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Yes, it’s time again for Some Stuff I Have Read and Liked Recently. As always–I am not a reviewer or any sort of critic, and I’m not going to try to be one.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

Ever since I heard that Nisi was not only working on a steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo, but that she had gone and sold that novel to Tor, I’ve been eager to read this. I finally got around to it, and I highly recommend it. It’s pretty epic, really, it covers a couple decades in time, from the POVs of a wide variety of characters. Seriously, check this out if you haven’t already.

Transcendent 2: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction edited by Bogi Takács

This is a nice anthology of short fiction by authors I’m already a fan of–like Charlie Jane Anders, Keffy Kehrli, and An Owomoyela–as well as authors I’m very happy to be introduced to. I’ve read way too little short fiction lately, and this was an enjoyable first step toward remedying that.

The Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola

These two books were first published in the 1950s and have not always been well-regarded. In the first, the narrator is a young man devoted to drinking palm wine. The person who works tapping palms to bring him that wine dies, and the narrator goes looking for Dead’s Town so he can find the man and bring him back. In the second, a young boy is separated from his family and ends up in the bush, where he encounters lots of dangerous supernatural creatures. Both are picaresque, their plots essentially one adventure after another, and both are told in the first person in a way that feels to me very much as though these stories were meant to be read or spoken aloud. They were written in a variety of English that may take a few pages to get familiar with, but once it’s in your ear it just goes nicely and enjoyably along. I couldn’t find an ebook version, and my nearby libraries didn’t have it,so I bought a used paper copy. It may be in a library near you!

BONUS the title of the second novel in this volume may seem familiar if you’ve heard of the Brian Eno and David Byrne album of the same name. If you haven’t heard it, or heard of it, give it a listen.

I’ve read some things lately that I enjoyed!

I got an advance copy of Emergence, the next volume in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. Look, I’m a longtime fan of these, and I enjoyed the heck out of this one. If you’ve read the previous volumes, you’ll enjoy this one. If you haven’t, DO NOT START THE SERIES HERE. Give Foreigner a go–that’s the first volume–and see what you think.

I’m kind of behind schedule on reading A Matter of Oaths by Helen S Wright. Well, it’s not out until November 23–but it was first published in 1988, and was apparently available for free on the author’s website for a while. This is fun, quick-moving adventury space opera–and this new edition has an introduction by Becky Chambers. There are immortal Space Emperors–two of them!–and a pilots guild, and romance. One major character is an older woman, and another major character has been memory-wiped and has a Mysterious Past. The original cover was whitewashed, a mistake the new publisher has fortunately avoided. I really enjoyed reading it, you might, too.

I’ve not read as much short fiction as I’d like–certainly not as much as I used to–so I’m behind in catching up with Rose Lemberg’s Birdverse stories. This summer Beneath Ceaseless Skies published their story “A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power” (that’s part 1, part two is linked at the end of the page), which I only recently read, and I highly recommend it. This is kind of a bonus, because it’s right there on the web, and much shorter than a novel! And they have plenty of other published fiction (the Birdverse stories are marked as such in that list, if you’d like those in particular). They also have a Patreon.

Hey, it’s time for a few things I’ve read and enjoyed recently!

First up, the paired novellas The Red Threads of Fortune and The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang. This pair of novellas can, I gather, be read in whatever order you like, but if you’ve got a thing about reading stories in story-chronological order, start with Black Tides. This is some excellent fantasy. Each volume centers on one of a pair of twins, children of a powerful ruler who gave birth to them in order to pay a debt to the Grand Monastery. They both learn to manipulate the Slack, the force that underlies all nature, but one, Mokoya, can see the future. Sometimes. Oh, also, Mokoya rides a dinosaur. You want to read these. Seriously.

I also scored an advance copy of John Hodgman’s Vacationland. This is autobiographical, and if you enjoy Hodgman’s humor, you’ll enjoy this. I do, and I did. It’s also, in places, quite sincere and not particularly funny, intentionally so. It’s out today, I think. Oh, and if you listen to podcasts but you’re not listening to Judge John Hodgman, you might find it an excellent addition to your regular lineup. Judge John Hodgman always manages to give clear-sighted and compassionate verdicts, despite holding incorrect opinions in the matter of the sandwichness of hot dogs.

