Andi and Lise talk about the writing life, and a bit about what’s involved if you decide to “go professional” with your writing. How does that change your creativity? What does it mean for you if you decide to go professional and get published? What do writers have to think about should they decide to go the publishing route? Andi and Lise address some of the misunderstandings about a writing life and career, and yes, some of the realities that they’ve dealt with in their own writing arcs.
Shout-outs: Lise has discovered the video game Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which is based in ancient Greece and is loving it. Andi is finishing up the first season of Star Trek: Discovery and wow! Twists and turns! Available on CBS and the apps that stream CBS.
Andi and Lise really, really enjoyed author Sarah Hollowell’s Locus-nominated YA fantasy, A Dark and Starless Forest (2021), which deals with a group of young women and girls, each with specific magical gifts, who are cloistered in a house near a mysterious forest, overseen by a man whose true motivations are suspect. Told from the POV of one of the young women, this is a wonderfully crafted novel that will definitely leave you thinking long after you’ve finished it the first time (and second…and third…). Highly recommend!
Shout-outs: Lise has been spending a lot of time with binoculars spying on her frog ponds from her back windows, watching tadpoles turn into polliwogs turn into froglets and finally, FROGS! Andi appreciates spying on nature, as she was doing the same with this year’s group of Canada goose goslings inhabiting a nearby river bank. Both Andi and Lise highly recommend checking out nature as you can.
Andi and Lise are finally talking about the first novella, All Systems Red, in The Murderbot Diaries series by multi-award winning author Martha Wells. Told from the point-of-view of Murderbot, an autonomous security droid who has liberated themself from the control of the overarching corporate company that manufactured them, Murderbot now goes on their assignments trying to fly under the radar and keep from being discovered as autonomous. Their latest assignment is a research team on a planet on which other research teams are being wiped out. Superb world-building, excellent characterization, and wrestling with big themes about autonomy and AI, this is a must-read.
Shout-outs: Lise watched the movie Turning Red, a Pixar offering available on Disney Plus. Set in Toronto’s Chinatown in 2002, the movie follows main character Mei Lee, a geeky 13-year-old Chinese Canadian girl who is dealing with all the issues that come with that age in addition to a family blessing/curse in which Mei Lee turns into a large red panda when she experiences intense emotions. Andi is working to broaden her mystery-reading to include more diverse authors and also shout-outs the NBC series (also streaming on Hulu) The Endgame, in which a Black female FBI agent faces off against an Eastern European female international arms dealer.
Andi and Lise rave about this tale of paranormal urban legend with backstory and personality, in which author Seanan McGuire world-builds a context for the folklore around the hitch-hiking prom ghost/girl in the diner ghost. Here, the ghost tells her own story in a non-linear narrative: how she died, the type of ghost she is, and “living” on the ghost roads, the world of the dead, haunted by a variety of spirits. One of which is the man who killed her. Tapping into the myth and legend of U.S. road culture, McGuire provides a beautifully written gripping story about Rose Marshall, the subject of urban and road paranormal legend. Even the dead have things to fear.
Shout-outs: Lise really enjoyed the first season of Only Murders in the Building, available on Hulu. Here, New York Upper West Side neighbors bond over a shared love of true crime, and set out to solve the mystery of a resident’s death in the same building. Andi watched the Lifetime premiere of the F/F holiday film Under the Christmas Tree, and really enjoyed its fluffy goodness (a queer holiday film where there’s no angst over being queer!).
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
Andi and Lise have been working on expanding and decolonizing their media consumption, seeking out more creators of color and more creators who are differently abled, neurodiverse, and from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds than they are. They each share some of that media in this episode.
Andi: Ascension, by Jacqueline Koyanagi
N.K. Jemisin, Far Sector comic series
Movie Black Panther, directed and written by Ryan Coogler
Website Black Girl Nerds (LOL Andi and Lise lost count and Andi did 4 instead of 5); NOTE: website was fine at recording time, but afterward, it appears to be undergoing some work. You can find BGN on Twitter and Instagram, too.
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.
“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.
Andi and Lise are getting ready for a new year of geeking out! They each chat about movies they’re looking forward to, books/authors they want to read and other geekly things. To that end, here are some things they’re looking forward to:
Movies: Wonder Woman 1984 (trailer)
Possibly the re-make of Dune, though both are a little more cautious of that. (trailer) No Time to Die (latest James Bond; trailer)
Andi is finally watching the animated series Star Wars: Rebels and she’s loving it; she’s also watching the latest season of Dr. Who (Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor); and will be continuing on with her usual series.
Lise is stoked to check out Cyberpunk 2077 (info).
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.
All forms of media are explored, be they books, movies, TV shows, graphic novels, web-comics, or anything else that fits the bill.