Tag: memory

Maggie reviews A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine – The Lesbrary

Susan reviews The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Amazon Affiliate Link)

I picked up A Memory Called Empire as part of my ongoing fling with space opera as a great antidote to quarantine. There’s something about complicated plots, action, and space, that is really great for pulling me out of my apartment and into a nice brain space right now. This was a lovely book, full of meticulous, engaging world-building, fascinating plot developments, and a really interesting look at identity. If you are at all looking for some space opera right now, add it to your list.

Mahit is the new ambassador from Lsel Station on her way to the Teixcalaanli Empire to replace a long-term ambassador who has been killed. But she is facing more problems than just figuring out a cause of death. Tiny, self-contained Lsel Station has survived by making sure skills and experience survive and are passed down via neurological devices called imago machines. Once successfully integrated with a compatible successor, the imago machines mean that the full years and experience of previous imago owners of that line are passed down and integrated into the host’s own personality. But the previous ambassador Yskander has, somewhat suspiciously, been avoiding coming back to the Station to update his imago file, and so the imago that Mahit has been fitted with is almost 15 years out of date. It then goes on the fritz almost immediately after she steps foot in the Empire. Which leaves Mahit woefully unprepared for the situation she is stepping into, Lsel Station diplomatic training relying largely on imago memory. And so, almost blind and with only the help of her liaison Three Seagrass, Mahit has to navigate a new culture, the politics around an uncertain line of succession, the Empire’s interest in imago machines, and the feeling that something even more dangerous than the upheaval happening in the City is coming.

What I really loved about this book was the slow, inexorable build of pressure. As Mahit slowly figures out what is going on, so does the reader. Mahit feels extremely disconnected from events and from her position, because of the malfunction of her imago machine. Its absence strips her of whatever pre-knowledge she might have been able to access about the political situation on Teixcalaanli, and her disconnect is the reader’s disconnect. It was delightful, peeling back all the plot layers. Who killed Yskander becomes what was Yskander up to before he died. The heating up of the Emperor’s successor becomes intimately involved with her own small station becomes a looming threat greater the politics of one city. And through it all is a delightful exploration of what constitutes a person’s self and how the imago machines affect them.

Also delightful is that this kind of sweeping political space opera turned out to be queer. Mahit’s continual struggles with identity and who she is with and without her imago machine already have a strong queer element in them, but her snarky, flirty relationship with her liaison Three Seagrass is refreshing. When it becomes more than just off the cuff flirting, I gasped in delight. This isn’t a queer romance for the ages or anything, but it adds another great layer to this wonderfully layered book. And if you’re looking for space opera in general, knowing one is queer is a great reason to steer towards it.

In conclusion, I started this book looking for some standard space opera and was inexorably drawn into amazing worldbuilding, an intricate plot that kept me guessing, and a queer relationship that I did not expect but embraced whole-heartedly.

Landice reviews Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne – The Lesbrary

Susan reviews The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia

Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne

I’m not quite sure how to describe my experience of reading Architects of Memory. I started to say it was “a delight” to read, but that’s not even close to accurate, because this is an incredibly heavy book. And when I say heavy, I’m talking “what if corporations really were able to colonize space and then make everyone do incredibly dangerous labor to earn their place off-world, complete with sometimes mandatory medical procedures that incur massive debt against your citizenship account” heavy. That being said, it was well written and engaging, so much so that I marathoned most of it in one day, which I generally avoid doing with books that are heavy or likely to leave me emotionally exhausted.

Architects of Memory’s pacing is relentless from the very start, and if you’re anything like me, you will likely not want to put it down for anything. I was initially disappointed in how abrupt the ending felt, but then I realized this is the first in a series, so knowing there will be additional novels negated those issues.

I won’t go into much detail about the plot so as to avoid spoilers, but I did want to note that both of our POV characters are sapphic women! Ash is canonically bisexual with relationships with both men and women referenced in the story, and our second POV character, Kate, is also into women (though her actual sexuality is never confirmed). The two of them are–surprise–in love with each other, but feel as though they cannot or should not act on their impulses for the time being. This conflict added an extra layer of tension onto an already stressful plot, but in the best way! I’m not usually a fan of extended mutual pining, which is something Architects of Memory has in spades, but I think because the romance and pining took a back seat to the story, rather than driving it, I didn’t mind (further proof that I prefer genre fiction with f/f romantic subplots to romance novels, no matter how hard I try, which… Okay, fair. I can’t deny it anymore).

