s basement for 40 years. My old-lady sinuses just aren’t having it anymore. If I open a book, and get an instant migraine because the book is musty or moldy . . .  I’m not gonna read it.

 

My big change for this January is I’m giving my sinuses a break from moldy old books. Everything I read for Vintage month this year will be a relatively new printing that wasn’t in grandma’s basement for 60 years, or a digital copy.  I have a copy of the Big Book of Science Fiction and the Big Book of Fantasy (edited by the Vandermeers) both of which have a ton of obscure short stories from befre 1979, I’m gonna go crazy downloading old stuff from Project Gutenberg, and there’s a good chance I’ll be buying some e-books of older anthologies.  Yes, I said e-books!   Yes, I have spent the last ten years railing against e-books and complaining about them . .  and I plan to spend at least the next ten years bitching and complaining about them. But? when given the choice between a musty, moldy, ratty paperback that gives me an insta-headache. . .  and an e-book, I’ll take the e-book.

 

I’m counting down the days till January!

Autumn is nearly here!  I can tell, because the maple tree on my street has got a beautiful orange blush on its crown.  The tree goes from red-orange-gold on the top, to grass green on the bottom. and across the valley I can see oak trees starting to change color.

cooler weather means the season is upon us for chilis, stews, baked bread, baked potatoes. This is the beginning of the time of year when I want to have the oven on for hours on end, when I want soup stock simmering for hours on the stove.

And speaking of cooking,  this is the cutest damn book ever:

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher (a.k.a. Ursula Vernon) was easy to read, funny, adorable, and not too deep. I loved it so much I basically forced my husband to read it, and even he said it was adorable.  We both love Mona, I need a #TeamBob t-shirt.  I’ve also been convinced to never, ever make a sourdough starter.  but I am totally craving Pizza Hut style breadsticks, so there’s that.

 

Now that Ursula Vernon has me all super craving escapism, I finally (finally!) started reading Sheri S. Tepper’s The Family Tree, which came highly recommended by my friend Kristin.  Only a few chapters in, and yep, this is totally a Tepper book, but it’s also fantastic escapism and I already love all the characters I’ve met so far.

 

I’ve been on a biology kick lately,  thanks to the This Podcast will Kill You podcast.  Have I listened to an episode lately? Nope. Also haven’t listened to an episode of Lexicon Valley or Marketplace.  Those were “driving to work and stuck in the car for an hour” activities, and I’m working from home right now. Why I can’t just listen to podcasts at home is a whole ‘nother thing involving minimizing sensory input. so anyway, thanks to the Erin’s and my repressed obsession with “how things work”, I want to know how my insides work.  What is an enzyme and how does it work? what the hell is a sodium channel?  how does sensory input work?  why the hell does a papercut hurt so damn much, and what exactly is happening in there when my stomach rumbles?

A while back, I read Gut by Giulia Enders, and loved it, and that got me even more hooked on the gut-brain connection, that who we are and how we react to things is very related to what we’ve eaten, or not eaten.  Gut biome sounds super disgusting and totally awesome!  I’m full of little creatures that aren’t me, but they make me, well, me.  Thanks to Jeff Vandermeer, I’m all like “ooh, i’m colonized? that’s so cool!”.

 

anyway, picked up these two biology books the other day:

Haven’t had a ton of time to get into them, but the 10% Human one really has my attention.  Science is so cool!

 

I did a book cull abut a month ago, and have found yet more books that need to be re-homed. The friends-of-the-library isn’t currently taking donations.  I had a ton of fun mailing random books to random peeps when I did a giveaway on twitter, so if you’d like some random books in the mail, and you live in the US,  send me your mailing address,  my e-mail is redhead5318@gmail.com .

I’ll basically mail books until I run out of bubble envelopes.

You know how you read a short story, like it but maybe don’t entirely get it, and then years later that story pops back into your head and everything about it hits you like a ton of bricks?

 

Or, you read a story and then forget the details.  And then years later, something happens, and you’re reminded of that story, but you can only remember bits and pieces, and you’re not even sure if you are remembering it correctly?

