A Belated TLJ Review

I picked up The Last Jedi and Rogue One from the library last night, so as usual, I’m ready to understand the conversation around these movies just in time for nobody to be talking about them anymore. Oh, well. A review follows anyway.
So far, I’ve just watched TLJ. Here’s what I thought:

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Radio show TONIGHT!

In just ONE HOUR, I will be joining my college friend Katharine Duckett and charming host Jim Freund on WBAI New York’s “Hour of the Wolf” radio show! Tune in at 99.5FM if you’re in the NYC area, or at wbai.org if you’re not, and hear us live! There will be film reviews, story readings, and, around 1am EST (more or less), an interactive reading of The Maltese Pelican.

Interactive how, you say? Well, you can call in and read with us! The number is (347) 335-0818.

For those unfamiliar with the rules of a bad prose reading, they are as follows:

1) When it’s your turn, read the story aloud from wherever your predecessor left off. It’s okay to go back to the beginning of the sentence if you need to.

2) If you laugh, your turn is over.

3) Your turn is also over if you misread the text: for example if it says “terfific” and you read “terrific.” Try to adhere to the punctuation too, when possible, though you are not required to say “quote…end quote” or anything like that.

4) Feel free to interrupt another reader if they have erred in steps 2 or 3.

5) Be a good sport about it. There is no prize for “winning,” and no penalty for “losing.” Your turn is only over temporarily! Stick around…the other readers are bound to mess up sooner or later.


Want to try your luck? Give the studio a call! The story is here. The number is (347) 335-0818. Give it a shot!

Book day!

Today’s the day! A BREACH IN THE HEAVENS, the final book of the Godserfs Trilogy, is out today! You can buy it at your local bookstore or at any of these fine retailers (my favorite is IndieBound, at the bottom, which supports independent bookstores).

In celebration of the end of the trilogy, DJ at MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape has posted an interview I did with him a couple weeks ago. Check it out!

Reviews are good. Even “bad” ones.

I have been completely blown away by the response to a recent $1.99 Bookbub promo for Silent Hall. If you are one of the many people who picked up my first book for just a couple of bucks, thank you! If I may request just one more favor, would you please consider leaving me a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads? Reviews really matter.

They matter because they make authors’ work more visible, and they help readers tell which books are worth the time and which might not be their bag. For every reader who leaves a review, there are dozens who have similar tastes and are looking to find their next great read. So please, do them a favor. Tell them what you loved about the books you read, what squicked you out, what disturbed you. It’s all appreciated. Whether you think my books are excellent, lousy, or just okay, voicing that opinion in the form of a review helps everybody in the system.

I want to be clear here: I love sales. I want sales. I love great reviews that help drive more sales. But I appreciate the negative ones too, and the mixed bags, because I want my books to reach the right audience. A well elucidated criticism isn’t a bad review, it’s a great way to make sure a book will reach only people who will appreciate it despite (or because of) its flaws.

When you say “hey this book was mostly enjoyable, but CW: there is the threat of harm to children, and also icky sex stuff,” that doesn’t cause me harm, and you know, it may save some readers from trauma. I’d rather miss those readers and the $0.47 in royalties than hurt them. My books do not have content warnings. I didn’t even think to suggest it before publication, and in any case it would be up to the publisher and not me to weigh whether CWs would be good for business and decide whether or not to include them. But you know what can help fill the gaps? Reviews!

I’ve had reviews that complained about the way my first book included menstruation. You know what, that’s not for everyone! If you’re a person who can’t handle reading an awkward scene where an awkward and isolated teenage boy learns about menstruation for the first time, that’s totally okay! I’d rather not put you through that scene if it’ll just bother you. That’s the kind of stuff we rely on our reviewers to bring to light.

So please, all it takes is a minute or two. If you love a book, write a review. If you hate a book, write a review. If your feelings about a book are mixed, write a review.

My Arisia Schedule

Arisia is coming up, and I have a fantastic schedule that I’m really excited about! Check it out!

Saturday January 13

9:00 AM    Grand Ballroom CD    Bad Prose Reading. N.S. Dolkart. An interactive reading of the hardboiled Bad Prose story “The Maltese Pelican” by Alias MacPenname (N.S. Dolkart). Laugh or correct the text, and your turn is over! PG-13
4:00 PM    Burroughs    Technology’s not a Cure: Disability in SFF. N.S. Dolkart (mod), LJ Cohen, Bekah Anderson, LB Lee, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Tikva. Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter reached almost all of its stretch goals, and completed funding. Defying Doomsday, an anthology of post-apocalyptic survival fiction that focuses on disabled characters was published in 2016. The conversation around disability in SFF is growing, but there are still many problems and problematic tropes in common use. Where do we, as a genre, need to go to create a better genre for disability representation?
8:30 PM    Douglas   SFF and the Feminine Elder. Lisa Batya Feld (mod), Greer Gilman, Andrea Hairston, N.S. Dolkart (I am super excited to be on a panel with these women. They’re freaking geniuses. I plan to do a lot more listening than talking). As our population ages and more people are living longer lives of greater vigor, older folks remain underrepresented as protagonists in SFF. Older women, in particular, rarely appear even as supporting characters, and often only appear in trope-laden roles we’ve all seen before. What stories break this mold? What stories are there yet to be told for older women in SFF? How do the fem-of-center relate to technologies of life extension or body replacement?

Sunday January 14

8:30 PM    Faneuil    Beyond Metaphor: Explicit Representation in SFF. N.S. Dolkart (mod), Sabrina Vourvoulias, Sarah Lynn Weintraub, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Steve Berman. There are many SFF works that talk around an issue, rather than facing it head-on. What works are there that directly talk about race, sexuality, gender identity, disability; things that have been addressed in the past mostly as metaphor? Are there any ways we are moving away from only being able to imagine ourselves in our protagonists in vague and subtle hints? What still has to happen before explicit representation works properly for everyone?

Monday January 15

11:30 AM    Hale    Fantasy Reading. N.S. Dolkart, Stephen R Wilk. Authors will be reading their own original works about dragons, mysticism, and epic fantasy. (I will be reading a passage from the forthcoming third book of the Godserfs series, A Breach in the Heavens)