This week, Lise was busting her butt to get one of her cosplays gussied up so it could be entered into a competition. Andi and Lise will be back with their regularly scheduled shenanigans next time!
Andi and Lise were joined by author KD Williamson to talk about lesbian fiction aka “lesfic.” Why does it seem to be predominantly defined by storylines that feature romance — F/F — that usually involve sexual consummation, whether it’s fade to black or depicted as part of the storyline? Why aren’t there other genres represented as much as romance under the lesfic umbrella? After all, being LGBTQ+ involves a lot more than romance and sex. Andi, Lise, and KD ponder.
Shout-outs: Lise is not pleased about this, but getting it done will be great – fixing up the bathroom! For her part, KD has been doing some of her gaming. She’s got Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla on the Xbox and Ni no Kuni on the Nintendo Switch AND the PS5! Meanwhile, Andi sucked it up and just bought a PS4. The first 3 games she got are Uncharted: Lost Legacy, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Wolfenstein II: New Colossus.
This week, Andi and Lise lose their minds in every good way over two novellas by Nghi Vo: “The Empress of Salt and Fortune” and “When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain,” both of which are part of Vo’s “Singing Hills Cycle” series. Fantasy, multilayered, stories within stories, superlative world-building, queer and nonbinary characters, gorgeously told. The two include nonbinary cleric Chih, who is out collecting stories across an empire for archives and embedded in those stories – in the mundane – are much deeper meanings. Talking animals, ghostly elements, exquisite details.
Nghi Vo’s website
Shout-outs: Both Lise and Andi seemed to have shared a brain this session, as both shouted out jigsaw puzzles! That is, the ol’ skool pieces-in-a-box puzzles. Relaxing, working with our hands, watching an image come to life on a table. They bring us calm.
Andi and Lise just can’t get enough of this theme, and they had another discussion about how these themes play out in various elements of popular culture, how the visual elements produce certain feelings, and the role of the environment and corporations run amuck. Some of the movies and TV shows that came up were Anna and the Apocalypse, Bladerunner 1982 and 2049, Shaun of the Dead, Firefly, Star Wars series, Terminator, Divergent, Hunger Games, Demolition Man, Zombieland one and two, Fury Road, The Stand (1994 and forthcoming updater), and Resident Evil.
Lise has been playing Civilization 6 on the Xbox, and she’s finding it kind of relaxing in these times while Andi finally began watching teen noir series Veronica Mars (who’s a high school detective!) and she’s already binged two seasons.
This week, Andi and Lise talk about various media they’ve consumed with dystopic, utopic, and post-apocalyptic themes that have stuck with them. They explore the weird links between dystopia and utopia and how an apocalypse can underlie those, and how characterization and relationships play out in these kinds of scenarios. Points of discussion include the games Bioshock, Fallout, and The Last of Us; the movie Logan’s Run and A Clockwork Orange, The Island; brief mentions of The Matrix, Star Trek, The Handmaid’s Tale, Hunger Games, Bladerunner; and Jean Stewart’s Isis book series. Plus other rando things that struck them as they unpack some of this.
Lise highly recommends the book The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson, which is a novel dealing with travel between worlds that reveals a secret that threatens the entire existence of the multiverse.
Andi is watching, on Apple TV, Visible: Out on Television, a docuseries that explores the visibility of LGBTQ people on television since the 50s and 60s.
Warning: this week’s discussion will include the subjects of transphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-LGBTQ sentiment, and sexual assault.
This week, Andi and Lise were joined by Tara Scott, book reviewer extraordinaire (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and The Lesbian Review), to discuss writers whose work they may still admire but who they have stopped supporting because of said writers’ personal views made public and/or actions. There are no easy answers, and everyone who consumes content should make their own decisions on whether to support that content or not. Here, the LGO crew grapple with what that means in their own consumption habits, and grapple, too, with what it means to find out one of your faves has said or done something that goes against their own personal views and/or that has potentially harmed others.
Andi and Lise greatly admire Jacqueline Koyanagi’s novel Ascension, an excellent space opera with elements of magic and mystic-ness layered in. Great diverse cast of characters; queer WOC main character who also deals with a chronic illness; fabulous world-building. This one stays with you in many different ways.
“Alana Quick is the best damned sky surgeon in Heliodor City, but repairing starship engines barely pays the bills. When the desperate crew of a cargo vessel stops by her shipyard looking for her spiritually-advanced sister Nova, Alana stows away. Maybe her boldness will land her a long-term gig on the crew. But the Tangled Axon proves to be more than star-watching and plasma coils. …” –from Amazon book description
Lise’s shout-out: super see-krit new project she’s working on but she’s not sharing it yet! Plus, finishing up via Netflix the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
This week, Andi and Lise talk writing (since they’re writers and all). Specifically, the pitfalls and fun stuff in writing series. Both have series they’ve written or are writing and they break down some of the things they think about or have thought about as they’re writing different kinds of series in different genres. Like, you know, character continuity, plot arcs, world-building, other stuff…like that.
Lise recommends the animated series Gravity Falls, available on Disney Plus (and also Hulu) while Andi binged Picard, on CBS All Access. Find info about Lise’s series at her website, lisemactague.com. Find out more about Andi’s at andimarquette.com.
Andi and Lise dig into multiple Hugo-winner N.K. Jemisin’s amazing and multi-layered The Fifth Season (2015), the first in The Broken Earth trilogy. Andi and Lise talk about Jemisin’s use of point-of-view for different characters, how their stories interweave with the world-building, and the world-building itself, which they found utterly engrossing and brilliantly presented.
Synopsis, from the site Deadline:
The Fifth Season is described as an epic drama set in a world where civilization-destroying earthquakes occur with deadly regularity. A small minority of inhabitants has the ability to quiet these earthquakes, but they also can cause them. The series follows three women, each of whom possesses these special, Earth-controlling abilities: Damaya, a young girl training to serve the Empire; Syenite, an ambitious young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor; and Essun, a mother searching for the husband who murdered her young son and kidnapped her daughter mere hours after a Season tore a fiery rift across the land.
Info about N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy
NPR: “’Fifth Season‘ Embraces The Scale And Complexity Of Fantasy”
Deadline: “N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Fifth Season’ Book to be Developed as TV Series at TNT”
Info about N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy
GQ: “N.K. Jemisin Is Trying to Keep the World from Ending”
This week Andi geeked out about the CW’s Nancy Drew, and the Eddie Flynn series of novels by Steve Cavanaugh. She had to do two because Lise has been too busy editing her new manuscript to geek out properly.
“Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.” –Simon and Schuster
Roanhorse builds a post-apocalyptic world in what was the American Southwest, populated largely by Indigenous people. In this world of Dinétah, resources are in short supply, and myth and mythical beings roam freely among the humans.
Verge: “Trail of Lightning is a breathtaking Native American urban fantasy adventure”
Locus: “Rebecca Roanhorse: From Legend to Fantasy”
Lightspeed: Interview with Rebecca Roanhorse
Indian Country Today: “Trail of Lightning is an appropriation of Diné cultural beliefs”