Tachyon tidbits featuring Peter Watts, Jacob Weisman, David Sandner, Marie Brennan, and Carrie Vaughn
The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Profanity is completely appropriate when examining the economic equations that keep cops shooting unarmed black folks. Or when acknowledging the deliberate ignorance with which religious fundamentalists respond to logical arguments against their beliefs. Or when adding up the costs of blithely ignoring the doomful extrapolations SFFH offers concerning global pandemics and climate change. Illustrations in the style of caution-sign icons, at times grim, at times hilarious, mostly both, accompany fifty essays in which Watts does all of the above and more. Like cheering on the Zika virus and experimenting with LSD. (Not at the same time.)
Plus in the opening bit of the next review, Shawl says this:
Peter Watts has written and published a dozen brilliant books; Riot Baby (Tor.com) is Tochi Onyebuchi’s incandescent adult debut.
The characterization here is superb, with all the players leaping off the page with subtle grace. The evocation of the period is spot-on, subtle and not overdone. The parallel worlds of boxing and jazz extend fine tendrils of correlation into each other. The doings of the actors are multivalent and authentic. And the unreductionist climax rings true. All in all, a wonderful accomplishment, not alone for sentences such as “I looked at Mingus. He had changed, his impossibly spotted neck bent almost to breaking as he loomed over us over us… [as he] moved his hooves along the strings….”The team behind this charming, low-key but powerful tale—David Sandner & Jacob Weisman—blend their voices beautifully into an organic whole that reminds me of the tonality of John Kessel or Karen Joy Fowler.
James Davis Nicoll in his TOR.COM piece Five Sword-Wielding Women in SFF included works from Marie Brennan and Carrie Vaughn.
Recently I noticed an angry person on the internet expressing outrage at the very idea of women, any women, being able to use a sword. Frankly, it’s an objection that’s too stupid for words. While one could certainly respond by mentioning, for example, the Trưng sisters, Madame de Saint-Baslemont, and of course the flamboyantly bisexual and dangerous Julie d’Aubigny, let’s do what we do best, here, and talk about some of the excellent books featuring swordswomen.
Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan
The swordswoman featured in Marie Brennan’s Cold-Forged Flame experiences the warrior equivalent of the Actor’s Nightmare. Summoned from an existence she cannot recall, she is dispatched to collect blood from the cauldron of the Lhian. Who or what the Lhian might be and for what purpose the blood is required are mysteries. Solving said mysteries may place Brennan’s protagonist in even greater danger. Happily for the reader, the swordswoman is not the sort of person who permits amnesia and constant danger to keep her from her chosen course.
Steel by Carrie Vaughn
In Carrie Vaughn’s Steel, fourth-rate fencer Jill Archer tumbles off her boat during a family vacation near Nassau. She hits the water in the 21st century; she is pulled out during the Golden Age of Piracy. Luckily for the teen, Captain Marjory Cooper offers Jill the choice between signing on as a pirate or remaining a prisoner. (Less savoury fates are not on offer.) She chooses piracy, a life that involves a lot more deck swabbing than Basil Rathbone movies would suggest. Jill’s astounding temporal displacement makes her of considerable interest to scallywag pirate Edmund Blane. Jill will need better than fourth-place sword skills to survive Blane and find her way home.