Locus poll and survey

Soooooo, here I must admit that I do not usually pay much attention to awards: I have a tendency to quietly live beneath a rock and emerge only briefly for basic necessities or if my friends poke me. I find new books by a) wandering into bookshops or libraries and browsing b) recommendations from friends, or c) mystical messages from the great beyond communicated to me via carrier pigeon, smoke signals or messages in bottles left outside the aforementioned rock…..

HOWEVER, something rather exciting has happened! Which is that The Life and Times of Angel Evans (my debut novelette) is on the Locus Award ballot *insert expressions of disbelieving excitement here* and and and I don’t really know what to do with that information – it has reduced me into a weird mess of nervous excitement because people read my work and liked it!!!!!!!

Ahem. So, I’m off to actually vote in the Locus Award ballot-ma-thing. And if you have read and enjoyed The Life and Times of Angel Evans, please do consider voting for it (it’s in the category Best Novelette). Click here.

If you haven’t read it and you would like to (it’s got magic, a ghost, dead prophets and the end of the world), click on the image to the right of this post and you’ll be redirected.

Thank you to everyone who’s read, reviewed, critiqued and enjoyed – it’s wonderful that Angel Evans has come this far 🙂

I’m now returning to my rock – reviews again next week 🙂

Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

SPOILER WARNING! Do not read this if you have not read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet!


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I love this boooooooooook!

Some of you may have read my very excited review of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: this book is the sequel and I am just as excited about it! I’m currently reading it for the third time, and I am more in love with it than the first time.

The worldbuilding is wonderful and detailed, building on the set-up established in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The story takes place in two different timelines, with two different POV characters: this certainly has the potential to be confusing, but in practice was handled very smoothly. The two characters were Pepper, who we met in the previous book, and Sidra, who is (sort of) new… In the present-day timeline, they live together, and it’s wonderful getting the interaction between their points of view: I love how Becky Chambers is able to present differing points of view and opinions in which there is no villain. It’s all just people trying to muddle through. I loved the perspective given by the different timelines.

And really, I’m hard pressed to know what else to say. I love this book, and I could just list all the things I enjoyed but that would involve a list of everything that happened in the whole book!

Some of my personal favourites were:

  • The POV of an artificial intelligence trying to cope with the “wrong” body.
  • Tak, wonderful Aeulon character who smoothly changes genders all the time!
  • Pepper Pepper Pepper I love Pepper.
  • This one line on a page near the beginning that reads “…looked like it had been pulled from the ‘Human’ example in an interspecies relations textbook: brown skin, black hair, brown eyes.” yes.
  • The character interactions are so brilliant.
  • Everything. Everything in this book!

So to conclude, reading this book sort of feels like sinking into a cuddle. Bad things happen, difficult stuff occurs, but it’s all handled with warmth and thoughtfulness and honesty.

Rating: read it, re-read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, drink hot chocolate.

Celebratory Post! Locus annual recommended reading list

The Life and Times of Angel Evans has made its way on to the Locus annual recommended reading list! The entire list is here. This post is basically the equivalent of me having a tiny, one person party. YAY! Thank you very much – I really did not think this would happen.

So anyway, in celebration of how far this story has come, I give you some photos of the very beginnings of it. Behold, the first six pages of The Life and Times of Angel Evans, as written on the note pages from my diary at the time. And also the notebook that I wrote the rest of it in. Thank you for reading it, reviewing it and enjoying it. And many thanks to the BookSmugglers, who love the story and edited and published it 😀

You can read The Life and Times of Angel Evans by following this link. There is an option to buy the ebook at the foot of that page; buying the ebook means you also get an essay and an interview with me 🙂 The Life and Times of Angel Evans is also included in Superheroes Reborn: Five Origin Stories (and all of the stories in there are fantastic!). Follow this link and scroll down.

Book Review: In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages

in the house of the seven librarians by ellen klages

Once upon a time, the Carnegie Library sat on a wooded bluff on the east side of town: red brick and fieldstone, with turrets and broad windows facing the trees.

