Monday update

February 20, 2017

Saturday’s event at the Park Hill Branch Library was great! Thanks to all who came by!

So I spent all last week writing a bunch of emails hoping to get responses today but then it turns out today is a holiday and one of the things about working from home is sometimes you just don’t notice when everyone else isn’t working.  At least I don’t need to go to the bank or post office today.

I finished my last book (Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock) without picking my next book, and this has left me floundering a bit. I try to pick the next one before finishing the previous so I can jump right in. When I don’t, I look at all the books on the to-be-read pile and freeze up. So, that’s something I need to do today.  JUST PICK SOMETHING, GAH.

I submitted two lists for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Given how busy I was this weekend, I think that’s pretty good. The highlights were out at Walden Ponds, where I set up the spotting scope and got a bunch of neat ducks, and a hooded merganser showing off for the ladies.  But I was also able to get the scope on a magnificent golden eagle, who perched on an electric line pylon nearby and stayed for a good long time.

The Bannerless sequel is about at the 50% mark. I had to stop and outline the messy middle, but I think I’m back on track, at least for the next little bit.

And that’s a Monday.

 

library event tomorrow

February 17, 2017

Reminder: I’m doing a library event with Kevin Hearne in Denver!  Check the website for details.

When I did my viewing roundup I forgot to mention that season 2 of The Expanse has started, and it’s kicking ass and taking names.  BOBBIE DRAPER IS IN THE SPACESHIP.  And yes, my big spaceship fetish is well pleased.

But having read the books…I KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN AND IT’S FREAKING ME OUT ARGH!

And now I think I’ll step outside and get some sunlight.

 

winter

February 15, 2017

It is literally the middle of winter. My social media feeds are full of people feeling down, stuck in ruts, and I am the same. It doesn’t matter that Colorado is in the middle of one of its amazing winter warm streaks, I’m still sitting here in my giant woolly sweater, unable to get warm.  I’ve hit the wall.  I’ve had enough of winter and I’m ready for spring. I’m cold and tired.

The trouble with the winter blues and feeling blah is that when you’re in the middle of it, getting out seems impossible.  I know this is temporary. I know I ought to go do things like exercise and be active.  But all I really want to do is sleep.

It’ll pass.  It’ll be okay.  Eventually.

In fact, this weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count and I think I’ll get out and see if I can spot something awesome.

 

Monday roundup

February 13, 2017

My current knitting project is a giant shawl done on #4 needles.  For non-knitters, #4 needles are small (not the smallest), and make dainty little stitches.  This thing is going to take me all year. It’s gonna be gorgeous, but wow.

So I’ve been watching some TV while I work on this.

Voltron.  This is a Dreamworks Animation reboot running on Netflix.  I watched a ton of 80’s Voltron as a kid, enough that I pretty much adored that scene in Pacific Rim when Gypsy Danger draws a sword out of nowhere and slices a ro-beast — I mean kaiju — from shoulder to hip.  So I had to give this a try.  And I like it.  It’s cute and fun and has the spirit of the old show while updating some things (and very surreptitiously and neatly adding another girl character).  I’m halfway through second season and Shiro is about to go do something foolish, I fear.  But that’s what he does so it’s okay.

Taboo.  I’m only a couple of episodes in, but I’m intrigued.  This is Tom Hardy in 1814 London going up against the East India Company.  There’s some very pointed post-colonial critique going on, which I hope to see more of. In the meantime, it’s sort of the evil opposite of most Regency-era stories.  I gotta tell you, when Jonathan Pryce (playing the head of the East India Company) drops an f-bomb I about jumped out of my seat.  I’ve been watching him in movies for thirty years and I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say fuck.  Huh.

CW DC superhero shows. These days, I just flat-out call this the Superfriends.

And a movie:

Lego Batman.  Well, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin.  The first five minutes were kind of my favorite, where the pilots of McGuffin Air manage to poke at both The Dark Knight and Tim Burton’s Batman.  So yeah, a little meta going on there.

 

event next week!

February 10, 2017

Kevin Hearne and I are doing a thing next week!  Check it out!

hearnevaughn

award nomination season

February 8, 2017

The nominating season for the Hugo and Nebula awards is upon us (the former nominated by attendees of last year’s and this year’s Worldcons, and the latter by the membership of SFWA), and I like to try to talk about what I’m looking at nominating, at least a little.  (A couple months ago I posted my own eligible work, if you’re so inclined to look.)

As usual, I didn’t read much in the way of shorter fiction — I keep meaning to and I keep not making it happen. Grr.  I did encounter Paolo Bacigalupi’s new one, “Mika Model,” super brutal and pointed and very good.  I actually did pretty well on novels.  My favorite new novel last year was probably Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip, a very quiet but very clever. . .actually I can’t say much more about it without spoiling the surprise, which is right there in the title and I didn’t even notice it until I was a third of the way through.

A lot of good entries in series:  Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone, part of the very cool Craft Sequence. Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey.  The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, which wraps up the excellent Raven Cycle, which everyone should try.

This brings me to this year’s Hugo Awards, which added a special category for best series. This has the potential of being quite contentious, which is why I was sure to nominate all of the above, as well as Wild Cards, the longest-running shared-world anthology series in SF&F, which had a new book out last year, High Stakes.  It would be awesome to get some recognition for the 30 years of storytelling the Wild Cards gang has put out.

The other category I paid attention to is Graphic Story, because there’s just so much going on in this field, both in the big publishers and with independents. I’d like to draw attention to Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress, the ongoing Strong Female Protagonist, and a couple of out-of-left-field entries from DC and Marvel:  Bombshells, which on the surface looks like an excuse to draw all the DC women heroes and villains as 1940’s pinups, but manages to be a totally woman-centric alt-history adventure story, which is very cool; and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. I’m late to the party on that one, but it’s goofy and meta and hard not to love.

And that’s what I’m looking at right now.

 

 

Is it?

Is it really the final chapter?

I’m going to take them at their word, because they did some stuff that really did make this seem like the end. But in Hollywood, never say never, because this is the year we’re getting sequels to both Blade Runner and Twin Peaks and dear god when will the 80’s movie recycling jamboree ever end?

Anyhoo.  I STILL LOVE THE RESIDENT EVIL MOVIES.  This series has been so consistent in delivering exactly what it promises, with stylish techno action set pieces held together by theme and aesthetic more than plot, and making that entirely okay. Alice continues to be magnificent.

I actually have a lot more to say about this movie, but in a strange twist it looks like I’m going to be reviewing it for Lightspeed next month, so I’m saving my analysis for that. Because really, with this ostensibly being the Final Chapter, I have a chance to review the franchise as a whole. With the release of this film, the previous chapters have been popping up on TV, and I’ve caught some of them, and I’ve been developing some ideas. Whatever you say about the plot and action of these movies, I’m going to propose that thematically, they’ve been impressively consistent. These movies are saying something, and next month I’ll talk about what that might be.

Until then, the usual review applies:  if you like the Resident Evil movies, you’ll probably like it. If you don’t…then why are you asking?