Verities Doing Stuff: Mother of Invention

Signal boost for Mothers of Invention!

VerityPodcast.com

Welcome to our new blog category: we all have so many projects on the go that may or may not intersect with our Verity lives (cough, hockey podcasts, cough, award-winning magazines). This is a way to keep our listeners up to date with what ELSE is going on in our worlds.

As I (Tansy) mentioned on our last episode, I’ve spent this month feeding and caring for a Kickstarter project: Mother of Invention.

Mother of invention (1)

Edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts & Rivqa Rafael, and published by Twelfth Planet Press, Mother of Invention will be a speculative fiction anthology of diverse, challenging stories about gender and artificial intelligence. We’re raising $20,000 to pay our authors and other upfront costs of this book, which will be published by Twelfth Planet Press alongside such previous fantastic publications as Kaleidoscope and Defying Doomsday. Our authors include such names as Kameron Hurley, Seanan McGuire, John…

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Episode 142 – The Death Eaters of Light

New Verity!

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What a fascinating discussion this week’s Doctor Who episode lends itself to. Join Deb, Erika, and Tansy as we discuss women who are allowed to fail and still be heroes, the sexual politics of Romans, the Doctor’s (possible?) impatience, Bill’s outlook on history and its denizens, Nardole as a “space tourist”, and much more.

Erika, of all people, even has a cracktastic fan theory about the next season of the show. Incredibly unlikely, but kinda fun, depending on your outlook.

What did you think about this story? Was it slight? Were the stakes high? Was the monster the point? Was the doctor impatient or irritable or something else? What’s up with Missy? SO MANY QUESTIONS. Please feel free to play in the comment section like it’s one big happy fandom sandbox.

^E

Also covered:

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Episode 141 – Empress of Mars Attacks

New Verity!

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Low expectations may have helped, but all three Verities enjoyed this ep to varying degrees. Join Deb, Erika, and Katrina as we talk about what we liked and, of course, the few things we didn’t. There was some definite “iffy” territory to cover as well.

What did you think of “Empress of Mars”? Was it rollicking, fanservicey fun? Did it make you uncomfortable from a representational perspective? Possibly both? Does the title need a definitive article? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Also covered:

Bonus links:
Gene Demby mentions Doctor Who
Does the dog die?

Download or listen now (runtime 1:09:40) 

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An Open Letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell and the GOP

Caitlin and her dad Michael, as she graduates from middle school.

Dear Sen. McConnell,
I’m writing because you are trying to kill Obamacare/ACA, and your choice to do that as Senate Majority Leader could force my child into an underfunded institution, or force my family into bankruptcy. I find this especially frustrating because I was a college classmate’s of your daughter Claire (we were in the same dorm at Smith), so this feels personal.
My daughter, Caitlin, is 14 and she has Aicardi Syndrome, a congenital disorder (i.e. nothing genetic, just a thing that happened). She uses a wheelchair, is tube fed, and has massive cognitive delays related to her intractable epilepsy. Her epilepsy is controlled by a drug (Sabril/Vigabatrin) that is recently FDA approved under the Orphan Drugs provision. The official cost of her meds is about $15K per MONTH before insurance. We tried every other option before Sabril; none worked. On Sabril, Caitlin went from 15 ten-minute seizures per DAY to one or two seizures PER YEAR. We are able to care for her at home, which is cheaper than institutionalization, because Obamacare doesn’t let our insurance company decide she’s too expensive. She would have hit the typical lifetime limit by her 12th birthday.

I am a state of Illinois employee (librarian at a public university) and my husband is a small business owner; I GLADLY pay my premiums for the really good insurance, understanding that it’s only a drop in the bucket. We don’t qualify for Medicaid for Caitlin because we make “too much money.”

Obamacare’s ban on lifetime limits means that we can’t be forced to give up the expensive medication that actually controls Caitlin’s seizures, and we can’t be forced to institutionalize her in a state that has a billion-dollar deficit. Repealing Obamacare means that my family could be bankrupted at the moment when our insurance decides that they don’t want to pay for Caitlin anymore. That would mean that our small business would fold, and we would stop contributing to the economy positively. Our family would be MORE of a drain on the system without Obamacare. We are able to run a small business BECAUSE of OBAMACARE.

Caitlin didn’t choose to have Aicardi Syndrome. She was born this way, and we have been able to give her a pretty awesome life so far. She goes to school (she just graduated junior high) and she is part of a community; she has friends, and a social life. She has family who love her.

Caitlin’s syndrome is fatal; the average age of death is around 18. Repealing Obamacare’s protections is a choice to sentence my family to choose between bankruptcy and institutionalization for my daughter’s possible last years, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Please, stop hurting families just to score political points. If you properly funded Obamacare, the economy would boom because people wouldn’t be terrified of being bankrupted by illness that they don’t choose to have, and don’t control.

