Book Review – The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

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This book is what I got the fiancé for Valentines day. Instead of chocolates and bullshit, (or as some have said all dudes want, steak and a blowjob) we got each other a book by an author neither of us had read before so we could spend time together doing one of our favorite things in the world, talking about books! He enjoyed it a lot but said it wasn’t really his kind of book. Which is sad face, because, spoiler alert for the review below, it’s fantastic.
Now! On to the review!

The Best of All Possible WorldsThe Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Karen Lord has crafted a rich world populated with a variety of realistic peoples, landscapes and concepts. It starts off with a brief chapter about our secondary protagonist Dllenahkh meditating at a secluded sanctuary far from his home. He is interrupted by a close friend informing him that their homeworld of Sadira has been destroyed. Smash cut to a year later on Cygnus Beta, one of the already populated worlds that has been chosen for the resettlement of the remaining Sadiri where we meet our main protagonist Grace Delarua. She is a liaison of sorts from the Cygnian government to the Sadiri settlements in her area, almost like a social worker for refugees. She works with Dllenakh to help the Sadiri remain comfortable and become a part of Cygnian society.
Due to the patriarchal nature of Sadiran society, most of the people who were off world when the destruction happened were men. The colony of Sadiri on Cygnus Beta are made up entirely of men and Dllenahkh and Grace are tasked with trying to find mates for them among the residents of Cygnus Beta. There are small societies scattered all over the planet who can trace their ancestry back to Sadira and maintain a kind of genetic purity by encouraging people to marry within their group. Grace and Dllenakh, along with a small group of scientists, some of whom are Sadiri set off on a yearlong mission to visit these places and hopefully find a solution to the Sadiri problem. The story takes place from a little before this mission to a few months afterwards and is told in an episodic style, with each stop usually taking up one chapter.
There is one overarching plot to this story, however each chapter usually has it’s own story embedded within it. They arrive at their destination, discover conflict and often times achieve some kind of resolution before moving on to the next spot. They are not always successful at resolving the issue and sometimes it costs them a great deal. However I found the smaller stories contained within the chapters of the novel to build nicely on each other. The fiance compared this book to a season of a tv show, and I think that is very appropriate for how it is written.
Because of this style choice the pacing feels even throughout the book, almost as though it were measured out. While the pacing and stylistic choice works well to bring the story to a conclusion it can sometimes be a drawback. About a third of the way through the book a character development moment happens, something that should have a big impact on how the reader views that particular character and it just doesn’t feel as momentous as it should because of the consistent build up to action-conflict-resolution that takes place almost every chapter.
Dllenahkh and Grace are both fascinating characters, completely distinct from each other and anyone else and both are necessary to keeping the plot moving. *mild spoiler alert* Their romance is understated throughout most of the story but as things move along it starts to feel inevitable. You can see it coming almost from the beginning of the book and it felt strange to me that one of them didn’t realize it until the last 20 pages or so.
Grace in particular is a wonderful narrator, she is funny, has the perfect tone for this story and is so realistic I felt as though I were reading a friend going through these experiences (your mileage may vary on that of course, depending on the kind of person you are and what your friends are like). There were several times I laughed aloud while reading due to hilarious turn of phrase or aside that she makes. The choice that Ms. Lord makes to write her that way will not please everyone, but I felt it contributed quite a bit to how much I enjoyed this book.
There was a lot of criticism about the fact that this book is not the typical space opera fare, with action set pieces and lots of drama and conflict. All of those things are accurate, but in my view not a detriment. This book is decidedly not about saving the world, or preventing a cataclysm. It’s about picking up the pieces afterwards, regular people dealing with the fallout. Some of them lost everything and others looking in from the outside of that trauma and trying to help. I found this book to be a great read, well written and the story is different from the standard fare and all the better for being so.

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Up Next? The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan

2012 Nebula Nominees Announced!

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It’s award season ladies and gents and everyone in between! My favorite reading events of the year are starting now. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced this year’s nominee’s for last years best stories. The list looks stupendous this year and I am very much looking forward to reading everything on it. Or as much as I can cram in between the WOT reread and my internet blog addiction (I can quite anytime I want…).

This year I’m getting an early start and going to attempt to at least read half of the Nebula nominees before the Hugo’s are announced. They usually come in early April so I’ve got over a month to make progress before the intense reading sets in. Just like last year I’m going to attempt to read and review every novel, novella and perhaps a few shorts as well. Sadly I failed at it I’m ashamed to admit but that doesn’t mean I can’t try again this year. After all, I finished NaNoWriMo in 2012. If I can do that I can certainly try to do this.

