Spec Fic Recs from December

12 Jan

Right, December! I didn’t read as much as usual, but there were a few things about which I still feel it necessary to rave.

1. The winner of this year’s Spec the Halls contest happens to be an old writing pal of mine (she’s not old, but our acquaintance is), Sue Penkivech. Sue’s work always has this brilliant mix of humor and sci-fi/fantasy that, well, it shows both her talent and her love of Marvel comics, for sure. I mean, the story is called Zombie Elves. If that doesn’t make you want to read it, man, I don’t think there’s any help for you.

I know it’s a bit late for holiday stories, but no mention of December is really complete without one, is it? And this is a fabulous one. I’m so looking forward to more of Virginia and Doug– which Sue has kindly promised us.

2. I’m into fantasy that’s set in a world a little less– hm, how to say this? WASPy. Yes, that. Or, if it’s WASPy, at least give me some part of the world that’s not. It’s a popular thing to do now, luckily, with most large fantasy worlds having a proper eastern or southern hemisphere influence. (I love Tolkien, but this whole Evil Swarthy Men From the East thing is just a little, er, Colonial.)

Right, off the soapbox. I ran across Aliette de Bodard’s In the Age of Iron and Ashes in Beneath Ceaseless Skies this time around, and it has this killer South Asian influence. Yes, I’m vaguely biased in that direction– I studied it, I drag my husband to temples every time we visit his parents, and I write about it sometimes myself. But I really liked the way the whole thing was woven around the Shiva concept. It even incorporates a little of that Mahabharata– specifically around the Bhagavad Gita*– sentiment.

Of course it all goes bugf@$k there in the end, but it’s a great story. Packs a wallop.

I will say, however, that I think it needed some better editing. There are a couple of sentiments that are repeated, as in overstated, in a way that would’ve been easy to fix– and would’ve made the whole thing even more effective. But for all that, it’s still rad. Beautiful images, and really engaging writing.

That’s all I’ll do this time, but I did want to briefly discuss the season of polls, since it’s relevant. Of course there are the P&E polls, which are nearly over, and offer a staggering variety of awesome. Speaking of writing about South Asia, somehow** I’m nominated in there for Boudha on the sci-fi and fantasy short stories poll. First nom ever for a writer thing since, well, high school! Woo!

The New Bedlam Project and Apex Magazine are two of my unfailing reads, and they’re both having best of polls just now. I still can’t decide which one I want to vote for at TNBP, but with Apex I voted for Glenn Lewis Gilette, who I crowed about in a previous edition of my online rantings. But you know, it’s good publicity for your favorite mags, editors, and authors. Most people have done all these ages ago, but if not, last chance for some of them!

*Gross oversimplification–
Arjuna: But, but, but I don’t WANT to fight my cousins!
Krishna: Shut up, hop on this chariot, and save your country, you pansy.

**Actually I know exactly how, because Mark said he was doing it on his blog. I was glad no one was around to see me blush. My whole face turns red, because I’m pink anyhow.

Now playing: The Small Faces – Hey Girl
via FoxyTunes

5 Responses to “Spec Fic Recs from December”

  1. Natalie L. Sin January 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Hee hee hee, zombie elves : ) That cheers me right up! I got sent the wrong case for Matsu (my bass). He’s too big and manly for it!

  2. KVTaylor January 13, 2010 at 1:21 am #

    Oh no, poor Matsu! I hate when they come with the crappy case and you have to buy a decent one extra. Here’s to better luck next time. Poor guy.

  3. Cate Gardner January 13, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    I think it’s wonderful that so many magazines are doing end of year polls. You already know I voted for Boudha in P&E.

    And I never thought it was true when Oscar nominees claimed that being nominated was enough, but isn’t it? I’m all, ‘Somebody actually voted for me, good grief.’

  4. KVTaylor January 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    Yeah, it’s a nice chance to show appreciation. Lots of times we just read stories and move on, whether due to distraction or something else. Sometimes I stop and find someone on twitter or email them, but how often?

    And yeah, being nominated was way more than I expected. I’m completely with you. Thank you for voting for me, that’s icing on the delicious cake.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Aliette de Bodard » Blog Archive » More reviews - January 14, 2010

    […] -K.V Taylor mentions “In the Age of Iron and Ashes” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #33) over on her blog, as having this “killer South Asian influence”–quoting, in particular, the Shiva […]

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