Snap from Armadillocon 37

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From the Armadillocon website:  ArmadilloCon 2015 panel on the relevance of Hugo awards, a.k.a the Sad Puppies debacle. Left to right: Michelle Muenzler, Jacob Weisman, Lou Antonelli, Marguerite Reed, and Justin Landon. The panelists mostly agreed that no matter what one thinks about this year’s Hugo slate, we should still vote for Hugos, because a worse outcome for the speculative fiction community would be to destroy the Hugo award by not voting.

“Like Something The Lord Made”

Vivien  Thomas as a young man.
Vivien Thomas as a young man.

This morning I was reminded of Vivien Thomas–an FB friend had posted a picture of him from Reddit.  I vaguely remembered an HBO movie starring Yassin Bey (Mos Def) about a him, and decided to deepen my knowledge.  With some link digging, I found the article, by Kanite McCabe, that the movie Something the Lord Made had been inspired by.

It’s a wonderful read that explores racism, hidebound tradition, and doing science.

Like Something the Lord Made

Rainy Reading at Watermark Books

Marguerite Reed signing a copy of Archangel at Watermark Books.
Signing a copy of Archangel at Watermark Books.

My publisher set up a reading for me  on July 6 at one of Wichita’s iconic bookstores, Watermark Books.  Excited? Hell yes, I was.  Even though I’d read before, and even though I’d read in Wichita before, this felt to me like the big time.  A fulfillmebnt of the “local author makes good” trope.  And wow, was I nervous.  People were going to be there!  People I knew!  Let me tell you, reading in front of a bunch of strangers,somehow, is less nerve wracking than reading in front people you know.
As you may imagine, I was keyed up.  Butterflies.  Worried about everything.  My boss kindly let me leave work early so that I could run home and change into jeans (I’d meant to take them with me to work, but of course forgot).  And about five minutes before I left work, the rain started.

The rain did not let up.  The rain worsened.  Even on my short drive home, streets in town started flooding.  It was a deluge.  A goose drownder.  A turd floater.  I think we got maybe 2 inches in 20 minutes.  And it kept on.  I girded up my loins and made it to the bookstore, both dismayed and chuckling–I mean, what can you do but laugh?  I’d be reading to, what, maybe three people?  Well, at least folks would know that I wasn’t going to hang them out to–ahem–dry.

Even more amusing, one of my friends who did make it told me that some asphalt chunks from who-knows-where had come floating down the road to litter one of the cross streets.  Another cross street was blocked by emergency vehicles due to flooding beyond that point.

Something really, really didn’t want people coming to my reading.

People showed up, though.  The determined, the waterlogged–ultimately there were maybe about ten? attendees.  Definitely not my worst turnout.  (That would go to the one where there were four people attending, and one was my agent, bless his heart.)  Some of them were determined friends, some of them were people who had been delayed by the rain and thought ‘what the hell;’ some of them were people who had read about it from the piece in the Wichita Eagle, and one couple showed up because they’d met my dad while they and he were visiting relatives at Cypress Springs Alzheimer’s residence.  (That was pretty special, and a lovely connection to the inspirations of my past.)

I read from two sections in Archangel–I answered questions and I asked questions.  It’s a blast to turn Q&A time around and interrogate the audience.  That moment of connection, of reaching out and putting a fingertip on someone’s regard is electric to me.  Both before and afterwards I signed copies.

That’s a dream come true, you know? To be able to say “I signed copies of my book….”

Archangel at Audible!

Just got the word today that Archangel is available at Audible!