 

What I could remember, was that the woman in the story likes living by herself. She liked cooking. She’s not good with people. She’d left her old life, the one where she felt she didn’t fit in, for a few life where things (to her) felt balanced, where she understands the rules and things make more sense. Where there were no people. Except people keep trying to rescue her? This weird, creepy (maybe imaginary?) guy protects her.  He can’t possibly be imaginary!

 

I think I was supposed to be scared of the creepy guy with the filthy hat? I wasn’t.  He took care of the woman, he didn’t try to make her change, so he was “good peeps” in my book.

 

I remembered the story being fairly ambiguous. There were practically no details on the page, as if the characters knew that saying something would make it true, so they just don’t say certain things. And I like ambiguous stories. I don’t need all my questions answered, I prefer questions to stay unanswered, so that I can chew on them, well, forever.  I remembered feeling like I could relate to the woman, to the fact that she was OK with her quiet life.

 

Thanks to Lesley Conner’s help, the story that’s been rattling around my brain non-stop for about five months now is “She Gave Her Heart, He Took Her Marrow”, by Sam Fleming. It ran in Apex Magazine in December of 2015.  Go read it.

 

Rereading it, the woman on the island’s name is Chancery.  Hedron, the creepy guy in the dirty hat, is most definitely not “good peeps”, but I’m still not afraid of him.  Chancery lives a quiet life, she can hear herself think. She can put her coping mechanisms in a jar and put the jar on the shelf, because she finally lives somewhere where she doesn’t need her coping mechanisms.  I was a little jealous, that she no longer needed her coping mechanisms, she seems to be living an introvert’s best life.

 

I still love how hazy the story is, like the entire thing happens within a fog bank. Is Chance starving to death? Is she eating a few thousand calories a day? Can both of those statements be true? Is one of her coping mechanisms avoiding the truth about what’s going on?

 

Sometimes you have to sit with a story for a while, for you to understand why it clicks so much with you.  I had to soak this one up for five years.

 

Rereading the story, the thing that pisses me off most is how Kay treats Chancery. How could she?

 

I’m still not afraid of Hedron. But I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be.  I guess if Chance isn’t afraid of him, then I won’t be. I trust her judgement.  LOL, maybe I’m a little like Chance’s dog?

 

I like that this story has been rattling around my head for 5 years. It’s a little strange, but not surprising to me, how much I can relate to Chance. I’m happy she’s found a place to live where she doesn’t need her coping mechanisms anymore.

 

Anyway, go read the story, let me know what you think of it.

 

And you can also read my interview with the author.  I didn’t understand the significance at the time, but in the interview, when Sam Fleming says “what if there weren’t?”, that line has stuck with me, all these years.

 

Dear Sam Fleming:  Thank you for writing this story.  It is what Introvert-me needed to read, and reread, and reread.  Letting this story rattle around in my head, has been good for me.

 

I think telecommuting has also been good for me.  It’s been nice to not be five seconds away from sensory overload all the time.

I had plans to talk about more Vandana Singh short stories, I swear.  There’s also a Sam Fleming short story that I really need to blog my way through my feelings about.

 

But? DVDs.

 

One of my BFFs lent me all of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 on DVD, and I can’t not watch it. First of all, this is the perfect comfort TV to watch during *gestures at everything* and second off all, I’m pretty sure I never saw the end of this series, and third of all, Avery Brooks is freaking amazing.   The last few seasons ran from 1997 – 1999, and those were my first years in college, which mean: School, really good libraries, jobs with weird hours, college parties, and worst of all, for the first time in years I had access to cable TV.   why watch DS9 when I could watch MTV?  Also, pretty sure I was too broke in 1999 to even own a TV. So yep, pretty sure I never saw the last seasons.

 

I wasn’t sure where to start, in this cornucopia of ALL THE SEASONS, so I started at season three.  There’s 4 episodes to a disc, so yep, I’mma blog about the first four episodes of season three.  And who knows? Maybe this is the start of a series of blog posts about Way. Too. Much. Deep Space. Nine.

 

You’re welcome.

 

And no, I don’t feel bad about spoiling a show that ran on TV 20 years ago.  Stuff I say in these blog posts? I might be remembering stuff not-exactly from the episode. oops.

 

And as per my usual, it’s the throw away lines that make the biggest impression on me. And a few other things that made me chuckle.

