The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Publisher: Tor.com - Pages: 31 - Buy: Book/eBook
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Editor’s Note: This review is spoiler-heavy. If this bothers you, please go read “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” on Tor.com, then return. Spoilers: it’s worth it.

Science fiction offers many things to readers. It allows them to be transported to another time, to wonder about the future, to see sights and visit worlds that are currently out of human reach. To writers, it provides a canvas that begs for speculation, to take issues that challenge us individually and as a society and examine them through a lens warped by time, imagination, and creative license.

Mary Robinette Kowal’s “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, which recently won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette, is, on the surface, a wonderful and charming tale of an alternate history where NASA reached Mars during the ’50s. Peel back the layers, however, and Kowal’s Martian colony is alive with questions of aging, loyalty and family. Though she never quite provides answers, Kowal challenges readers to contemplate these themes that run through all our lives. Read More »

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What We Didn’t See:
Power, Protest, Story*

My parents taught me not to stare.

My parents taught me not to stare.

As children, even as adults, prolonged staring at others is something we do when we first encounter difference. It’s a long, often critical or fascinated look at something to try and understand it, to gauge where it fits in our taxonomy of things. First: is this a threat? Should I respond with a fight…or flight? Second: where does this person fit within my existing boxes? Woman or man? Black or white? Friend or foe?

We have nice neat boxes for everything, boxes we learned in childhood which have been reinforced by stories, by media, by our peers, as we grow older. We stare longest when we cannot fit what we see into an existing box; when we cannot figure out if it’s dangerous, or merely different: which many of us, unfortunately, still feel are the same thing.

And, if after staring long enough, we decide that this different thing is dangerous: we kill it.

Read More »

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So. Dream come true.

No, not the Hugo. Being invited by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt for an interview on the Sword & Laser podcast. I’m a huge fan of their work, and had a blast chatting with them about the Hugo Awards, LonCon 3, the SFF fan community, and working with Kameron Hurley on “We Have Always Fought”.

S&L Podcast – #187 – How to Win a Hugo

Listen to the Episode!

P.S. Sorry for the audio quality. iPhones aren’t great recording devices, apparently.

Wow.

If you’ve seen the results, or watched the Hugo Awards ceremony on Sunday, you’ll know that A Dribble of Ink won the Hugo Award for Best Fanzine. I seriously have no words. Thank you to everyone who has supported A Dribble of Ink throughout the years. If you’re interested, you can watch my acceptance speech, which has been described to me as “adorable” by several people.

In addition to the award for Best Fanzine, A Dribble of Ink also published Kameron Hurley’s We Have Always Fought: Challenging the “Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative”, which took home the trophy for Best Related Work. She also won for Best Fan Writer. Kameron posted her acceptance speeches for the awards on her blog, and they are well worth a read.

I’d also like to extend congratulations to all of the other winners, and, most specifically, to the lovely Mary Robinette Kowal, who was a lifesaver in the craziness that followed the award ceremony, my LonCon 3 roommate John Chu, author of “The Water that Falls on You from Nowhere”, and artist Julie Dillon, who illustrated the masthead art for A Dribble of Ink.

And, finally, if you’re not already reading my co-balloters, The Book Smugglers and Pornokitsch, please go check them out. They’re terrific blogs, even more wonderful people, and I expect them to be on the Hugo Ballot for years to come.

Thank you.