Archangel: Book One of the Chronicles of Ubastis

CoverReviews

“Reed is a skilled storyteller and the world of Ubastis is a vivid creation, with a Muslim culture that is simply part of the overall setting rather than a driver of the plot. Vashti is a troubled, fascinating protagonist whose story ends on a cliffhanger, with greater battles for the fate of Ubastis and her own family yet to come.”
Publishers Weekly“A solid debut.”
Strange Horizons

“Reed writes like a techno-Valkyrie with a flaming sword for a pen. Her prose will cut you, the action will make you sweat, and the characters will break your heart then patch it up again. This is science fiction adventure that attacks you like a Beast.”
—Charles Coleman Finlay, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

“Marguerite Reed is a brave and audacious writer, with a strong and original voice.”
—Gardner Dozois, editor of Year’s Best Science Fiction

“Author Marguerite Reed’s first full-length novel, Archangel, presents readers with a fully formed, well-considered universe populated by believable characters and with a strong yet flawed female hero science fiction fans will love rooting for.”
Shelf Awareness

“Marguerite Reed makes us ache and cheer for the lush xenobiology of Ubastis . . . The intimate portrayal of characters coupled with dazzling scientific and social speculation make for a great read.”
—Andrea Hairston, winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award

ER? No Thanks

Growing up in my parents house, I never saw an Emergency Room past the age of 7–when I spectacularly almost lost the tip of my left middle finger after catching it in a storm door at Brownies. There was a lot of blood and a lot of histrionics on my part (and some amount of laughter on the part of the other Brownies, but that’s for a later day), and I learned a lot, intensively, in the next hour.

It wasn’t for lack of activity that Mom and I didn’t go see the doctor. I’m sure there were visits for strep, bronchitis, Mom’s menopause, that kind of thing. But the simple stuff?

Mom had an utter passion for yardwork. Poor thing, she wanted to recreate her youthful memories of Wisconsin using a backyard in Kansas. She refused to believe it wasn’t possible. With enough trees, anything could be done. So she and I dug holes, lopped branches, worked with all kinds of sharp implements while I was growing up. Clippers, trimmers, cutters, loppers, choppers–I don’t know the names for the tools, but she and I sure used them. The most spectacular injury I can remember was the time when she degloved the second knuckle on either the index or middle finger of her right hand with something. Blood filled the bathroom sink, and I wasn’t allowed to look.

While I was 10-11, we ‘took care” of some American Shetland ponies, half wild animals that we worked at gentling. Later, there were Saddlebreds. I was lucky enough not to get kicked, but it felt as if everything happened me: I was bit, stepped on, ground between irresistible equine side and immovable object (usually a fence), and bucked off. there was probably some barbed wire around. Nails. Splinters. Once I came off a pony and landed on a triangular piece of glassy rock that gouged a hole right in the center of my palm.

Mom was also an accomplished cook, with the corresponding knife stable. Old, old steel knives and a serious antique sharpener. Which, occasionally, would mean a sacrifice to the kitchen spirits.

So when skin was broken and the blood flowing, we followed a set protocol. Wash out the wound with warm water and gentle soap. Douse it all in merthiolate (remember, 30-35 years ago). Salve with A&D ointment. Gauze, and tape–or a bandaid, if the laceration or contusion was small enough. No, we never went and had stitches, or had a doctor look at anything. After two kids with three ER visits between the two of them–which took 7, 5, and 4 hours respectively, I’m very glad they didn’t. I also realize I’m very blessed that we haven’t needed to go more than those times.

I read this, and I think, am I bragging? I dunno–maybe a bit? I’ve been so disillusioned with the ER care that I’ve run into, that my first reaction when hearing someone wonder if they should go to the ER for what seems to me a minor wound is utter puzzlement.

Calling for the Expulsion of Theodore Beale from SFWA

Originally posted on Amal El-Mohtar:

Recently, N. K. Jemisin delivered her Guest of Honour speech at Continuum in Australia. It is an excellent and important speech. In it, she mentions that roughly 10% of the ballots cast in the recent SFWA  Presidential election went to a man who is unabashedly racist, misogynistic, and just generally hateful in an astoundingly relentless sort of way. She does this in order to talk about how important it is to not be an enabler of that kind of hatred through one’s silence.

She doesn’t name him in her speech, and more power to her. He has, however, responded to her on his blog, so I will tell you here that his name is Theodore Beale, also known as Vox Day, whom I only encourage you to google if your day is suffering from a surfeit of happiness and sunshine. Here, however, are some relevant screenshots, posted with warnings for…

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