Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
published in April 2013
where I got it: purchased new
What would you do if you started hearing voices in your head? How about if those voices saved your life, and then helped you improve your life? You’d listen to them. . . right?
The Lives of Tao follows a sort of Hero’s Journey (which I have a major weakness for), and so often in tales like this the protagonist is already hero material – they’re in good physical condition from page one, perhaps already have weapons and or military training, it’s almost as if that person has been planning their entire life about one day being called up for a Hero’s Journey. Not so with Roen Tan. He’s lazy, unambitious, in terribly physical condition, and has self esteem issues. He firmly lives in the same real world you and I inhabit – crappy job, annoying boss, messy apartment, and he lives on frozen meals. He’s the last guy in the world to buy into the fact that aliens have been among us for centuries, the last guy on Earth you’d want to invite on a Hero’s Journey. Can I tell you how refreshing that was? It was really freaking refreshing.
Roen isn’t going crazy, but he is hearing voices. The alien Quasing have been among humanity for eons, riding along in our minds and bodies, helping to nudge humanity forward. They only want to get back home, and to do that, we’ve got to become a space faring race. Over the centuries though, factions have arisen, and the Quasing have split into the peaceful Prophus, and the more aggressive and warlike Genjix. They’ve inhabited many of our famous leaders and innovators, such as Ghengis Khan, Shakespeare, Cardinal Richelieu, how many people who influenced our culture and shaped history did so because they had a Quasing guiding them?
Well, every month is scifi – fantasy month around here, isn’t it? Yeah, but this month is soooper speshul, because I get to participate in Sci-Fi Month hosted by Rinn Reads! What she’s put together is nothing short of amazing – fifty bloggers, over 20 authors, even publishers! Go check it this incredible schedule she’s got going, there is everything from Doctor Who to H. G. Wells to e-book giveaways to Orphan Black discussions to Final Fantasy video games, really, just everything. don’t tell io9 about this, they’ll be jealous.
And what have I got in store for you?
hmmm…. hows about some author interviews, a guest post, some Kage Baker awesomeness, a Cory Doctorow review, buckets of short fiction, and oh yeah, an announcement about everyone’s favorite January blogging activity hosted by yours truly. Not to mention we’re up to our eyeballs in our read along of Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves.
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Edited to add the answers to the questions Rinn put up on her intro post for SciFi Month:
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
1. I’m in my 30s, live in the Midwest of the US, and my apartment looks like a library threw up. I just can’t stop getting and reading books! In the last few years I started attended small science fiction and fantasy conventions, and have gotten hooked on that too. My blog focuses mainly on SF/F book reviews, and I write the occasional column over at SFSignal.
2. How long have you been a fan of sci-fi?
Loved scifi as a kid, grew up watching Star Wars on VHS (ha! i just dated myself!). Got out of it for a bit when I was in my 20s, and then fell back into hardcore around age 30. Once I finally learned that there is more to fantasy than Lord of the Rings (I’m not a fan. at all. it’s cool, you can boo me off the stage), I fell hard for fantasy too.
3. Why do you like sci-fi, and what is your favourite thing about it?
I love science fiction because everything is possible. No one ever says “no, you can’t do that”. I love that science fiction is a safe place to explore dangerous subjects. I love that in science fiction I can be anyone, go anywhere, do everything. I open that book and I can leave my boring, unfulfilling dayjob behind.
4. Favourite books/games/films/TV shows in the genre?
Some of my favorite authors are Kage Baker, Catherynne Valente, Scott Lynch, Jeff Vandermeer, China Mieville, John Love, Steven Brust, Frank Herbert, and Iain Banks. I tend to enjoy space opera, and while I don’t usually go for violent or action heavy stories, I do love the darker stuff. I’m a HUGE fan of the Alien movie franchise and old school Star Wars. my Doctor is number ten.
5. What are your plans for Sci-Fi Month?
In the pipeline already, I’ve got an awesome interview with Gareth Powell, an interview with the editors and publisher of the upcoming War Stories military scifi anthology, a review of Makers by Cory Doctorow, a review of a collection of Kage Baker short stories put out by Tachyon publications, and hopefully I’ll have time to finish and review a Peter Watts short story collection too.
Yay November! it’s got more than just pie and turkeys, you know.
published in 1981
where I got it: purchased used
It’s been a week for weird fiction, that’s for sure. Starship And Haiku came home with me from the used bookstore because it looked oh so strange. And as far as strangeness, it didn’t disappoint. A post apocalyptic story, Starship and Haiku has something to say about clashing cultures, honor, communication, and survival. It succeeds grandly in the sense that it’s ambitious, unique, and strange. But does it succeed in being a good book?
When Josh was ten years old, the skies over his home in Hawaii exploded. People rushed to the shelters as fast as they could, and that was the night his brother Didi was born. Now an adult, and responsible for his brother’s welfare, Josh works at a hospice for plague victims. Called “stranges”, some plague victims suffer radiation poisoning, others have odder diseases that come with telekinesis or precognition. Even Didi is technically a strange – he’s never spoken a work, and has been diagnosed as being mentally retarded. Didi may not have the power of speech, but he’s the furthest thing from being retarded. In fact, if he could just learn to harness his inner voice and his telepathy, he could “talk” to Josh all he wanted.
One evening, Didi sees a dying beached whale, and he has a telepathic conversation with the whale. The whales are in love with death, and see death as the ultimate beautiful act. Didi doesn’t view death like that, but he respects the whale’s alien thoughts, and Didi starts understanding how to speak in the ideogram language of the whales.
