Mandy Perry

Author, Reviewer, Editor, Activist

Patreon Launch!

Here it is: queer speculative fiction and urban fantasy.

I finally bit the bullet and did the thing!

Many thanks to RoAnna and Joy, whose Patreon guide and proofreading respectively made this launch possible.

The first chapter of The Bureau goes up tomorrow on my Patreon, and for one sweet Yankee dollar, you can read it. All of the writing is available at the $1 level, because money is tight everywhere. What you get at higher levels is to request or guide content as it comes out.

Come and join me: let’s make worlds that feature us, because no world is large enough to contain us.

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The “Good Cripple” Narrative, Or How We Allow Ourselves To Be Divided By People Who Don’t Care If We Die

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney addresses an audience Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

In the last few days, among the shotgun approach to trying to distract people from the utter mess that the 45th President has created, one of the most wonderful comments — and I say that with the deepest sarcasm — is the comment made by Mick Mulvaney in Palo Alto. Mulvaney was asked by an audience member at Stanford University’s Light Forum if he agreed with the “Jimmy Kimmel” test, that “no family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it.”

As reported by the Washington Examiner:

He said the debate centered on whether others should pay the burden of paying for someone’s healthcare.
“That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes. Is that the same thing as Jimmy Kimmel’s kid? I don’t think that it is.”

Ah, yes. The concept of ‘good sickness’ vs ‘bad sickness.’ The ‘good cripple’ vs the ‘bad cripple.’ The pious and the undeserving. The righteous and the damned. What an American concept.

The immediate response of most of us is to respond with why our particular illness doesn’t count as one of the ‘bad’ illnesses, that what happened to us doesn’t count, that we deserve health care. While that is an understandable response, it is absolutely the wrong one, and it plays directly into the narrative being perpetuated by people like Mulvaney, that there are good sick people and bad sick people, and the good sick people, the ones who are sick only by no fault of their own, are the only ones whose health care is truly deserved.

The author, being both a good cripple and a bad cripple at the same time.

What’s stunning about this is not that the dialogue is happening, or that the idea is being repeated over and over again, that only the good sick people deserve care. What’s stunning is how blatant the statements of good vs bad are becoming. Usually, the language is a little more coded, a little less fatphobic — or if it is fatphobic, it’s coded in concern, that we’re concerned about your life expectancy — but the Trump presidency and all of the people involved in the administration have simply abandoned all coded language. Here we are: good vs bad, and — hint. sooner or later, all of us are going to somehow end up on the “bad” list.

This is a constant conversation in the disability community: we cannot allow ourselves to be divided into the ‘good cripples’ and ‘bad cripples.’ I am not a ‘good cripple’ because my celiac is genetic any more than I am a ‘bad cripple’ because I pushed myself into prediabetes during the time when I was waiting for spinal surgery by eating lots of junk food and not getting any exercise. All of us become Schroedinger’s Cripple, then, and our lives become open to investigation in the name of determining whether or not we ‘deserve’ health care. Did we eat too much junk food? Too much delivery? Did we not walk our recommended steps in a day? Did we sleep too much? Then we get into justifications: but I worked eleven hours that day, trying to afford my student loan payments. But hypersomnia is a side effect of my celiac.

It is not an accounting from which any of us would emerge worthy, ever.

The willingness of humans to say ‘but I’m not like those bad fatties/bad cripples’ when these conversations come up is very understandable — it’s a sort of flinch reflex, guarding against an overt attack — but we cannot ever accept that line of thinking. If we allow it to start, the moral reasons for denying healthcare to Americans for one reason or another will not stop. If the insurance industry has proven one thing, ever, in the entirety of their existence, it is that they will consistently look for reasons to deny care. We cannot give them another set of reasons, and we cannot collude with them.

There is no such thing as a ‘good’ sick person, one who doesn’t deserve it due to some sort of moral cleanliness that makes their illness only tragic. That’s because there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ sick person, either. There are only people who are sick or injured. The literally Puritanical ideal of disease as a punishment for sin/not taking care of yourself/same thing is not a thing we can feed into as part of our response to this.

The answer to someone like Mulvaney is “it doesn’t matter why someone got sick. What matters is that they’re sick, and a sick human being deserves to be taken care of, regardless of why they are sick. We refuse to be divided into good cripples and bad cripples. We all deserve care.”