 

The first two episodes of season three are a two parter, “The Search Part I”, and “The Search, Part II”.  There is an obvious threat on the other side of the wormhole, the Dominion.  It’s decided that the best way to avoid all out war with The Dominion is to locate the founders of that civilization, and convince them that The Federation isn’t a threat. We’re friendly! We like to trade! We just want to be friends! We come in peace!

 

At the opening of the episode, Sisko introduces around a new Federation security officer, to the bristleling of Odo. He feels he’s being pushed out, fired, betrayed, and he is mad AF. That isn’t exactly what’s happening? But? The Federation likes team players, they like people who “think like them”, and well, Odo isn’t, and doesn’t. It’s a very subtle “fit in or fuck off”. And boy is Odo pissed off!!  I’m on his side here, especially when the new Federation security officer starts flirting with Odo’s BFF Kira.  You know, it’s not like Odo had much of a choice. The Federation showed up, took over his space station, offered him a job one day, and he said “ok”. Sisko treats Odo with respect, but the rest of the Federation doesn’t. Those jerks.

 

Because Quark has previously done some profitable trade with a few Gamma Quandrant families, he’s brought along on the Gamma Quandrant “Find the Founders!” mission as a sort-of-trade-negotiator.  So, it’s Sisko, Dax, Odo, Kira, Quark, and maybe Bashir goes too? I don’t remember, it’s been a few days since I watched the episodes.   It’s sort of “who cares” who goes on the away mission, because apparently everything in the Gamma Quandrant is only 3 hours away from the wormhole, and the really important thing is that Odo feels drawn towards a certain nebula.

 

Odo ends up stealing a shuttle (dude. That “not a team player thing”? You just proved the Federation’s point!), and he and Kira explore the nebula and find a rogue planet, and land the shuttle.  Of course they can breathe the air on some rando planet! Where do you think this is, southern California?    They are able to land on the planet, and come across an ocean of . . .  goo?

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while, and if you follow me on twitter, you know that I love to cook.   One of my favorite food websites has long been Serious Eats, home of recipes, knife skills videos, How-To’s, podcasts, and all sorts of “how the heck to make this?” info.   Since I’ve been following Serious Eats for ages, I’ve also been following J. Kenji López-Alt for ages, everything from how to make perfect hard boiled eggs, to him showing us how to make Detroit Style Pizza (I love you Buddy’s!),  to his tips for just about everything else, and me drooling over The Food Lab.  Those pickles I never shut up about, and put on everything? They’re based on Kenji’s recipe.

 

J. Kenji López-Alt is currently the Chief Culinary Advisor at Serious Eats, and the chef and partner at Wursthall in San Mateo, California. His first book, The Food Lab, won the James Beard Award for General Cooking.

His newest book, Every Night is Pizza Night, is a children’s book about a little girl who goes on a culinary adventure. Illustrated by Gianna Ruggiero, it comes out on Sept 1st and is currently available for pre-order.  Every Night is Pizza Night promises to get even the pickiest eater excited about trying something new!   You can learn more about Kenji at his website www.kenjilopezalt.com, or by following him on twitter @kenjilopezalt, and you can learn more about illustrator Gianna Ruggiero by checking out her website, www.giannaruggiero.com.

 

(Yes, I know this is a book blog, and I know it is a science fiction and fantasy book blog. But I love cooking just as much as I love reading!  and I love reading about cooking, and I love home made pizza, and I love pizza from Buddy’s Pizza!)

 

When Kenji posted on twitter that he had a new book coming out, and would any bloggers be interested in interviewing him, I leapt at the chance.  He is a cooking hero of mine.  And that is how an interview with a chef, about a children’s book, showed up on a science fiction and fantasy book blog.

We better get to the interview, before I spend this entire blog post just telling you cool Kenji is.

 

Little Red Reviewer:  You’re a chef, a food columnist, and a kitchen science educator. Why write a kid’s book?

