Episode 52: Interview with Kameron Hurley

Andi and Lise lost their sh*t when award-winning sci fi/fantasy writer Kameron Hurley agreed to chat with them about writing and her very latest release, which just dropped March 19, The Light Brigade.

Hurley’s website bio states she’s a writer “specializing in war and resistance movements,” but she’s also known as one of the most important voices in the field engaging in intense world-building and explorations of gender, sexuality, and politics. You may know her for her essay collection Geek Feminist Revolution, which included the Hugo-winning essay “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle, and Slaves’ Narrative.” She is the author of the fantasy series the Worldbreaker Saga; the Bel Dame Apocrypha (God’s War Trilogy), and the space opera The Stars Are Legion (which Andi and Lise raved about in episode 19).

On this episode of LGO, Hurley dished about writing, her own process (upshot: writing is hard!!!!), her work, and specifically about The Light Brigade, which has been described by a reviewer as a cross between Starship Troopers and Edge of Tomorrow. Another reviewer described it as a “time-twisting, genre-redefining military science fiction novel.”

Thank you, Kameron, for joining us!

Find Kameron:
Website
Patreon
Twitter (@KameronHurley)
Podcast
Etsy

Episode 51: A Trip down Memory Lane, Part 1

Andi and Lise chat about the formative books, movies, and TV shows that kickstarted their geek sides and why these particular media were so important to their development as geeks and writers and why representation matters in media.

Interested in what helped shape their geekdoms? Here are a few of the things that came up:

Books: the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs; J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and associated books; Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series (disclaimer: Andi and Lise both stopped reading MZB after they became aware of the terrible); Terry Brooks’ Shannara series; Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall and Dragonriders series; Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series; Ursula K. Leguin’s Earthsea trilogy

Movies: Star Trek; Star Wars; Goonies; Godzilla/monster movies

TV: Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter); Bionic Woman; Star Trek (original, Next Generation, Voyager); X-Files

Episode 48: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Lise and Andi rave about (and discuss) the first book in the Wayfarer series by sci fi author Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (2015). 

Human Rosemary is running from her past, and lands a job on the Wayfarer, a wormhole-punching ship whose crew is made up of a variety of sentient beings (some humanoid, some not), and the ship’s AI stitched together into a family of sorts and working toward common goals. The crew lands a major contract for a wormhole job, but the job comes with some risks. This is the crew’s journey to that job, told through 9 different POVs of the crew members.  

It’s a fabulously-wrought road trip space opera with gorgeous world-building expressed through Chambers’ characters and their interpersonal relationships and cultural and historical backgrounds, which reveal themselves in layers. The characters that populate this beautifully written journey make this debut unforgettable and Andi and Lise are pretty sure that when you read it, you’ll immediately read the next two books in the series and then read the whole thing again. 

Find Becky Chambers at her website. 
Read an interview with her at CulturedVultures. 
Find out more about The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet at io9 and the Tor.com blog. 

Plus, Lise geeks out about the lesfic novel Ask Me Again, by E.J. Noyes, while Andi talks about the show that kept her going through her recent bout of illness: Legacies.

Episode 44: NaNoWriMo

Andi and Lise discuss the annual giant writing event, NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, in which participants hammer out a short novel of 50,000 words over the course of November. They tell you what it is, how it works, what some strategies might be to help you approach your NaNo writing project, offer their own experiences doing it, and remind you not to freak out.

If you’re a novice writer, NaNo is a great way to see what the professional writing life is like, because it requires you to write every day if you want to hit that 50,000-word mark by the end of the month. It also provides structure and a writing community, which is really valuable because you need critique to help you grow as a writer.

There other types of writing events, too:

Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo)

National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo)

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo)

And this week, Lise recommends the medical mystery/weirdness podcast Sawbones while Andi implores people to please watch the CW series Legends of Tomorrow.

Episode 36: Dread Nation

Andi and Lise RAVE about the book Dread Nation by author Justina Ireland, which is billed as YA but really, EVERYBODY should read it. It’s an amazingly evocative tale of American race relations set against the backdrop of the Civil War but with a twist—zombies. Or, in the parlance of the times, “shamblers.”