What an absolute delight this book is! A love-letter to libraries written like a fairytale. It is short at a mere 74 pages, however it is candid and warm and shot through with humour. When the library is closed, the seven librarians of the title stock up on tea and biscuits and close the doors from the inside. They stay there, continuing to do their jobs, while around the building the wood grows ever thicker. There is a certain magic at work in them, as there is with anyone who spends their life among books, and perhaps they would have simply gone on forever. Except, one day, there is a baby. Given in lieu of a fine for a vastly overdue copy of Grimm’s fairytales (and her arrival is a wonderful piece of writing!).

So the seven librarians find themselves raising a little girl, among books and the stacks and the break room. A little girl who grows up there, in this slightly wild, slightly alive, library. And really, that’s it. As I said, it is a short book. And it is beautiful. The attention to detail is wonderful; should the kitchen condiments be organised alphabetically? By the Dewey Decimal system? The characters are tangible and a little reminiscent of the books to which they tend. There is a lot in here for wordlovers, and for anyone who’s ever been lost in a library.

Rating: read this book. Go to a library, and read six more books…

Happy nine years to the booksmugglers

My lovely publishers turned nine recently – a very happy birthday to them! The shared post includes quite a few exciting announcements (and I am so looking forward to seeing what they publish this year – it all looks amazing), including an anthology of the Superhero stories! You can now get all five (including my story The Life and Times of Angel Evans) in one awesome anthology for $4.99 as epub and mobi. And for those of you who struggle with screens, I have heard that it will be out in paper edition at some point this year (date to be confirmed). Happy reading one and all!

HAPPY SMUGGLIVUS, EVERYONE! As part of our Smugglivus Celebrations, we took a retrospective look at 2016 yesterday. Today, as we turn 9 (NINE!), we look forward to 2017–and make a few exciting announcements! ALL THE PLANS FOR 2017 Gods and Monsters! 2017 is the year of Gods and Monsters! Like Subversive Fairytales, First Contact and…

via The Book Smugglers Present 2017 — The Book Smugglers

Guest post on the Booksmugglers Smugglivus

I was lucky enough to be invited to join in with Smugglivus – here is my guest post 🙂

Welcome to Smugglivus 2016! Throughout this month, we will have guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2016, looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2017, and more. On the last day of Smugglivus, our guest is Meredith Debonnaire, writer and reviewer, author of The Life and…

via Six Things That Made Me Happy in 2016 with Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

Book review: The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor


Nobody really knows who wrote the Great Book.

If asked to describe The Book of Phoenix in one sentence, I would say that it is a cataclysm in the form of a book. Like the protagonist, the pages seem to burn and burn and burn until they are etched onto the heart. Every page is full; every page breathes life and death and rage and love, and I finish it feeling scorched and elated.

I could talk about the story, that of Phoenix Okore who was a genetic experiment and a captive, who became so much more (fugitive, villain, lover, sister, goddess, beacon, rogue) and who both escaped and accepted everything that she was. About the characters, a wonderful cast of people who are so very real even when they are able to eat metal, walk through walls or grow wings. About the fact that every time I was forced to put this book down, I found myself thinking about colonialism and racism and exploitation and modern slavery and what it means to be complicit; about all the ways in which we find ourselves accepting the unacceptable so long as we do not have to see it. About the world, which was simultaneously very different from ours (a mixture of magic and science-fiction) and so close that you could cut yourself on it. About the relationship between technology and nature. About the nature of stories.

I could talk about those things and I could talk for hours because The Book of Phoenix is an exquisitely crafted tale that holds all of those things (and more) together like a spiderweb. But I’m not going to, because this is a book that needs to be felt. It needs to be read and absorbed and allowed to shake you all the way down your spine. And then, then it needs to be talked about, and I don’t know quite how to do that on my own.

So, read this book; it is a beautiful and original piece of speculative-fiction full of all kinds of fire. It is the first thing I have read by Nnedi Okorafor, and I have every intention of finding all of her other work and reading it too, because if it is anything like The Book of Phoenix it will be worth my time and my money ten times over.

Rating: burn the house down and start a revolution.

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