tweets for 2017-07-13

July 14th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2016 edited by B. Morris Allen (2017)

July 13th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

They’re Good Stories, Brent.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ebook for review through NetGalley.)

I hate to think how things would have been if that dog had gone to a shelter. I wonder what the workers and volunteers would have done when the little guy started to expand like unspooling Christmas lights, impossibly bright, tangled in the shape of dog. It hurts my heart to picture that loving collection of cosmic bodies crouching in a kennel.

(“My Dog is the Constellation Canis Major” by Jarod K. Anderson)

Trans-human. That’s what I’m called, somehow. The word never felt right though, then least of all. Trans is too high, too grand for someone so cobbled together. So is human, I suppose. If I get hurt, I’m as like to spill oil as blood. That’s why the witch didn’t see me. She didn’t see a person, she just saw parts.

(“Strix Antiqua” by Hamilton Perez)

When I spotted this anthology of “vegan” science fiction and fantasy stories on NetGalley, I knew I had to have it. Though I love both genres, the animal exploitation that seems ubiquitous in each makes active compartmentalization while reading a must. (Though you could say the same of all literature, fwiw.) Vegan SF/F? Sign me up!

Alas, Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2016 isn’t quite what I envisioned. Instead of, say, stories featuring vegan protagonists, plots that involve daring animal rescues, or narratives that hinge on animal sentience or human/nonhuman kinship, the stories contained within these pages are “vegan” more for what you don’t see than the things you do. There are no scenes of animal cruelty, exploitation, or speciesism here. Often there aren’t any animals at all!

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing! On the contrary, some of the stories are downright magical. To no one’s surprise, my favorite was the sole story that did center a nonhuman in its narrative. In “My Dog is the Constellation Canis Major,” the narrator inherits a dog from his eccentric yet beloved grandmother; a creature who literally shines with love, and one the grieving guardian must ultimately set free.

I also adored Hamilton Perez’s “Strix Antiqua,” in which speciesism (automatonophobia? robophobia? technophobia?) proves to be the evil witch’s downfall. You might look at “Strix Antiqua” as vegan in the larger sense, e.g., in that it promotes compassion and respect for all animals, including those of the human variety. (Or, to expand the circle even further, all sentient beings, including those that are non-organic.) Likewise, “Closed Circuit” has a bit of a social justice bent, as the settlers of an abandoned mining colony fight for their freedom on a hostile planet/in a hostile world.

“Murder on the Adriana” is also worth a mention, if only because it brought to mind one of my favorite shows, Joss Whedon’s Firefly. (That one episode with Mal and Zoey’s war buddy Tracey in particular, which has forever earned a special place in my heart.)

The book ends on almost as strong a note as it begins, with Kelly Sandoval’s “Small Magics” – a twist on the trope of a gifted child leaving home to save the world. A mother’s love means knowing when to hold tight to your magical little munchkin…and when it’s time to send him out into the world to forge his own path.

Overall, this is a satisfying (if short!) collection of SF/F stories that won’t make animal lovers cringe with horror (or even just disapproval). Animals aren’t always introduced into the stories – but when they are, it’s with kindness and respect.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-07-12

July 13th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-07-11

July 12th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-07-10

July 11th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager (2017)

July 10th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Enjoy with a slice of red velvet cake.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape and suicide.)

While there were other multiple homicides during those years, none quite got the nation’s attention like ours. We were, for whatever reason, the lucky ones who survived when no one else had. Pretty girls covered in blood. As such, we were each in turn treated like something rare and exotic. A beautiful bird that spreads its bright wings only once a decade. Or that flower that stinks like rotting meat whenever it decides to bloom.

I understand that urge for more information, that longing for details. But in this case, I’m fine without them. I know what happened at Pine Cottage. I don’t need to remember exactly how it happened.

Quincy Carpenter: marketing grunt, food blog maven, massacre survivor.

