a sad day

Apr. 24th, 2017 08:15 pm
such_heights: a hand cupping a candle (stock: candle)
[personal profile] such_heights
My dad passed away in his sleep last night, at the hospice where he's been receiving extraordinary palliative care for terminal cancer and resulting paralysis since late last year. He was 59.

I visited him a few times over the weekend. We ate dinner and watched Doctor Who as a family on Saturday night, and yesterday we sat and chatted and I held his hand and told him I loved him. I knew that might be the last time I saw him. These things do provide some comfort in an awful time.

My dad was a generous, hard working, and amazingly positive person and I know he touched a lot of people's lives. I'm so proud to be his daughter. He lived his life with tremendous gusto, creative spirit and an eclectic range of hobbies and interests. I've lost a parent, a mentor, and most of all a friend. I feel very lucky to know just how much he loved me and how he proud he was of me, as exemplified in the speech he gave at my wedding, which I have on video to keep forever.

Cassandra Rose Clarke

Apr. 23rd, 2017 03:05 pm
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Posted by Marshal Zeringue

Cassandra Rose Clarke's novels have been finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction.

Clarke's latest novel is Star's End.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:I’m a multi-reader, so here are the three

Nicole Helget

Apr. 22nd, 2017 12:05 am
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Posted by Marshal Zeringue

Nicole Helget is the multigenre author of The Summer of Ordinary Ways, The Turtle Catcher, Horse Camp, Stillwater, Wonder at the Edge of the World and The End of the Wild.

Recently I asked Helget about what she was reading. Her reply:I have a different book or reading device in every area of the house, in the car, and on the porch. Next to my bed, I keep Sarah Kendzior’s essay collection, The
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Posted by Cindy




Visit the Official Site
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Follow Claudia Gray on Twitter
 
Check out an infographic of the Defy the Stars universe.
What’s your place in the future? Take the quiz!
Read the first chapter on Entertainment Weekly!



Fantasy Book Critic is excited to offer you the chance to win a copy of the highly anticipated YA sci-fi novel Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray which was released April 4, 2017. Not only do you win a copy of this amazing book, but you will also win a prize pack that includes some wonderful ear studs and ear cuffs.

Before I give you an overview of the book and tell you how you can win this prize pack, I want to thank Little, Brown & Co. for partnering with us to offer you this giveaway. Without them, this giveaway wouldn't be possible! 



Summary of Defy the Stars:

Our worlds belong to us.

She's a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She's willing to risk anything--including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she's a rebel.

He's a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that's begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he's an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they're not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they're forced to question everything they'd been taught was true.

Learn more about Claudia Gray:
Claudia Gray is the author of the bestselling Evernight series, Fateful, the Spellcaster trilogy, and the Firebird trilogy. She is also the author of the young adult Star Wars novels Lost Stars and the forthcoming Bloodline. She has worked as a lawyer, a journalist, a disc jockey, and a particularly ineffective waitress. Her lifelong interests include old houses, classic movies, vintage style, and history. She lives in New Orleans.

**************************************************************************

GIVEAWAY RULES


1. This contest is open to the US.
2. Contest starts April 21, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. EST and ends April 30, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. EST. Entries after this time period will not be considered. 
3. Only one entry per person. 
4. To enter please send an email with the subject "DEFY THE STARS" to FBCgiveaway@gmail.com. Please include your name, email, and physical address you want the book sent to. 
5. One entry will be picked at random to win a copy. 
6. All entries will be deleted once a winner is picked and contacted.

Brian Staveley

Apr. 20th, 2017 12:05 am
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Posted by Marshal Zeringue

Brian Staveley is the author of the award-winning fantasy trilogy, The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. After teaching literature, philosophy, history, and religion for more than a decade, he began writing fiction. His first book, The Emperor’s Blades, won the David Gemmell Morningstar Award, the Reddit Stabby for best debut, and scored semi-finalist spots in the Goodreads Choice Awards in two

The importer has (mostly) caught up!

Apr. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Our content importer has mostly caught up with its backlog; almost everything that's still listed as being "in the queue" are jobs that were tried, failed once or more with a temporary failure, and are waiting to try again. (The importer tries a few times, at successively longer intervals, when it gets a failure it thinks might be temporary/might correct itself later on.) This means that new imports scheduled now should complete in hours (or even minutes), not the "several days" it's been taking.

