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The Joy Factory Weekly - Issue #2 (4/13/2021)

Shaun Duke
Shaun Duke
Ahoy, fellow travelers on the express route to the Great Stick!
Little is known about the Great Stick, which is literally an extra large stick floating in orbit around a dying star referred to by locals as Mr. Brightside. Scientists have speculated for a century that the stick might have come from the Big Bang, when the original universe which started it all collapsed in on itself, compressed ten billion years of pine trees growing on ten billion worlds into a stick 800 times the length of Florida, and then exploded out again to give us the universe we experience today. Or it’s a cosmic joke by an ancient civilization watching us from the 5th dimension to see what we’d do. Who knows?
What we do know is this: it’s another week for The Joy Factory Weekly newsletter, and you’re here for a dose of joy and wonder. You’re also here to see the Great Stick, right? No? Oh…
In this week’s issue, you’ll get:
  • The Joygastic Update
  • Joy Factory Clickables
  • Joy Factory Academy
  • Media Joys (media I’ve consumed and media to consume)
  • Joy Factory Interview w/ Premee Mohamed (the first EVAR)
  • Ship Library Editions
  • The Joy Factory Reading List
  • Fin and Dockets
Make sure to get your ticket below. Don’t lose it!

Alright. Now that you’ve got your ticket, let’s get this adventure started!
This was uploaded by a sentient toaster named Oswald.
This was uploaded by a sentient toaster named Oswald.
It’s been a week, y'all. I’ve been grading almost non-stop since Thursday of last week, and that’s sapped a lot of energy for other things. However, I did get to see a dietician last week (and will see a personal trainer through the cancer center here today); this has given me a boost of confidence with regards to my eating habits, as I’m now actually eating healthier than usual and not stressing out…
Well, mostly not stressing out. The big thing I discovered this morning: Revue had not saved any of the progress I had made on this newsletter, and so I’ve spent all of this morning rewriting nearly everything from scratch. Which is to say: hey, be kind to me…
But that might have actually been an angel in disguise, as I had forgotten that *today* is “Hugo Award announcement” day, which means I get to say this: OMG I AM A 4X HUGO AWARD FINALIST FOR BEST FANCAST!! *Kermit flail arms*
That’s right. Folks saw fit to nominate The Skiffy and Fanty Show for its 4th Hugo Award nomination. I’ve included the video for the ceremony below and a link to the Hugo Awards page, which should have the full list by now. Also: I appreciate so much that this ceremony was quick, clean, and professional. A+, DisCon III.
2021 Hugo Award Ballot Announcement
2021 Hugo Award Ballot Announcement
Beyond that, I’m hard at work trying to get the content engine back up and running. And I am still chugging along on the actual play TTRPG project, which had a meeting last night with a potential third player. I can’t say any more than that, though.
With that out of the way, here are some of the things I’ve been up to in the last week:
I also want to note that the podcast review community called Podchaser is currently holding a donation drive for Meals on Wheels (a charity that helps feed those in need). You review a podcast, they donate 0.25 USD. A podcast replies, and they’ll double it! The Skiffy and Fanty Show is in their system (JFM is not…yet), and so if you’re inclined to help a show out and do something good for people, this is the way.
419. Captives of the Flame by Samuel R. Delany (Reading Rangers)
12% of all clickables are secretly quantum gophers.
12% of all clickables are secretly quantum gophers.
Clickable Geekery
Noted fandom studies scholar Henry Jenkins recently dropped this essay by a PhD Student, Seoyeon Lee, which explores the representation of cyborgs in Kim Ch’o-yŏp’s“My Space Heroine.“ One thing that makes me excited about this is the fact that this work isn’t all that well-known outside of South Korea, and so posting it on such a high profile blog puts a whole bunch of new eyes on it. As all of you know, I’m a huge proponent of World SF and pushing for more stuff from outside of the West to penetrate deep within our fandom culture. This? Right up my alley!
Related to this is the issue of colonialism in horror. Jordan Gerdes has a few thoughts to share on this thematic in his new essay in Aphoticrealm Magazine. This is the first in a series of posts, and it looks in particular at The Ruins (2008), which I have yet to see. Should I change that? Probably. We shall see!
