Continuing the monthly summaries of what I’ve been reading and writing. (This one’s a bit overdue!)
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 7 books in July: 2 in print, 5 in e-book format, and 0 in audio. They were:
1. Lightspeed Magazine #110 (July 2019 issue), edited by John Joseph Adams. The usual fine assortment of sf and fantasy short stories. This month’s favorites for me were Andrew Penn Romine’s “Miles and Miles and Miles,” Indrapramit Das’s “The Moon Is Not a Battlefield,” J. Anderson Coats’ “Mother Carey’s Table,” and Senaa Ahmad’s “Ahura Yazda, The Great Extraordinary.”
2. Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma. You would think that as an English major in college, I’d have read something, anything, by Willa Cather. But if I did, I don’t recall it at all (please forgive me, Professor Malcolm Marsden!). So I’m counting this as my first Cather work. I’d like to read more by her eventually. I found this one an interesting character study. Full Review HERE.
3. Sealed by Naomi Booth. An interesting combination of near-future environmental horror, graphic body horror, and a potentially unreliable narrator. Not for the easily squeamish, for sure. Full review appeared at Strange Horizons on August 30th. http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/reviews/sealed-by-naomi-booth/
4. Treasure Trail, by Morgan Brice. This is the first M/M urban fantasy/paranormal romance by Gail Z. Martin’s pen name that I have read, and it won’t be the last. This, the first in a new series, takes place in very haunted Cape May, NJ and introduces us to an antique shop owner with “the touch” (the ability to sense an object’s supernatural history) and a former cop turned rental property manager who sees ghosts. There’s also present- and past-day Mafia connections, because NJ.
5. A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods edited by Jennifer Brozek. A really fun anthology of Lovecraftian Young Adult stories. The stories hit all the requisite Lovecraft themes and monsters, but with settings mostly in the present day focusing on teens – and often, on teens seeing what the adults can’t or won’t see.
6. The Trans Space Octopus Congregation by Bogi Takács. Bogi’s newest short story collection, due out from Lethe Press in October, has a wonderful mix of science fiction and fantasy, including a few stories set in a shared future setting. Eir stories touch on many present day issues, including the immigrant, transgender, and “alternate sexuality” experiences. A great read.
7. The Triumph of the Spider-Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates. Not going to lie, this was a very difficult read for me. Long out of print and brought back by Hard Case Crime, this is a very disturbing look inside the head of a serial killer.
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. “The Null Space Conundrum” by Violet Allen, from Lightspeed Magazine #110 (July 2019 issue), edited by John Joseph Adams.
2. “The Mysteries” by Karen Lord
3. “Miles and Miles and Miles” by Andrew Penn Romine
4. “The Moon Is Not A Battlefield” by Indrapramit Das
5. “Mother Carey’s Table” by J. Anderson Coats
6. “Sand Castles” by Adam-Troy Castro
7. “Song Beneath the City” by Micah Dean Hicks
8. “Ahura Yazda, The Great Extraordinary” by Senaa Ahmad
9. “Face Your Furs” by Seanan McGuire, on the author’s Patreon page.
10. “The Good Girl” by Lucy Snyder, on the author’s Patreon page.
11. “Freak Corner” by John Rolfe Gardiner, from One Story #254, edited by Patrick Ryan
12. “The Story of O-Tei” by Lafcadio Hearn, from Oriental Ghost Stories, edited by David Stuart Davies
13. “Green Glass: A Love Story” by E. Lily Yu, from If This Goes On: The Science Fiction Future of Today’s Politics, edited by Cat Rambo
14. “The Last Adventure of Jack Laff: The Dayveil Gambit” by Steven Barnes
15. “King Harvest (Will Surely Come)” by Nisi Shawl
16. “Away Game” by Seanan McGuire, from A Secret Guide To Fighting Elder Gods, edited by Jennifer Brozek
17. “The Icarus Club” by Weston Ochse
18. “Stormy Monday” by Chesya Burke
19. “Pickman’s Daughter” by J.C. Koch
20. “Us and Ours” by Premee Mohamed
21. “The Art of Dreaming” by Josh Vogt
22. “Visions of the Dream Witch” by Lucy A. Snyder
23. “The Tall Ones” by Stephen Ross
24. “Just Imagine” by Tim Waggoner
25. “Holding Back” by Lisa Morton
26. “The Mouth of the Merrimack” by Douglas Wynne
27. “The Geometry of Dreams” by Wendy N. Wagner
28. “Being Emily-Claire” by Jonathan Maberry
29. “This Shall Serve As A Demarcation” by Bogi Takács, from The Trans Space Octopus Congregation, edited by Steve Berman
30. “Some Remarks on the Reproductive Strategies of the Common Octopus” by Bogi Takács
31. “A Superordinate Set of Principles” by Bogi Takács
32. “Forestspirit, Forestspirit” by Bogi Takács
33. “Given Sufficient Desperation” by Bogi Takács
34. “Changing Body Templates” by Bogi Takács
35. “For Your Optimal Hookboarding Experience” by Bogi Takács
36. “Increasing Police Visibility” by Bogi Takács
37. “Good People in a Small Space” by Bogi Takács
38. “Records of a More Personal Nature” by Bogi Takács
39. “This Secular Technology” by Bogi Takács
40. “Three Partitions” by Bogi Takács
41. “Unifications” by Bogi Takács
42. “The Size of A Barleycorn, Encased in Lead” by Bogi Takács
43. “To Rebalance the Body” by Bogi Takács
44. “Shovelware” by Bogi Takács
45. “The Oracle of DARPA” by Bogi Takács
46. “Toward the Luminous Towers” by Bogi Takács
47. “Wind-lashed Vehicles of Bone” by Bogi Takács
48. “The Need for Overwhelming Sensation” by Bogi Takács
49. “Spirit Forms of the Sea” by Bogi Takács
50. “All Talk of Common Sense” by Bogi Takács
51. “Standing on the Floodbanks” by Bogi Takács
So that’s 51 short stories in July, keeping me way ahead for the year so far. (July 30th was the 212th 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: 51 read; YTD: 291 of 365 read.
Graphic Novels Challenge: This month: 0 read; YTD: 17 of 52 read.
Goodreads Challenge: This month: 7 read; YTD: 78 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. Having checked several different websites, it seems like July is not a month that lends itself to any specific reading goal (it’s the National Month of several foods, though: National Baked Bean Month, Culinary Arts Month, Grilling Month, Horseradish Month, Hot Dog Month, Ice Cream Month, Blueberries Month, and Picnic Month!) So my mini-challenge to myself was to make July Series Month, to help me catch up on one of my year-long challenges (The “Complete the Series” Challenge).
Friends, I completely bombed this self-challenge. I brought two series on a three-week business trip (Seanan McGuire’s Velveteen series, and one of the two remaining books I need to read in Chinua Achebe’s Africa Trilogy) and read precisely none of them. (In fact, I discovered on the trip that I’d brought the wrong Achebe with me, so stopped reading….)
August’s monthly special challenge is/was in honor of PulpFest and FarmerCon, the annual overlapping conventions that celebrate the fiction of the Pulp magazine era and the work of author Philip Jose Farmer. Tune into my next post to see how I did with that!