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Review, Reccommendation & Book on Sale: Daffodils (The Katherine Wheel Book 1) by Alex Martin

Not necessarily an easy read at points, Daffodils is nevertheless a worthwhile one – the market is full of WWII books, but not nearly so many WWI books – and not so many that are written quite as well as this one. While some of the plot twists and turns are seen so far away as to be visible from 30,000 feet – gee, I wonder if [thing the Lord refuses to do] will direct and tragically affect [lower-class person]? – that doesn’t make them any less realistic or interesting. The author’s linguistic use, both imagery and an easy, familiar use of WWI English slang, both contribute to an engrossing world.

Fans of Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife will find the book an engrossing page-turner — you’ll want to find out exactly what happens next, turning pages the same way you kept hitting ‘next’ on your binge watch. I didn’t give the book five stars only because so much of what was about to happen was telegraphed to the point where I wanted to yell OKAY I GET IT, I KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT at my Kindle. That, and some of the characterization falls a little flat — some of the characters felt like they had slightly cardboard cut out edges.

Overall, it’s a fun read, though its heavy-handed foreshadowing and slightly-flat characterization detract from the whole. Recommended summer reading, with content warnings for infant death.

Daffodils is currently available for free on Amazon.

This review was originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads; I am consolidating my reviews.

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Review & Recommendation: Tales from Perach (Mangoverse book 5), Shira Glassman

If you’ve been wondering where to dip your toes into the Mangoverse — Shira Glassman’s wonderful queer-friendly universe full of magic, Jewish lore, and happy endings — Tales from Perach, the fifth Mangoverse book, is a delightful place to start. A collection of bite-sized bits of Mango, tasty and light, this unapologetically fluffy collection is a great evening’s read, and will whet your appetite for more. Some of the stories may contain sidelong spoilers for other books, but I breezed past them so quickly I couldn’t even really tell you that they were there.

Hungry for representation? How about tales of trans folks that deal with everyday life, and not high angst and tragedy? A queen and her wife who set the new standard for relationships in their country? An adorable day spent on a scavenger hunt by a guard and her girlfriend that sounds like one of the most fun dates ever? And if you want something a little bit less fluffy to round out your meal, the collection contains two tales of heroic Jewish womanhood.

Shira Glassman has given us the heroes we deserve. I recommend all Mangoverse books, I won’t lie, but I truly enjoyed Tales from Perach, and it’s a must-have addition for anyone in search of positive Jewish and/or queer representation, or anyone who just loves good short fantasy.


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Review in Brief: Infinite Sacrifice (Infinite Series Book 1)

I got… well, bored. And wandered away. It might be because of the author’s introduction, which sounded almost apologetic and made me doubt their faith in their storytelling. The writing seemed front-loaded with exposition and a little flat, starting with a lot of ‘I’ sentences which got very repetitive. It’s got an amazing concept and I think this book could really be something special with a strong editorial pass.

Note: I never came back to this book, which I picked up over a year ago. That’s a fair rarity for me. The lesson here, I suppose, is ‘never apologize for your writing.’

Infinite Sacrifice (Infinite Series Book 1) by L. E. Waters

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Review & Content Warning: In The Blood of the Greeks

In the Blood of the Greeks by Mary D. Brooks is a sapphic ‘romance’ novel set in WWII Greece — a compelling setting. The book was extremely well-reviewed, and I thought I knew what I was getting into when I picked up the book for free on a promo. Unfortunately, it ought to have come with a content warning instead of high reviews, as contains a ‘romance’ between an underage person and an adult: the romance arc begins when the protagonist meets her love interest when she is a young teenage girl and the love interest is an adult.
I cannot recommend this book because of the pedophilia/ephebophilia themes, obviously. If the ages of the main characters were appropriate, I would have continued reading, as I do acknowledge that the author has a compelling writing style. I started reading it because WWII stories set in Greece are relatively rare, and it was so highly reviewed.

I’m honestly kind of stunned that it was so highly reviewed and that more reviewers didn’t realize that a relationship between an adult woman and a young teenager wasn’t appropriate, even if that relationship didn’t become physical until the girl was older. It was very clear from the introduction of the adult woman that she was interested in the child. I had to stop reading once I realized that this was the ‘romance.’

This review was originally posted on Amazon & Goodreads; I am currently compiling my reviews here.

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Review, Updated: Wyldsight, Satyros Phil Brucato

I’ve already got an innate weakness and fondness for feral women, so this anthology was practically guaranteed to be at the top of my new list of favorites. An offhanded referral from a friend,  I dropped it on my Kindle and ended up devouring the whole thing in a single sitting.

