Disclaimer! Ferrett is a friend of mine, who I met when I bought his (Nebula nominated!) story “Sauerkraut Station” for GigaNotoSaurus.

Anyway. Ferrett has a book coming out on Tuesday! It’s called Flex (amazon|B&N|Indiebound|Powells|Kobo)

So, I got to read Flex some months ago. In fact, I fully intended to blurb it, but the best I could offer was “Do you like magic? Do you like drugs? Donut-based psychological theories? Video games? Do you like PAPERWORK!? Read this book!”

Yeah, I’m not so good at the blurbing thing.

So, in the world of Flex, the ability to do magic is a function of obsession. Are you a huge fan of something? Eventually your fan-ness will bend the universe around you. Except, of course, the universe will do its best to bend back, so using your abilities can be profoundly dangerous. For extra, super danger, you can distill that magic into a drug–the titular Flex–that the un-magical can take, and really cause some havoc.

Paul Tsabo, the main character of Flex, works for an insurance company. He pushes paper–he is, in fact, of the firm belief that bureaucracy is (properly used, properly followed) the instrument of justice in civilization. You could argue the accuracy of this, but there are several things that I find really appealing about it. For starters, often in fiction (and in everyday conversation) the minutia of keeping things going–accounting, record keeping, cleaning, what have you–gets short shrift. Accountants are very nearly a byword for the unimaginative and uncreative. And yet. Where would we be without those things? Without paperwork and proper procedures for things, records of things, receipts and certificates and applications? No, don’t just unthinkingly say “way better off” because actually that’s unlikely to be true, not without a lot of other massive changes to our lives. Don’t forget that writing wasn’t invented for poetry or literature or even history–the oldest examples of writing that we have are receipts and inventories. Writing was invented for paperwork.

Paul’s intense focus on paperwork has made him a bureaucromancer. You’d think this was an insignificant sort of ability, but it’s not, not when so much runs on documentation and permits and forms. And he’s got a problem–his young daughter has been badly injured in a flex-related incident, and the insurance company doesn’t want to pay up. And this is where the Breaking Bad comparisons you may have seen come in. Except I so strongly disliked what little I saw of the characters in Breaking Bad that I couldn’t watch much of it. But I really liked Paul, and I loved the hardcore gamer (and consequently game-mancer) Valentine who he teams up with. Together, they…uh, make crime. And fight it!

Flex comes out Tuesday, like I said. Give it a read! It’s great fun.

It’s a huge honor to find my story closing out Podcastle’s Artemis Rising month. That story is “The Creation and Destruction of the World” which has not appeared anywhere previously. Yes, it’s a new story!

Well, sort of. I actually included this story in my application for Clarion West. Which means I wrote it more than ten years ago. This is the story that netted me my first, treasured non-form rejection (I am ever grateful to Jed Hartman for that!), and got lots of nice comments from editors. But no checks. At Clarion West, Andy Duncan, our week two instructor, said he’d enjoyed it very much and I should have no trouble selling it!

Yeah. Ten years pass.

Anyway, check it out! It’s read by Diane Severson and…y’all, she actually sang the songs! That’s her music, I didn’t write any for this! It’s pretty awesome, check it out!

So, I’ve known about this for a couple of days, but of course could say nothing. The ballot for the Nebula Awards is out, and Ancillary Sword is on it! Along with a lot of fabulous books and stories. Congratulations to all the nominees! It’s a great ballot. Rather like last year, I’m amazed at the thought that someone–some number of someones!–thought my book belonged among those others. It’s incredible to find myself in such wonderful company.

So, the shortlist for the BSFA Awards was announced on Friday. Turns out, Ancillary Sword is on it! Also a lot of fine work that you would be well-advised to check out. It’s an honor to find my book in such company.

Personally, I plan to get a lot of vicarious enjoyment out of this year’s awards season. It’s amazing and wonderful to have your work nominated for an award, even more so to actually win, and so I see a lot of delighted moments ahead of a lot of folks this year, and a lot of my knowing how that feels and being happy for them. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy the heck out of the BSFA nomination (excuse me while I do a little happy bounce), but there’s no way in seventeen hells this year is going to be anything like last year for me. And honestly, that’s a good thing.

In other award related news, the Kitschies shortlist was also announced on Friday. I have a particular fondness for the Kitschies, since that was my first award nomination ever, and I have a particularly happy set of thoughts for the folks whose first award nomination this might be. Most of this year’s Golden Tentacle titles are unfamiliar to me (though one I had just the day before gotten a copy of, it having been recommended to me as something particularly up my alley), and I suspect you wouldn’t go far wrong if you picked one or two of these to read.