Without further ado, here are the nominees

Novel

Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
Ironskin, Tina Connolly (Tor)
The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Novella

On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
“The Stars Do Not Lie,” Jay Lake (Asimov’s 10-11/12)
“All the Flavors,” Ken Liu (GigaNotoSaurus 2/1/12)
“Katabasis,” Robert Reed (F&SF 11-12/12)
“Barry’s Tale,” Lawrence M. Schoen (Buffalito Buffet)

Novelette

“The Pyre of New Day,” Catherine Asaro (The Mammoth Books of SF Wars)
“Close Encounters,” Andy Duncan (The Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories)
“The Waves,” Ken Liu (Asimov’s 12/12)
“The Finite Canvas,” Brit Mandelo (Tor.com 12/5/12)
“Swift, Brutal Retaliation,” Meghan McCarron (Tor.com 1/4/12)
“Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia,” Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 8/22/12)
“Fade to White,” Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 8/12)

Short Story

“Robot,” Helena Bell (Clarkesworld 9/12)
“Immersion,” Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
“Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes,” Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld4/12)
“Nanny’s Day,” Leah Cypess (Asimov’s 3/12)
“Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed 7/12)
“The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species,” Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/12)
“Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” Cat Rambo (Near + Far)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

The Avengers, Joss Whedon (director) and Joss Whedon and Zak Penn (writers), (Marvel/Disney)
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (director),  Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Abilar (writers), (Journeyman/Cinereach/Court 13/Fox Searchlight )
The Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard (director), Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (writers) (Mutant Enemy/Lionsgate)
The Hunger Games, Gary Ross (director), Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray  writers), (Lionsgate)
John Carter, Andrew Stanton (director), Michael Chabon, Mark Andrews, and Andrew Stanton (writers), (Disney)
Looper, Rian Johnson (director), Rian Johnson (writer), (FilmDistrict/TriStar)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

Iron Hearted Violet, Kelly Barnhill (Little, Brown)
Black Heart, Holly Black (S&S/McElderry; Gollancz)
Above, Leah Bobet (Levine)
The Diviners, Libba Bray (Little, Brown; Atom)
Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst (S&S/McElderry)
Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (Random House; Doubleday UK)
Enchanted, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
Every Day, David Levithan (Alice A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books)
Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Fair Coin, E.C. Myers (Pyr)
Above World, Jenn Reese (Candlewick)

 

Book Review – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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NeverwhereNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Urban fantasy is not usually my thing; in fact I usually see something under that genre and instantly put it down because I can almost guarantee it’s not for me. But then there is Neil Gaiman. The man who defies definition because everything he does should really be labeled as ‘Awesome’. So when I finally got around to reading Neverwhere at the Fiance’s not so gentle prodding, I had mixed feelings. I was 97% sure it would be great, but that tiny 3% really did worry me.
I shouldn’t have worried though.
Neverwhere is about Richard Mayhew, a regular human living in London and working a nondescript job at an office. He has a fiancé, a decent apartment and in general a nice life.
It’s also about Door, a woman on the run from dangerous people who have already killed her family and are now coming after her. These two meet one night when Door falls through a blank wall, bleeding profusely and Richard takes her home hoping to help. Helps patch her up, has a run in with some sinister men and she leaves the next day. Richard hopes that it is the end of the excitement but the next day, taxis won’t stop for him, there’s no job waiting for him at his office and he seems to have vanished from the world that he knows. The only place he can turn to is the strange world known as London Below. He ends up accompanying Door and her companions on a journey to find out why her family is dead and whether or not revenge is in order.
I read this book in about 3 days, devouring the pages every chance I could get. The story has a sense of urgency, as though there is danger around every corner. 50 pages in I found myself reading as fast as I could to find out what happened next. The characters are unforgettable, each one interesting enough to deserve their own tale. There is the Marquis De Carabas, a mysterious man with a penchant for trouble and exceptional skill with navigating the world of London Below. Hunter, a woman with fearsome skills in battle and you guessed it, hunting. My personal favorite side character is Old Bailey, an elderly man with a cart who deals in birds and information. All of them feel real and fully developed, almost as though you might have seen them on the other side of the street while walking to the bus stop.
The story twists and turns and takes a journey that is both unexpected but somehow familiar. I found myself trying to guess where things would lead but having no idea beyond the next few pages. The only time I felt confident and turned out to be right was with the ending, but honestly the book could not have ended any other way without it being a total mess.
While it is a fairy story, with fantastical people and characters out of legends it most certainly not a children’s story. Richard is forced to confront his own fears and question whether or not he is slowly going mad. People die horribly in graphic ways and there is no guarantee of salvation or safety at the end of the journey. But then, that’s why it’s such an amazing story. If you haven’t read Neverwhere and have the least bit of interest in fantasy, sci-fi or speculative fiction go and get yourself a copy right now and read it. You will be happy you did.