I have returned from California! sleep has been had, coffee has been drunk, contact lenses have been replaced and hair has been washed. now I just need to check with HR and see if I can take all of next week as vacation.
note to self: do not take the red-eye next time. it’s just not worth it. who would have thought that a Sacramento to Minneapolis red-eye would have been overbooked? is that flight really this popular? the big guy sitting next to me fell asleep on my shoulder (not cool), but I got to watch a thunderstorm from the sky (super cool).
While I was gone, an obscene quantity of books showed up at home. Husband nearly flipped out as the stacks grew. He says I’m on book buying probation until I cull some of my collection. I really can’t argue with him. Warning: photo dump starts. . . NOW.
my shipment from Borderlands Books:
The Weird, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer
Makers by Cory Doctorow
The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
Declare by Tim Powers
Edge by Thomas Blackthorne
Fearsome Journeys, edited by Jonathan Strahan
I’d never heard of Thomas Blackthorne before, but how can you say no to this minimalist yet effective cover art?
these showed up too:
The other day I posed a random question on twitter, aimed towards book bloggers. it was:
how much time does “content creation” for your blog take? how many hours per week?
Responses ranged from “4-5 hours per week”, to “up to 8 hours per week”, to “it varies”. But if you are a book reviewer, you’ve got to read the darn book before you can review it, right? so maybe 8-10 hours to read the book, and then 2-3 hours working on a review?
It takes me at least a few days to read the book, sometimes I’m lucky enough that the review practically writes itself in an hour, other times I agonize over a review for days. So for me, let’s call it 8-20 hours per week. sometimes the book is a fast read, sometimes it takes forever, sometimes I even get two reviews done in a week! twenty hours a week? Labor of love indeed.
So, to everyone else, on twitter and not, all kinds of bloggers – food/recipe bloggers, webcomic bloggers, TV/movie/anime bloggers, photo bloggers, parenting bloggers, people who blog about their lives and adventures, people who blog about anything and everything, it’s your turn, and I do honestly want to know.
how much time do you spend, per week, creating content for your blog?
while I’m working on a review of Steven Brust’s Athyra, zipping through Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons (which is awesome, btw), here’s some fun stuff to keep you outta trouble for a little bit.
Judith Tarr is doing a kickstarter campaign for her space opera, Forgotten Suns. $5 gets you the e-book, $25 gets your name in the acknowledgments, and the extras pretty much skyrocket from there.
If you are nominating in The Hugos, you better get crackin’. Deadline is March 10th, that’s like, tomorrow. Interested in some suggestions? Here’s what The Wertzone, Fantasy Cafe , A Dribble of Ink, Calico Reaction, podcasters and fans over at SFSignal are nominating / suggesting as nominations.
I’m starting to come around to Iceberg Ink’s crackpot theory about Clara Oswald.
Not easily offended? Check out hysterical (also, disturbing) retellings of The Silmarillion over at Myths Retold. (NSFW. buckets and buckets of bad words. me likey!)
Win a copy of Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Fantasy Cafe is once again hosting Women in SF&F this April.
And if you live in the US, don’t forget to change your clocks tonight. Or actually, please do forgot, so I’m not the only one running super early/late tomorrow morning.
also in the department of random useless information: Sam Adams Alpine Spring seasonal lager – not so awesome. Decent enough that I’ll finish the 6 pack, but not one I’ll buy again. it’s balanced, but a little too light and fizzy for me.
my newest book pr0n:
Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for Robert Jackson Bennett’s AMERICAN ELSEWHERE. And our winner is. . .
Chris (“Salt-Man Z”)
Congrats Chris! I’ll be contacting you shortly, so watch you e-mail/twitter. You are gonna love this book!
uugghh, Sunday already? when did that happen? It’s snowy and wintery and it looks like a Christmas card outside. I’m still trying to get a snapshot of the squirrel whose always on my balcony and climbs up the screen door. I know he’s floating around somewhere!
it must be dead of winter if I’m that easily amused. Here’s some more intelligent stuff to keep us amused during these dark winter nights.
Are you involved in an upcoming read along? Looking for one to join? Check out the Read Along calendar over at Dark Cargo.
I have discovered Instructables. Holy crap people. it’s like Make meets Pinterest except stuff is easy and it actually works. and their bookshelves tag? oh yeah baby, this is where it’s at. Also? fudge.
when you’ve recovered from bookshelf envy and a sugar coma, here is more goodies for you:
Bookworm Blues has a great review of Rapture of the Nerds by Doctorow and Stross.
SFSignal has a massive list of possible Hugo nominations. Who have your favorites been? Can someone tell me the difference between editor long-form and editor short-form?
wonderfully creeptastic (and educational!) essay on Architeuthis, the giant squid. I kinda want to pet it, don’t you?
the ridiculously quick Lone Ranger spot starring my second husband, Johnny Depp.
Plenty of great book-ish giveaways currently going on -
win a copy of Mind Games by Kiersten White at Unputdownable Books
From SFSignal, win a set of all three Green books by Jay Lake
My Bookish Ways has an indepth interview with Myke Cole, author of the Shadow Ops series, along with a giveaway for the much awaited new novel in the series, Fortress Frontier
is that enough to keep you busy while I’m trying to finish The Aylesford Skull by James Blaylock?
By Sunday morning I managed to figure out the best settings on my camera, so for every photo i post here, there were 10 that caused tears.
Good thing Doctor Who and Captain Jack were floating around, as there was a Dalek invasion:
Also, multiple Tardises (Tardisii? Tardisae? help please. ) You could climb inside both of these, but alas, they were pretty little inside.
Tim Thurmond the balloon sculptor was there, and he made a few things. This was the bigger of the things. I think it took him about 2 hours to put it together. I’m not sure if that’s 2 hours of blowing up balloons, 2 hours of hyperventilating, or two hours of twisting balloons, but apparently they were auctioning off the opportunity to pop it.