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Friday, December 25, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Lauren C. Teffeau


Ah, 2020. You’ve taken so much from us and yet at the same time I’ve never seen our world more clearly. I’ve also never been more grateful for the people in my life and all the media that gave me a momentary respite from a fraught election and the pandemic’s grim drudgery. It was hard for me personally to find my creative spark at various points this year, and I often took refuge in other creator’s worlds as a result. This is how I filled those moments.


Comfort Reads: I read a lot of historical romance growing up, and I found myself craving a return to that during the spring when the magnitude of the pandemic became clear to the public. I re-read books by Meredith Duran and Sherry Thomas. I also re-read all of Sarah MacLean’s regencies in preparation for Daring and the Duke’s release this summer, book three in the fun and unapologetically feminist Bareknuckle Bastards series.

Catching Up on Classics: I finally got around to reading Jacqueline Carey’s sensuous Kushiel’s Dart and Megan Whelan Turner’s twisty The Thief. I also started Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura, and I’m really enjoying her worldbuilding based on insect collectives.

Recent Releases: I read a number of Tor.com novellas, notably Tochi Onyebuchi’s Riot Baby, a powerful accounting of Black history distilled down into a slim volume demanding a better future; Emily Tesh’s Silver in the Wood, a sinewy story dense with fantasy foliage; and Nghi Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune, a compelling look at female-centered mythology in the making. I snatched up the latest collected volumes for both Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga and Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress. I enjoyed returning to the Locked Tomb trilogy in Tamsyn Muir’s Harrow the Ninth. Rebecca Roanhorse’s Black Sun was also another bright spot in a dark year.

Video Games: I love love love playing video games, although I’m usually a console and half behind new releases. Sometimes I play to procrastinate or to relieve stress or to simply enjoy an immersive story with lots of endorphin-generating collectibles to grab. I started the year off with Death Stranding which really set the tone for 2020 even though I didn’t realize it at the time. After that, I finally got into the Borderlands series and played my way through the main titles. The melee violence can be a bit much, but I enjoyed the stories of obsession, alien archeology, and colonization gone wrong. Plus the low-gravity and freaking laser beams in the prequal were awesome. I also really enjoyed playing Control which felt like a mashup of Fringe, X-Files, and a first-person shooter with really unique game mechanics and a brutally fun interactive environment. I’m currently playing Shadow of Mordor, and besides my inability to last-chance finish anything, I’m really enjoying the stealth aspects of the game.

What I’m Looking Forward To In 2021: I can’t wait to get my hands on Broken Web, Lori M. Lee’s follow-up to her amazing YA fantasy Forest of Souls. The Best of Walter Jon Williams from Subterranean Press is another book I have preordered along with Fran Wilde’s Ship of Stolen Words, a MG fantasy where you don’t know how important what you say is until you lose the ability to say it.

As for me personally, I’m chipping away at a few different writing projects, some closer to achieving their final form than others. This year has given me so much to chew on, intellectually and emotionally, and I’m curious to see how that will inform my writing to come. Stay tuned!

Lauren C. Teffeau is a speculative fiction author based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her short fiction can be found in a variety of professional and semi-pro magazines and anthologies. Her novel Implanted (Angry Robot, 2018) mashing up cyberpunk, solarpunk, adventure, and romance was shortlisted for the 2019 Compton Crook award for best first SF/F/H novel. Please visit www.laurencteffeau.com to learn more.

 

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