Quincy was just a sophomore in college when it happened. She and her five best friends – boyfriend Craig, BFF Janelle, and friends Betz, Amy, and Rodney; collectively known as the East Hall Crew – were renting a cabin in the Poconos, celebrating Janelle’s birthday, when Joe Hannen stumbled into their lives. Janelle, being the wild and carefree member of the group, invited him to stay for dinner. Since she was the birthday girl, she got to call the shots.

You kind of wonder whether things would have went down differently had they known that Joe wasn’t a stranded motorist, but rather a recent escapee from the nearby Blackthorn Psychiatric asylum. (This sounds hella ableist, and there’s certainly that potential; but the many plot twists don’t necessarily play into the stereotype that mentally ill people are inherently violent, and vice versa.)

By the end of the night, everyone would be dead, save for Quincy. Almost before the blood could dry, the media nicknamed Quincy the Final Girl – one of three, at least in recent memory. Though Quincy had no desire to be defined by tragedy, she would forever be lumped in with fellow survivors: the reclusive Samantha Boyd (Nightlight Inn), and do-gooder Lisa Milner before her (a sorority house in Indiana).

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-07-09

July 10th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-07-08

July 9th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-07-07

July 8th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Mini-Review: Star Trek Cats by Jenny Parks (2017)

July 7th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Apawximately as cute as it sounds.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program.)

A general rule of thumb: you can make just about anything better by adding cats, and Star Trek is no exception.

2017-06-14 - Star Trek Cats - 0001 [flickr]

In Star Trek Cats, illustrator Jenny Parks recreates famous scenes from the original run of the show using cats. (I’m not a huge fan, but my dad is and he recognized most of the scenes. Plus there’s a handy little cheat sheet in the back of the book.)

Kirk is an orange tabby, Chekov is a Russian Blue (could possibly be the distant cousin of Lemmy, my British Shorthair), Scotty is a Scottish Fold, and so on.

2017-06-14 - Star Trek Cats - 0009 [flickr]

Really the only negative about this book is that there’s not more of it! It’s pretty tiny at 6 3/4″ x 6 3/4″ and 64 pages. I’d love to see an entire episode reimagined this way (though copyright issues probably make it a non-starter; still, it’s nice to dream).

On the positive side, there are Tribbles!

And Uhura being her typical BAMF feminist self!

2017-06-14 - Star Trek Cats - 0005 [flickr]

And a unicorn dog!

2017-06-14 - Star Trek Cats - 0008 [flickr]

Really, what more is there to say? Answer: nothing. There is nothing left to say after “unicorn dog.” I AM SOLD.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-07-06

July 7th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-07-05

July 6th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-07-04

July 5th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Easy Peasy Spaghetti Pie

July 4th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Cashews are one of my favorite nuts, if only because they pop up in so many vegan cheese recipes. And with their rich, savory, vaguely cheesy flavor, it’s no wonder why. (Gawker even rated them the Second-Best Nut of All Time. “Cashew: A crescent moon of flavor / In the night sky of nut jars.”)

In addition to some pretty rad dried strawberries, Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit also provided me a five pound bag of raw cashews to play around with.

2017-06-10 - Raw Cashews - 0002 [flickr]

Naturally, I made cheesy pasta!

2017-06-30 - Easy Peasy Spaghetti Pie - 0010 [flickr]

So I was first introduced to the concept of Spaghetti Pie by Tami Noyes, by way of her most excellent cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen. (Seriously, this is one of a handful of cookbooks that I can’t recommend highly enough.) Since then, I’ve encountered variations on this theme in a number of places. (See, e.g., Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater.) Over time, I’ve plucked elements from each recipe and smooshed and mashed and cobbled them together to create a version that’s a) easy; b) mostly sticks to ingredients that I’m likely to have on hand; and c) is still super freaking delicious.