TL;DR: Y’all know I love a good sapphic sci-fi novel (and if you didn’t, now you do), and Architects of Memory really knocks it out of the park! I can’t wait to read Engines of Oblivion (Book 2), and if the Goodreads release date of Feb 2021 is accurate, we thankfully won’t have to wait too long to find out what’s next for Kate, Ash, and the rest of the galaxy. (Also, if you’re itching for a more analytical review that focuses more on the plot than the f/f relationship, my wonderful friend Dom has an excellent one that you can check out on Goodreads).

Architects of Memory Description:

Millions died after the first contact. An alien weapon holds the key to redemption—or annihilation. Experience Karen Osborne’s unforgettable science fiction debut, Architects of Memory.

Terminally ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson lost everything in the war with the alien Vai, but she’ll be damned if she loses her future. Her plan: to buy, beg, or lie her way out of corporate indenture and find a cure.

When her crew salvages a genocidal weapon from a ravaged starship above a dead colony, Ash uncovers a conspiracy of corporate intrigue and betrayal that threatens to turn her into a living weapon.

Content Warnings: Graphic violence, death of a loved one, nonconsensual medical procedures, gore/body horror type stuff. I’m probably forgetting a lot of things, to be perfectly honest. Read with care!

ARC Note: Thank you to Tor Books for granting me an advance ebook copy to review via Netgalley. This in no way impacted my thoughts (especially since I plan to buy a finished copy for my shelf). All opinions are my own.

Landice is an autistic lesbian graphic design student who lives on a tiny farm outside of a tiny town in rural Texas. Her favorite genres are sci-fi, fantasy & speculative fiction, and her favorite tropes are enemies-to-lovers, thawing the ice queen, & age gap romances. Landice drinks way too much caffeine, buys more books than she’ll ever be able to read, and dreams of starting her own queer book cover design studio one day.

You can find her as manicfemme on Bookstagram & Goodreads, and as manic_femme on Twitter. Her personal book blog is Manic Femme Reviews.

Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg: May Her Memory Be a Revolution

Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg: May Her Memory Be a Revolution

Her loss is a loss for our country—yet even as we mourn, we must recommit to the cause of justice that she championed.

May her memory be a revolution

In the Jewish tradition that Justice Ginsburg and I share, it is customary to say to a person who has just lost a loved one, “May her/his/their memory be a blessing.” Many on social media have quickly transformed this sentiment into a cry for the justice that RBG embodied: “May her memory be a revolution.” And while I like the clarity of that statement, even the original sentiment of “May her memory be a blessing” carries these connotations, as Molly Conway wrote yesterday in the Forward:

When we say “may her memory be for a blessing,” the blessing we speak of is not “may we remember her fondly” or “may her memory be a blessing to us.” The blessing implied is this: May you be like Ruth. Jewish thought teaches us that when a person dies, it is up to those who bear her memory to keep her goodness alive. We do this by remembering her, we do this by speaking her name, we do this by carrying on her legacy. We do this by continuing to pursue justice, righteousness, sustainability.

Phrase it as you wish; either way, though, Justice Ginsburg’s death still feels like a body blow as our country is already reeling from the depredations of the Trump administration. Our democracy’s survival, however, does not rest on the efforts of one person alone, however, no matter how strong she was. Justice Ginsburg died on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the start of the High Holy Days, when we reflect on our actions of the past year, make amends, and resolve to do better. Even as I mourn her, then, I hope to do more than ever to make sure her vision of equality, equity, and informed dissent continues. Let us use her passing, then, as a rallying cry to find our own strength, to renew our own efforts towards justice, and to show that her decades of work haven’t been in vain.

