rachelmanija: (Default)
( Oct. 14th, 2013 11:39 am)
I had a lovely time at Sirens, and will try to get up a few more sets of panel notes. I hope that anyone who attended will also write panel notes, trip reports, etc.

I had a room with a gorgeous view of fields and trees and mountains and clouds caught on the mountain slopes, which I shared with Shveta Thakrar, K. Tempest Bradford, and Rosamond Hodge. Thanks to my roomies for making the whole experience even more awesome! I even got to snag an ARC of Rosamond's first novel, Cruel Beauty, which I am excited to read.

Probably my biggest "crossing the streams" experience was when I fangirled over Sara Empress of the World Ryan, and she said that she knew who I was. I assumed she'd either come across Yes Gay YA or my blog. Instead, she said, "You wrote "No Reservations: Narnia!""

Shveta and I did a presentation with slides and stories on the heroines of Indian comic books, and raffled off a comic, which was won by Joy Kim. It has a flying warrior with exploding feet on the cover.

There were great panels and discussions. In the guest of honor keynotes, Ellen Kushner sang traditional ballads, Alaya Dawn Johnson rhapsodized over hot springs, Robin LaFevers gave a fiery feminist speech, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall had the room alternating between howls of laughter and tears. (She also accidentally said "thirty sweaty balls," when she meant "thirty sweaty boys," which was definitely my favorite malaprop of the weekend.)

...and then my flight got delayed for five hours, and I caught a cold. But it's OK: I took the time to catch up on all my school reading. Why did I get stuck with all the psychoanalytic classes in my last quarter?

Gwyniera reports on the Georgette Heyer panel.

Sara Ryan reports on the whole experience.

The theme for next year is "hauntings." Who's coming?

I'm thinking of proposing panels on sex scenes in fantasy (probably not actually titled "I Tripped and Fell on his Dick") and portal fantasy (probably not actually titled "Surprisingly Controversial!"). If Guadalupe can come back, I'd also like to do something on fantasy/sf in the southwest.
Two high school girls have a romance while they're taking college classes at a summer camp for gifted kids. The only way this could have possibly been more up my alley would have been if "gifted" was in the "Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters" sense.

Nicola, amateur artist and aspiring archaeologist, narrates the book in first person, with occasional excerpts from her diary, also in first person but with a different typeface and no capitalization. This may sound annoying, but it's actually adorable. Here's an excerpt from her diary. The "angst crows" are Goths, and the context is that she's looking around campus to see if she can spot any other queer kids:

and there's another boy i've seen, i think he's in katrina's class, who often wears long velvet skirts and lots of black eyeliner. but i believe this to be a fashion statement rather than a declaration of sexuality, since i have observed him making out with various angst crows.

i suppose he could like boys, too, though.

i of all people should remember that.

Though the romance between Nic and the remarkably named Battle Hall Davies is the main plotline, Ryan spends a lot of time on an ensemble of new friends, their friendships and romances and individual character growth, classes and picnics and dances. The emotions are realistic and sometimes angsty, but the whole summer has a shimmery nostalgic glow. The book is also very funny. Ryan has a great gift for comic setup/payoff, of which one of my favorites, a small moment but one which made me laugh and laugh, involved a boy's attempt to bypass the disgusting cafeteria food by claiming to keep kosher.

On the one hand, this is a perfect little book. On the other hand, I wish it had been longer. Battle had a lot of stuff going on that I got, but would have liked to have seen explored more. Also, I just wanted to keep on reading.

It reminds me a bit of Maureen Johnson's The Bermudez Triangle, another very funny book which mostly takes place over a summer and involves female friendship, female romance, and the complexity of sexual identity.

Empress of the World


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