My December Reading Log

The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt is space opera with a diverse crew of humans who encounter an old pre-wormhole, pre-alien-encounter ship with a single surviving crewmember frozen inside, a woman out of time. There’s an alien species, octopus-like with variant forms, that I found entrancing because their culture is so cleverly thought out and slowly revealed. The ship has a female captain, and there are several differently-abled characters including one with nifty cyborgian adaptations, and characters of various gender identities (of the matter-of-fact sort). There’s a lesbian romance subplot. And there is a Big Bad. It’s the best space opera I’ve read in a while, first in a new series, and I highly recommend it, especially if you like chewy worldbuilding and found families.

The Comfortable Courtesan: Being Memoirs by Clorinda Cathcart (that has been a Lady of the Town these several years) by L.A. Hall, gave me extreme delight, especially the appearances of the wombatt. They are perfect reading for the present time and state of affairs in the nation in which I live. Set in Regency England, and resembling a romantic soap opera with an enormous cast, there is really nothing else at all like this series and its portrayal of a vast array of romantic and sexual relationships. The diary format makes it great for reading in small increments of time, but carries the flow throughout with ongoing relationship issues and social puzzles to be solved, so I never hesitated to slide from one volume to the next.

Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American voices, and Octavia E. Butler, edited by Rebecca Holden and Nisi Shawl, has a mixture of personal essays about Butler with academic essays about her work, interspersed with an interview of her, and a number of lovely photos. I found the academic essays chewy and delicious, and the reminiscences poignant. It still hurts that she died so young. She was just so amazing, and I grieve the work she was unable to create.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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