Monday, October 21, 2013

Vicious by V.E.Schwab

I’m a comic book fan from way back. I learned to read in four colors. I spent thousands of dollars of allowance money on the adventures of my favorite heroes and villains up until I graduated high school and moved on to other things. I’ve read a few books in the superhero genre, but they are few and far between. But when I read the blurb for Victoria Schwab’s Vicious, I knew I had to give the book a read. Schwab’s story of two college friends whose quest to become Extra-Ordinary not only changes them both in astonishing ways but propels them toward an eventual collision that is all but guaranteed to leave one of them in the grave. Schwab’s exploration of the nature of good and evil and heroes and villains kept me turning pages into the wee hours and challenged my expectations of the level of realism that can be brought to the four-color genre. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Round Table: Gender Bias in SF/F Part Two

Life's been pretty hectic lately, but in the best ways possible. I tied the knot two weeks ago and am settling into life with the best wife on the planet. The honeymoon was followed by a trip for a promotional exam for my second job as a martial arts instructor. So between things marital and martial I've had precious little time for anything. But I am finally getting back to my usual schedule. So with out further preamble the second part of the Round Table on Gender Bias in SF/F. I've included my response to the first talking point, which leads into this part of the discussion. A link to first post is
                                            provided below if context is needed.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

Elizabeth Bear is one of those writers who I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. Her body of work is universally well regarded, and many reviewers whose opinion I trust have raved about Range of Ghosts. I’ve recently made a commitment to gender parity in the reviews on the site, and Range of Ghosts was the first title that immediately came to mind. It’s really a shame that I waited this long. Bear turns in a unique and exquisitely layered tale that avoids almost every trope in the epic fantasy handbook without ever risking alienating the entrenched fans of the genre. Bear has vaulted easily onto my list of must read authors with this opening volume of her first foray into epic fantasy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Gender Bias in SF/F Round Table: Part One

I like top ten lists, they generate a lot of traffic, are fun to write, and don't take a lot of time. So I do one once a quarter or so and they've been very successful, but when I posted my latest Fall Edition, I got a eye opening tweet from a fellow reviewer.

"All men. Had you noticed that?"

In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, I'll admit that I hadn't. And my first reaction was to be angry that I'd been called on the carpet and to dismiss it out of hand. But once the initial bout of defensiveness wore off ( I'm proud to say it didn't take more than my drive to work) I knew this was something that I needed to talk through. I'm not a person who considers myself a sexist or a some one who marginalize anyone based on any reason of color, gender, or any such identifier. So I reached out to Stina, whose opinion on these matters I have come to greatly respect, and we exchanged some emails that left me feeling slightly embarrassed, a great deal more educated and determined that this topic bears discussion on a public forum.