Two stories, an essay on depression, and some links

Aliette de Bodard’s short story at Subterranean Press, “The Days of War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile,” is marvellously bitter and affecting.

While at Clarkesworld, Seth Dickinson’s “Morrigan in the Sunglare” makes an interesting counterpoint. Both are stories about war and loss, but they approach their subjects from widely divergent angles.

They’re both pretty good, by the way. Just in case you were wondering.

Libba Bray has a long essay on depression, “Miles and Miles of No-Man’s Land”:

Depression is hard to understand, because it is not a consistent state. Depression is rather like a virus, but like a virus, it has its manageable days and its acute, life-threatening flare-ups. You can be in a depression and still laugh at a friend’s joke or have a good night at dinner or manage low-level functioning. You grocery shop and stop to pet a puppy on the corner, talk to friends in a café, maybe write something you don’t hate. When this happens, you might examine your day for clues like reading tea leaves in a cup: Was it the egg for breakfast that made the difference? The three-mile run? You think, well, maybe this thing has moved on now. And you make no sudden moves for fear of attracting its abusive attention again.

But other times…

Other times, it’s as if a hole is opening inside you, wider and wider, pressing against your lungs, pushing your internal organs into unnatural places, and you cannot draw a true breath. You are breaking inside, slowly, and everything that keeps you tethered to your life, all of your normal responses, is being sucked through the hole like an airlock emptying into space. These are the times Holly Golightly called the Mean Reds.

I call it White Knuckling it.

When it’s White Knuckle Time, you will have to remind yourself to stand in the middle of the subway platform, well away from the edge.

Yep. That’s a thing. That’s a thing that’s happened to me.

Jonathan McCalmont has a perspicacious review of Ender’s Game, many of whose arguments are paralleled in Cory Doctorow’s Sunday essay at Locus Online, “Cold Equations and Moral Hazard.”

Mary Beard talks about women’s voices.

Sarah Rees Brennan writes trenchant critique of the ways women are judged for writing fanfiction.

And here is a discussion on the popularity, or lack thereof, of lesbian romance.

5 thoughts on “Two stories, an essay on depression, and some links

  1. I long and hope for a day in which Bodard writes a full length novel again, loved her Obsidian and Blood trilogy. Bookmarked the short story, I have read most of her shorts that show up on the internet.

  2. So glad you liked Seth’s story.
    And that essay is good (though I am getting allergic to the phrasing “don’t romanticize [x].” Nothing is inherently romantic or unromantic; it’s all in the point of view.). The bit about how you think you’re coping when you’re really, really not struck home.

  3. @Nathan: I’m looking forward to a novel from her – I haven’t read Obsidian and Blood, and don’t really intend to unless copies land in my lap. I’d love to see her write a full-length SF novel.

    @between4walls: Thanks for pointing it out to me.

    It’s a useful essay. (Mental illness from the inside, to me, is not at all romantic. It gets in the way of doing work rather than creates the necessary conditions for it… But that’s all semantics, in the end, I guess?)

  4. Obsidian and Blood doesn’t have the emotional resonance of her short stuff, so that’s probably a good idea. But I’m curious what she does next- at one point she mentioned a Paris UF novel which would be fascinating.

    Jennifer Jackson just took on Seth as a client, so I’m hoping his novel gets bought soon. The world could use more anti-imperialist lesbian fantasy spy novels.

    Oh, I personally don’t find mental illness from the inside romantic either- it does get in the way of everything, including art. But it is very much the same part of my brain and the same processes as my fiction-writing ability, so sometimes it makes me less angry about it to think of it as the price of admission/tradeoff.

  5. Well, I’m definitely poised to leap on anything that de Bodard publishes in novella-to-novel length from this point on, so.

    Jennifer Jackson? That’s well promising. (Her client list and my taste in books overlaps quite a bit, so I’m more than usually interested in who she chooses to rep. *g* )

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