Tachyon tidbits featuring Jo Walton, Joe R. Lansdale, Thomas M. Disch, and Susan Palwick
The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Jo Walton, Joe R. Lansdale (photo: Karen Lansdale), Thomas M. Disch (Houari Boumedienne/Wikimedia Commons), and Susan Palwick
SMITHEREENS praises Jo Walton’s STARLINGS.
The book is a mixed bag of short stories (some flash fiction), poetry, even a play and a writer’s bio in verse (that one is a keeper). A lot are funny, a few are set in dystopian worlds, a few are rather dark but not many. I chose this book on Netgalley a bit randomly, because the name rang a bell and I wanted to read some short story in genres that I don’t usually read. I’m glad I took this chance, because it was worth it, and the stories never took themselves too seriously (something I often fear when it comes to SF). Between the time I started and finished the collection, I read another Jo Walton, Farthing (which I reviewed first) so I’m now convinced that this prolific writer can indeed write great stories in a wide range of topics and tones.
Allison Keene for COLLIDER includes the cancelled Hap and Leonard among The Best TV Shows of 2018 — So Far.
Everybody complaining about the dearth of working class-focused series on TV in the wake of Roseanne cancellation is not paying attention. One of the best is Hap and Leonard, which follow two best friends in East Texas in the 1980s as they get caught up into unexpected scrapes, including battling the Klan in their third and final season. The series has always broached topics as big as race and sexual preference in frank, sincere, and intelligent ways. The friendship between the series’ leads — Hap (James Purefoy) is a white liberal, Leonard (Michael K. Williams) is a black, gay, conservative — never shies away from their differences, but also has no trouble overcoming them. In a world that wants to categorize and dismiss based on superficial characteristics, these two men have an unshakeable bond and brotherly commitment to one another to face it all with humor and heart. The show’s third season is a brutal one in many ways, but there’s also hope. It’s hard to say goodbye to such a fantastic series, but if there is a positive, it’s that you can always keep reading the great Joe R. Lansdale book series on which it is based.
THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION READINGS recently celebrated the literary legacy of Thomas M. Disch with Henry Wessells, Brendan C. Byrne, John Clute, Gregory Feeley, Elizabeth Hand plus live performances of Disch’s work as well as clips presented by filmmaker Eric Solstein. Thankfully the entire event was recorded and shared via LIVESTREAM.
Thomas Disch on video at the NYRSF Readings event (photo: Mark Blackman/FILE 770)
TOR.COM publishes Susan Palwick’s new story “Recoveries.”
Two women who have been friends since they were children—one a recovering alcoholic brought up by parents who believe they’re alien abductees, the other an orphan with an eating disorder—contend with a secret that might doom their friendship.
So here’s the thing. You’re scared shitless, because you know something heavy’s going down tonight, and you may be the only one who can stop it, but that will be dangerous in ways you can’t stand to think about. Your friend Vanessa—your best and oldest friend—is all about patterns, and today’s a doozy. It’s her twenty-eighth birthday, and also the tenth anniversary of her parents’ disappearence, and also her first anniversary of sobriety or anyway of not drinking, and also—not at all coincidentally—the day when, at midnight, her parole will end.
Vanessa plans to drink again no later than thirty seconds after twelve. You can see it in her scowl; you can smell it on her. You know that her AA sponsor, Minta, knows it too. Vanessa hasn’t said so, of course, but this isn’t Minta’s first rodeo with angry alkies, and it’s not your first rodeo with Vanessa.
So Minta, who has the kind of money you and Vanessa can only dream about, invites both of you out to dinner, her treat, to celebrate Vanessa’s birthday. She chooses a trendy vegan place on the Upper West Side that serves neither alcohol nor anything that Vanessa, who always calls herself the ultimate carnivore because her parents were exactly the opposite, would ever want to eat. You’re the vegan; animal products do very bad things to you. If Vanessa had her way, she’d be at a steakhouse tearing into a filet mignon. With scotch.
The restaurant’s all glass and chrome and blond wood, and the patrons are self-consciously beautiful: men with neatly trimmed beards and Birkenstocks, women with black pencil skirts and Tevas, everybody wearing that expression that says, I work out more than you do, and I’m more enlightened, and I have more money. A side salad costs half your weekly food budget.
Illustration by Jasu Hu
For more info on STARLINGS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story