Clickable Factoids
There are far too many science and history stories to share every week, but if there’s one thing that gets my brain juices all kinds of excited, it’s new discoveries in the realm of dinosaurs! Here comes the University of Birmingham, delivering to us the "Monkeydactyl,” a 160 million year old pterosaur (yes, a flying dino) which may have had an opposable thumb. That’s right. It could probably use a cell phone (ok, not really, but it’s funny to think about, right?). This is, of course, a massive discovery, not just for dino friends but also for every single person who has ever wanted to imagine a world in which dinosaurs never died out and became lawyers!
On a related-ish note, a new species of venomous snake discovered in Myanmar has recently been named the Suzhen’s krait (Bungarus suzhenae) after a mythical figure in Chinese mythology. Fun fact: one of the reasons they realized this might be a new snake involved some poor person having to get bit, revealing symptoms not consistent with a related species. The things we do for science…
And finally, there’s this exciting bit of analysis in Universe Today of a strange effect caused by the gravitational lensing of galaxies, which results in them appearing to repeat/mirror up to four times. I won’t pretend to understand this in full, but isn’t it utterly fascinating that you could be staring off into the distance universe and discover a bunch of mirrors of a galaxy? Way cool! Also: there are pictures!
Clickable Writing Advice
I’ve got precisely one thing for you! It’s an article from The Mythcreants, which explores tone mishaps in stories and how you might address them. Mostly, I see this as an idea mill for ways to address these problems as they manifest in TTRPGs, as there are times when my games (with my less experienced players) sometimes fall away from the serious tone we’ve established. This isn’t always a problem, but it can sometimes take the mood in directions that minimize the impact of what is happening. Of course, the group is full of newbs, so much of the game is just silly and fun anyway!
Clickable Fiction
A lot of delicious fiction has dropped into the universe in the last week, and while I think you should read it all, these are probably good starting places:
Today marks the return of the Academy! That’s right. Every so often, I’ll share some exciting academic nerdery and CFPs for conferences, conventions, journals, and edited collections for any of you academically-inclined folks. You don’t have to be a scholar to want to be involved in this side of SF/F/H, but if you are, the Joy Factory Academy is designed to help you find the geeky paper calls you need in your life.
Here’s what we’ve got this week:
Academic Nerdery
You’ll be pleased to know that I have some nifty stuff to share with y'all. Stuff to read and ponder. Stuff to fill your brainhole with knowledge.
First, the latest issue of Horror Studies has dropped! It features essays on zombies and medical capitalism, industrial transgressions in Romero’s work, experimentation in indie horror, the work of Clive Barker, and so much more.
On a fun historical note, the University of Delaware just released info about a new virtual exhibit on Agatha Christie’s Poirot! This is super cool stuff. It features historical documents, history, and more on the classic character.
Now on to…
Now on to some media!
Despite being a “wild week,” I did manage to get in some solid media consumption! Here’s what I managed to get to:
Currently Reading:
Now that I’ve finished Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson, I’ve now moved on to Acacia by David Anthony Durham and The Shining by Stephen King. The former is for a super secret podcast project I can’t tell you anymore about, except that the person who will be on that podcast with me picked the book not realizing it is 700+ pages! The latter, however, is a book I’ve been nursing for literal months. Why? I’m really enjoying it, but it’s also a pretty intense book, and given how infrequently I latch on to King novels, I just don’t want to polish it off too quickly. Plus, I’m getting a lot of writing inspiration from it!
I’m also inches away from starting I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories by Bo-Young Kim, which is sitting on my couch downstairs. And, yes, the contemplations about reading more academic work are still swirling around in the brain. I just need more time…
Currently Watching:
I have no idea why I started yet another re-watch of The X-Files, but something about that show draws me in over and over and over again, and so here I am about 8 episodes into Season 1. One thing that I’ve noticed about this re-watch: how much I adore the soundtrack to the show. It’s very much “of its time,” but there’s something truly special about how it amplifies the creepy and sometimes terrifying stories of the show.
In addition, I’ve finally caught of on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and I suspect you’re going to hear me talk more about it in the near future. There’s something particular with the way it is treating John Walker that I need to wrap my head around. He’s jingoistic and trying to be the best Captain America he can be. He’s a symbol of American imperialism and a man with a traumatic past who doesn’t feel respected (a white man, of course). There are also a lot of racial politics at work here that I want to discuss, but I think all of this has to wait until the show is complete. Interpretation here feels unfair if we don’t yet know how the story will end. So more on that later!
Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Official Mid-Season Trailer (2021) Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan
Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Official Mid-Season Trailer (2021) Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan
Currently Listening To:
BabyMetal. Yeah, I’m a fan. Yeah, I’ve been listening to a lot of BabyMetal. There’s just something truly special about a band that merges J-Pop with heavy metal and then presents itself to us in the form of three (now) young women putting on aggressive choreographed dance numbers on stages full of giant foxes and more. Just look at this wildness from their second album:
Beyond that, I’ve been plowing through an astronomical amount of EDM, mostly in the progressive trance, psytrance, and related categories. Of course, you can find nearly all of this in the 2021 Joy Factory Playlist on Spotify!
Currently Writing:
If I’m honest, it’s been a dead week for writing around these parts. Well, mostly. I did finish edits on the updated really truly first edition of my textbook, Rhetoric and Arguments: A Primer in Ethical Reasoning. I’d link to it, but the 1st edition isn’t officially out yet. This took up much of my weekend (and Monday). Beyond that, fiction has had to take a back seat! But the good news: summer is coming, and I usually don’t work summers!
Now on to media you can enjoy on your own…
Alright! I’ll cap off the Media Joys section with some APOD goodies! There’s this flowy lightgasm picture of an exploded star, which I suppose is about as beautiful as massive destruction can be. And then there’s this wild picture of Messier 106 with all its little wisps of, well, legs? Yes, legs. They’re legs. Tiny little space legs that are probably hundreds of thousands of lightyears long…
And lastly, there’s this amazing picture that might as well be Phoenix from the X-Men: a shot of the aptly named Flame Nebula, which I have included below so you can feast your eyes upon its glory. All hail the Flame Nebula!
If you interview them, they will come...
If you interview them, they will come...
What’s that? An interview? In the Joy Factory Weekly newsletter? You bet your cute butt there’s an interview. I’ve been meaning to do this for a few months, and now I’m here with the first ever Joy Factory Interview! My first guest is author Premee Mohamed, who was kind enough not only to be the first but also to return her questions in record time! Thanks, Premee!
Here goes!
Hello, and welcome to the first ever Joy Factory Interview! Thanks for agreeing to be the first! To get us started, I’m forced to ask an evil question: If you could recommend one book not written by you (in any genre) that everyone should read, what would you recommend and why?
I’m sure everyone saw this coming, but definitely Herman Melville’s ‘Moby-Dick.’ Not a perfect book, but I’m adamant that a ‘perfect’ book has never been written and never will be. Funny, sly, lively, full of beautiful imagery and scenery and mythology, also some iffy cetology, all those grand pronouncements and instructional tangents, and I never get tired of the whole wyrd intense unhealthy spell that Ahab puts on the whole crew. It’s one of the few books I can put down for months and immerse myself in again the second I pick it back up.  
If you’re answering these questions, there’s a pretty good chance you’re a giant SF/F/H dork like me! With that assumption in place, I’m curious: What about genre fiction appeals to you as a reader and/or writer? To put it another way, what keeps drawing you in to this world of various wonders?
I think it might be the desire to get to know a world that I know someone’s created on purpose, if that makes any sense? I saw a ridiculous tweet the other day disparaging SFFH writers for ‘wasting’ space doing ‘ridiculous worldbuilding,’ which this person insisted in a ‘normal’ novel would be ‘cut down to the bone.’ Uh, yeah? Because we all understand how the existing world works, so a contemporary novelist doesn’t need to do any worldbuilding? They haven’t created anything in their novel that doesn’t already exist? Anyway, I didn’t reply, because life’s too short, but I happen to like constructed worlds, and the work that goes into them, and the creative flourishes not allowed (or actively discouraged) in realist fiction. I like stories for stories, of course, but also for the work that goes into setting up the stage for the characters to play on. SFFH authors put so much work into creating these stages, from magic systems to space opera dynasties to entire planets or galaxies, all the way down to the tiny touches of (say) designing jewelry that indicates status, or the hand-grips on the ceiling of a space habitat. And that’s work I notice and appreciate, what’s put in, what’s left out, the sense of purpose, the research. (I even like infodumps! Hey editors, let people put in more infodumps for me to read!)  
Your first novel, Beneath the Rising, had you jumping into an arena that has been pretty interesting to watch in recent years – that of cosmic horrors, elder gods, and plenty of genre-warping goodness. What interested you in approaching these elements in your unique way? And would you ever consider writing a space opera just to break that genre in half? :P
I think the main thing I liked about the cosmic horror arena is that it’s so broad it feels practically limitless. After decades of authors writing about horrors that are too horrible to be described, plus being extremely vague about how the horrors got here, where they came from, and what their motivations are, I feel like we ended up with a playground so vast that you could make any dang evil thing and none of the other horrors would even notice. (Let alone complain.) I love the idea of a villain so vast and powerful that in theory, humanity should have no defense against it and should knuckle under in a policy of appeasement at once; it’s got so many narrative possibilities when you start from a position of ‘Everyone said it can’t be done.’ I wanted to tell a very small story (two longtime friends reuniting and trying to repair their friendship, only to discover that it might be harder than it looks this time) inside a much bigger story (?? end of the world ??). I have absolutely considered writing a genre-smushing space opera, I have folders full of ideas, the ‘cosmic’ part of cosmic horror is certainly not going to be fazed one whit by humanity and/or alien races having faster-than-light travel and enormous laser weapons, and I would like someone to pay me to do it ASAP so that purists and snobs of several genres can yell at me about the finished book.  
In A Broken Darkness, you return to the world of Beneath the Rising, the Anomaly, and eldritch horrors. What did you find most challenging about writing a sequel to such a creepy first novel? 
Oh my God! Writing the sequel was a horror. It’s the first sequel I’ve ever written. I had no idea how much information to put in, how much to leave out, whether to assume people had even read the first book, or when they had done so, or how much they would remember, because I remembered practically nothing, and also it was due in the early months of Ye Pestilence and I was a wreck from anxiety and insomnia. On a craft level, I guess the most challenging thing was trying to recapture the voice from when I wrote the first one (between 2000 and 2002, while I was at university and about Nick’s age), plus deciding what to repeat/not repeat. On a personal level, definitely trying to focus long enough to get words down, and not be too hard on the manuscript, which I felt was the worst thing I’d ever written. It’s hard to write while you’re being bullied, no matter who’s doing the bullying.  
As a writer, who do you consider some of your biggest inspirations, whether they’re writers, thinkers, filmmakers, or non-human critters?
Oh man, I really had to think about this? I’m one of those people who consumes all sorts of stuff but doesn’t absorb it until after the billionth or so time I encounter it. Generically, I read a lot of nonfiction and I’m very inspired by world history as well as the practice of studying history (not just archaeology but also the kind of ‘how do we know what we know?’ process that keeps changing and improving as technology and access improves), and science and scientists, especially the early days of natural history; I like how both disciplines have to connect things that don’t seem connected because we don’t have enough data, not because there wasn’t a connection. (I also enjoy when a connection is made that isn’t a real connection. From such threads are novels made.)
I like Studio Ghibli movies and the way they insist that we slow down during the ‘action’ and pay attention to details that either do become important later or don’t; I want to write novels with that feeling and I hate when I’m asked to ‘speed things up’ or ‘add more action.’ Plot as a required series of structured events based on conflict is overrated and I wish genre publishing would let us write more books that were slower, gentler, more full of joy and connection, more flexible and unexpected, less rigid.
My favourite authors keep changing over the years but usually include Umberto Eco, Nick Harkaway, Terry Pratchett, Ismail Kadare, and Gene Wolfe, all of whom do things with narrative that I would like to do but can’t. I like to read books where I sit back, puzzled, and say ‘Oh! I didn’t know you were allowed to do that in a novel.’ A current inspiration is Michael Moorcock as I’m doing an Elric re-read; I love that the books don’t just lean into the parts that make no sense, but rush into them and speed up. I want to write with that kind of unselfconscious glee, it’s immensely fun and readable.    
For reasons that must have to do with grand eldritch conspiracies, you’ve also taken to releasing several novellas this year, including These Lifeless Things in February 2021 (Rebellion Publishing) and two upcoming novellas: The Annual Migration of Clouds in September 2021 (ECW Press; OMG the cover OMG) and And What Can We Offer You Tonight sometime this year (Neon Hemlock). In The Annual Migration of Clouds, you take your talents to exploring a post-climate change future involving wild fungi, food shortages, and other future terrors. Can you tell us a little bit about your interest in exploring the possible real and fantastically terrifying effects of climate change?
