When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Princess Leia (RIP Carrie Fisher)


Diane Morrison

leiastampIt grieves me deeply to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher, whose humour, cleverness and bravery have been an inspiration in my life.  Carrie Fisher’s legacy includes bravely sharing some of the most intimate details of her lowest points, from her struggles with drug addiction and bipolar disorder to the objectification that she was subjected to as an actress, to nasty, petty remarks from an entitled media whom, it seems, were angry that she didn’t just stay perfect in her gold bikini forever and had the audacity to get old.  She faced it all with courage and a cynical and sarcastic wit that I, who have had some considerable struggles in my life, find both inspiring and smugly satisfying.  She was an accomplished writer, penning memoirs, script band-aids, and her bestselling novel Postcards from the Edge, which was later made into a movie starring Meryl…

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Seeking Beta Readers!


Diane Morrison

Hello there, friendly readers! I’ve been working on a hard science fiction project for National Novel Writing Month and I’m just about finished. Sometime in early 2017 I will be looking for beta readers to give it a peruse and offer opinions.

A beta reader, if you don’t know, reads an unpublished manuscript at some time before it’s submitted for publication to help guide the author in the editing process. The benefit to you is that you get to read a brand-new novel for free before anybody else has a look at it. The drawback is that, being as it will be an unfinished manuscript, it’s not as likely to be as well polished as a published work you’re buying from the store. Also, I’ll be circulating questionnaires after each chapter that I’ll need you to fill out in order to pin down areas where the work needs improvement.


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Book Review: Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton


Diane Morrison

Web of the Witch World (Witch World Series 1: Estcarp Cycle, #2)Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for the Women of Genre Fiction Challenge.

I think I really like Andre Norton. This is only the second book of hers that I’ve read, the second of the classic Witch World series. I really love what she’s done here but I think you’ve got to have read the pulp fantasy and sci-fi classics – in particular Edgar Rice Burroughs‘s Barsoom series – in order to fully appreciate it. She’s spun a new take on classic pulp fiction. In a way she was the George R. R. Martin of her time; she was flipping the tropes. But she was also establishing new tropes.

In this, the second book of the series, it’s like a continuation of the story of Witch World where it left off. Simon Tregarth, interloper from our own world into the…

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Book Review: Witch World by Andre Norton


Diane Morrison

Witch World (Witch World Series 1: Estcarp Cycle, #1)Witch World by Andre Norton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge and the Second Best Reading Challenge (for sci-fi/fantasy books that were nominated for awards but did not win).

Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, and Andre Norton – the forgotten triumvirate of women who moulded the science fiction and fantasy we know today. Well, also Ursula LeGuin, but for some reason people remember her. I think perhaps the difference is that LeGuin is considered a “literary writer”; not that this is something she asked for or sought out.

Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, and Andre Norton (who took said pen name because when she was writing sword and sorcery, publishers believed it was necessary to market to adolescent boys because girls didn’t read that sort of thing) are legends in the field, if you ask other science fiction and fantasy…

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Seven Things I’ve Learned from the Science Fiction Masterworks Book Club


Diane Morrison

A little more than a year ago I decided that I was going to read an imprint called the SF Masterworks in order of publication, and I formed a book club so that others could join me, share my interest, and discuss the books in question.  The imprint was created to circulate classics of the genre that might otherwise be out of print or hard to find.  I have found this to be an extremely worthwhile experience!  I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve gotten out of it so far, maybe to encourage you, if you love the genre, to join us!

Science Fiction is not just about space and aliens.

Okay, so I already knew this one because I love the genre, but it’s amazing how many people don’t know this, and this list really drives the point home.  Science fiction is taking something that…

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Welcome to my new blog site!


Post from my new blog site.

Diane Morrison

It’s always an odd thing to decide how to present yourself on the internet.  Quite frankly, it would be easiest for me to keep it all in one place; my time and schedule being as limited as it is with all the things I want to do in my life and the relationships I have.  But that’s often just not practical.  Some people want to hear about my music projects, others my blogs, others about my fiction writing, and still others about my non-fiction writing.

For years I’ve been known as Sable Aradia online.  That’s because I’m an outgoing introvert, and there are things I like to keep private about my life.  But I’m looking to finally get my fiction writing career going, and that’s something you really have to do under the auspice of your real, legal name.  This site is all about my fiction writing work.  I’ll be…

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Book Review: Fool’s War by Sarah Zettel


Fool's WarFool’s War by Sarah Zettel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read for the Women of Genre Fiction Challenge and the Space Opera Challenge.

The book has received a lot of mixed reviews. I think the big reason why is that no matter what you’re expecting, this book is not what you expect. Is it space opera? Well; yes; sort of. Is it cyberpunk? Yeah; that too. Is it a story about the Singularity? Yes; but not entirely. Is it a story about First Contact? That too.

What’s the plot? I think the second paragraph of the back of the book summary is probably the best description I could come up with: “Katmer Al Shei, owner of the starship Pasadena, does not know she is carrying a living entity in her ship’s computer systems. Or that the electronic network her family helped weave holds a new race fighting for survival. Or that her ship’s professional Fool is trying to avert a battle that could destroy entire worlds. And when Al Shei learns the truth, all she’ll really know is that it’s time to take sides.”

What’s a professional Fool? Well, in Firefly they have Companions to keep the space travelers sane; in this world they have professional Fools, allowed to go where they want and keep people laughing.

And if I tell you any more than that, I will totally spoil the book for you, because plot and counter-plot and plot twist are the name of the game.

It does take a little while to get going. A lot of time is spent at the beginning of the book fretting and worrying about what the other owner of the ship, Al Shei’s no-good brother-in-law, might have done with the Pasadena while it was in his possession (they time-share) and with not much apparently happening. I see that people have gotten impatient with that. Relax; it picks up quickly. All of that is necessary setup. I think that people may have just gotten lazy about reading setup in recent years because we’re all used to reading James Patterson novels and Twitter feeds. Stick with it, and you’ll find a whole world of wonder opening up to you.

There’s so much to like about this book! One of the first things? There are two protagonists. Both are women. The plot would not change much if they weren’t. One of these women is a devout Muslim, who blows all the Western stereotypes about Muslim women into the void. This novel doesn’t have any issues in passing the Bechdel Test.

Another thing to like is that Al Shei (the Muslim protagonist) is happily married, shows no interest in the male members of her crew, and is a mother, but still travels around the galaxy because that’s the nature of her job. The writer, Sarah Zettel, pulls off a very difficult task; she manages to make Al Shei’s husband Asil into a significant character whose fate you care about, even though he does not appear in the book more than a handful of times. Also, Zettel succeeds admirably at the John W. Campbell challenge.

Aside from that, it’s just really good writing. And good all-around space opera. And hard science fiction, proving that space opera doesn’t have to be disguised fantasy.

I see that someone else who reviewed this book was saying that they didn’t like it because they were comparing it to Ancillary Justice, and that wasn’t fair because “that book was the Exception That Proves the Rule.” I assure that reviewer that without Fool’s War, which was written in the 1990s, there would not have been an Ancillary Justice. I see why Fool’s War is considered such an influential book in science fiction, and as I have many times before, I find myself wondering why it has not won more awards, nor garnered more attention than it has.

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