Continuing the monthly summaries of what I’ve been reading and writing.
To keep my numbers consistent with what I have listed on Goodreads, I count completed magazine issues and stand-alone short stories in e-book format as “books.” I read or listened to 11 books in September: 10 in print, 1 in e-book format, and 0 in audio. They were:
1. Lightspeed Magazine #112 (September 2019 issue), edited by John Joseph Adams. The usual fine assortment of sf and fantasy short stories. This month’s favorites for me were Rajan Khanna’s “All In,” Seanan McGuire’s “Hello, Hello,” and Kiina Ibura Salaam’s “Desire.”
2. Beyond the Farthest Star by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I grabbed this off of my bookshelf when I realized that it was ERB’s birthday, mostly because it was the shortest ERB book on my shelf. It’s comprised of two novellas about the adventures of “Tangar,” an Earth human transported to a planet much further away than Burroughs’ more well-known star-faring heroes John Carter (of Mars) and Carson Napier (of Venus). There’s a ton of wonderful world-building that left me wanting more of the main character, his friends, and the planet they’re on.
3. The Dreaming Volume 1: Pathways and Emanations by Simon Spurrier, Bilquis Everly, and others. Part of DC’s “Sandman Universe” relaunch. I was happy to see old favorite Sandman characters return (Lucien, Jack Pumpkinhead, Cain, Abel, Eve, Matthew, even Brute and Glob), and was even happier to see the return of one of DC’s horror anthology hosts from the 70s who didn’t make it into Gaiman’s run (I won’t spoil the surprise). I’m intrigued by the new characters added to the mix, but am not sure I’m happy with the way Daniel, the current Dream, is handled. Still, I’ll read the next trade collection.
4. The Unkindest Tide (October Daye #13), by Seanan McGuire. The latest Toby Daye book takes October into uncomfortable and unfamiliar waters – literally, as all but the opening chapters take place in a floating fairy Knowe in the Summerlands version of the Pacific Ocean. Toby still has most of her support group with her, but none of them can really help her fulfill the destiny her mother and older sister both avoided, helping the Ludiaeg end the existence of the Selkies. Lots of great twists and turns.
5. Midnighter and Apollo by Steve Orlando, Fernando Blanco, Romulo Fajardo and others. I really enjoyed this look at Midnighter and Apollo’s relationship, and how far they’ll each go to save or protect the other. (Someday, I really should go back and read all of their earlier appearances.) Also loved Orlando’s use of rarely-seen gay DC Comics characters Extrano and the Tasmanian Devil.
6. Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I’m very late in coming to Moreno-Garcia’s earliest novel, and it blew me away. Magic through Music in Mexico City, juxtaposing the characters’ teen years with their present-day circumstances. I really don’t understand how Netflix hasn’t snapped this up as a mini-series.
7. At The Bay by Katherine Mansfield. An interesting character study of a group of women at a seaside resort for the summer. Full Review Here.
8. The Ebon Jackal (Folley & Mallory #6) by E. Catherine Tobler. I was sad to see this series come to an end with this installment. I’ve grown to really love Elaine Folley, Virgil Mallory and their companions, and the intrigue of exactly what Anubis has been manipulating them towards over the course of these books. In the final installment, Tobler alternates the stories of Folley, her time-traveling mother, and time-traveling grandmother, to reveal all.
9. Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus. The October offering is a disturbing look into the mind of several potential mass murderers. Full Review Here.
10. The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez. A really fantastic short story collection from the author of Sal & Gabi Break the Universe. Combining hard science, Cuban mythology, a bit of fantasy and even a crime story. Hernandez’ wit and wordplay shine in every story. Full Review Coming.
11. The Storm Runner (The Storm Runner #1) by J.C. Cervantes. Another #ownvoices entry under the Rick Riordan Presents banner. It took a while for me to connect with the main character and his situation, but the second half of the book really takes off. I’m not as familiar with Mayan mythology as I am with Greek, Roman, Celtic, and Norse, and still felt like I understood the interactions and the background. (Also, made me want to seek out books of North, Central and South American native mythologies.)