J. Kenji López-Alt: Because I had a daughter! I’ve loved books and especially children’s books for my whole life, and having my own child gave me the kick in the pants I needed to try and write one myself. I wrote the book just for her, but I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful relationship with my editors and publishers at W.W. Norton and now my illustrating partner, Gianna Ruggiero, which allowed me to bring it out into the wider world. It comes out September 1st, but I’ve been reading an advance copy to my daughter now for several months. She loves it and asks me to read it to her regularly, so no matter how well the book does as far as sales go, I feel like I’ve already accomplished my goal in writing it.

LRR:  Where did the idea for Pipo and and her neighborhood-spanning eating adventure come from? What were your inspirations for Pipo’s experiences with her friends?

J.K.L.: As the son of a Japanese mother and American father, now married to a Colombian woman, food diversity and cultural diversity has always played a huge role in my life. I was lucky enough to grow up in a city with immigrants from all over the world. In college, I lived in a house that was around 80% international students, and as I was learning to cook, I took that opportunity to talk to them about food from their homes and learn as much as I could about cuisines from all over the world. I think food is an important window into culture and history, and being open to new food experiences helps people be open to differences in culture and background. It’s a lesson that I think is important for young kids (especially picky eaters), so it seemed like a natural theme for me to explore. The shape of the story and her neighborhood was a total collaboration between me and my partner Gianna. We both grew up in multicultural cities, and I think Gianna’s illustrations of the neighborhood are incredible. I knew from the start that I wanted Pipo to learn about foods from all over the world, but the idea to contain it all within a single neighborhood came from me and Gianna’s collective experiences growing up.

LRR: What was it like to work with illustrator Gianna Ruggiero? How did the two of you work together to ensure her artwork conveyed the story you were telling? Do you have a favorite image that she created?

J.K.L: The experience was incredible. Gianna has such an imaginative, intelligent, and thoughtful mind and that’s reflected in her illustration style. We found each other via social media, but as soon as I saw her portfolio, I knew that I wanted to work with her. She has the ability to give characters personality and depth without any words at all, and that’s so important in a children’s book. The words and story are important, but equally important is the feelings and ideas that are conveyed outside of the words.

Collaborating so closely with someone on an artistic project was something brand new to me. I’m much more used to working alone and developing my own ideas, whether in writing or cooking or other fields. Learning to trust my partner and being open to outside ideas was essential. At the start, I felt the urge to write the story and describe exactly what I wanted the illustrations on each page to look like, but after talking with other children’s books authors, I realized that this was not the best way to work with an illustrator. Instead, I ended up writing the words, describing the personalities of the characters, then letting Gianna use her own skills to populate the world and bring the story to life. I cannot stress enough how important she was to the whole process. This is not my book, it’s ours.

LRR: I see Every Night is Pizza Night has a Pizza recipe! So, is that recipe for a New York style slice or a Detroit style square?

J.K.L.: Neither! It’s a pan pizza, which is more similar to a Detroit-style pizza, but it’s done in a round pan (either a cake pan or a cast iron skillet). I think it’s the easiest, most foolproof pizza recipe out there, and one that kids can very easily help out with at all stages of the process. I make it with my daughter regularly.

LRR: How is writing a book for children (and their parents!) different from writing, say, The Food Lab?

J.K.L.: It’s much, much harder! Most professional writers will tell you that hardest part of successful writing is finding your “voice.” The thing that makes your writing distinctly you, and that works for both you and your audience. My food writing voice is something that I’ve been writing in for decades now to the point where it’s second nature. So writing a big book like The Food Lab is a lot of work, but it’s work that flows easily and naturally for me now. Finding my children’s book voice was extremely difficult and time consuming. It involved lots and lots of research (I.E. ordering and reading hundreds of children’s books to see what I liked, what I didn’t, what made me laugh, what themes I connected with, etc.), then lots and lots of writing. For several months I would take my laptop to my restaurant after my daughter went to bed, and just sit and write for a few hours. The original story for Every Night is Pizza Night started at over 10,000 words and went through dozens of stylistic shifts, tonal shifts, changes in voice, and changes in theme until I was satisfied with it.

