Vanguard, by Ann Aguirre

17 Aug

Please be advised: back in 2009, I was Ms Aguirre’s virtual assistant, for about ten months. I was also one of the first beta readers for Razorland, the manuscript that became Enclave, the first novel set in this world.

Despite how much I like Ms Aguirre’s work, I have not reviewed any of the novels in the series, or anything else by her written or published after 2008, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Given that said relationship, as well as my beta reading any of her work, ended about eight years ago, I decided I would review this novel, no matter what. Keep in mind that we are still friendly online.

I was lucky to get an ARC about three weeks ago; I really wanted to publish this review on release day, but…well, you know what happens to plans.

Caveat: there is some violence on the page, as well as violence in most of the characters’ past.

Vanguard, by Ann Aguirre

This story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is recovering from, basically, a zombie plague. (Except these are not truly zombies.)

If you have not read the Razorland books, you will definitely have questions about what happened before, especially because there are repeated references to past events, by pretty much all characters. You will also have questions because the world is presented with very little background explanation. It’s not hard to extrapolate and come up with your own conclusions as to what brought the world to this point, but if you truly want all the whys and wherefores, you will end up reading the rest of the series.

Which is pretty damned good, so it’s a win-win.

If you are a fan of the Razorland series, you should know that this is not the beginning of a second trilogy; it is not even a direct continuation of the original trilogy. You should also know that Vanguard is told in third person, from three deep points of view. This is Tegan’s story–one I had very much hoped to read since meeting her in the ruins, during the events narrated in Enclave.

Oh, alright; it’s also about Szarok and Morrow, but the best parts are about Tegan.

Here, have a blurb:
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Collective racial violence in the US

15 Aug

This is a collection of resources on the long and terrible history of racial violence against blacks in the US. Originally a twitter thread, starting here, by Professor Walter D Greason. I have added a couple more links, for specific instances mentioned by other people, as I’ve remembered them.

There is a lot–A LOT–of deeply disturbing imagery in these links and videos. This is what white people have done to black people in this country, without remorse–indeed, feeling morally justified and protected by law–for centuries.

(Note: I’m including some links at the end, regarding racial violence toward other groups)

I will continue to update this as I learn more.

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“Every (fetus’) life is sacred”

13 Aug

(Originally posted to the Communty section of MyMedia)

In the great abortion debate, a couple of things are usually omitted by the “every fetus’ life is sacred!”* brigade.

For one, men can–and do–impregnate women and walk away with zero consequences, all the time.

Yes, yes, yes; women can demand paternity tests and whatever, and go to court, and spend YEARS trying to get some child support from them. A hell of a lot of the time, fathers shrug their financial (and emotional) responsibilities off, and go on their merry way.

And you know what? No one ever says to men of any age, “Abortion is murder, stop having sex!” while all over the place, men will snark at women, “if you don’t want to get pregnant, stop having sex, you slut!”

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Ghost Hunter, by Jayne Castle

11 Aug

While reading other things, I’m currently indulging in a Jayne Castle’s Harmony series binge, because they are basically enjoyable light reading, and I can listen to them at work.¹

If light paranormal world building and somewhat graphic sex are not your thing, you will want to give these stories a pass.

Ghost Hunter, by Jayne Castle

This is the third full length novel in the series, and it’s again set in the city of Cadence, though both of the main characters hail from Aurora Springs, one of the smaller towns relatively close by.

Setting the story here means that we get a couple of glimpses of Lydia, Emmett and the ever lovable Fuzz, from After Dark and After Glow.

Though, of course, he is not the only dust bunny afoot.

Here’s the meh blurb:
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Spectred Isle, by K. J. Charles

9 Aug

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this novel a few weeks ago, and I had hoped to post the review before its release.

Alas, work, life, RWA, and the world being on fire, mean I’m late.

Reader, beware: if you have issues with paranormal stories, with adult language, or with explicit sex between consenting adults, you may want to skip this one.

Spectred Isle, by K. J. Charles

This is the first title in the Green Men series, which is set in the same universe as The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal; it can, however, be read on its own perfectly well.

The story is set in 1923, in an England still reeling from WWI, at a time where veil between worlds has been damaged almost irreparably, and when most of those who would know what to do, are dead.

Here’s the much-better-than-usual blurb:
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Advice to parents–from a misogynist

6 Aug

(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia)

Now for some levity.

Male writer for Slate tweets, “Advice to parents: teach your daughters to say “no” firmly and mean it. Men sense women’s willingness to yield.”¹

Women on twitter: Do you even know how many women are killed by men they said “NO” (firmly and clearly) every year?

Male writer: ‘Actually’ I wasn’t talking about sexual assault, I meant like Maxine Waters exchange with Steven Mnuchin.²

Women: Oh, you mean when she had to repeat 39 times “Reclaiming my time” as he spoke over her; then when she had to ask the MAN with the gavel to explain the rules to Mnuchin after she had just explained them to him, and STILL he didn’t actually answer the question?

Male writer: These women and their “twitter outrage!”³

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Round up of links: International Women’s Day

4 Aug

Below the fold are a number of links to different pieces on sexism, which were originally posted to this thread, in the Community section of MyMedia during June and July.

Some of the

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