Tag Archives: strange horizons

New poem! “Survival in Six Easy Steps”

asdfsdfsI have a new poem out in Strange Horizons! It’s called “Survival in Six Easy Steps” and it’s very different from most of the poems I’ve written before. For one thing: it doesn’t have a love story.

I wrote it at the start of 2018, when all the political things that are currently going on in the world were just starting to happen, and I thought about how many of my friends felt like they needed a vacation, an escape, just to be able to deal with it all, and I thought of how often stress is literally a killer for marginalized people who speak up and dedicate their lives to activism, especially in the wake of a traumatic event. And so, I wrote this poem, about survival and the wilderness and not being able to escape the real world and how we keep living anyway.

You need to go into the wilderness, but there’s no one to take you.
There are women living under your bed,
in the refrigerator,
on every tree branch
on your way to work.

Their eyes are all different—
angry, hopeful, surprised, afraid—
but their hands are all the same. Cold,
bloodless, pulling your lids
up when you’re falling
asleep. Watching you brush
your teeth in the mirror, hiding
your good underwear in the back
of the drawer, forcing you to reach
down. Some days you roll your eyes
at them. Petty, like children.

Read the full poem at Strange Horizons: Survival in Six Easy Steps.

Book review: “The Drowning Eyes” by Emily Foster

thedrowningeyes-313x500

It’s been a busy couple of months, friends. Between posting Three Keys in the Desert in June, submitting a thesis draft in July, attending Nine Worlds in August (\o/ STILL TO WRITE A POST ABOUT THAT!) and now going abroad again in a week, it’s been.. a lot. A lot of really great things! But a lot nonetheless.

Which is why I’m especially pleased that I managed to squeeze in reading Emily Foster’s “The Drowning Eyes”, a novella I’d been wanting to get my hands on for a while, and review it for Strange Horizons.

Emily Foster’s debut novella is everything I like about modern fantasy. The world it builds is not a fictional Europe or a fictional North America; instead it’s set in a tropical climate, in the middle of an ocean, with many small islands dependent on the weather for trade and survival. The characters are a seafaring crew who don’t shy away from illegal work, people from the margins whose life philosophy is that money and happiness should be grabbed wherever they happen to be found. The cast is ethnically diverse and most of the action is centered on women, including older women, who occupy positions of authority within the small world a story of this length allows. All of this is refreshing and a pleasure to read and the reason I was excited to pick up the book in the first place.

And yet, as much as I wanted to fall in love with The Drowning Eyes, as much as I liked its setting and magical elements, as much I enjoyed its characters individually, there were a few structural problems that stood in the way of the book having true momentum. It’s not that the story isn’t enjoyable; it’s just that, considering its premise, it comes across as a little underwhelming.

Read the full review at Strange Horizons >>

 

Review: The OA

the-oa_66_27

It’s difficult to categorize The OA as fantasy or science fiction or horror. A series that deals with angels, the science of immortality, and friendly-looking scientists who kidnap people to experiment on them in basements, The OA offers some fresh takes—as well as moments of muddled, cliché philosophical “insights.”

The series’ greatest strength is arguably the aspect that I’ve so far seen discussed least. Brit Marling plays a young woman who disappears for seven years and then returns, able to see where before she was blind, and recounts the story of her abduction to a group of misfits at her small town in the US. Adopted at a young age by a couple in their fifties, who named her Prairie, Marling’s character was abducted after she ran away from her parents and tried to make a living playing her violin in the New York City subway. A well dressed, kind, and friendly academic by the name of Hap (Jason Isaacs) takes her out to dinner after apparently falling in love with the way she plays, then convinces her to accompany him to his house, takes her downstairs to what’s supposed to be his guest bedroom, only for Prairie (blind, at this stage) to discover he’s locked her in a glass box in his basement.

Read the full review on Strange Horizons >>

 

New poem: “Odessa”

araiza-whispers_650pxI can honestly say I never thought I’d make a post like this. Although I’ve been writing poetry for years (officially since that epic poem when I was 9 that took up half a notebook), I’ve never submitted it anywhere or shown it to anyone. It was my private little thing, just some fun with words for my own enjoyment.

So, imagine my shock when the first poem I’ve ever submitted anywhere was accepted for publication! And a venue like Strange Horizons, a publication I’ve been a huge fan of for years. It’s been… slightly surreal.

Read “Odessa” at Strange Horizons

If I had to give this poem a summary (do people do that? is it a thing?) I’d say it was about time-traveling Jewish ladies. I hope you read it and enjoy it! It was written during a fairly difficult time in my life when I was too sick to write anything longer than a poem, and I’m so immensely excited to see it posted publicly for all to read.

If you’d like to get email updates whenever I have a new work out, you can sign up for my New Release Mailing List.

Review of the first season of “Jessica Jones”

jessica-jones-poster-tennant-ritter

Fashionably late, here’s my review of the first season of “Jessica Jones”! I actually wrote this the week the show came out, but for various reasons it took a while to get it it ready for publication.

Jessica Jones is without doubt the best TV show Marvel has produced to date, and possibly the most original main character they’ve brought to the screen since introducing the world to Tony Stark as Iron Man. The show is not without flaws, but everything about it feels fresh, unusual, exciting. Partly it’s because a show about a female superhero, especially one who drinks whiskey and crushes cockroaches with her bare hands without flinching, is tragically rare amid a sea of morally gray superpowered men. But partly it’s because Jessica Jones genuinely has an engaging yet disturbing story to offer.”

Read the full review at Strange Horizons >>

Review of “Sorcerer to the Crown” by Zen Cho

25855734I recently wrote a review of Zen Cho’s excellent debut novel “Sorcerer to the Crown”, for Strange Horizons.

“Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown is set in nineteenth-century London, where magical resources are scarce and only men of a certain standing are encouraged to practice sorcery. It tells the story of Zacharias Whyte, protégé of England’s premier magician, and Prunella Gentleman, the prodigy who can restore English magic to its former glory. Both essentially orphaned as babies, Zacharias and Prunella have grown up as outsiders in their home culture, and have had to navigate a social landscape that doesn’t quite know what to do with them. Zacharias was born to enslaved parents and purchased as an infant by the wealthy Englishman who would raise him as his son, and Prunella is the daughter of a British officer who came back from India with a daughter of mixed heritage and a bag of mysterious magical objects.”

Read the rest of the review at Strange Horizons >>

Review of “What Makes This Book So Great” by Jo Walton

9780765331939_p0_v1_s260x420Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great is a collection of essays, originally published as blog posts on Tor.com. Familiar with Walton’s fiction, I was drawn to review her collection of non-fiction essays partially because of what I’d heard of Walton’s reading habits and what she herself reveals at the beginning of the book—Walton chooses what books to read the way some people choose which ingredients to cook with, relying on a mix of old, trusted favorites and exciting, untested novelties.

Read the full review on Strange Horizons >>