I’m finally caught up!!!

Fiction:
Mind Magic (Lupi Book 12) by Eileen Wilks introduces a new character, a teenager named Demi who has Asperger’s. She was involved in an illegal government project to boost the power of Gifted kids until she figured out the leader, Mr. Smith, was not to be trusted. Her plotline eventually intersects with Rule Turner and Lily Yu’s seemingly separate plots, which involve a strike against the magical enforcement Unit 12 and a murder in Ohio, respectively. And there are brownies. And dragons. I continue to enjoy Wilks’ characters and the complexity of her worldbuilding, in which law and government struggle to deal with magic and magical beings. Also, there’s never been a love triangle, yay! Rule and Lily do have some magical bond stuff going on, but it’s not mushy or annoying. I recommend this series. There’s currently one more, which from the title follows one of the plotlines in this volume, but I’m saving it for a bit.

Penric’s Demon By Lois McMaster Bujold is a novella in the Chalion fantasy series. My only complaint was that I wanted it to be longer. Luckily, this was the first of several volumes, all at the shorter length.

Your Wicked Heart by Meredith Duran is shorter than a novel but still had her usual excellent, complex characterization.

I really liked Daniel Jose Older’s Half-Resurrection Blues, so I got the two sequels as they came out, but then as usual didn’t read them immediately because Dreaded TBR Pile. I am currently trying to work through some of the ebooks that are already on my reader instead of buying still more, so I dove into the second in the Bone Street Rumba series, Midnight Taxi Tango, and I loved it way more than the first one. It was a lot more upbeat, for one thing, and introduced more characters, and deepened those that carried over. A couple of the female characters turned corners that made me happy. Also, it was neat seeing Carlos from more outside points of view. I think you could pretty easily start with this one if you wanted to give the series a try. Here’s a bit from one of the point of view characters, who’s listening to a (fictional) rap artist:

Come chaos, come from the barrel of the gun / Fuck the path fuck the way fuck the method fuck the sun.

She just said “fuck the sun.” I know it’s coming; I still smile every time.

Find me in the fire line / Floatin’ like a satellite / Fucking mothafuckas in the face with a Cadillac.

Like . . . How does one go about fucking a mothafucka in the face with a Cadillac? I don’t care. She doesn’t care. We don’t care together. Anyone who cares can fuck off.

Winter Tide (The Innsmouth Legacy) by Ruthanna Emrys is just out, and so excellent. I received a galley and thought, “I don’t like Lovecraft, so I probably won’t read this.” But then I opened it up and the first paragraph seized me with the narrator’s voice and with curiosity, and then I read more and discovered the whole creepy racist Lovecraft mythos had been flipped and made rich and realistic. There are lots of female characters, all rebellious in their way and using different strategies to be themselves in the world. It’s set in 1949; several characters spent time in WWII internment camps, both a couple of siblings from a human subspecies and the Japanese family that eventually adopted them when they were the only survivors of their town. Another awesome thing about this book is that books are a huge part of it, books and libraries and archives, and who has access to them, and who controls that access, and what they mean to individuals and to peoples and to history as a whole. So, yeah, I’d recommend this book, very highly.

Here’s a quote: “My family aren’t always nice, and they do what they must to protect their own. But they know that when the universe doesn’t care, someone has to. If we don’t care, we lose ourselves, even without Mad Ones changing our blood.”

She laughed bitterly. “If everyone thought like that, Christians would still be getting gobbled up by lions.”

I’d read of such things in a history class, but didn’t want to argue the difference between self-sacrifice and holding on to something worth defending. It didn’t seem like it would help.

Nonfiction in progress:
I started reading my Xmas present to myself, Megafauna: Giant Beasts of Pleistocene South America by Richard A. Fariña, Sergio F. Vizcaíno, and Gerry de De Iuliis. It’s an oversize hardcover about Glyptodonts and Giant Sloths and other mega-creatures, so yay, escape! Sadly, chapter one started telling me what science is, and what it isn’t, and it ranted a bit about creationism not being science, and I was like, too much real life! But I think I am okay now, and have gotten back to it recently. I already looked at all the pictures; I wish it had more pictures, recreations and such.

I started Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction by John Rieder (in print), mainly as a result of having read a terrific essay on Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony in Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction, which I’m carrying around on my e-reader. Both books are still in progress, very slow progress, but I do plan to finish them eventually.

Comics:
Ms. Marvel Vol. 5: Super Famous jumps a bit forward from Volume 4, which means I have to find out what happened in between, probably a single issue of yet another comic. Urgh. I dislike chasing stories from comic to comic. Ms. Marvel remains great, and I love Kamala’s family and friends and her complicated relationships with them. I also love the characterization of Tony Stark in this volume.

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 2 continues to be wonderful, one of the most literary superhero comics I have seen in a long while, if ever. There is so much going on, I can’t even tell you. Read it.

Fanfiction:
Signals That Sound in the Dark by Dira Sudis crosses post-Doctor Who Captain Jack Harkness with Lois McMaster Bujold’s Aral Vorkosigan, prior to the death of Prince Serg. They get up to stuff. Naughty boys.

Circles of Rust by keroseneSteve is an Iron Man (movie) AU in which Tony Stark is in India working as a mechanic. Also, there is a cat.

A Little Bit Closer by marswithghosts is a Check Please! AU set in Boston, in which Bitty is a librarian and Jack plays hockey, and they meet when Jack publishes a kids’ book about anxiety. It’s sweet, it’s romantic, you don’t have to have read the comic, I don’t think. Also, librarian!