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Book Review – The Shadow Rising, Book 4 in the Wheel of Time

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I’m well behind in my reread of this series, considering the last book came out about a month ago and I’m only on part four of 13!

The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time, #4)The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Shadow Rising is high on the list of my favorites of the many WOT books. It’s before the sadface Rand period where he starts to sound like a broken record and it’s the true starting point for the development of the Aiel (my personal favorite culture in the books). The Dragon Reborn ends with Rand taking Calandor, and the Aiel busting into the Stone of Tear along with lots of other things. It wouldn’t be a Wheel of Time book without 20 storylines converging in one place.
The first three books in the series, Eye of the World, The Great Hunt and the Dragon Reborn feel like stepping stones to get us to the point where Rand, and by extension the other two ta’veren, have accepted their destinies and actually start doing Important Things on purpose, instead of stumbling into doing them on accident. The Shadow Rising starts off a new path, one in which Rand has accepted that he is the Dragon and is now working towards the goal of uniting the world to fight the last battle against the Dark One. Mat gains the means to become an important force in the world, this book is really the start of his transformation into the character he becomes later on. Perrin goes back to the Two Rivers to fight Whitecloaks and Trollocs and while he does develop stronger leadership skills the development of his character is minimal.
The Rand storyline in this book is very well done, we get to see things from his perspective through some momentous changes. There are hints of the madness to come as well as seeing the development of his keen eye for manipulating those around him to do what he needs done. There is still a sense of hesitancy though, which helps convey the fact that these skills are still being learned and not just imparted to him magically. There are missteps and that feels natural for him.
Mat goes through two different red stone doors and we got our first glimpses of the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn. Magical, possibly evil creatures who make crooked deals with people from the ‘real’ world. He learns cryptic information about his future that sets him hunting throughout the rest of the series and forces growth on him no matter how badly he doesn’t want it. Sadly once we see what happens to him when he goes through the doorways there isn’t much more told from his perspective except as a window to see what Rand’s actions look like from the outside. He tags along with Rand and vacillates between wanting to leave and feeling tied to Rand by being a ta’veren.
Perrin spends most of his time in the Two Rivers having leadership dropped in his lap and trying to find a way to make Faile leave so she will be safe. I have to be honest, Perrin is my least favorite character at this point. He does not change much throughout the next several books and that is frustrating as a reader. All of the other characters change drastically from who they were at the beginning of the series to this point and then even more before the end. Whereas Perrin is still the same, his defining factor is that he is incredibly strong and that he is a wolf brother. That will be the case in this book and in the next several.
Nyneave and Elaine are heading off to Tanchico, a dangerous city on the verge of open war. They hope to find the Black Ajah and get to something, they aren’t sure what, that the darkfriends are hunting. They run into some very dangerous people and unexpected friends along the way. Nyneave is still suffering from braid pulling tendency, which I am hoping will come to an end very soon. She becomes a much more likeable and enjoyable character once she gets that stick out of her ass. Elayne is making strides towards being a regular character and although she spends a lot of time worrying about if Rand loves her or not, it’s done in a realistic way. What girl in love doesn’t spend a lot of her time mooning about? Their trip is one of those story events that feels very pointless, until you find out what exactly they are hunting for which doesn’t happen for several books. It’s a fun enough adventure that it keeps the pages turning however.
Meanwhile, while all of this portentous action is taking place in the rest of the world, the White Tower is experiencing turmoil that will rock it to the very foundations. Min is maintaining her pretty, empty headed girl cover there, at least until she has to run for her life. The first time I read the Shadow Rising this part was a huge shock. It was at that point I realized that nothing was sacred in this world, the Dragon really was going to break everything and we as readers were going to experience it right along with the characters. I loved the chance that Jordan took by going this route and although it wasn’t nearly as exciting to reread, it was fascinating to see if I could catch any hints of it coming.
The Shadow Rising has the most words, but I don’t feel that it suffers from the pacing issues that plague a few of the books. There is a lot of action and enough time is spent with each narrator that things get somewhere but not so much that it starts to drag on and you are ready to hear from someone else. It left me wanting more and I’m excited to get to the next book in the series.