From the book description:

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

The book deals with race, racial hierarchies as defined by skin color, and how a zombie apocalypse didn’t re-align race relations, but rather simply grafted them onto a new backdrop. The protagonist (Jane) is amazing and the story is well-crafted and you’re swept up in it immediately. READ THIS BOOK.

Justina Ireland’s website

Dread Nation is published by Balzar + Bray (imprint of HarperCollins)

Here’s the Amazon link

Episode 24: Phasma (Star Wars)

Lise and Andi geek out over Delilah Dawson’s novel Phasma set in the Star Wars universe. Just released in September through Penguin/Random House, Phasma provides a story of the enigmatic and imposing Captain Phasma, a leader in The First Order (another Star Wars evil empire). From the recent movies, she’s the one dressed in a shiny chrome Stormtrooper outfit who trains First Order recruits.

Dawson’s book provides glimpses of Phasma through two separate parties, which manages to further enhance Phasma’s mystique because it obscures her motivations since we’re not getting the story directly from here, but rather through a second and third party, both of whom have their own narrative arcs. It’s a cleverly layered, intricate story that only makes us more intrigued about Phasma (and there totally needs to be more of her in the movie ’verse! Hint hint Star Wars movie people.).

Delilah Dawson’s website

To buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Episode 19: The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

Andi and Lise totally lose their minds over Hurley’s latest, The Stars are Legion, in which warring worlds are populated only by women in decaying organic world-ships all known as The Legion. The main character, Zan, wakes up to find most of her memories gone, but soon finds out that she is being perpetually sent out to board another world-ship and each time, she comes closer.

Andi and Lise were blown away by Hurley’s world-building – organic world-ships literally birthed by the women who inhabit them, and each with different levels/ecosystems all interrelated (omg the metaphors here!). The story is thus about Zan, who knows that she needs to board this other ship to save Jayd. Jayd, for her part, has her own agenda in bringing change into this warring, authoritarian context. The question is, can they do it and what precisely does “change” mean?

Synopsis:
Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying world-ships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution. As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion.

Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation – the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan’s new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan finds that she must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion’s gravity well to the very belly of the world.

Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion’s destruction – and its possible salvation. But can she and her ragtag band of followers survive the horrors of the Legion and its people long enough to deliver it?

In the tradition of The Fall of Hyperion and Dune, The Stars Are Legion is an epic and thrilling tale about tragic love, revenge, and war as imagined by one of the genre’s most celebrated new writers.

Get it on Amazon

Links:
Kameron Hurley’s website

The Stars are Legion info and buy links

Annalee Newitz thoughts on TSAL at Ars Technica

Andrew Liptak thoughts on TSAL at Verge

Episode 10: Interview with Gail Carriger

Andi had a long chat with steampunk author Gail Carriger, writer of multiple award-winning steampunkish genre fiction that melds not only steampunk, but paranormal, urban fantasy, comedy and dashes of romance. If you’re not familiar with her work, start with Book 1 of her first series (the Parasol Protectorate), titled Soulless. The protagonist is Alexia Tarabotti, a woman of some means in alt-Victorian England who is also a preternatural – she negates supernatural powers because she has no soul. Hence, “Soulless.” She is thus capable of temporarily rendering vampires and werewolves non-supernatural.

Carriger is also an aficionado of all things steampunkish and, in particular, the Victorian era.

She is currently writing another series that is a spinoff of the Parasol Protectorate, The Custard Protocol, and she is writing a series of novellas that feature as main characters her LGBTQ characters from the Protectorate/Protocol world. The first, Romancing the Inventor, features lesbian character Madame LeFoux (and you can see an interview about that Andi did at Women and Words).

Find Gail at the following places:
Website
Pinterest
Twitter (@gailcarriger)
Facebook
AND catch her Retro Rack Fashion Blog

Synopsis of Soulless:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced! Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Get This Book on
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