Wyldsight by Satyros Phil Brucato

The bite-sized stories range from modern to mythical. Even in the slight missteps — “Waves” reads somewhat lopsided, almost unfinished, more an introduction than a story, and probably would make more sense labeled as an introduction rather than a stand-alone piece — the thread that ties them all together is the delicious use of language. Several times, I found myself pausing  to go back and read a particular phrase again, sometimes aloud. Where Brucato particularly excels is in stringing words that resonate, that want to be spoken aloud.

Definitely a must-buy, and remains after three years one of my go-to pick-me-up reads. Who isn’t cheered by wild women?

Wyldsight, by Satyros Phil Brucato on Amazon.

This review was previously posted on Amazon & Goodreads; I am centralizing reviews for my favorite books and adding all reviews going forward.

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Licensing Terms

 

All of my blog posts on this site (except original fiction and poetry) and tweets are licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International unless otherwise noted.

These are very permissive terms and basically mean you can repost everything with attribution, if you are not directly making money off it. This is because I believe in what I write about – I’d like for my writing to be shared. I’m also okay with my tweets being embedded in non-commercial sites, etc.

These terms do not apply to my Facebook, Dreamwidth, Livejournal or Tumblr, or any site other than this website or my Twitter account. If you’d like to reproduce something from one of those sites, please contact me directly.

While these terms are very permissive, here’s what they mean:

  • You cannot repost without attribution, unless I specifically permitted you to do so in writing.
  • You cannot make money off my content without my permission (e.g., if you’re mirroring a post or embedding a tweet and have ad revenue? That’s commercial use.)
  • If you are not sure, you can always ask because I am happy to waive restrictions on a case by case basis.

I always try to credit everyone. Do me the courtesy of crediting me. In fact, it is a legal requirement to credit me!

This page was modified from the Licensing page on Bogi Reads The World, with thanks for eir graciousness. It is licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International 

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Review: Liminal, A. Sieracki

As with all reviews, mild spoilers follow.

Liminal, the first book by author A. Sieracki, introduces us to the world of Isabelle, who may or may not be entirely human, and her best friend, who definitely isn’t. Strong on worldbuilding and queer representation, it quickly draws you in and pulls you along to the end, once the actual story begins.

Sieracki shows a great deal of promise as a writer, serving up a world that’s full of intricacies, and coherently follows its own internal rules – not necessarily a given in books which deal almost entirely with the overlap between Fae and Mortal worlds. The book stumbles right at the start, however, with a prologue that’s almost entirely unnecessary and almost made me set the book aside for later. A strong editorial hand could have seen the contents of that chapter scattered through the rest of the book, or even entirely eliminated, as there’s nothing in that prologue that isn’t covered later. Likewise, I realized toward the end of the book that I had absolutely no idea what the protagonist looked like, and simply calling the place where Izzy grew up ‘the town’ and ‘the city’ was jarring. Everyone refers to where they grew up by some kind of name, after all.

Isabelle’s troupe is entirely comprised of LGBTQIPA folks – including a positive asexual character and, even rarer, an intersex character. Her own struggles with dysphoria and feelings of attractiveness, as well as her attempts at relationships, feel genuine and true, and young trans readers hoping to see themselves and their internal lives reflected in YA fantasy will find a heroine in Izzy.

Overall, Liminal presents a quick and enjoyable read in a fully-realized world. With a strong editorial pass, the better to even out the writing and presentation of the author’s vision, could truly shine, and would easily fit in the collection of any LGBTQ YA fan.

I did not receive a copy of this book or any other consideration in exchange for this review.

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Rest In Power, Jojo Stryker

It’s pretty depressing to realize that of all the things you have preset tag clusters for, one of them is a tag cluster for ‘the murder of trans women,’ which defaults to including tags for ‘the murder of trans women of color.’

That’s one of those things I wish more people who weren’t directly involved in trans advocacy understood: not only is it common enough that we have to be prepared, because this is an ongoing epidemic that’s claiming life after life after life with depressing regularity, but that it’s aimed precisely at the very most vulnerable members of our population.

Unfortunately, that population remains vulnerable after death, and it took some time after Jojo Stryker’s death for us as a community to become aware that another trans woman had died, because the media (and her family) were consistently disrespecting her and misgendering her.

Stryker was killed February 8th in a parking garage in Toledo by a single gunshot wound to the chest. Her murder remains unsolved, and Equality Toledo has collected more than their goal for her funeral expenses, thankfully.

Eloquence fails in the face of a trans woman murdered once a fortnight in this country. Eloquence fails in the face of a population not permitted to retain dignity after death, consistently denied their identity even after their lives have been taken.

Rest in Power, Jojo.

Images and tweet from OhioFeminist on Twitter.

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