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A response

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I spend a good chunk of my day reading sci fi/fantasy lit blogs. SF Signal and Fantasy Faction being the primary ones, but I enjoy some John Scalzi and the Book Smugglers on occasion. I get around you know. I’m always on the lookout for new ones and today this came across my feed. The post for the most part talks about geeks spreading the geek word. Sharing their love of scifi/fantasy media with others at the drop of a hat. Especially sharing what they define as good stuff. For the most part I agree their opinions. If you love something, tell everyone about it! I talk about Doctor Who every chance I get. Casual Friday’s you will usually find me at my office rocking a kick ass shirt I found on a shirt of the day sight or at a convention. I get more comments on my awesome Batman purse than anything I’ve ever worn from people who you would never suspect as being fans of the Bat.

I liked a lot of what the post had to say, but I kept running into sentences like this,

The genre’s inability to shed it’s pulp roots and ongoing pulpishness, the relative obscurity of SF to the book reading public and the enduring legacy of brainless Hollywood Science Fiction films have all contributed to the critical non-acceptance of our beloved SF.

Shedding our ‘pulpishness’? Relative obscurity? What the hell are these people talking about? Obscurity would be people who don’t read or consume science fiction not knowing what Sci-Fi even IS. And that is just not the case. If you read books and go to a bookstore, I find it incredibly unlikely that you haven’t seen the sci fi section. Sure some people might not know its out there, but they would be few and far between. Sci fi is a known thing, and to say otherwise is to make a problem where none exists.

Now for the pulp issue. This is entirely a personal opinion of course, pulp is how scifi books began out of necessity. Due to actual obscurity of the genre, there was no other way to get published then. Those who are now called the Grand Old Men got their start writing what they now call pulp. It is the beginning and to divorce sci fi from that is both impossible and unnecessary. There is a lot of what the fiance and I affectionately call ‘beach reads’ (our shorthand for pulp-style novels easy to pick up and put down) being published now, and that’s a great thing! If you want to start reading sci fi, have never read it before for the love of cheese start with something easy and fun. Don’t start with say…China Mieville or Paolo Bacigaluppi. Fantastic authors but for those who aren’t used to wrapping their heads around difficult, strange or uncomfortable concepts it may be too much to keep on with and then you have lost a reader. Give them something fun! Something easy to enjoy that will leave ‘em wanting more.

As for critical acceptance…if you are waiting for critics to accept anything that isn’t what they classify as literature you will be waiting a LOOOOOOOOOONG time. Critics survive on two things, number one writing well about their opinions regarding what is good and what is not, and here is the really important bit, making other people care about that opinion. Critics can be and often are in someone else’s opinion wrong. Besides, when critics find something that is sci fi and they like it enough, they simply reclassify it as literature. Eventually a new generation of critics will come along and it’s far more likely that those who grew up going to Batman movies and watching SF on TV as children will be far more accepting of ‘genre fare’ than the current generation.

More better work needs to be produced and promoted.

I am always hesitant to support these kind of statements. Better than what exactly? There is a lot of amazing fiction being produced right now, and it is coming from sources that were completely silenced in previous times. From people of color, from those with disabilities, from women. These groups are slowly gaining the recognition they always deserved and hot damn is it awesome. When you talk about better, lets give a definition instead of a blanket that seems to casually infer insults to what’s coming out today.

Tangent Alert – In my personal opinion, let’s have wider diversity among authors so we can get some stories that aren’t produced from white men. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Brandon Sanderson, Roger Zelazny, Terry Pratchet, Stephen King, China Mieville, Neal Stephenson and several other white dudes who write great books. But if I pick up a book, find the blurb on the back interesting and it’s written by someone other than a white dude, I’m far more likely to pick it up. Because it’s going to come from a different perspective then most of what is presented in popular culture and I personally crave variety in my reading material. Tangent Over.

“SF and genre fans have the means, motive and opportunity to vault SF into respectability.

It’s quotes like this that continue to push the idea that SF isn’t respectable now. Who says it isn’t? Who gets to decide things like this? Those who say it isn’t respectable are never going to be won over because for them it’s all about exclusion. It’s all about their reading choices feeling more valid and ‘better’ than other people’s. That kind of attitude is perpetuated on the idea that if you read New Yorker you are just a better in some way than a person who reads Asimov’s and that’s a game that I don’t want to play because there is no way to win. I don’t need my Goodreads list given a stamp of approval in order to like books or to share my love of stories with other people.

