the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for November 2020

Huge thank you to Jacob of Red Star Reviews!  He not only co-hosts Vintage SciFi month and runs the VintageSciFi twitter and instagram, he also invited me onto his podcast to talk about Vintage SciFi Month! (click here for all of the Red Star Reviews podcast episodes)

 

Recording this podcast was the most fun I’ve had in ages, and Jacob is a fantastic host and producer. The episode is around 37 minutes long, and you can listen to it by clicking here:

A Conversation on Vintage Science Fiction Month

 

We talked about how Vintage Science Fiction Month started, how it grew, what the rules are (spoiler: there really aren’t any), the joy of it being multi-generational, laughing when sometimes books turn out to be stinkers, and resources for finding Vintage books online, such as Project Gutenberg, LibriVox, Luminist, buying e-books, and getting e-books from your local library.

 

Huge thanks to Jean at Howling Frog for turning me on to Luminist Archive, that place is amazing!

 

Show notes:

Project Gutenberg
Luminist Archives (everything)
Luminist archives SF Magazines
Librivox Audiobooks – free public domain
Ann and Jeff Vandermeer “big books”, these are avail in print and e-book.
Big Book of Classic Fantasy
Big Book of Science Fiction
The Weird Compendium
Sultana’s Dream by Rokheya Sakhawat Hossain at Strange Horizons
Open Road Media – lots of classic scifi avail in print and e-book

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, by Hank Green

published in 2018

where I got it: the library

It’s been a year of reading important books, and important news, hasn’t it?

Yeah, nothing my brain rebels more against than being told I have to to do something. Also, well, 2020.  I don’t think any of us have reached our reading aspirations this year.

And we should be kinder to ourselves.

The best thing I did for my mental health in the last 6 months was go to the library.  The why behind that is a long story.  But I purposely got books that weren’t important. I purposely got books that had nothing to do with the year 2020.

One of the books I got was An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, which some friends at work had been raving over since it came out in 2018.  As it turned out, this book, that was on a random shelf, in a random library aisle, was remarkably exactly what I needed.

The book was a ridiculously fast read, buckets of rapid speed dialog, all the mundane moments skipped with paragraphs that started with “later that evening” or “two days later”.   If you are looking for quiet moments of contemplation, and deep character studies, this is not the book for you.  You know those one season Netflix shows that seem to cram 4 seasons of stuff into 8 episodes, and the wrap up is a call back to the opening scenes and then you want to watch the entire thing over again and it was the perfect escape, which is why we love Netflix? (Russian Doll, looking at you!) This book is very much like that.

The author, Hank Green, seems to have had buckets of fun writing this!  And i don’t know if it was the mood I was in when i read it, or if Green likes a lot of the same things I like, but I kept getting half sorta easter eggs,  which aren’t spoilers.  I was reading a fun book, and it was reminding me of other fun tv shows and movies that I liked, and that only added to my enjoyment, is what I mean.

Ready for a tornado of action? Let’s go!

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Zipped right through An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, because it is a fun, super fast read. First person perspective, all dialog, no one really thinks before they act,  buckets of fun escapism. Review (or something) coming soon (maybe).

 

I usually shy away from horror, because I am a ‘fraidy cat.  If Angeline Jolie’s movie Changeling is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, y’all really think I can handle anything scary?

 

So of course I started reading Daryl Gregory’s We Are All Completely Fine.  it’s  a novella, and it is about a bunch of people who are doing group therapy. All these people have been through terrible, awful, traumatic things. When I read the back cover copy, i immediately got an earworm of Heathens, by 21 Pilots (huh. I get a lot of 21 Pilots earworms).

 

The older, chatty guy in the group was the survivor of a group of cannibals. When the artist lady got thinking about the scrimshaw thing, I noped right outta there. Like I said, I’m a total ‘fraidy cat, and this novella was gonna way too scary for me.

 

So I started reading Crosstalk by Connie Willis, which like a lot of her books, is supposed to be a scifi screwball romantic comedy.  I’ve only ever read her Oxford time travel books, and the only one of those I’d describe as remotely comedic was To Say Nothing of the Dog.  anyway.

