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Martha Wells

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Bunch of Book Recs

I don't know why I haven't been posting more. I've been busy working on the book, but I think I'm also losing my will to persist, somewhat. I can keep writing, because I've always done that, but it's getting a bit hard to do other things.

A couple of years ago we had the conversation where some men decided that no one had ever written any fantasy set in non-European inspired settings, except these four or five dudes they could name. Ignoring the hundreds of women who wrote it during the 80s and 90s, and the whole realm of Japanese fantasy like Moribito, etc. (which is how we came up with this list). Now we have the no one has written "non-patriarchal" fantasy except for these three or four dudes someone can name. Ignoring all the women who wrote this in the 80s, 90s, etc. (We talked about this on Kate Elliott's twitter so it's a little hard to follow.)

I guess I'm really tired of feeling like nothing I've done in genre counts, because I'm not a bearded white dude.

Related: I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year by K.T. Bradford about trying to diversify your reading and find new authors.

I have a lot of authors on my book rec tag that would fit, but here's a small sample:

David Anthony Durham, Prudence Shen, Violette Malan, Nnedi Okorafor, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Nicky Drayden, Karen Lord, Judith Tarr, Craig Laurance Gidney, Sharon Shinn, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Wesley Chu, Ramez Naam, Catherine Lundoff, Joyce Chng, Kate Elliott, Barbara Hambly, Jaye Wells, Charles R. Saunders, Steven Barnes, Stephanie Diaz, Laura Lam, Alyx Dellamonica for a start.

Also in that list, N.K. Jemisin. I got to read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, which is coming out later this year and you should envy me, because it's really good. I gave it a blurb and said:
"This is an intense, exciting novel, where survival is always on the line, set in a fascinating, original and dangerous world with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book!"
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That not-a-dude-therefore-not-Important thang is why I blew out of genre for so many years. Also why I stopped writing completely for several. So. Yeah.

It's an ambivalent relationship, isn't it? And yet. I love what you write. It's important to me. I know it's important to quite a few other readers. Nobody else can write what you write. And we love that.

All we can do is keep pushing back. None of us can do it alone, but en masse we're making inroads, however slow. It's like this endless caravan. Sometimes one or more of us needs to drop beside the road, take a break, rest. But the caravan carries on, and will be there when we find our strength again.


Thanks, I really appreciate hearing that. And it is a huge deal to me that you've read my books, since yours have meant so much to me.

Yeah, sometimes I feel very energized and want to keep pushing, and other times I just feel like the caravan is dragging me.

Thank you. The good words mean a lot to me, too.

I totally hear you about the dragging part. Sometimes one feels like a rag and a bone and a handful of dust. That's when it most helps, I think, to not feel alone. Or invisible.

Edited at 2015-02-26 09:20 pm (UTC)

And books by both of you have meant a lot to me over the years.

*hugs* and *smooches* You know what I think about your writing, and especially your book I love and your story that made me cry like a baby.

What you write counts. It may not matter to some boring white dudes, but it matters to quite a few of the rest of us. Please don't let the cult of white dudes discourage you. We need to let them stew in their own juices and stop paying attention to their efforts to negate everyone else. Let them yammer on to each other while the rest of us read and talk about all the good stuff that they're missing. They're loud, but even a loud voice can be drowned out by many other voices.

I am jealous of you for getting to read N.K. Jemisin's new book early. I very much enjoy her books too.

Thank you so much. :) Making these lists of authors really helps me feel better, for some reason.

Thank you! And I think your writing matters too! :-)

Thank you! Yours does too!

REBLOGGED: Bunch of Book Recs

User csecooney referenced to your post from REBLOGGED: Bunch of Book Recs saying: [...] she went and made a PRETTY LIST for the rest of us! Originally posted by at Bunch of Book Recs [...]

Yay, more recs!

By the way, I just read an intense (and a bit grim) SF novella by Genevieve Valentine, "Dream Houses," that's really good; and am currently in the middle of "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers which is a fun, light (so far) SF novel. Strongly recommend! Both are only available as e-books, though, and the second only on Kindle. They are one reason I'm glad I broke down and got a Kindle. I'm not giving up my real books, and I'm not going to stop buying real books, but I'm glad I can now read some of this stuff that's only available digitally.

And your books matter so much to me. Your voice and talent are so unique, and your worlds are my favorites.

Edited at 2015-02-27 02:40 pm (UTC)

Thank you so much. You know I loved your stories, too. And your reviews. You're a really good book reviewer. :)

FWIW, I think your stuff counts and is some of the more entertaining stuff I've read.
I honestly can't wait to share your books with my daughter (she's 8 - the tall curly haired kiddo that came to the Murder by the Book signing you did last year).

Thank you! And yes, I remember her! :)

i read almost entirely speculative fiction by women, and women of color when i can/ know that information. reading Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy right now and i DO envy you for being up on her latest! i'm looking forward to her other books, which are on their way here soon. :)


Cool, you've got a lot of good reading ahead of you. :)

I do find the 'no one's written' things kinda mind-blowing. Ugh :(

Sometimes I wonder what they think we write about that's so inaccessible. In a bookstore once I heard a guy say that all women write about is clothes and shoes and I wonder how common that attitude is.

I have a male friend who made that comment about my books (he hadn't read them, just had seen that in a review or something)...about how I write about the clothes so much.

i got a note from someone on a dating site the other day, and when i read his profile all his favorite authors were men. every. single. one. of a goodly long list. and i thought, i wonder if he even *realizes* that. and i couldn't quite bring myself to write back to him.

Augh, yeah. There's a good chance he doesn't realize, but I had a friend who went on a blind date with a guy once who told her in some many words that he only reads books by white men/about white men, because only white men can be heroes. She left as fast as possible.

yikes! how awful.

i am pretty sure i found Jemisin through your reccomendation. i'm bookmarking these posts so i can come back to them and find new authors. <3

I just bought a N.K. Jemisin book last night, based on your recommendation! I'm excited to start reading it.

I'd love to make another plug for Barbara Hambly, whom I adore. She did a great trio of mysteries with Abigail Adams as the protagonist under the pen name Barbara Hamilton. She's such an interesting and versatile writer.

I love those Abigail Adams books, I wish she'd done some more.

I challenge folks to just try something different from what they usually like to read.

That covers it.

But I understand what you mean about the extras dragging you down. I know so many good writers who are never even considered for awards. And so many award nominees I will never read again.

Thank you for the list! Some whose works are new to me!

I am still mad the Raksura books didn't make the Nebula ballot. I voted for every %$## one of them!

First of all, your work matters. I find myself re-reading one of your books (I own almost all of them) practically every month. Every time I do, I'm inspired to go back to my computer, open up my word processor, and get back to work on my own writing. Sometimes, when I'm stumped in my own work, I think "What would Martha do here?" or "How would Martha phrase this?" Sometimes I write something, look at it, and think, "Is that OK? Am I allowed to write like that?" and sometimes I answer myself, "Martha Wells did something like that, so it must be OK."

Secondly, you are hell on reading lists :) I've a got a to-read list on Goodreads that's over 6000 books long, and every time I think I'm making a dent in it you put out a few book recs or pass along a list of recommendations, and of course I have to run over to GR and add all of them to my list!

Well, cool. :) I really appreciate that. And always remember you can write anything you want. It took me a long time to learn that.

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