A lot of the art of editing lies in efficiency – making sure that every word you use expresses meaning in an efficient way. In children’s writing, this is taken to the extreme. You really have to learn to let go and understand that words in children’s books can merely be suggestive, allowing the illustrations and imagination do the work of adding complexity to characters and themes. The other difficult part in children’s book writing is that you need to write a story that works both for children and adults. Children are very sensitive to their parent’s feelings. If I laugh at something, my daughter will laugh at it too, sometimes without even understanding what it is she’s laughing at. If a parent is having fun reading, then their kid is going to be more likely to enjoy it as well. Every Night is Pizza Night has jokes and references in it that I hope work on both levels – for the children and their parents.

LRR: Would you do another children’s book if you had the opportunity? How about another kitchen chemistry book like The Food Lab?

J.K.L.: Absolutely. Writing a children’s book has been extremely rewarding, and it hasn’t even been released yet! I am currently working on a big food science book on cooking in a wok and things related to wok cooking, but after that I plan on focusing my attention on more children’s books. Gianna has some great ideas that we want to work on as well.

LRR: Thank you so much for letting me interview you! Is there anything else you’d like to share about Every Night is Pizza Night?

J.K.L.: Just that I hope you enjoy it, and I hope folks enjoy reading it with their kids and cooking up a storm afterwards.

LRR: Thank you so much! Interviewing you has been a dream come true for me!

I’m places*!

 

I was interviewed by my friend Leigh at Semiotic Standard about my experiences interviewing authors, and all the fun stuff that happens behind the scenes:

https://www.semioticstandard.com/home/2020/8/2/interviewing-the-interviewer-a-chat-with-andrea-johnson

 

This Sunday I’ll be moderating this live Q&A with the Apex Magazine editors Jason Sizemore, Lesley Conner, Maurice Broaddus, and Shana DuBois!  (Thank you to our 516 backers!)

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/apexpublications/apex-magazine-2021/posts/2914393

 

Enjoy!!

 

 

*virtually.  the place I’m actually at is the living room sofa. or at my desk, which is next to the sofa.

Of the three things I’m talking about today, I have finished reading exactly one of them:

 

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (the one that I have finished) – I have so, so much to say about this book. But as pertains to this particular blog post, what I expected was 300 pages of zombie thwacking action, what I got was that the zombies aren’t the real monsters, the racists are.   Fun read, great characters,  I highly recommend.

 

Machine’s Last Testament by Benjanun Sriduangkaew – I’m about 2/3 of the way through this far future space opera/spy thriller/escape the AI story. Prisoners of War are brought to the planet Anatta, to see if they are worthy of citizenship.  The worldspanning AI Samsara controls all aspects of Anatta, studies humanity, and systematically attacks all other human settlements, bringing more prisoners to Anatta. You can’t even tell your best friend your secrets, because Samsara is always listening.  Excellent read, I highly recommend! The story has political intrigue, hidden identities, romance,  and oh yeah, freakin’ gorgeous prose. (if you were one of those people who loved the prose of This is How You Lose The Time War, but wished that there was more there there, Machine’s Last Testament is the book for you. the two titles are about the same length, too)

 

I watched the first two episodes of Brave New World on Peacock (it was free). Not sure if I’ll continue in the series, and it’s probably been ten years since I read the book, so couldn’t tell you how faithful the TV show is. Anyway. . .  in the future, everyone is happy, all the time. Not feel super happy? Take a drug that will make you happy.  Privacy is unheard of,  as is being raised with a family.  Want to experience the filth and unhealthyness of the horrible past? Visit a theme park to see a shotgun wedding, nuclear families, and natural pregnancies.  I’ll reread the book, but am undecided on if I’ll continue w/the show. I liked the art direction, but the garbage quality subtitles* were a huge turn off.

 

Through a perfect storm of coincidence, I am reading/watching all of these things at the same time, and my brain went flippity flop, and found the common ground between these three stories:

 

the people running the show – the white leaders in Dread Nation, Samsara, whoever runs the city in Brave New World – these people LOVE what they’ve created.  They have made a city on the hill where everyone is safe and happy and protected  . . .  and where everyone knows their place.  And the people actually living there?  eh, if they only accepted their place, they’d be happy too, right?

 

I think that’s what hit me so hard –  that the people living there, they are told to be happy in their place. Know your place. Stay in your lane. Be thankful we’ve found a place for you here. Others of your kind aren’t this deserving. You should be thankful.   Your superiors know what’s best for you.  (excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little)

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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.