I have a goal of reading 365 short stories (1 per day, essentially, although it doesn’t always work out that way) each year. Here’s what I read this month and where you can find them if you’re interested in reading them too. If no source is noted, the story is from the same magazine or book as the story(ies) that precede(s) it:
1. “Exile From Extinction” by Ramez Naam, from Lightspeed Magazine #112 (September 2019 issue), edited by John Joseph Adams.
2. “Sacrid’s Pod” by Adam-Troy Castro
3. “Hello, Hello” by Seanan McGuire
4. “The Answers That You Are Seeking” by Jenny Rae Rappaport
5. “A Bird, A Song, A Revolution” by Brooke Bolander
6. “Flight of the Crowboys” by Micah Dean Hicks
7. “All In” by Rajan Khanna
8. “Desire” by Kinii Ibura Salaam
9. “Come Marching In” by Seanan McGuire, on the author’s Patreon page.
10. “Adventure on Poloda” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, from Beyond the Farthest Star.
11. “Tangor Returns” by Edgar Rice Burroughs
12. “Hope Is Swift” by Seanan McGuire, new novella at the end of her novel The Unkindest Tide.
13. “The Aphotic Ghost” by Carlos Hernandez, from The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria.
14. “Homeostasis” by Carlos Hernandez
15. “Entanglements” by Carlos Hernandez
16. “The International Studbook of the Giant Panda” by Carlos Hernandez
17. “Los Simpáticos” by Carlos Hernandez
18. “More Than Pigs and Rosaries Can Give” by Carlos Hernandez
19. “Bone of My Bone” by Carlos Hernandez
20. “The Magical Properties of Unicorn Ivory” by Carlos Hernandez
21. “American Moat” by Carlos Hernandez
22. “Fantaisie Impromptu No. 4 in C#min, Op. 66” by Carlos Hernandez
23. “The Assimiliated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria” by Carlos Hernandez
24. “Brigid Was Hung By Her Hair From The Second Story Window” by Gillian Daniels, from The Dark #52, edited by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
25. “Our Towns Talents” by Simon Stranzas
26. “The Ways of Walls and Words” by Sabrina Vourvoulias, read by Ezzy G. Languzzi and Isabel Schechter, on the Cast of Wonders podcast, September 27, 2019
So that’s 26 short stories in September, keeping me way ahead for the year so far. (September 30th was the 273rd day of 2019.)
Summary of Reading Challenges:
“To Be Read” Challenge: This month: 0 read; YTD: 3 of 14 read.
365 Short Stories Challenge: This month: 26 read; YTD: 348 of 365 read.
Graphic Novels Challenge: This month: 2 read; YTD: 23 of 52 read.
Goodreads Challenge: This month: 11 read; YTD: 103 of 125 read.
Non-Fiction Challenge: This month: 0; YTD: 5 of 24 read.
Read the Book / Watch the Movie Challenge: This month: 0; YTD: 0 of 10 read/watched.
Complete the Series Challenge: This month: 0 books read; YTD: 0 of 16 read.
Series fully completed: 0 of 3 planned
Monthly Special Challenge: I may not do something like this every month but September was Hispanic Heritage Month, so I set a goal to read as much stuff by Hispanic/Latinx authors as possible. It didn’t end up being as much as I wanted to read, in fact not even a majority of what I read for the month, but I did read books by Carlos Hernandez, J.C. Cervantes, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, plus two stories edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and a graphic novel that had art by two Hispanic creators.
October’s mini-goal of course is: Horror, Horror, Horror! Because Halloween!(October is also apparently German-American Heritage Month, Polish-American Heritage Month, and Italian-American Heritage Month. So I may try to read at least one book by someone from each of those backgrounds. That would be a mini-mini-goal!)