The World War II and Iraq War sections of this story I’m writing require way, way, way more research than the section set in the far-future, far reaches of space.

 

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Friday update

October 13, 2017

I’m finishing things up so of course I’m feeling even busier than ever. Finished the Heihei costume (OMG). Finished the Blade Runner 2049 review, and I have to be honest, the more I think about it the more the story falls apart. It’s frustrating. I haven’t talked about it hardly at all because I don’t want to argue with people. But I imagine once the review goes live I’ll certainly hear about it. I still think it’s worth seeing. It’s just not as cohesive as the first one was.

For now I’m 12k words into a new writing project, working on a bunch of odds and ends, still trying to figure out next year’s travel. Knitting. Hugging my full spectrum lamp because it’s that time of year.

Argh. Yeah. I should clean house.

 

so this is happening

October 9, 2017

As mentioned in a previous post, my niece wants to be Heihei for Halloween.

I’m making her costume.

This is going to be amazing.

 

upcoming events

October 6, 2017

I’m going to be at a few upcoming events:

This Sunday, Oct. 8, at 4:30 the Jean Cocteau Cinema is hosting a Wild Cards event. We’ve been doing these for a couple of years now and it always makes for a chaotic fun time. There’s not a lot of info on the page, but the event is ticketed, I believe.

October 27-29 is MileHi Con, here in Denver.

November 11, 7 pm, at the BookBar in Denver, I’ll be taking part in a new SciFi Reading series.

And a reminder that November 24-26, I’m Author Guest of Honor at Loscon in L.A.

I think that about covers it for now.

In other news, yes, I’ve seen Blade Runner 2049, and I liked it just fine. Not sure it’s the unmitigated masterpiece everyone says it is — I have some quibbles, the biggest one being that the third act goes a little wobbly and drags. But it’s definitely worth seeing.  The biggest thing is it feels like a Blade Runner movie should.  I’ll be writing what I expect will be an awfully long review for Lightspeed, so the rest of my thoughts will have to wait until next month.

 

I’ve managed to get in three episodes each of Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville and I’m ready to talk about them. It’s taken some effort to sort out what I want to say, and to untangle the weight of expectation from what I’m actually seeing.

Discovery:  This one’s frustrating. I like the characters, I like the look. The writing is just about terrible. First off, it should have started with the third episode. The first two are pure, unmitigated prologue. That last scene of the second episode, Burnham’s tribunal, I actually had a sinking feeling, because it was so clear that this is where the story starts, and if the previous hours felt stilted and wheel-spinny, well, that’s why.

Here’s an example of just how frustrating the writing is:  we’re on the bridge during a standoff with the Klingons, the situation is very tense, things could start blowing up any minute — and Burnham has to go leave to make a phone call. Like for real. And the call is to Sarek to ask him how the Vulcans successfully made contact with the Klingons. And I’m immediately like, “Wait, aren’t the Vulcans part of the Federation? Why would this be secret information that she has to pry out of him? Wouldn’t the Vulcans, who are all about peace and knowledge, just tell everyone how to make contact with the Klingons?”  Well, no, because this is a show that has to keep secrets in order to make the plot work.  So Burnham runs back to the bridge to start acting like a crazy person, at which point the captain calls her off the bridge for another meeting. During this supposedly tense standoff. This makes no sense.

And let’s talk about the Klingons. Or as I call them, McGuffin Klingons.  I’m not even going to touch on the re-design or how they look or talk or anything. Because they’re really just there to make the plot go. They make no sense otherwise. In fact, they spend most of these two episodes standing around explaining their motivation to each other because it makes no sense as anything other than “Well, Federation’s gotta fight somebody, I guess there’s a prophecy about it or something?”

The whole thing should have started with the third episode. Actual mystery, actual interesting things happening, and a redemption arc right out of the gate. And it could have just flown right past all that stuff that makes no sense.

The Orville:  Or Star Trek with dick jokes.  And I’m not really a fan of dick jokes, so there’s that, but mad props to Seth MacFarlane for getting Fox to fund his Star Trek LARP.  I like the secondary characters a whole lot. The two leads drive me bananas, and I’m really over the thing where the goofy male main character gets the beautiful woman to defer to him and apologize to him etc.

Seriously though, that third episode straight-up could have been a Star Trek episode, which was always incredibly heavy handed when it tackled gender issues. Turnabout Intruder anyone?

Mostly, I just find it really odd.  It’s a throwback. It’s nostalgia. And it’s goofy. It’s not terrible but it’s also not lighting any fires for me.

I will probably continue watching these for at least a couple more episodes. But I probably won’t enjoy them terribly much.

Here’s the thing, in conclusion:  in the age of peak television, “tolerable” doesn’t cut it anymore. When I have shows like Legion and Mr. Robot and The Expanse to watch, I don’t have to put up with “Well, it’s okay.”  I have a lot of brand loyalty to Star Trek. But these shows try my patience.

 

This is coming up fast, so I wanted to make sure I got the word out:  We’ve been doing these on a pretty regular basis lately, and I’m happy to say that next week, Sunday Oct. 8 at 2 pm Edit: 4 pm, we have a Wild Cards mass signing shindig in Santa Fe at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. I think something like 20 authors will be there? It’s a ticketed event, so check the link for more info.

In Helsinki, the Swedish bookstore Science Fiction Bokhandeln interviewed me (my bit starts at about the 26 min mark).

And that’s all I have today. There’s really too much going on otherwise to be able to say anything without making a hash of it. So I’ll post this. I’ve posted it before, and always seem to come back to it:

“Grief in the galaxy, is there? Oh, yes. Oceans of it. Worlds. And darkness? There you see darkness, darkness everywhere, and a few stars. A few points of light. If no plan there is, no fate, no destiny, no providence, no Force: then what is left? Nothing but our choices, hmm?

To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan. Be a candle, or the night, Padawan: but choose!”

–Yoda, in “Yoda: Dark Rendevous” by Sean Stewart

 

 

murder mystery

September 29, 2017

Bannerless and The Wild Dead are murder mysteries. I’m not sure I realized just how classically structured they are until I spent the last three weeks binging Poirot, the one starring David Suchet.  Love it. The more I watch the more I just want to sit in a warm parlor with Monsieur Poirot, quietly sipping cordials and reading something soothing.

And then I got to the part in reviewing the manuscript of The Wild Dead where Enid gathers together all the dramatis personae and explains what happened and I went. . .oh, this is why I haven’t wanted to watch anything but Poirot for the last three weeks. My subconscious was trying to tell me something:  This may be post-apocalyptic, but it’s also a classically structured murder mystery. Remember that.

And now that I’m done reviewing the manuscript I think it’s time to watch Blade Runner in preparation for the sequel coming out next week. And I hear there’s some new Star Trek thing?  Two new Star Trek things? Did I get that right???