MarsCon!

December 13, 2017

Reminder!  I’ll be the Author Guest of Honor at MarsCon in Williamsburg, Virginia, January 12-14. See, I do make it out to the East Coast every now and then!  I hope to see some of you there!

 

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two weeks…

December 11, 2017

I thought I was doing okay but I just checked and there’s just two weeks until Christmas and there are still some people I need to get gifts for, but at least I think the post office run is ready to go, I’ll do that this week. (I try to only go to the post office once in December, ideally before that last week. And bring a book while I’m waiting in line…)

And all the movies. So many movies coming out over the next couple of weeks. Like, oh, Star Wars? Will Poe and Finn get their buddy caper story? What’s up with Rey and Ren? It still feels like such an embarrassment of riches, three new Star Wars movies three years in a row. Who would have thought? Who ever would have thought?

My niece called me last week to tell me all about Return of the Jedi, which she had just seen. So she’s now got the original trilogy under her belt. I asked, and yes, she likes Ewoks, so we’ll have to sit down and watch the Ewok movies soon. OH YES WE WILL. Yub nub!

And now I go back to work. A bunch of stuff I need to update on my website. Lots of events coming up. Barreling into the new year already, peeps…

 

So there’s this scene, right before Charles Dickens’ dark night of the soul, where he and his agent go on a bender at a low-class pub. They stumble out, and Charles gets maudlin.

Charles:  “Kate [his wife] doesn’t understand me!”

Forester: “I’ve got news for you, Charles. No one understands you. You’re a freak of nature.”

At this point one of my friends reached over and patted me.

Was he trying to tell me something?

***

This is a light and lovely movie that hits most of the usual movie-about-writers tropes. I kind of want to talk about movie-about-writer tropes, but I’m still getting my thoughts together. Charles Dickens is one of my favorite writers, I love London, and ever since Legion I’m a big fan of Dan Stevens. So yeah, I was inclined to like it.

And Christopher Plummer’s Scrooge is really terribly scary. So good.

A Christmas Carol really is one of the greatest books ever. If you’ve only ever seen movie versions and have never read it, go ahead and read it. It’s short. You won’t regret it.

 

This week, the new Wild Cards novel Mississippi Roll is out! This includes my story, “A Big Break in the Small Time,” in which my character Wild Fox has become a lounge singer in love. Wild Cards has a reputation for being incredibly dark and grim at times, so I really love doing these lighter, comic stories. This world is so big and flexible, there’s definitely room for both.  This is the first book in what we’re calling The American Triad, checking in on some other parts of the country.

The latest novel of The Expanse by James S.A. Corey is also out this week:  Persepolis Rising. I like the TV show a whole lot. I love the books. This latest one. . .I’m plugging it because it does something I don’t think I’ve ever seen a space opera do. I hesitate to say what because it involves the entire arc of the book, and the thrill of discovery is part of the fun. It impressed the hell out of me.

And in case you haven’t picked it up yet. . .the e-book of Bannerless is on sale this month for $2.99!

So many books. . .

 

Couple of recent TV shows:

The Punisher:  Once again, I’m the one person on the internet who seems to not like this thing everyone else is raving about. I found it incredibly long, slowly paced, heavy handed, and downright repetitive. Every episode had a scene of Madani in her office going on about Kabul, plus a group session, plus a flashback, plus Micro creepily spying on his family. . . you get the idea. Another Marvel Netflix show that’s 13 episodes that should have been 8. Ironically, The Defenders was 8 episodes and should have been 5. Speaking of Defenders, I’m trying to get a friend of mine to do a video of all the fight scenes along with “Kung-fu Fighting.”

Another Netflix show, Marco Polo:  So I got home from L.A. last week, incredibly exhausted and sleep-deprived, but it was only like 7 pm so I didn’t want to go to bed yet, so I decided to watch something kinda pretty but mindless but probably not all that good ’cause I hadn’t heard much about it and I didn’t want to get attached ’cause I’ve got nine million other things to watch . . . .  So of course I love it. Binged the whole first season in under a week. My only complaint is it does the Game of Thrones thing where if there’s a woman in Act 1 she’ll be naked by Act 3, but that actually eases off by the end of the season.  In favor of trebuchets. TREBUCHETS, PEOPLE.  This show is so freaking gorgeous visually, great cinematography, and the costumes, and the acting, and the music. . .  But most of all it reminds me of reading Guy Gavriel Kay. It’s kind of historical but also kind of not, with lots of political intrigue, culture clashes, lots of good earnest characters and a few wicked ones. Seriously, if you liked Marco Polo, go read Guy Gavriel Kay. And if you like Kay, I bet you’ll enjoy Marco Polo.

I’m waaaaaay behind on the Star Treks and CW Superfriends shows because the group of people I watch those with has been scattered here and anon over the last six weeks and we’re going to try to get together to binge them all soon, I hope. I miss Supergirl.

 

December has arrived…

December 1, 2017

….and not a moment too soon. This year has just seemed to drag. Probably because we’ve all aged about ten years, given current politics, amirite?

So I did it, I wrote up a long review of Geostorm for Lightspeed. Because I had some things to say about it, you know? The December issue is now available to purchase.

I had a good time at Loscon but it’s taken me a few days to recover, so I’ve been laying low this week. Reading books, even! I’m in the middle of two right now. One brand new, The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, a prequel to the magnificent His Dark Materials trilogy. I love that world, but I have to admit, while engagingly written, this one suffers a bit from being a prequel — I know how it all turns out, right? And “Lyra is such a magical baby!” is not that interesting as it turns out.

The other is the cyberpunk classic Synners by Pat Cadigan, which I somehow had not read before now. It’s dense and complicated and pretty much perfectly predicts the current social media landscape. It also fits neatly into my Grand Cyberpunk Evolution Theory as a transitional text between the classic 80’s cyberpunk era and the next generation of cyberpunk ala Snow Crash, for lots of various reasons. (Synners was released in 1991.)  I’m also giggling like mad because around page 170 or so we meet the spontaneously arisen AI entity, right on schedule. Spontaneously Arising AI is one of the classic 80’s cyberpunk tropes, and I’m just so pleased to see it here.

Not finished with the book yet so no spoilers!

 

Reviewer extraordinaire James Nicoll has been doing a “20 core lists” series — 20 core books of various sub-genres that everyone should read. He’s just done one for Urban Fantasy — hooray!  And Kitty and the Midnight Hour is included. Double hooray!

I know some of my readers are always looking for suggestions:  here ya go.

For my own self I would add Agyar by Steven Brust and Sunshine by Robin McKinley.