If you tried to schedule a second import while the first one was still running, at any time in the past 10 days or so, you may have confused the poor thing. If you think your import should be finished by now and it isn't, and you're seeing "Aborted" on the Importer Status part of the Importer page, feel free to open a support request in the Importer category and we'll look into it for you. (It may take a little bit before you get a response; those of us who have the access to look into importer problems have been really busy for the past two weeks or so, and I at least need a few days to catch my breath a bit before diving back into the fray! But we'll do what we can.)

I hope all y'all are continuing to settle in well to your new home!

Nina Sankovitch

Apr. 18th, 2017 08:05 am
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Posted by Marshal Zeringue

Nina Sankovitch is the author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair and Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing. She was born in Evanston, Illinois, and is a graduate of Evanston Township High School, Tufts University, and Harvard Law School.

Sankovitch's new book is The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading.

G.M. Malliet

Apr. 17th, 2017 12:05 am
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Posted by Marshal Zeringue

G.M. Malliet is the author of the Max Tudor novels Wicked Autumn, A Fatal Winter, Pagan Spring, A Demon Summer, and The Haunted Season.

The latest book in the series is Devil's Breath.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Malliet's reply:I am a great re-reader of books. It takes a long time for any book to come to my attention but when it does and I love it, I will go back

DW 10x01 aka HI BILL HI ILU

Apr. 15th, 2017 10:03 pm
such_heights: the twelfth doctor post-regeneration (who: twelve [brand new])
[personal profile] such_heights
The blanketfort of squee is back again! A side note that while anyone coming back to the fold is wonderful and welcomed, comments like 'Bill is so much better than [other companion I didn't like]' are not in the spirit of the blanketfort.

spoilers! )

Mindy McGinnis

Apr. 15th, 2017 12:05 am
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Posted by Marshal Zeringue

Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning author and assistant teen librarian who lives in Ohio. She graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in English Literature and Religion, and sees nothing wrong with owning nine cats. Two dogs balance things out nicely.

Her latest novel is Given to the Sea.

Recently I asked McGinnis about what she was reading. Her reply:I read all over the place,
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_news
Hello, Dreamwidth! Goodness, this past week has been unexpectedly exciting, hasn't it? A warm Dreamwidth welcome to everyone who's just joining us: we're glad you're here, and we hope you're liking the new digs.

Before we get into all the things I have to cover, though: Given the reasons most people are citing for not wanting to agree to LiveJournal's new ToS, I'd like to take a moment and ask: if you're able to (and only if you're able!), please consider donating to the Russian LGBT Network/Российская ЛГБТ-сеть. They not only do excellent work across the Russian Federation, but are currently mobilizing to help evacuate LGBT people in Chechnya who are in danger of detention or death. (EDIT: If you're outside Russia, you can donate through All Out; the Russian LGBT Network website won't accept donations from outside Russia.)

To our friends in Russia who are LGBT and those who are against the mistreatment of anyone because of their sexual orientation: We stand with you. Please stay safe above all else, but if it would be safe for you to post that link, the LGBT Network is asking that as many people as possible publicly share the information that the LGBT Network is ready to help. (They also ask that you do not contact people in Chechnya directly to let them know, as there are reports the authorities are searching people's phones and computers for evidence of sexual orientation.)

The rest of this post is primarily to give y'all new folks a brief orientation (or as brief as I am ever capable of; no one has ever called me concise) to help you settle in, although I hope at least some of it will be useful (or at least interesting!) to those of you who have been with us for a while. Come with me as we discuss Dreamwidth's history, a bit of what (we think) makes us special, the answers to a few common questions about how we roll, and a few useful tips that may help you with the transition.


Dreamwidth 101! )

Whew! That was a lot to throw at y'all at once, I know. (Yes, I always am this longwinded. And I always use this many parentheses.) Everybody who's been here for a while: thank you for your patience as I got our new arrivals up to speed! We'll be back in a few weeks with a code push and a bunch of new features and fixes, so the next news post should be more broadly applicable.