Lastly! And also awards-related! I chanced across a conversation in which folks were thinking about award-eligible short fiction they might want to nominate, or at least consider nominating, and the possibility of my story “The Nalendar” being eligible in the novelette category was brought up. Someone else correctly pointed out that in fact, the issue of Uncanny Magazine in which it appeared came out this year, in 2015.

That is definitely the case–but as it happens, the story is a reprint. “The Nalendar” originally appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #36, in 2008. So it won’t be eligible even next year. I’m quite flattered that anyone finds the story worthy of award consideration, though. Thanks for that!

So, word on the street is that Jupiter Ascending is a hot mess. But remember Speed Racer? That nearly all the reviewers panned and a few years later folks were watching it on DVD for the lulz and went “Oh, wait, this is actually pretty good”? And they’d missed seeing it on the big screen? Which is a real pity because SR on the big screen was freaking awesome?

Right. Nothing was going to keep me away from Jupiter Ascending. We went to see it last night.

Now, I’m not any kind of reviewer or critic. I’m generally at a loss when it’s time for reviews. So I really won’t be able to tell you much more than “Gosh darn it, I really enjoyed that a lot!”

Well, I can tell you that you need to be willing to accept a high level of amazingly ridiculous and gorgeous stuff. The movie doesn’t waste a lot of time letting you know this. Basically, JA says to you, “Look, you see this giant ship we’re on? And the depthless abyss of ocean beneath us? And this rail, here, that would keep us from going overboard in a very large scale way? Yeah, fuck that rail. Let’s put on our antigravity rollerblades.”

I’ve seen reviews complain about Eddie Redmayne’s acting job here,but honestly, I enjoyed Redmayne, up to and including the pieces of scenery that stuck in his teeth. I’ve seen reviewers complain about the chewed scenery here, as though somehow that’s automatically bad, but all things in their place. This sort of thing really does call for tooth marks all over the set, if you ask me. The question isn’t “was scenery chewed?” but rather “how artfully, enthusiastically, and grandly was the scenery chewed?” It’s a matter of what mode you’re working in. And I’ve seen snickers about the “I like dogs” line, but in context actually it worked, at least for me. Various things weren’t explained during the course of the movie, and various things were just kind of thrown onscreen to be admired and enjoyed momentarily without accompanying explanation–yeah, so what? I admired and enjoyed, and while there’s a kind of SF that revels in explanations (and I enjoy that), this wasn’t that kind of SF–and I enjoy that kind, too.

And honestly, you know, it was obvious from the get-go that it was never meant to be a Serious Science Fiction Film of Great Seriousness. Honestly, I feel like complaining it’s filled with familiar motifs and over the top and silly in places is like being presented with a gigantic meringue-topped everyberry trifle and complaining that it’s the worst roast free range chicken you’ve ever tasted.

Okay, I’ll admit the “Bees recognize royalty” thing was a step too far even for me, but the rest? Pure meringue-covered, sabayon-drenched fun.

Now, this is not to say it’s perfect–the aforementioned royalty-detecting bees for one, and yeah, seems to me that screenplay was edited to within an inch of its life and various plot threads kind of appeared and disappeared. You will have to pay attention to make any minimal sense of the plot. Or not, if that’s not a thing for you.

But anyway. My advice–if you liked Speed Racer (inexplicably, not everyone did. I gather for some the colors and motion is headache inducing, which it’s understandable you wouldn’t enjoy that, I guess) anyway, if you liked Speed Racer (“yes, one racing team dresses like fake Vikings and has a beehive hidden in their car to launch at competitors. Just go with us on this!”) then you might be onboard for Jupiter Ascending. And if you’re half-thinking about maybe seeing it on DVD–see it now, on the big screen. Like SR, the visuals are half the experience.

Oh, but the previews beforehand. OMG. They just kept going on and on and they all were dreadful. There was this one, about some boy and some girl (there were title cards to helpfully let you know this, because otherwise you’d have taken the actors for adults) and she said “you make it seem impossible!” and some wise motherly figure advised our supposedly romantic lead that “if you don’t run after her you’re not the man I’ve taken you for” and about four hours into it I leaned over to the 15 yr old and said “This is endless. We’re in Hell.”

Anyway. Wretched previews or not, seriously, Jupiter Ascending was a lot of fun.

I’ve got loads of things I should be doing, so of course it’s time for an Imperial Radch Fanart Roundup!

These are in no particular order, and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed something awesome.

Check out Isozyme’s awesome pic of Breq and Seivarden.

Tristanbewell also did a great Seivarden. Oh, and Breq too!

Rose-n-crantz did Anaander Mianaai. I love the hair and the jewelry!

They also did Breq!