2017-06-30 - Easy Peasy Spaghetti Pie - 0005 [flickr]

Spaghetti pie (or cake, or whatever you want to call it) typically has a bottom layer of pasta (either plain or lightly coated with sauce), followed by a tofu-based, ricotta-like cheese (this is where the cashews come in!), and then topped with pasta sauce and either vegan mozzarella cheese or some other bake-able topping, such as breadcrumbs mixed with nutritional yeast. You can get as complicated as you want; for example, by hand-roasting red peppers and then simmering them in your own special red sauce for a full day beforehand. One of my favorite things about this recipe is its versatility: sure, you can go all gourmet when time allows – but if you’re in a pinch, swapping out the special sauce for store-bought stuff saves time time without sacrificing quality (well, not too much, anyway).

Without further ado, I present: Kelly’s Easy Peasy Spaghetti Pie. (Yeah, I know it’s hot out. Still worth it.)

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-07-03

July 4th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-07-02

July 3rd, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-07-01

July 2nd, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-06-30

July 1st, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @LifeWthnThePgs: 🌟GIVEAWAY🌟 1-New Release of your choice from photo>Follow & RT… Open INTL (if BD ships) Ends 6/30/17 11pm CT #2017boo->
  • RT @obaa_boni: "Even Beyonce got cheated on ." Maybe…..just maybe cheating isn't about who women are and rather about who men are allowed… ->
  • RT @nancywyuen: Asian Am actors wanted equal pay as white actors on Hawaii Five-O. Kim & Park exiting cuz no deal. https://t.co/ohuZJoIcE0 ->
  • RT @chrislhayes: After Access Hollywood tape @jasoninthehouse said he coulnd't look his daughter in the eyes and support Trump. Then he vot… ->
  • RT @AriBerman: 22 states now won't hand over voter info to Kobach: CA, CT, IN, KY, MA, MN, NC, NM, ND, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT,… ->
  • (More below the fold…)

Book Review: Feminist Fables for the Twenty-First Century: The F Word Project by Maureen Burdock (2015)

June 30th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

To quote Trina Robbins in the Forward: Let’s start a movement!

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher, McFarland. Trigger warning for violence against girls and women, including rape.)

— 4.5 stars —

There are so many words that come to mind when I think of Maureen Burdock’s Feminist Fables for the Twenty-First Century – and, yes, many of them are f-words: Fierce, fiery, and fun. Fabulous. Force, as in one to be reckoned with. Feminist, naturally. But also intersectional and inclusive. In the spirit of solidarity and sisterhood. With music in the cafés at night/And revolution in the air. (Borrowing from yet another folk singer.)

Beginning with the Author’s Note, Feminist Fables sent chills dancing up and down my arms.

2017-06-12 - Feminist Fables - 0004 [flickr]

The five stories contained within its pages show women – of all ages, ethnicities, religions, sizes, and classes – working to combat misogyny in their communities and make the world a better place. In “Marta & the Missing,” a karate instructor named Marta decides to do what the police (including her own father) will not: hunt down the perpetrators of femicide in Juárez.

2017-06-12 - Feminist Fables - 0003 [flickr]

“Maisa & the Most Daring Muslim Women” features a djinn who uses her culinary skills to save her daughter Lale from an honor killing. But once the young woman is made invisible, Maisa faces a new challenge: how to help her daughter be seen again.

2017-06-12 - Feminist Fables - 0005 [flickr]

The heroine of “Mona and the Little Smile” is just a child – one who uses her art to transform her reality, and those of other children like her: namely, victims of rape.

2017-06-12 - Feminist Fables - 0006 [FLICKR]

Meanwhile, Mumbi trains her literal butt off in order to score an upset at the Berlin marathon in “Mumbi & the Long Run.” Not for fame or glory, but for the cash prize – which she hopes will save her cousin Esther from female genital mutilation/cutting.

2017-06-12 - Feminist Fables - 0007 [flickr]

The collection ends with a personal story written by Halima Mohamed Abdel Rahman, a woman who was subjected to FGM at the age of six – and went on to attend college and become a freelance journalist and activist.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-06-29

June 30th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato