My June Reading Log

The Flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold is very Bujoldian, and I wish it had been longer. It takes place before Cryoburn. My favorite part was the speculative science of dealing with a heavily-irradiated landscape, and how to science the hell out of that, and what to do with one’s experimental results; I liked the sense of hope and possibility. The other part of the plot concerned people’s choices and lack thereof, and the duty of care humans owe other humans; I’m still thinking about that part.

Witchmark by C. L. Polk is great. I read it really quickly and with a lot of enjoyment. Early Industrial Fantasy is my jam, doubly so when the characters are this good. Polk hooked me swiftly with the first-person narrator, a doctor, dealing with realistic issues like PTSD-that-is-possibly-also-something-else, then kept me reading with the steady increase in difficulties he had to face and the multiple unexpected twists. I loved how what at first seemed like a straightforward medical/magical mystery opened up in several directions, dealing with imperialist wars and industrialization both realistically and fantastically. There’s a very low-key m/m romance.

Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson involves first a nearby volcano eruption and then the Moominvalley being flooded, though without real consequences. I read it to be soothed, and was soothed. As usual with Jansson’s books, I was intrigued by the personalities of the characters. This time, I particularly noted the varying depictions of anxiety in the Fillyjonk and the Hemulen jailer’s cousin, and Goth-like Misabel’s enjoyment of feeling sad. Also that Snuffkin’s misbehavior, however warranted, was made right by someone else, and he immediately hands over an unexpected responsibility to Moominmamma as soon as possible. I also checked out the Moominsummer Madness Re-read at

Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee concludes the Machineries of Empire trilogy in ways both unexpected and satisfactory. I will avoid spoiling the plot!

In Her Own Words: Oral Histories of Women Physicians, edited by Regina Markell Morantz, Cynthia Stodola Pomerleau, and Carol Hansen Fenichel, was an old book I got from BookMooch years ago and occasionally poked at. Published in 1982, and featuring interviews of women doctors of gradually decreasing age, it gives a pretty good picture of second-wave feminism from women of various backgrounds and social classes, though not races; the single Person of Color is the final interview, a black woman who is still finishing her MD/PhD. It was a little weird to hear opinions from the mouths of these pioneering women that made me wince at times, though very interesting to see how sometimes their opinions altered over the course of their schooling and career, as they came up against barriers some of them had earlier not believed in (been told not to believe in), or felt irrelevant to themselves.

The Unstoppable Wasp Vol. 2: Agents of G.I.R.L. by Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charretier was really sweet, and I am extremely sorry there won’t be more. It introduces a whole diverse female squad of teenage scientists and one lacrosse player, and it shows Wasp and Mockingbird mentoring them, and it even address the awfulness of Hank Pym. Whitley writes another series, Princeless, which I’ve added to my wishlist.

When Push Comes To Chevre by copperbadge is set between the Black Panther and Infinity War movies, and features Bucky and his Goat Farm, my new favorite fanfictional subgenre. He also has a rhino that flunked out of warrior training. And there are peanuts and cheese and sweet potatoes.

If They Haven’t Learned Your Name by silentwalrus is second in the Bucky Barnes Gets His Groove Back and Other International Incidents series. You don’t have to read the first story, set during WWII, to understand this one, but you should because it’s great and also smokin’ hot. Getting back to part two, it starts out like a lot of other Bucky Recovery stories but soon goes off the rails in a fantastically cracktastic way that includes completely unexpected usage of the Winter Soldier’s metal arm, Steve and Sam meeting Korean grandmothers who think Steve is Channing Tatum, and some excellent Rhodey characterization. Also, it’s really long and involved, so if you’re looking for that sort of thing right now, this might be the thing you are looking for.

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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