Some day (probably after residency and fellowship, if I’m being honest) I’ll starting blogging about writing again (have to be doing some writing first, lol). But for now I’m home sick with COVID – it finally got me after 3 years of unbelievable luck – and so I’m instead reviving this old thing to do something I’ve been saying I would do for years.
Namely, review terrible medical shows.
Let me preface this by saying I realize that some of the inaccuracies I’m going to mention are there to make for compelling television – the true day-to-day functioning of a hospital is a lot less glamorous (and a lot less sexy) than Shonda Rimes would have you believe. All of the action of Chicago Med takes place in the ED and hardly anyone gets admitted because then you’d either not see the resolution of the storyline or have to add a bunch of characters. April Kepner yanks off her mask in the OR (she would be summarily murdered by a scrub tech in real life) so that we, the audience, can see her face as she emotes. Whatever.
I’m still gonna bitch.
Now, I might eventually include some other medical shows in this series (shout out in the comments if there’s a show or episode you’d really like to see) but we’re going to start with Chicago Med because it’s one of the more palatable variations on this theme…most of the time. Reviews will be in three parts – a summary of the plot (spoilers galore, you have been warned), a non-comprehensive list of the medical inaccuracies that most annoyed me or were most amusing, and finally a “who’s getting fired this week” feature, because on Chicago Med at least one character commits an enormous ethical violation per episode (fun!). (If you want to really set me off, come to Happy Hour, wait till I’ve had a margarita, and then ask me how I think the proliferation of medical shows is eroding trust in the real medical system).
So let’s get to it!
There has been an explosion of LGBTQ+ – and particularly F/F – SFF lately, and I for one am eating it up. So I present to you a recommending reading list with snapshot reviews.
- A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine: Empire, colonization, memory, assimilation, political intrigue
- Gideon the Ninth/Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir: What the actual fuck, so weird, slaps so hard. Space goth Catholicism and necromancy and biceps and dysfunctional broken young women and unreliable narration.
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson: Economics and empire; will break your heart into a million pieces
- The Space Between Worlds, Micaiah Johnson: Parallel universes, Haves and Have-Nots, if Mad Max met Fringe
- Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee: Math = magic, this actually broke my brain
- Belladona U series, Tansy Rayner Roberts: College students at magical uni, shenanigans ensue
- The Luminous Dead, Caitlin Starling: A claustrophobic horror movie of a book; caves and secrets and atmosphere for days
- The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo: an exiled queen, her loyal servant, the power – and revenge – of the overlooked
- Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey: librarians, rebellion, the postapocalyptic American West, everyone is queer
- This is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone: Poetic, epistolary, a love story between agents on opposing sides
- A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson: lush, romantic, gods and mortals, nonlinear narrative
Much of what has been shared so far in the wake of George Floyd’s death has been petitions, donation links, education materials for people to understand the impact of systemic racism in this country and fight it. That is, of course, so important.
I think it is also important to celebrate the achievements of black people, and the art they have put out into the world. I get asked quite often to share book recommendations, and I really enjoy doing it. To that end, I thought I would share a list of 10 science fiction and fantasy short stories, novellas, and novels by black authors that I found particularly enjoyable and/or impactful.
Please look through and consider reading one of these books (purchase if you are able, or request from your local library if you are not) and writing a review (reviews are the lifeblood of publishing, especially on Amazon).
Please also share any other books (don’t have to be SFF) by black authors that you have enjoyed in the comments! And if you do end up reading any of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Continue reading
(Spoiler Warnings Various)
I was very fortunate that, growing up, I was able to find books in which girls were the protagonists, the chosen, the ones who saved their homes or their worlds. Particular thanks to Tamora Pierce, who practically codified this as a subgenre, but the truth is that between my school’s surprisingly large collection, given the number of students, and the vast resources of the New York Public Library, my books were full of people like me.
Where I was more lacking in representation was in films, although I never thought it was an issue. Sure, I had some complaints — Leia is undoubtedly awesome, but I wanted to wield a lightsaber goddamnit — but for the most part I accepted that the protagonists of my favorite movies were mostly male. Or that even if the main character was a woman, she would be surrounded primarily by men.
I didn’t think it was a problem.
Then, I learned I could have something different.
For Tami, because she asked.
- A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
- Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
- The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
- Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)*
Yes, I am recommending that many. It was a really strong field! A Closed and Common Orbit is a worthy sequel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, with quite a bit more in the way of actual plot, while still retaining the charm and character focus of the first book. Ninefox Gambit is brilliant military science fiction that kind of messes with your head. The Obelisk Gate is a sequel that meets or even surpasses The Fifth Season, and that set a high bar. The final book in the trilogy is coming out within the next month and I am so excited. Continue reading
I am occasionally asked for book recommendations, which I LOVE doing although I am always baffled to be asked. I prefer to tailor recommendations toward the asker (if I know of two or three books or authors previously liked, I feel much better pulling recs from my “library”, so to speak), but I’m also happy to do a “best of the best according to Faith”, and so here is such a list for books I read in 2016*. Continue reading
Again, with thanks to Tami for the prompt.
I lowered my head and charged straight at the lizard-man, hardening my skin as I went. When I collided with him my head and shoulders were solid metal, and he went flying.
My name’s Jake. I’ve got super powers.
The lizard-man didn’t seem too fazed by his fall, or by the fact that I’d already knocked out his buddy. He whipped his tail, flipping himself back upright and slashed down with wicked looking claws. They sparked as they glanced off my metal skin, but the force of the blow still bowled me over. I hit the parking lot pavement hard, and the lizard-man landed squarely on top of me.
I tried to shove him off me, but I didn’t have super strength, and a full-size lizard man totally outweighs one scrawny twelve-year-old, even one with super powers. But I had to defeat him. I had to prove that I was good enough to be a Super Ranger.
The Hugo Award Finalists are upon us! Since I nominated and will be voting again this year, I wanted to react to the ballot here. Ballot and commentary below the cut:
Thanks to Tami for the prompt.
The wind whispered through the dark, empty trees like a warning in a foreign language. Winter was coming, and with it the snows that turned the mountainside, difficult to traverse even in high summer, into a prison as inescapable as any king’s dungeon.
If I was leaving, it would have to be tonight.
That was the last push I needed to step out of the doorway and onto the path, drawing my cloak tighter against the wind as I did so. My pack was a solid weight on my back: such food as I had managed to squirrel away without Father noticing; a spare set of boy’s cloths that my brother had outgrown; Mother’s books. Continue reading
The concluding post to my review of books read in 2016. See Part I for pretty charts and Part II for boring methodology.
Let’s review the most significant conclusions from Part I:
- I read a lot of women
- I don’t read a lot of nonwhite authors
- I don’t read a lot of books with LGBTQ+ authors or characters
And let’s also recall the following chart, which demonstrates my clear and obvious preference for female characters written by female authors:
Of the 110 books I read last year, 85 were written by women and 25 were written by men. However, once I account for series books written by the same author, I am left with 76 individual authors, of whom 51 are female (67%) and 24 are male (33%).
Considering that I make a deliberate effort to seek out work by female authors, I’m not at all surprised to see that they make up a majority percentage of my reading material. In fact, I almost expected the percentage of female authors to be higher. I can think of one possible reason why that was not the case… Continue reading