When I’m in the middle of a project, I often want something to read that’s fairly light and definitely not the sort of thing I’m working on. I find that often classics work–Jane Austen is particularly helpful to me at such times–but historical romances often work nicely. I’d seen a few folks mention enjoying Spectered Isle by K.J. Charles, and it was a whole five bucks, so I figured I’d give it a go. I enjoyed it! It’s set in England in the 1920s, and, well,

Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense…except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.

Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there’s something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.

Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.

It was a really enjoyable read! And there appear to be others in the same series, or universe, or whatever, so I might very well pick one of them up next time I need an entertaining break.

So, I’m nearly to the last stop on my epic tour! I’ve had a lovely time, and met so many amazing and wonderful people. My readers are the best.

For the trilogy, I was giving out pins, which was great fun, but in all honestly were somewhat difficult to travel with. One pin may not weigh much. Several hundred are another matter entirely. And the mass of them tended to make airport security jumpy.

I wanted to do something fun this time, too, but maybe also something that wouldn’t set off every metal detector on my cross-continent trek, and might be more easily mailable once I got home. And the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like what I wanted was some kind of cool vestige! So I contacted Nikki Thayer. Nikki did me my GigaNotoSaurus banner, and it was Nikki who I turned to when I wanted some Emanations. So this time I went to Nikki and asked her to please make me some cool art to go on the back of some postcards.

If you came to one of my signings, you’ll have gotten (or been able to get) a vestige of the occasion with the first image here, but there are two others! And Nikki says y’all can use these for stuff–make things with them if you want! Do please try to credit Nikki if you can, though.

Also by the time I get home I should have actual postcards of all three images, so if you want one go ahead and send me a SASE (that a regular sized postcard will fit in) and I’ll send you one! Wait till some time next week, though, because I won’t be good for much till then. The address is on my Contact page.

Anyway, here’s the art! None of it is spoilers, really, though none of it makes much sense until you’ve read the book.

So, here I am in St Louis and if you saw yesterday’s blog post you might have noticed there are no St Louis dates on the tour.

BUT.

Thanks to Left Bank Books, there’ll be an event in the Central West End called BookFest St. Louis. There will be lots of writers there, and the vast majority of panels and whatnot are free! (I think there are, like, two exceptions.)

There’s going to be a Science Fiction panel at 5pm on Saturday, September 23, with Charlie Jane Anders, Annalee Newitz, Mark Tiedemann….and me!

If you are in St Louis this weekend, come to BookFest! Left Bank Books is a lovely store with a very nice SF section and worth visiting on its own, but just look at all the folks who are going to be here! Do come to the CWE this weekend if you can!

So, starting next week I’ll be traveling! And here’s where I’ll be:

Tuesday September 26

Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA at 7 PM
(With Spencer Ellsworth, author of A Red Peace)
17171 Bothell Way NE, #A101
Lake Forest Park WA 98155


Wednesday September 27

Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA at 7:30 PM
5943 Balboa Ave. Suite #100
San Diego, CA 92111
858.268.4747


Thursday September 28

Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA at 7 PM
1520 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-423-0900


Friday September 29

Borderlands Books, San Francisco, CA at 6 PM
866 Valencia St.
San Francisco CA 94110
415.824.8203


Saturday September 30

Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO at 7 PM
2526 East Colfax Avenue
Denver CO 80206
303-322-7727


Sunday October 1

BookPeople, Austin TX at 5pm
603 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
512-472-5050


Monday October 2

Uncle Hugo’s, Minneapolis MN at 4pm.
2864 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407


Tuesday October 3

A Room of One’s Own, Madison WI at 6pm
315 W. Gorham St.
Madison, WI 53703
608.257.7888


Wednesday October 4

Joseph-Beth, Lexington KY at 7pm
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
161 Lexington Green Circle
Lexington, KY 40503
(859) 273-2911


Thursday October 5

Pandemonium Books and Games at 7pm
4 Pleasant Street
Cambridge MA 02139
Phone: 617-547-3721


Saturday October 7

New York ComicCon

Autographing at 4:00 (Autographing Table 24)
The New Classics of SF (With N.K. Jemisin) in 1A18 at 5:15


I’m looking forward to seeing everyone! Come say hi if you can!

