February 2020 Reading Log

Everything (of substance) that I read in February, with some annotations.

A ⌛︎ before a title indicates that I have not finished reading it.

Total: 6 novels, 2 novellas, 12 short stories, 9 essays, 1 novel chapter, 3 webcomic chapters.

Notes

Redshift: Extreme Visions of Speculative Fiction

Most of this month was spent in a Catherine Asaro-fueled haze... But I finally managed to pivot myself to something else, by reading her story in the collection Redshift, and then making myself read the other stories. I eventually put down the collection because so many of the stories were boring or annoying; it's very rare for me to do that with a book! But there were a few that I absolutely enjoyed: * “Ave de Paso” by Catherine Asaro was an almost urban fantasy story about two family members coping with their grief alone, at night, in the desert. * “On K2 with Kanakredes” by Dan Simmons was a fun ride, as I'd expect from the author. It's about some asshole climbing buddies who get talked into bringing the son of an alien ambassador along on their climb of K2. * “The Building” by Ursula K. Le Guin was a short parable about a mysterious, communally-constructed Building on a post-apocalyptic planet. * “In Xanadu” by Thomas M. Disch was a surreal, cyberpunk-y forced femme story about a person trapped in a proprietary virtual afterlife service. * “Commencement” by Joyce Carol Oates was basically just “The Lottery” but about a college graduation ceremony. Predictable, but well written. It was fun to read it and wait for the twist that you know is coming. * “In the Un-Black” by Stephen Baxter was a neat post-human story, with people living in sludge and writhing in piles of flesh, and other people with fishbowls in their bodies. You know, The Good Shit.

Non-fiction

This month I read: an overview of queer social reproduction theory within Marxist Feminism; notes on the performing female face, and Judy Garland; an essay on the fantasy of cool female intellectualism, feminism, and who you choose to model yourself after; an analysis and criticism of Andrea Long Chu's Females and her work in general; a personal essay about the fantasy of being a fuckable housewife; another personal essay about coping with amputation; a piece of the political repercussions of quarantine; a brief history of the satanic panic, and thoughts on how we construct narratives of victimhood; and a response to both the Xenofeminism Manifesto and the various responses to it. I especially recommend the Jules Joanne Gleeson and Elena Comay del Junco pieces.

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