Here are some ideas for what we can do now, remembering her maxim that “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time”:

  1. Vote. Register to vote if you’re not already. Check here if you’re not sure. Get an absentee ballot if you’d rather vote by mail (and do this well in advance in case of mail delays). Find your polling place if you plan to go in person. Coordinate with neighbors, relatives, and friends to help each other get there, if needed.
  2. Contact your senators and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and tell them not to hold hearings or confirm a new justice until a new president takes office. Remind them that McConnell, in denying a hearing to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, said that justices should not be confirmed in an election year—something he has gone back on in now saying that Trump’s nominee will get a hearing.
    • Some reason to hope: We only need four Senate Republicans to join the Democrats in order to block a vote. Right now, at least four Republican senators have said they will oppose confirming a new justice before the election—that’s promising, although it would be better if the confirmation was pushed back until the new Senate is seated on January 3 (if Democrats can win a majority) or until a new president (I hope) takes office on January 20. Vox breaks this all down in more detail, if you’re interested.
  3. Help kick McConnell out of office. He’s up for reelection. You may wish to support his opponent, Amy McGrath.
  4. Support other Democratic candidates for Senate so that the Democrats will control both chambers.
  5. Get involved with nonpartisan voter outreach campaigns like Reclaim Our Vote or stay involved with LGBTQ and other social justice organizations.
  6. Help turn out Democrats in battleground states (even if you don’t live there) with ideas from this page by Vote Save America.
  7. Talk with your friends, neighbors, and relatives about why this is so important to you and what you are doing to make change. As Justice Ginsburg herself once said, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

May her memory be a revolution – Lesbian.com

May her memory be a revolution – Lesbian.com

Pic of the Castro in San Francisco September 18, 2020 from the SF Chronicle.

BY ERIN BAYER
Special to Lesbian.com

May her memory be a revolution.

Between real storms and the proverbial ones, 2020 keeps getting unimaginably worse. As the impossible plot has unfolded, the very fabric of our nation has seemed to be tearing. We looked to the courts to hold us together. We listened for leadership, for a voice of unshakable reason, something solid to guide us through. We found the notorious RBG. She was the masthead of the most seaworthy liberal ship, guiding our fleet through these stormy seas.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously said, “When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ and I say ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”

From a small, unthreatening person came a voice so sharp and savage, it’s truth could not be ignored. In a culture where candor makes the best quick-witted memes, Justice Ginsburg’s written dissents have ignited a generation. I grew up with a sense of equality with my peers. We questioned gender norms, chose careers and loves, and felt ourselves generally overwhelmed by everything possible. The realities of glass ceilings, unaffordable childcare, and financial doors closed to the women and queer among us sunk in slowly. Another famous dissent by Justice Ginsburg articulated that discrimination often isn’t apparent at first, but only becomes clear over time.(Ledbetter v. Goodyear.) She made my own tired, disillusioned voice feel heard. She gave me hope.

Justice Ginsburg emerged as a vestige of truth, magnetic and necessary. And fun. Watching a diminutive woman speak truth to power is excellent fun. She was a lynch pin on the Supreme Court, and we looked to her to hold our country to account in the same way she held the highest court, with dignity and a laser-focus on equality. As she turned 87, we prayed she could hold out until the next election, our last chance to pull America out of its tailspin. We needed her voice, her strength, her clarity, her position.

I heard that she hung on for us as long as she could. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away Friday, September 18. As I write, it’s only been two days. We mourn with her loved ones and larger circles of friends. The loss of her love and light will not be filled. With just 46 days until the presidential election, the country is reverberating, and a liberal front is panicking.

Ginsburg herself noted that while she didn’t choose the role of lone dissenter, she was willing to take it on when she saw the need. (RBG, movie.) That need for dissent has never been greater. RGB’s indomitable voice filled that need like she was born for it, but her journey to the Supreme Court was fraught and long fought for. Her dignity came from being a woman in a career dominated by ignorant men. To honor her journey, now is the time for all of us to pick up the torch.

Molly Conway, in a Facebook post, reminds us that Ginsburg was Jewish. She writes, “When we say ‘may her memory be for blessing’ the blessing we speak of is not ‘may we remember her fondly’ or ‘may her memory be a blessing to us’ the blessing implied is this: May you be like Ruth.”

Let’s all be like Ruth.

#WWRD #NotoriousRBG #RGB