This week’s word for Wednesday I lifted entirely from a Haggard Hawks tweet: SPREZZATURA is deliberate nonchalance, or the act of making something difficult look effortless.


The Israeli Society for Fantasy and Science Fiction has announced its 2016 Geffen winners.

The Baen Memorial Contest is open for fiction about near-future space exploration. The deadline for submissions is February, 2017.

(Thanks to Locus Magazine for both items.)

Books and Writing:

This is sad news. Locus Magazine is reporting that Sheri Tepper passed away on October 22, 2016. Tepper was a breath of fresh air with books like Grass and Raising the Stones, with strong women characters and powerful social commentary on the effects of patriarchal systems. Tepper is a role model in another way; while she successfully published a couple of children’s books, she didn’t publish an adult novel until she was in her 50s, and went on to sell more than twenty.

A nice interview with Margaret Atwood. I include Margaret Atwood a lot. It’s because she is so interesting.

The Pulitzer expands its categories of eligibility.

Ann Leckie discusses dense, ornate prose versus “transparency.”

I don’t know when this came out, but this excerpt from Ursula K. LeGuin’s essay “On Being a Man” is wonderful. This is heresy, but I’d recommend skipping the commentary and sticking with LeGuin’s own words.

“Do digital technologies make politics impossible?” What’s your answer to that question? Now, could you write a book about that answer? Nine Dots Award offers a large cash prize for the one person who answers that question. Based on a 3,000-word book proposal, one lucky writer will be awarded $100,000 to write the short book. The prize is funded by the Kadas Foundation, that looks into serious but underexposed issues. They plan to offer a question, and an award, every two years.

Politics in the digital age a great idea, except didn’t Malka Older’s Infomocracy already address this? I think Nine Dots is a bit behind the times. But all you writers out there, don’t let that stop you from applying. The entry deadline is January 31, 2017 with the winner announced in May. The article doesn’t specify non-fiction but the fact that they want a proposal makes me think that’s their assumption (and it may be an unconscious one). Don’t let that stop you from proposing a fictional work, either.

In the really-good-or-really-bad department, a US publisher plans to release the Bible as a graphic novel. Kingston’s market is pre-teen and YA, with a target of males 18-29, and they see the comic as an introduction to the Bible and not a substitution. I applaud the ambition. Based on the samples here, I am not impressed with the execution. Who wrote dumbed-down text? If you are going to spend money on powerful comic art, then the prose should match. Go King James or go home.

Courtesy of Feminist Frequency, here’s a nice overview of the life Murasaki Shikibu, the writer of The Tale of Genji.


Glancing Back:

A lot of five star books came out in the first half of 2016, and there’s a danger they’ll be forgotten in the rush of elections, glorious new books, and holidays. Once a month I like to take a look back at some of early 2016 books that we loved.

Kat loved Version Control by Dexter Palmer, which she reviewed here. “This could be my favorite book of 2016,” she says.

Jason, Jana and Tadiana all loved Sylvain Nuevel’s Sleeping Giants (reviewed here), although Jana gave it four and a half, not five, stars.


The first trailer for yet another Wolverine movie is out. Wow, the visual tone and the background music make this look very different.

Here’s an update on the movie adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time; Mrs Murray has been cast.

Would DB Woodside, who has been in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24 and most recently in Lucifer, make a perfect John Stewart in a Green Lantern movie? Why yes, yes he would. Don’t get me wrong, if Woodside plays Amenadiel in Lucifer for the next five years I won’t be unhappy, but he would make a great Green Lantern, and he wants the role. Make this happen, Hollywood.


This dad tied a dementor doll to his drone and flew it around for Halloween. Okay, I admit it. I kind of want one now.

The US experienced a major DDoS attack on Twitter, Neflix, Paypal and others on Friday, 10/21. Wired had some information on it at the time. Specialists believe that the Mirai code, which was published on the internet three weeks ago, facilitated the attack. I don’t know whether to laugh or be very, very frightened that my refrigerator could become a zombie and be recruited into a “netbot army.”

This link takes you to pictures of dogs in autumn leaves. Don’t thank me, thank Jim Hines.

Jim Hines also points out that he and two other writers, Tee Morris and Chuck Wendig (white, bearded and male; that’s important), are going to once again try to emulate the poses of women on various covers. You may remember that John Scalzi and Jim Hines did this a few years ago. This is a fundraiser for The Pixel Project, which works to end violence against women. Voting for the cover you want them to pose for ends November 1, 2016.

Here are some fun facts about Halloween.


A game named Grand Theft Auto requires player to be more law-abiding; insert ironic observation here. Rockstar has tightened up the penalties and closed loopholes in its famous, popular game. It’s still okay to steal cars and kill people, though, at least within the game.

Graveyards and Ghoulies

In honor of the upcoming holiday I leave you with a musical salute to graveyards, vampires, demons and other ghosty critters, courtesy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Once More with Feeling.”


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.

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