 

The premise of Crosstalk is. . .  it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this conversation. The main character, Briddy, is overwhelmed with people trying to get a hold of her.  Her sisters text her a few times an hour, and call her at work if she doesn’t respond, and they also randomly show up at her office, at work, because they want her attention/opinion.  That’s fine, because she can’t even get to her office at work, because as soon as she steps into the office building, people are pestering her every five feet, and it takes her a half hour just to get down the hall (this is supposed to be funny, but to me, it was horrifying!).  When she does finally get 30 seconds to herself at her desk, 90 emails come in.  Of course having family that won’t give you a moments peace means you are loved, and being bombarded with emails at work means you are important, right?

 

Umm . . . the Daryl Gregory is suddenly sounding much less scary.  At least when those people go to their group therapy meeting, their phones are turned off and people aren’t barging in the room asking them their opinions on online dating sites.

 

(by the way, i kept reading Crosstalk, because it was so so freakin’ cute. It’s not exactly super scary anymore. Only a little scary. I KNOW Briddy will end up being thankful for her meddling family who doesn’t give her a moment’s peace. . . because it’s better than not having any family at all, and that’s kinda how these Willis books work, so . . . )

 

stay tuned!

 

I owe you a Deep Space Nine post, don’t I?

A couple of weeks ago, i needed yet another comfort read. I didn’t want to read anything new, I didn’t want to read something that reminded me of now.  It was the week of the election, and all i wanted to do was escape anything and everything that had anything to do with the year 2020.

So I picked up N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.  I’d read this book for the first time back in 2013, as part of a read along hosted by Dab of Darkness, and I remembered liking it, and enjoying the whole trilogy, and there was something about enslaved gods, and the middle book in the trilogy was really funny?

Woah. I forgot how sexy The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is!  There isn’t like, a ton of sex, but damn is this book sexy and hot! And those handful of sex scenes? WOAH.  like, DAMN.

And this was Jemisin’s debut novel, are you freakin’ kidding me?  I’m not surprised at all that The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was nominated for a Hugo and a Nebula, and won the Locus award for best first novel, cuz, you know, Jemisin.

Ok, so anyway, if you’ve not read Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, it’s fantastic. And if you read Jemisin’s three years in a row Hugo award winning Broken Earth Trilogy and it freakin’ destroyed you and you are still picking those little pieces up off the floor . . .  The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (and the rest of it’s trilogy, The Inheritance Trilogy) is much, much gentler.

What’s the premise of the book, you ask?  Once upon a time, there was a war among the gods. And after the war the humans enslaved the gods.

Yep, you read that right – the gods are the servants of the humans.

And because humans shouldn’t do terrible, amoral, depraved things, we make the enslaved gods do those things for us.  And the gods have their own set of morals that don’t quite mesh with ours, so it’s all ok, right?

Yeah, um, no it isn’t.

I’m a sucker for mythology. And I’m a double-sucker for gods to have the same weaknesses and failings that people have, and for gods to talk to each other and to people, and for gods to have really, really long memories.  I am a triple sucker for gods who are trapped in their own mythologies.

The mythology in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms? Oh, it is so exactly the kind of thing that I love!  I kinda want to reread the novel AGAIN (even though I read it two weeks ago?) just for the mythology!  A god of chaos, a god of order, a god of twilight/dawn/birth/death/change,  a godling who is the embodiment of childhood? And they all (ok, some of them) talk to each other, and to us?  Yes please! And all that mythology I love so much? In this book, it’s happening right now, in the present tense! eeee!!!!

Oh, the plot, you want to know about that too, I suppose.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fellow lady-bloggers, I need your insight on something, because maybe you have had a similar experience as me.

Gents, you are welcome to read as well, but this is not a conversation for you, as you’ll see.

 

 

Sisters, lets talk about reading and blogging and PMS. Specifically, do you react more emotionally to books, to #allthefeels, to angsty stuff in books, when you are PMSing? Do you write more emotional reviews / blog posts when you are PMSy? Do you notice when it is happening?