In the meantime, let's have a welcome party in the comments:

* If you're looking for new people to subscribe to you, leave a comment with some basic info about your journal and what you tend to write about! Then everybody can browse around and meet each other. (There's also [community profile] 2017revival and [community profile] addme, both of which are unofficial but bustling lately; holler if you know of any more.)

* If you've been here for a while and have a favorite community that's active, drop a link and a brief description!

* If you're new or you've been here for a while, and you're looking for an active community on a particular topic, leave a comment with what you're looking for and people can recommend you some options. (We've done this a few times before, as "the great community rec-o-matic", and it's never a bad time for another round.)

* If you know of any scripts, resources, extensions, tools, or toys that will help someone make the move, get settled in, or customize their DW experience once they're here, drop a link and a description in the comments. (We can't be responsible for unofficial tools, scripts, extensions, etc, so use at your own risk, but I know there are a bunch of them floating around!)

Finally, a quick note on the importer queue: it's still going, I swear. The jobs finishing now are the ones that were scheduled around 48 hours ago, though, so we really appreciate how patient y'all are being!

As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check [site community profile] dw_maintenance and the Twitter status account. (We can't do support through Twitter, though! Open a support request instead. Me trying to fit into 140 characters is not a pretty sight.)

Comment notifications may be delayed for an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 5:30AM EDT (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about delayed notifications until at least two hours after that.

Keith Yatsuhashi

Apr. 13th, 2017 03:05 pm
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Posted by Marshal Zeringue

Keith Yatsuhasi is inspired equally by The Lord of the Rings and Toho’s Godzilla movies. He is Director of the US Department of Commerce Export Assistance Centre in Providence, Rhode Island. A long time ago, in a world far, far away, Yatsuhasi was a champion figure skater.

Kokoro is his new novel.

Recently I asked Yatsuhasi about what he was reading. His reply:I’m a binge reader; I go back

Circle of Life

Apr. 13th, 2017 05:51 am
[syndicated profile] monbiot_feed

Posted by monbiot

By reframing the economy, Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics changes our view of who we are and where we stand.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 12th April 2017

So what are we going to do about it? This is the only question worth asking. But the answers appear elusive. Faced with a multifaceted crisis  – the capture of governments by billionaires and their lobbyists, extreme inequality, the rise of demagogues, above all the collapse of the living world – those to whom we look for leadership appear stunned, voiceless, clueless. Even if they had the courage to act, they have no idea what to do.

The most they tend to offer is more economic growth: the fairy dust supposed to make all the bad stuff disappear. Never mind that it drives ecological destruction, that it has failed to relieve structural unemployment or soaring inequality, that, in some recent years, almost all the increment in incomes has been harvested by the top 1%. As values, principles and moral purpose are lost, the promise of growth is all that’s left.

You can see the effects in a leaked memo from the UK’s foreign office: “Trade and growth are now priorities for all posts … work like climate change and illegal wildlife trade will be scaled down.” All that counts is the rate at which we turn natural wealth into cash. If this destroys our prosperity and the wonders that surround us, who cares?

We cannot hope to address our predicament without a new worldview. We cannot use the models that caused our crises to solve them. We need to reframe the problem. This is what the most inspiring book published so far this year has done.

In Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist, Kate Raworth reminds us that economic growth was not, at first, intended as a measurement of well-being. Simon Kuznets, who standardised the measurement of growth, warned: “the welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income.” Economic growth, he pointed out, measures only annual flow, rather than stocks of wealth and their distribution.

Raworth points out that economics in the 20th Century “lost the desire to articulate its goals.” It aspired to be a science of human behaviour: a science based on a deeply flawed portrait of humanity. The dominant model – “rational economic man”, self-interested, isolated, calculating – says more about the nature of economists than it does about other humans. The loss of an explicit objective allowed the discipline to be captured by a proxy goal: endless growth.

The aim of economic activity, she argues, should be “meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet.” Instead of economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, we need economies that “make us thrive, whether or not they grow.” This means changing our picture of what the economy is and how it works.

The central image in mainstream economics is the circular flow diagram. It depicts a closed flow of income cycling between households, businesses, banks, government and trade, operating in a social and ecological vacuum. Energy, materials, the natural world, human society, power, the wealth we hold in common: all are missing from the model. The unpaid work of carers – principally women – is ignored, though no economy could function without them. Like rational economic man, this representation of economic activity bears little relationship to reality.