A lot of it came from my job, I think! I work in environmental policy for my provincial government and so the effects of future climate change are something we should be building into each policy we develop, but it’s being applied inconsistently across land, air, water, and so on. I’m in land, so my group looks at forecasts and models about climate change that we’re then told for political reasons to not include in our regulations… but it’s scary stuff. The main thing is that we don’t know what we don’t know. Climate is immensely complicated, we have a fraction of the data we need and no way to gather more, and climate scientists will tell you right off the bat that we need more information for better modeling. The main takeaway from our provincial data though is that it won’t be a slow, steady process of change; there will be tipping points, and once things start happening, they’ll keep happening much too fast for us to react to. So when I wrote the novella, the climate change outcomes that are mentioned in the book are vague but realistic, because everything is on the table at this point except the ‘no change’ scenario. Giant storms, flash floods and landslides, topsoil loss, extinction of numerous plant and wildlife species, groundwater retreat, extended droughts, tree death, new pathogens and pests, really nothing can be ruled out.
Thanks for answering these questions. Now for our ending and quite silly question! While on a flight across the pond, you awaken to discover that your plane has landed on a mysterious island. The crew and passengers are gone (but they left a note, so they’re OK). There are three things on the island with you: one object of your choice, one book of your choice, and one nemesis of your choice. What are your three things?
Oh at least I get things on the island! Well, being a nerd, I think the object should be my Kindle, which I will read books on until I lose power. Then I can switch to my book, which will be Alan Moore’s ‘Jerusalem,’ because I started reading it at the start of the pandemic and am still not done. Obviously capitalism is my nemesis, but as the avatar of capitalism I might choose Elon Musk, who gets on my nerves anyway, and throw him into the sea so that I could read in peace.
Premee Mohamed is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction author based in Edmonton, Alberta. She is the author of novels ‘Beneath the Rising’ (2020) and ‘A Broken Darkness’ (2021), and novellas ‘These Lifeless Things’ (2021), ‘And What Can We Offer You Tonight’ (2021), and ‘The Annual Migration of Clouds’ (2021). Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of venues and she can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus and on her website at
The book was invented by Blork Handgoblet in 9433 B.C. The CIA hides the truth.
The book was invented by Blork Handgoblet in 9433 B.C. The CIA hides the truth.
The ship library is on top of things, y'all! We’ve got four new books to share with you, and they are:
This week’s additions to the library include some truly compelling works. The first, Love in Color, is a debut collection from a debut author who began her career working for BBC Comedy on shows like The Javone Prince Show and the Tracey Ullman’s Show. Babalola is a British Nigerian writer, so there’s a distinctly Nigerian flare to the stories in the collection. And you know me. World SF? Yes, please!
Speaking of World SF! The second of these books comes from a notably strange Argentine writer. This particularly book has been called everything from experimental to absurdist. These were, of course, selling points for me, as I’m all in for work that pushes literary boundaries, and even more so when it comes from Latin America. Reinaldo Arenas is one of my favorite Cuban writers, for example, and his work is also, at times, experimental and absurdist (to a degree).
Meanwhile, there are two Tor books on this list. The first ushers in a new epic fantasy series for the author of Noumenon. This marks a genre shift for Lostetter, who is mostly known for science fiction / space opera work. The Helm of Midnight takes us in exciting new directions with Lostetter’s work, and I am quite excited. Also exciting? Charlie Jane Anders’ new novel, Victories Greater Than Death. Amusingly, Anders seems to be putting on the space opera badge for this one, with clones and famous captains and starfleets and more! Knowing Anders, it’ll have some subversive elements to it, and that is most exciting indeed.
What books are you all looking forward to this week?
Your TBR pile will thank you.
Your TBR pile will thank you.