Pilot-Star’s Breq. Did I already link to that one? I don’t know. Well, no harm linking again! And I totally dig the makeup and the earrings on this Anaander Mianaai.

Moomieswan gives us a lovely Breq and Seivarden, and a cool Anaander.

Lyricalt has done a few. Check them out, I love Translator Dlique.

Maelrok has done several pics–I admit a perverse fondness for the “college AU Breq carrying Seivarden high out of a shitty frat party” one. I know there are more, poke around in the tags.

So, a number of fabulous folks I’m acquainted with have set up Patreons. Or Patreon accounts? Or whatever you call it.

I’m intrigued by the Patreon thing. While I’m happy to support Kickstarters that are one-off things, I’m leery of the ones that are of necessity repeating–magazines, say, where the funding model is running a Kickstarter every year. I’m not condemning such efforts at all, I just find that particular model a bit odd and offputting. Editors and artists need money to produce things like magazines, there’s no question. Y’all do what works for you, right?

Patreon, though, is explicitly set up for ongoing support. I think it’s a pretty cool idea, and I’m curious to see how it works out in the long run. In the meantime, like I said, I know some people who have Patreons set up, ones that are, I think, worth your attention.

Cat Rambo’s patreon: Cat’s Patreon was an experiment, running over the last six months or so. She was putting up a story for supporters every two weeks, and as I understand it, she plans to continue to do so.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Patreon: If you’re not familiar with Silvia’s work, I highly recommend checking it out. Her fist novel, Signal to Noise, came out recently, and she has a collection, This Strange Way of Dying. The title story, as it happens, first appeared at GigaNotoSaurus.

Rose Lemberg’s Patreon: To support the creation of works in Rose’s Birdverse. For a taste of Birdverse, check out “Held Close in Syllables of Light” over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, or the poem “I will show you a single treasure from the treasures of Shah Niyaz,” which appeared in Goblin Fruit.

Stone Telling: Stone Telling is a poetry zine edited by Rose Lemberg and Shweta Narayan. To be entirely honest, I don’t really know much about poetry, it’s not really my thing. I know what I like, is all. However, I more than liked Sofia Samatar’s “Girl Hours,” which first appeared in Stone Telling. If you’re a SF poetry fan, do check this out!

So! The other day I mentioned that I’d seen the art for Subterranean’s limited edition hardcover of Ancillary Justice. And that it was fabulous but I couldn’t share it.

Today I saw it on Twitter! So I will now share it with you. Bask in the awesomeness that is Lauren Saint-Onge’s cover art for the hardcover of AJ:

ancillary-justice-by-ann-leckie

I know the “lettered” edition is sold out. I don’t see the link to pre-order the regular “limited” edition, so I’m not sure what’s up with that just now.

In any event. Isn’t that a lovely picture? I bought a print of the entire John Harris painting that’s the three Ancillary covers. (The original painting was beyond my means, but I am told it went to a loving home.) I am sorely tempted to see if I can get this one as a print, too. I just am so very happy with this!

I’ve been awfully scarce around the internets lately. Part of that is just introvert crash (I went to way more cons and meetings last year than I ever have, and done much, much more socializing than usual, which was fabulous and I loved getting to meet people, but it’s exhausting), but part of it has been me trying to actually finish writing Ancillary Mercy.

I have finished Ancillary Mercy. And turned it in to my editors.

So, what’s next? Well, pretty much everyone wants to know that. Including me, myself. I’m not sure. Certainly I’ll have notes from my editors, and I’ll do revisions, and copyedits when those come around. After that, well, we’ll see!

I made a wordle of AM, which I am tempted to post, but I’m not sure if I should. Maybe I’ll wait a few months?

Next! You all may remember that Subterranean is doing a limited edition hardcover of Ancillary Justice.

The other day I got a look at a draft of the cover art. The cover is going to be by Lauren St Onge and it’s fabulous! But I can’t show it to you yet. I will as soon as I can, though!

In other news–there are now six Ancillary Justice-related playlists on 8tracks. Check them out!

Also–fairly trivial, but just to answer some speculation or questions I’ve seen here or there–I was an active member of a CJ Cherryh fan community under the name hautdesert, and I still count the folks in that community among my friends. Before that I was also–this is perhaps a bit less obvious, and a bit more random–the proprietor of a Peter Gabriel fansite, and during that period I went under the name “Eve.” I had a few moments of fan glory during that time, the biggest being the time a reporter interviewing PG presented him with printouts of part of my fansite for him to react to. Not that the site itself was anything special–if I tell you it was originally on Geocities, that will tell you all you need to know about that part of my internet career. Hey, we all have to start somewhere!

The folks from Shejidan already know I’m haut, but if you know me from Gabeweb, here’s a “hi!” and a friendly wave.