What are you reading now?

ConversesGay Speculative Fiction

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What are you reading now?

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1aulsmith
set. 4, 2008, 4:31pm

Okay, we haven't reached anythng like critical mass to have a decent conversation yet, and evidently Introductions wasn't a big hit. So let's fall back on this generally favorite topic.

As usual I'm reading about 10 things at once, but I just finished Geoff Ryman's new novella in the Oct. issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I really enjoyed it. I thought it had some interesting things to say about outsiders and their relationship to groups.

- Billie

2spoiledfornothing
set. 20, 2008, 2:43pm

I have never heard of this one.

3aulsmith
set. 21, 2008, 12:45pm

I'm not sure which you've never heard of. Fantasy and Science Fiction (usually abbreviated F&SF) is a very long running genre magazine that publishes short stories, novelettes, and novellas. It's editor, Gordon Van Gelder, finally got a Hugo award this year (it usually goes to the editor of Asimovs). For my money, it's the best sf/f/h magazine around.

Geoff Ryman is a gay Canadian sf/f writer living in Great Britain. He's not very prolific and there's a big time lag in getting his material published in the States, so he very seldom shows up on award nominations. He's most famous for Was, a sort of magic realist riff on The Wizard of Oz, and 253, an interesting attempt to write a novel for the internet. My recommendation for a place to start would be Air, which, although is doesn't have a lot of queer content, it has a straight-forward and interesting plot.

His new novelette Days of Wonder is in the Oct/Nov 2008 issue of F&SF, which is still on the newsstands. It's a far future where the surviving people seem to be genetic modification of humans and our companion animals. The society is very interesting, drawing on animal social relationships as it's basis.

What have you been reading?

4spoiledfornothing
set. 22, 2008, 9:19pm

lol i know the magazine, it is the writer i have never heard of. far as gay fiction goes, the last one i read was the PsyCops book 3 by Jordan Castillo Price. It is pretty good. waiting on Death of a Pirate King by Josh Lanyon

5aulsmith
set. 22, 2008, 10:38pm

Hadn't heard of Lanyon. In finding out more about him, I also found that Richard Stevenson just got a new book published. (Except now we're off topic, since he writes mysteries.)

6spoiledfornothing
set. 22, 2008, 1:51am

We are? I guess we are since the Stevenson books aren't SFF. But than, Josh Lanyon's books aren't either. Both are gay mysteries though. The fault is mine!

7nick_stewart
març 5, 2009, 2:45am

Speculative fiction wise? The last thing I've read would be Brian Francis Slattery's Spaceman Blues: a love song. Enjoyable but not that gay but gay enough. Quite surreal/post-modern type thing.

8trdsf
març 5, 2009, 3:43am

The supers fiction 'zine we did almost 20 years ago—but as an editor and transcriber, not as a reader. Never mind that nothing reads MS Works files anymore, who's got a 5½" drive anymore? And there's a finite number of times one can correct a numeral-1 for a capital-I for a miniscule-l for an exclamation mark-! before you consign your OCR software to the deepest silicon hell you can find... :P

9aulsmith
juny 20, 2009, 2:14pm

Some friends started a book club at our local glbt center and there are a couple of spec fic books on the list. This month we read Maureen F. McHugh's China Mountain Zhang. Since many in the group hadn't read spec fic and tended to like the heavily literary books we'd read previously, I didn't expect much, but it went rather well.

Of course, China Mountain Zhang is more a series of connected short works than a novel, which I expected to be the main sticking point. However, everyone really got into the characters and were able to go with the flow. One person didn't like the stuff on Mars and some people were bored by the technology descriptions of the engineering system, but they all liked Zhang's story (even though, as one person said, all he does is get a bachelor's in Engineering). One person didn't think it had enough sex for a gay book, which I found surprising because I thought the sex was very inventive and very hot.

So, if you've never read it, or haven't read it recently, I'd say it stands up well after 15+ years. You might want to give it a try.

For folks local to the Albany NY area, we're reading Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union for August.

10spoiledfornothing
jul. 15, 2009, 9:25pm

The Yiddish Policeman's Union is gay?

11aulsmith
jul. 16, 2009, 12:57pm

It has gay characters. I can't say too much more without spoilers.

12spoiledfornothing
jul. 17, 2009, 4:22pm

that was more than i knew before. lol i thought it was just a normal mystery type science fiction. :P

13aulsmith
jul. 18, 2009, 11:50am

I found it a very compelling alternate history, where the mystery keeps the book going, but the real interest is in the culture and how various people deal with it, including glbt people.

14hoskie
Editat: ag. 27, 2009, 3:52pm

I'm currently reading Hero by Perry Moore.

It's not perfect: there are clichés abound and sometimes it feels more like a first draft (can be unfocused at times, leaving certain things feeling underdevloped). But it's still a solid read (I'm normally a slow reader, but this I'm blazing through)... and it certainly fills a void.

There was an interesting article in the New York Times a few years ago about what lead Moore to write the book (a response to the generally poor treatment that gay superheroes - when they exist at all - tend to receive). You can check it out here.

15aulsmith
ag. 28, 2009, 10:11pm

I hadn't heard of Hero. Several people in our local glbt sf group would be interested. I wasn't allowed to read comics when I was a kid, so the whole super-heroes thing kind of passed me by.

Alas, our book club didn't generally like Yiddish Policeman's Union. Many people found it very difficult to get into, especially all the Yiddish. (There is a glossary in the back).

I'm currently reading Thomas Disch's The Wall of America. It's very Dischian, which means you don't always know what's happening. I'm posting individual reviews of the stories as I finish them.