Every week, I’ll ask my Twitter followers what they’re reading, and then I’ll use those to create a massive reading list for you to enjoy. Here’s this week’s list of books:
  • Engines of Oblivion by Karen Osborne (from @Read1000Lives)
  • Castle in the Air by Donald Westlake (from @Read1000Lives)
  • Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed (from @Read1000Lives and @KateSherrod)
  • Love Star by Andri Snaer Magnusson and translated by Victoria Cribb (from @KateSherrod)
  • Creative Surgery by Clelia Farris and translated by Rachel Cordasco (from @KateSherrod)
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (from @Stephen_GM)
  • Network Effect by Martha Wells (from @RainbowWar71)
  • In Death Series by J.D. Robb (from @mikaela_l)
  • No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull (from @abetterjulie)
  • Flush Times in Alabama and Georgia by Joseph G. Baldwin (from @Myles_Lobdell)
  • The Swamp Doctor by John Q. Anderson (from @Myles_Lobdell)
  • Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire (from @redheadedfemme)
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (from @Archergal)
  • Apex: An Otherverse America Sourcebook by Chris A. Field (from @MaureenLycaon)
  • Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang (from @MickyBigWords)
  • Guards, Guards by Terry Pratchett (from @SithHounds)
  • Kitchenly 434 by Alan Warner (from @kevmcveigh)
  • The Unbroken by C.L. Clark (from @ArulaRatnakar)
  • The Big Blind by Lavie Tidhar (from @fabiofernandes)
  • Star Island by Carl Hiaasen (from @ClaireOdell99)
  • The Martian by Andy Weir (from @_not_liz)
  • Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor (from @mattmcirvin)
  • The Belisarius Saga by David Drake and Eric Flint (from @BReady74)
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (from @elizabeth_fitz)
  • Winter War: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the First Clash Over the New Deal by Eric Rauchway (from @Lawdemigod)
  • Dread Empire by Justina Ireland (from @Werthead)
  • Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (from @templetongate)
  • Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the Diaspora edited by Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald (from @carturo222)
  • The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis (from @FredKiesche)
  • Velocity of Revolution by Marshall Maresca (from @AlexTKeane)
  • Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace (from @AlexTKeane)
  • The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (from @AlexTKeane)
  • Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer (from @Donnie_Ashworth)
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson (from @audett_)
  • Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman (from @runalongwomble)
  • Sleep Donation by Karen Russell (from @MistyMassey)
  • The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (from @MistyMassey)
  • The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson (from @intrmultivrsal)
  • Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962 by Frank Dikötter (from @intrmultivrsal)
  • Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City by Catherine McNeur (from @historian_meg)
  • Thrawn by Timothy Zahn (from @historian_meg)
  • The Green Man’s Silence by Juliet E. McKenna (from @historian_meg)
  • The Murderbot Series by Martha Wells (from @knkeegan)
  • Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur (from @PrimmLife)
  • Creativity by John Cleese (from @davebauerart)
  • Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North (from @aptshadow)
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (from @GeckoEdit)
  • Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood (from @rocapri)
  • Cold War Military Manpower Policy and the Origins of Vietnam-Era Draft Resistance by Dr. Amy Rutenberg (from @Chris_Levesque_)
  • The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller (from @vellis6)
  • Four Lost Cities by Annalee Newitz (from @ECthetwit)
  • The Veronica Speedwell Mysteries by Deanna Raybourn (from @Lady_Historian)
  • Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis (from @omgjulia)
  • The King Must Die by Mary Renault (from @SteveJWright1)
This is only the beginning...
This is only the beginning...
And so we come to the end of another delicious newsletter. We hope you enjoyed your trip to the Great Stick. Don’t forget your stick souvenirs on your way out.
As always, a new week also means more things to expect, and these will include:
  • An upcoming episode of The Skiffy and Fanty Show on Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (dropping sometime today).
  • A TTRPG recap narration for The Joy Factory Patreon page.
  • A Joy Factory Monthly podcast on a TBD topic!
  • I’ll host the monthly Discord Livechat for S&F’s Torture Cinema feature on 4/16 at 9 PM EST. This is for $3/mo+ patrons, and we’ll be discussing Jesus Christ, Vampire Slayer (2001), which I’m sure will be terrible. Join up if you want to hang.
  • Possibly more things, as I’m almost caught up on grading…
If you have suggestions, questions, or other shenanigans you want to let me know about, you can hit me up on Twitter or on my contact form!
Thanks for reading The Joy Factory Weekly newsletter! As always, if you want to support the project or my other work, head over to You can find me @shaunduke on Twitter and at!
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Shaun Duke
Shaun Duke @shaunduke

The Joy Factory is a weekly newsletter of delightful, wonderful, fascinating, and joyful content spanning the realms of geekdom. From SF/F/H analysis and commentary to geeky podcasts to joygasmic boosts and links and more, The Joy Factory brings you the fix you need to lift your spirits and stimulate your brainhole.

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