I’ve enclosed a link to my website, which talks about Caitlin’s life a bit, in case you need a face to go with the name.

Cordially,

Lynne M. Thomas

Edited To Add a clearer photo, and to close comments to avoid trolls.

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Verity! Episode 139 – Exploring the Pyramid at the End of the World

New Verity!

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It’s another Verity! three-hander, but we soldier on to dig into this “meaty” episode. Join Deb, Erika, and Tansy as we talk about consent–as it relates to our feelings about the word as well as world politics. We speculate about a possible impending reset button (or not?). And there’s an awful lot of squee. Not all of it is related to the episode itself. Spreadsheets, man. Spreadsheets.

Did you enjoy this episode? Did you also feel our discomfort at the use of “consent”? Do you think there’s a reset in our future? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Also covered:

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Episode 138 – Verities’ Veritas on Extremis

New Verity! EXTREMIS

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After a mind-bendy episode of Doctor Who, we need to talk it through to really come to terms with us. Join Deb, Erika, and Tansy as we do just that. What was real? What did it mean? What did it portend for the future? What’s the deal with Nardole? And who’s really in the vault? We answer…maybe one of these questions. Maybe.

What did you think of “Extremis”? And all those other things? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Also covered:

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Book review: A Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold

A Civil Campaign (Vorkosigan Saga, #12)A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven’t read the entire Vorkosigan Saga–I read an omnibus of the first 4 novels about a decade ago, and picked this one up because dozens of friends who read both SF/F and romance love this to bits.

I can see why. I gleefully devoured this “Watch Miles Squirm and get EVERYTHING wrong when he falls in love” book. Structured like a romance, set in the Vorkosigan universe, with all of the protocols, politics, and shenanigans involved. Cordelia and Ivan are both here, being their excellent selves, and the whole thing is delightful in a general sense. Excellent banter, and Ekaterin, who ends up as Miles’s wife (That’s not a spoiler, this is a ROMANCE) is a delight to get to know (I had not read the previous novel). I’m a sucker for romances where both members of the couple are adults, and they are trying to see if their baggage coordinates, because they both have pasts, and damage, and are nervous about trying to make new relationships work. This is one of those.

It’s absolutely clear why Miles is in love with her, and vice versa. They are well-matched. There’s an imperial wedding to make things more challenging, and another couple for contrast: Miles’s brother Mark and Kareen Koudelka, who are struggling with being in love with each other while still figuring out who they are.

There is, as in so many Bujold novels, a depiction of a Typically Taboo Thing in SF/F. (Every time I go to a panel where someone says “x just isn’t really done in SF/F,” someone pipes in “Bujold did it already.” And they’re usually right.)

In this case, it is a gender change for one of the side characters. It is, especially given that this was published in 1999, pretty well handled, but I’m not an expert by any means. The gender change is for political/social/economic reasons, and it is that character’s choice–they take agency to initiate the change. Characters reacting to the gender change have a variety of reactions, and the characters that you want to handle it well mostly do. However, folks who live with gender dysphoria or identify as transgender or genderqueer may have a different experience of this than I do.

That said, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read for me.

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Verity Episode 137 – Team of Oxygen

New Verity!

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A proper space episode! Join Erika, Liz, and Lynne as we discuss non-zombies, evil capitalism, disability, and racism. Doctor Who was pulling no punches this week! What did you think of this ep? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Also covered:

Bonus link:
The Incomparable covers Luna: New Moon

Download or listen now (runtime 1:05:50) 

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Episode 136 – Knock Knock, Who’s Here.

NEW VERITY! NEW EPISODE!

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A spooky house, an unreachable tower, a creepy landlord, and a bunch of young folks moving in together. Join Deb, Erika, and Liz as we discuss what these ingredients add up to. Was it a delightfully scary tale or something less than that? Let us know what you think in the comments!

^E

Also covered:

Bonus links:
P-Cap at the Science March
Reality Bomb live from New York
Foolproof
Agatha Christie’s Poirot
Liz “reviews” series 10 eps
Peter Pan Goes Wrong
The “Knock Knock” house on Airbnb

Download or listen…

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Book review: A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

A Taste of Honey (The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, #2)A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent novella. Stands alone quite well–I had not read the first one yet, but this story was totally understandable as it is. A kind of sweet, thoughtful, meditation on paths-not-taken, particularly in relation to the choices that will make us happy vs. the choices we feel we must make based on socialization.

This is an unabashedly queer story, in the best possible way. Beautifully written, strong characterization, and really interesting worldbuilding. Recommended.

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