This week, Andi and Lise chat with F/F fic reviewer extraordinaire Tara Scott, whose reviews you can find at The Lesbian Review, Lambda Literary and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. She also hosts the podcast Les Do Books at the Lesbian Talk Show. We talk a bit of history of F/F fiction, found out what she’s reading and way into these days, and also what she sees as emerging trends in F/F fiction.
Authors who write butch characters well: KD Williamson, Jenny Frame, Nell Stark, Rachel Spangler, Brenda Murphy
Other authors who came up: Radclyffe, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Kat Sebastian, Meghan O’Brien
The LGO crew and Tara also recommend Heather Rose Jones’ podcast, The Lesbian Historic Motif, so if you’re looking to write some F/F historical fiction, check it out.
Lise’s shout-out this week was to Hugo-winning N.K. Jemisn’s collection of short stories, How Long ‘til Black Future Month? Tara’s is for looking forward to reading Tara Muir’s Gideon the 9th, which Andi and Lise love, and Andi’s shout-out is to the fact that she’s currently creating a character for a little DnD!
Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all gods’ creatures for profit. It’s also a darkly comedic fantasy series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Hobbit Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!
Rat Queens is also full of diverse characters (primary and secondary), kickass women, and LGBTQ rep (it won a GLAAD award), including Betty, one of the queens. Great world-building, awesome characterization, strong writing, explorations of relationships and past baggage – Rat Queens is the shizzle. Give this comic a read and re-read!
Shout-outs: Lise recommends Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s books, which are a time traveling historians saga (and Andi will be running out to read) that Taylor insists you NOT call time travel because it’s “about a bunch of disaster-prone historians who investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And Andi is just about done with Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth (Lise’s recommendation), which is mind-blowing and so much awesome – lesbian necromancers who also do some space travel. I mean. Why would you not want to read that? Also, Andi wants a poster of the cover.
Andi and Lise each read a book and then talked about it. The cool part is, they didn’t tell each other which book they decided to read, so it was happy fun discovery time!
Lise read Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth (2019), which is, basically, lesbian necromancers in a gothic space palace with swordplay and intrigue and why the hell wouldn’t you want to read this awesome-ness? Gideon, the MC, is trying to escape a life of paranormal servitude but her childhood nemesis won’t let her leave without yet another service. And that nemesis is the powerful daughter of the 9th House, and in order to succeed in the emperor’s contest of wits and skills, Harrowhark needs her cavalier—Gideon on and her sword. Lise raved about the world-building, characterization, and Muir’s writing style.
Andi read April Daniels’ Dreadnought (Nemesis Book One; 2017), an emotional roller-coaster of a ride starring teen Danny Tozer, who inherits the powers of superhero Dreadnought. In the transfer, the inheritor becomes their true self, and Danny is at last the young woman she has always known she’s been. But she has to deal with her unaccepting parents, coming out at school, figuring out where she fits in the league of superheroes, how her powers work and, on top of all that, the supervillain who murdered the previous Dreadnought. Andi loved the dialogue, the pacing, adventure, and yes, even the gut-wrenching turmoil Danny had to face.
Lise’s shout-out was for the TV series The Good Place, in which a woman ends up in a heaven-like utopia afterlife by mistake, but she then works to change her ways so she can stay. You can catch earlier seasons on Netflix.
Andi and Lise FINALLY got to talk about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse because Lise put off seeing it until recently and then, as Andi suspected, it blew her mind.
Into the Spider-Verse is an animated origin story about Miles Morales, a teen who is, of course, bitten by a radioactive spider and is faced with taking on the mantle of Spider-Man in the wake of his universe’s loss of the previous Spider-Man. He also has to deal with villain Kingpin’s manipulation of the multiverse, which results in several incarnations of Spider-Man (that include two women) entering Miles’ universe. It’s an origin story and a story about found family and mentorship set against ground-breaking animation that includes fabulous characterization, dialogue, humor, anxiety, and sadness. It’s pretty much everything you want in a film, and both Andi and Lise highly recommend it. Good for all ages (but if you have trouble with animation and flashing lights because of a medical condition, maybe check the trailer first).
Andi and Lise get a little personal and talk shop about their respective writing processes. Both write spec fic, though Andi also writes romance and mysteries, and those genres take a different approach. They discuss how they approach different projects, what kind of preparation they do, multitasking different projects or not, outlines or not, and tools of the trade. They also talk about how writing influences how they watch, read, and analyze other creators’ work.
Notebooks (as in actual paper!) both use for project notes/character sketches/plots/timelines: Moleskine Link to a bunch of different notebooks (Andi uses several different kinds, usually plain-covered or something with a skull on the cover…lol)
Andi and Lise both recommend doing NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month, which is every November. 50,000 words in a month is what NNWM is about. Try it! Great community, great fun! NaNoWriMo
Andi and Lise fangirl over season 2 of She-Ra: Princesses of Power, which is sadly only 7 episodes but they love it anyway, especially the way the characters interact and how they deal with very human problems as they’re caught up in bigger issues. In this season, there’s a bit of an impasse between the princesses and the Horde, though Catra is trying to prove she can take over the world while the Princess Alliance tries to work together to keep the world safe. S2 is more about characters and relationships, past and present, and adds a lot of depth to the storylines and character arcs.
You can watch Seasons 1, 2, and soon (August 2!) 3 on Netflix.
Also, Lise recommends the D&D podcast Spell Check, which is a group of YA authors playing…you guessed it. D&D! Find it on Soundcloud and all over the podverse.
Andi caught the latest Hayley Kioko video, starring Hayley and a group of friends as teenaged witches at private school. The song is “I Wish.”
And ClexaCon has opened registration for its April, 2020 event. Also, another queercon will be taking place in Tampa at the end of May, 2020. Find out more at QFX Events.
LGO morphs into the Kameron Hurley fan club as Lise and Andi dive into her latest book, The Light Brigade, a time travel military science fiction novel that explores themes of militarized capitalism, war, and connection through the eyes of grunt Dietz. Through tech that disassembles soldiers and sends them as beams of light into combat zones and reassembles them upon re-entry, Dietz realizes that she is experiencing the war between Earth and Mars differently than others: she’s jumping around its timeline, which gives her a unique and horrifying view of battles and comrades lost and gained. This is a uniquely layered, tightly-written story that stays with readers long after they finish the last page, as its themes resonate with contemporary issues.
Find more about Hugo-winning author Kameron Hurley at her website.
More information about The Light BrigadeHERE.
Synopsis and review of The Light Brigade at Publishers Weekly.
Andi and Lise talk with Kameron Hurley on episode 52 of the Lez Geek Out! podcast HERE.
Lez Geek Out! is a geek culture podcast that celebrates popular culture with an eye for the woman-loving-woman audience. It focuses mainly on work with lesbian/bi/women-loving-women themes/characters, but sometimes strays into territory where the subtext is strong, and the female characters are stronger.
The covers all forms of media are explored, be they books, movies, TV shows, graphic novels, web-comics, or anything else that fits the bill.