Hey, Provenance is officially out and for sale less than two weeks from now! I don’t know about you, but I’m excited!

And I’m starting to get folks asking me how they can buy the book in a way that will be of most benefit to me. And just like last time, when Ancillary Mercy came out, the answer is “whatever way works best for you.” Seriously. It’s all good, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ll be posting details of my various tour stops soon–I’m looking forward to seeing everyone!

Some books I’ve recently read and enjoyed! As always, none of this comes close to anything like a review, because reviewing isn’t a thing I’m good at.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Dr. Greta Helsing (yes, she’s related) specializes in treating London’s supernatural denizens–people whose safety might be at risk if most Londoners knew they existed, and who might not get any sort of healthcare otherwise. It’s not going to make her rich, and it’s difficult enough with her small practice to care for vampires, mummies, ghouls, and…other sorts of creatures, without someone going around trying to kill her patients.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, and am looking forward to the next installment. You can read the first chapter here.

Ack Ack Macaque by Gareth Powell

It took me way too long to read this, but that gives you some idea of how out of control my TBR stack is. Back in 2014 I was absolutely tickled when Ack Ack Macaque tied with Ancillary Justice for the Best Novel BSFA, and I was really glad to be able to meet Gareth in person at Worldcon later that year. Now I’ve finally read this! It was a lot of fun. In the wake of WW2, France and Britain have unified–look, just go with it, ok?–and a hundred years later there are nuclear powered airships, and actual monkey Ack Ack Macaque is the central character of an amazingly popular online multiplayer game. In the non-game real world, murders and skulduggery are happening and the very survival of everyone on Earth is at stake. This book is great fun, a quick, compelling read. I’m putting the sequels on my ever-growing TBR pile.

The Course of Honour by Avoliot

Okay, this one is kind of a bonus. As in, it’s free! You can click that link and find the Download button (up there in the righthand corner) and nab a copy in your favorite ebook format. Or, you know, you can read a chapter right here on your screen, and then click on to the next at whatever pace.

I want to thank Liz Bourke for tweeting about this, because I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’ve said before that I’m not much for category romance (though I do enjoy them now and again), but the fact is I’m a sucker for a good Arranged Marriage/Fake Marriage plot. And this was a good one! Jainan was married to Prince Taam of Iskat–a marriage arranged for political reasons, and when Taam suddenly dies [ahem] accidentally, the Emperor of Iskat declares that party-loving Prince Kiem will step up. And…look, I’ll just paste in the “additional tags” here, so you’ll see what you’re getting into:

Romance, Slow Burn, Arranged Marriage, Pining, past abusive relationship, space princes, Court Politics, Emotional Hurt/Comfort

Space princes. I mean. Seriously. Give it a look, and maybe leave some kudos if you like it.

So, Provenance will be out in a bit more than a month! I can’t wait for folks to read it, honestly.

Not long ago, you had a chance to read the opening, oh I’d say half first chapter, for free online. And maybe that just whetted your appetite and now you have to wait until nearly the end of September for the rest?

Well, if you sign up for my newsletter, you can get all of Chapter 1, plus chapters 2 and 3! You might see a black banner across the top of my website asking you to sign up for the newsletter, with a text box for entering your email. You can use that, or if you’ve dismissed that click this link to go to a form you can fill out–a text box for your email, and then under that are checkboxes for which newsletters you’re signing up for. You want to check the “Ann Leckie” one, and you might or might not want to check any of the others, depending, but it’s the Ann Leckie one that will get you the chapters.

Here’s the deal–I hardly ever use my newsletter so I guarantee you won’t be spammed. What it does get used for is things like this. And for announcements of upcoming publications and such. Folks who are already signed up probably already have the chapters in their inboxes. If you aren’t signed up yet, you’ll get the chapters when you do. So, if you want to read the first three chapters early, there you go!