Mar. 6th, 2017

psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
One Half from the East is a middle-grade novel by Nadia Hashimi, an American child of parents from Afghanistan, set in contemporary Afghanistan, about a ten-year-old girl whose family decides to make her a bacha posh, a girl who is temporarily dressed as a boy so that the family will have a son. I've been obsessed with gender-disguise narratives my whole life (well, gender narratives more generally, gender-choice and transition and so forth, but as a kid in the 80s and 90s, what you got was mostly girls who wanted to wear pants so they could do stuff), so obviously I was going to read this. And it was very interesting! It wasn't clear from the book whether Hashimi had, like, interviewed people, or was working from secondhand sources, or just using her imagination - it turns out there's a companion novel for adults, following one of the other characters, which I'm hoping might have more extensive author's notes or a bibliography - anyways, it's hard to say how much of the story is an American sensibility of what this kind of gender situation would feel like, or how much is authentically Afghan, but it felt plausible and nuanced to me as an American reader. I actually thought the strongest part emotionally were the parallels between the protagonist and her father, who recently lost a leg in a terrorist attack, who are both struggling to accept the changes in their lives. Anyways, I thought it was very well-written, and interesting both for telling me about a real-world practice I didn't know about, and as a realistic-fiction contrast to the gender-adventure genre.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
Powerful shorter-than-novel fiction piece about a human colony living in an uneasy incorporation into an alien society, and the relationships of two collaborators and two separatists. Some stuff here about slow change vs burning things to the ground that really packs a punch here in the age of the destruction of the American government. I am mildly unsure of the length of this story - Asimov's called it a novelette in their table of contents, but Locus listed it with the novellas - but I'm inclined to assume Locus can count, and nominate it as a novella. Not sure though whether I'm replacing Every Heart a Doorway, which I wasn't that enthusiastic about, or Last Days of New Paris, which I'm pretty sure is too long to qualify (Locus called it a novel, so if we're going by Locus...).
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
I should do a better job with this category, because a) art is fun to look at and b) I suspect getting an art Hugo actually helps artists land future illustration/cover jobs, but in fact I did not fall in love with many illustrations or covers in my Hugo reading this year and came up with some nominees via some half-assed browsing at the hugonoms2017 wikia, hugoeligibleart.tumblr, looking at people on last year's long list who didn't make the cut, etc. As always, I find these categories challenging to figure out who's a fan and who's a pro, what's 2016 work, etc, but hey, anyone is better than Brad Foster and Steve Stiles for the umpteenth time. (I was tempted to nominated Julie Dillon again because who is better than Julie Dillon but I'm trying to promote variety.)

Pro Artists:
Reiko Murakami - an illustration here
Victo Ngai - been doing awesome covers for awhile, including the Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe cover
Stephanie Law - was the artist GOH at Arisia
Galen Dara - http://www.galendara.com/
Niroot Puttapipat - https://himmapaan.wordpress.com/

Fan Artists:
Iguanamouth - http://hugoeligibleart.tumblr.com/post/155288778097/iguanamouth-kept-getting-requests-for-gryphons-so
Euclase - photorealistic portraits of fannish subjects, euclase.tumblr.com
Sara Kipin - http://sarakipin.tumblr.com/
Marissa Garner - cool stained-glass-style fanart http://nenuiel.deviantart.com/
Alexandra Kern - http://www.zandraart.com/
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
The Starlit Wood is an anthology edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe of fairy tale retellings. Star-studded TOC including Sofia Samatar, Naomi Novik, Aliette de Bodard, Max Gladstone, Garth Nix, and Charlie Jane Anders - this was where Amal El-Mohtar's excellent lesbian iron shoes/glass mountain remix "Seasons of Glass and Iron" was published, before it was reprinted in Uncanny where I read it. I very much enjoy a good fairytale remix and pretty much everything here was worth reading - standouts for me were Marjorie Liu's "The Briar and the Rose", a lesbian Sleeping Beauty/Rumpelstiltskin sort of deal (theory: pretty much all fairy tales are improved by de-heteronormicizing them) and Novik's story, "Spinning Silver", a very Novik Rumpelstiltskin retell with Jews and fairies and moneylending. (Almost tempted to swap in "Spinning Silver" in my novelette nominations... for "The Tomato Thief", I guess? I don't know, I'll have to think about that.)

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