 

Like, earlier today I finished a novel where the main character dies at the end. It wasn’t a surprise, in like the 2nd chapter, the main character tells the reader that they are dead at the end of the book. There was literally no other way for this book to end, except for the character to die. So what did I do when I got to the end, and this person, who isn’t really a likable person, dies? I burst out in ugly sobs, of course. Thanks PMS. I won’t tell you the book, because that is a huge spoiler for people who haven’t read it.

 

Also, my PMS can be fucking brutal*. I get every single emotion at once, and on a scale of one to ten, they are at about fourteen. This lasts for about five days, and I usually figure out what’s going on on like day three, when I realize I’ve said “about to cut a bitch” six times in one sentence. And it’s hard to describe in specifics to a doctor or to anyone really, because I have no idea how I compare to anyone else. Are my mood swings less or more than the medical average? Um, how the fuck would I know? Does eating high fiber vegetables, meditating, avoiding caffiene and alcohol, and putting my life on hold for 5 days help? Actually, yes. Do I have the flexibility in my life to do that for 5 days every month? Omg, that’s hilarious. Especially the part about avoiding caf and alc!

 

(what does seem to help? allowing the mood swings to happen, not feeling ashamed of them, and thousands of calories of carbs)

 

Honestly, for all I know my PMS is off the charts cray-cray. Or maybe it is completely normal. Or maybe I have it easy, and 80% of women have it way worse. It’s not a broken bone than I can compare to someone else’s x-ray, or an objective test score about reading comprehension or spelling. All I can do is ask questions along with the rest of us on the women’s health subreddit.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s been so long since my last blog post that I forgot that the block editor was a thing.

 

thank god for “classic editor”, am I right?

 

This past week’s excitement aside, I’ve been really itching to do . . .  well . .   anything.  My city isn’t in lockdown, but not a lot is open.  Retail shopping has lost all joy, it’s shop alone and get in, get what you need, get out, no browsing, no trying on clothes. Every going to the bookstore is just depressing.

I needed something to get me out of the house, I needed something a little different, and I needed something that wouldn’t socially burn out introvert me.

So I signed up to volunteer with Meals on Wheels,  and I renewed my library card.

I used to be at the library all the freakin time!  I’d go to my local library every other weekend, and then on the other weekends I’d go to the library in the next town!  And then I got into blogging, and got into ARCs and had more books than I knew what to do with, and then I also found really good used bookstores and then my finances were finally such that I could afford to buy books new when I wanted them, and I also have a local group of book-ish friends and we are often sharing books back and forth.  so my library card expired and I didn’t even realize it.

I called the library earlier this week, to see what the policies were about getting my card renewed. They looked my up in their computer, and I wasn’t there.

It had been so long since I used my library card, that I wasn’t even in their computer anymore! That was embarrassing!  But? they said just come on in, and we’ll give you a new card.

So this morning, I did!  and five minutes later, I had a new library card account.

You know what I love about the library?  Every step, every aisle feels like a surprise.  What books are down this row? you won’t know unless you look!  what books are on that shelf? guess you’ll have to look to find out!   what’s on the “we recommend” shelf?  It changes every week!

I didn’t have any specific books or authors in mind, I just wanted to browse, and see what caught my eye.

here’s what I got!

Crosstalk by Connie Willis – I love her stuff, and this is one I’ve never read before.  this is a doorstopped chunkster of a book, holy crap! I better not read this in bed, if I drop it on my face I might break my nose.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green – A bunch of friends have recommended this to me, it looks like a fun, fast read.  Something about social media and going viral going horribly wrong.

We are all Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory – a bunch of friends have recommended this too! I’ve read a couple of short stories by Gregory, and enjoyed them. So let’s give this a whirl.

Have you read any of these? did you like them?

 

I didn’t get a ton of books, but guess what? I can return these and get more, whenever I want.  There is something about that phrase, whenever I want, that right now feels so freeing.

 

Tags:

Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,551 other followers

Follow the Little Red Reviewer on WordPress.com

Archives

Categories

FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.