So Raworth begins by redrawing the economy. She embeds it in the Earth’s systems and in society, showing how it depends on the flow of materials and energy, and reminding us that we are more than just workers, consumers and owners of capital.

The Embedded Economy. Graphic by Kate Raworth and Marcia Mihotich

This recognition of inconvenient realities then leads to her breakthrough: a graphic representation of the world we want to create. Like all the best ideas, her Doughnut model seems so simple and obvious that you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself. But achieving this clarity and concision requires years of thought: a great decluttering of the myths and misrepresentations in which we have been schooled.

The diagram consists of two rings. The inner ring of the doughnut represents a sufficiency of the resources we need to lead a good life: food, clean water, housing, sanitation, energy, education, healthcare, democracy … . Anyone living below that line, in the hole in the middle of the doughnut, is in a state of deprivation.

 

The Doughnut. Graphic by Kate Raworth and Christian Guthier/The Lancet Planetary Health

The outer ring of the doughnut consists of the Earth’s environmental limits, beyond which we inflict dangerous levels of climate change, ozone depletion, water pollution, loss of species and other assaults on the living world. The area between the two rings – the doughnut – is the “ecologically safe and socially just space” in which humanity should strive to live. The purpose of economics should be to help us enter that space and stay there.

As well as describing a better world, the doughnut model allows us to see, in immediate and comprehensible terms, the state in which we now find ourselves. At the moment we transgress both lines. Billions of people still live in the hole in the middle. We have breached the outer boundary in several places.

Where we are now. Graphic by Kate Raworth and Christian Guthier/The Lancet Planetary Health

An economics that helps us to live within the doughnut would seek to reduce inequalities in wealth and income. Wealth arising from the gifts of nature would be widely shared. Money, markets, taxation and public investment would be designed to conserve and regenerate resources rather than squander them. State-owned banks would invest in projects that transform our relationship with the living world, such as zero-carbon public transport and community energy schemes. New metrics would measure genuine prosperity, rather than the speed with which we degrade our long-term prospects.

Such proposals are familiar, but without a new framework of thought, piecemeal solutions are unlikely to succeed. By rethinking economics from first principles, Raworth allows us to integrate our specific propositions into a coherent programme, and then to measure the extent to which it is realised. I see her as the John Maynard Keynes of the 21st-Century: by reframing the economy, she allows us to change our view of who we are, where we stand, and what we want to be.

Now we need to turn her ideas into policy. Read her book, then demand that those who wield power start working towards its objectives: human prosperity within a thriving living world.

www.monbiot.com

Jennifer M. Randles

Apr. 12th, 2017 08:05 am
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Posted by Marshal Zeringue

Jennifer M. Randles, author of Proposing Prosperity?: Marriage Education Policy and Inequality in America, is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at California State University, Fresno. Her research explores how inequalities affect American family life and how policies address family formation trends.

Recently I asked Randles about what she was reading. Her reply:Queering
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Posted by Cindy




Visit Jeffrey Bardwell's Website Here 
 Find Broken Wizards on Amazon Here
Find Broken Wizards on Kobo Here

Fantasy Book Critic is pleased to welcome Jeffrey Bardwell to our blog today as a special guest blogger. Jeffrey is the author of the soon-to-be released book Broken Wizards. Broken Wizards is the first novel in The Artifice Mage Saga. It is scheduled to be released April 15, 2017.

Summary for Broken Wizards:
Time's up for mages! 

The wizard purge is in full swing. Sorcery is illegal in the modern, steam-powered Iron Empire. The Magistrate's Black Guards hunt the uncivilized mages using mechanized armor and mysterious, clockwork weapons. The guards deliver their prisoners to the Butcher, Captain Vice. All wizards are tortured and executed as traitors to the state . . . with one exception.

That exception is Devin, an outbreak mage and ex artificer, a prince of machinery. The Magistrate exiles the youth over Vice's protests to the wild kingdom of wizards and dragons. Devin only knows gears and springs, but his savage magic offers salvation, if he can tame it. The exile must learn to harness his dangerous, new powers before the Butcher tracks him down to finish the job. 

Follow Devin's quest in Book One of The Artifice Mage Saga. Join the fantasy steampunk brawl of metal vs. magic where sorcery is bloody, science is greasy, and nobody's hands are clean.

To celebrate the release of his book, Jeff has stopped by to talk about magic, life and the God complex. Welcome him to the blog! 

******************************************************************************


Magic, Life, and the God Complex by Jeffrey Bardwell
 
Easter is approaching and with it the annual celebration of the most famous instance of rebirth. Whether you believe in the literal resurrection of Christ, the story resonates because society iscaptivated with the archetype of instilling life in the dead or the inanimate, a need for which fantasy has the answer: magic. Authors have cloaked these powers in many different guises: lightning (Mary Shelly), magic powder (Frank L. Baum), a wish upon star (Carlo Collodi), prophecy (C. S. Lewis), or intercession of the gods(J. R. R. Tolkein) allrestore or create life force. Whether acknowledged directly or not, such power has a whiff of the divine.
 
What effect does thismagic have on the magician himself? For, in some dark,literary irony, themagician who creates lifeis always male. Surely, women have no place in tales of birth? Or perhaps the idea was too close to reality for fantasy? No, we have a man, a young man(typically a virgin), who wields this awesome power.  

I draw a distinction now between reanimating the dead and reanimating the lifeless. In the examples above, there are only two instances where life was gifted to that which was never sentient in the first place and both stories involve wooden simulacra: The Marvelous Land of Ozwith Jack Pumpkinhead and the eponymousPinocchio. This invokes even more of a god complex than before! We are not simply reanimating dead tissue, we are building a person from scratch (albeit not from the clay or mud of the creation mythos) or metal (let's leave robotics to science fiction), but wood. Granted, unlike mud or metal, that wood was once alive untilwe chopped it into pieces and fashioned it into a crude reflection of mankind, but it could not think before we magicked it so.  

The Jesus carpenter metaphor is somewhat more blatant in Pinocchiothan Ozas we have the humble woodworker Mastro Geppetto, who creates a spark of life in his hand-crafted, wooden son. Does the creator take responsibility for his wooden progeny? In the case of Pinocchio, the desire for a son and the nature of humanity is at the forefront of the plot, and in Oz tossed off as a magic trick, asthe ramifications of tin godhood are usually reserved for the tales of reanimation, such as Frankenstein. But in a world with devout citizens, and in the typical medieval second world fantasy, the role of the typically polytheisticfaith and itsrepresentatives is paramount, unless the wizards are also the priests (whoops, I just gave myself an idea), then creating life would precipitate either a crisis of the faith or a god complex.
 
In my new novel, Broken Wizards, I bring together the creation of a wooden son (Pinocchio) with the existential questions of the responsibilities of godhood (Frankenstein) in a world where magic is fairly commonplace (Oz). My magician is a devout, gods-fearing youth who has discovered he now wields the power of the five gods themselves. The crisis is easy enough to rationalize in the moment. 
 He is not divine, but a mere agent of the gods. But the rest of it? The youth has just unwittingly created a son. His incipient fatherhood is a much more real, much more scary concept than piddly, abstract notions of divinity!

I invite you to discover (perhaps, even enjoy) the rest for yourselves.

About the Author:
Jeffrey Bardwell is an ecologist with a Ph.D. who loves fantasy, amphibians, and reptiles. The author devours fantasy and science fiction novels, is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove, and has eaten a bug or two. The author populates his own novels with realistic, fire breathing lizards. These dragons are affected by the self-inflicted charred remains of their environment, must contend with the paradox of allometric scaling, and can actually get eaten themselves.
The author lives on a farm, is perhaps overfond of puns and alliterations, and is a gigantic ham. When not in use, he keeps his degrees skinned and mounted on the back wall of his office. Email at: jhbardwell@gmail.com

Sage Blackwood

Apr. 11th, 2017 08:05 am
[syndicated profile] writers_read_feed

Posted by Marshal Zeringue

Sage Blackwood lives at the edge of a large forest, with thousands of books and a very old dog, and enjoys carpentry, cooking, and walking in the woods of New York State.

Blackwood's latest novel is Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:Well, I've just started another Diana Wynne Jones binge. This one began with a

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