Here is where it went seriously off the rails for me,

For every Star Trek book two Anathems need to be purchased. For every The Dark Knight Rises, two Gattacas

And here is where they are playing the game of respectability that I was just talking about. I’ve read Star Trek books and more than half of Anathem (I will get back to it I swear!) and I loved Anathem. The ideas in it are challenging and beautiful and it’s a book to be savored and shared with everyone who would be interested. But here’s the thing…I know about 2 people who would be interested in reading that book. It’s a book of lofty ideas and philosophy, and takes time and dedication to read and it’s a tome! Star Trek books can be picked up and read in a few days or weeks depending on your reading speed. They are fun stories that take you on an experience outside of your life. And sometimes that’s all you want.

I understand the point they are trying to make though. Anathem is in their opinion an arguably better book than a Star Trek novelization and that can be extrapolated out beyond the titles in question. But so can my point, if someone isn’t interested in a book, don’t push it on them. And here’s the fun bit, if YOU are’t interested in a book don’t read it. Challenging stories with difficult ideas are NEVER going to sell as well as easy to consume ideas. Hence why there are ten different superhero comic book movies coming out every year, whereas we have yet to see a Sandman movie.

The full title of the article I linked to that got me started on this little rant is “I Like Science Fiction, It’s got like giant robots and stuff, right? Science Fiction’s Self Esteem Problem part IV: To Boldly Go Where No Fan Has Gone Before”. Having had bad self esteem, I gotta say, the best way to fix it is NOT to say, all this stuff you are doing now? Not good enough, you will never be respectable unless you try harder! Produce better! It’s to enjoy what you have and be happy with it and through that enjoyment see that you can reach bigger heights. Continue to write blogs that highlight great authors, advertise for publishing companies that sign new authors who write great fiction. Support digests, and cons and scream loudly about everything sci fi that you can. Welcome people in who come from reading Twilight and Harry Potter, arguably easy to get into SF/F stuff, and use that as a springboard to say, You like that? Then you will enjoy this too!

I don’t have anything against Amazing Stories, I like what I’ve read so far from them in other posts. But I for one am entirely sick of seeing this idea perpetuated that what SF (as though SF fans are a monolith) really needs is to become ‘respectable’. What SF really needs is to for those who write articles about the genre as a whole to see how it not being the same as literature isn’t a liability. It’s a strength.

Memory of Light Release Night

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For the Wheel of Time fans out there, you are of course all aware that the new-and final-book in the series came out last night, A Memory of Light. For those of you who are not Wheel of Time fans…I’m sorry. Luckily (for me) Brandon Sanderson and Harriet McDougal came to my lovely city on release night and I was able to wait in line for about 3 hours to get a signature. With my fiance and the Kid. The Fiance was fun, the Kid however ended up staying up way past his bedtime and was quite crabby by the time we arrived home. Still…totally worth it. After the very long wait I was ridiculously nervous, but I was able to stammer out a question to the both of them that I hadn’t seen answered anywhere. What author would they have waited in line for as long as I had? Brandon Sanderson immediately said, Terry Pratchett. Harriet seconded him. I must say, awesome answer.

I’ve been reading WOT for several years and have been looking forward to reading the end with great anticipation. Like most other fans I worried that when he passed away the series would never be concluded, or that if it was, that they wouldn’t be able to find someone who could do it justice. It would be daunting to take on such an expansive story, so close to the conclusion. As much as people complain about the length of the series or certain elements within the books it is plain fact that Robert Jordan was a master at world building and for those of us who love to look at the scenery and culture and history as we are being fed our stories, he couldn’t be beaten. At least in my opinion. 

I think Brandon Sanderson and the team of people that helped him craft the last three books will be successful at it. The past two books, while noticeably different than the ones penned by Jordan himself are well in line with the story.  The same careful thought was put towards realizing a detailed world, with fully developed characters to inhabit it. I noticed a few differences of course, but these mostly consisted of comments that seemed slightly out of character. There is only one instance, a joke from Mat, that I remember from the Gathering Storm where the difference was significant enough that it knocked me out of the story. 

In my infinite wisdom I planned very badly and am only at The Shadow Rising (number 4 in the series) in my reread. This is the very last chance to do a full reread with a brand new book waiting at the end. Besides, it’s been so long since I read the previous book that when I read the first twenty pages I realized that I had absolutely no clue what was going on. Best to figure that out before going forward.

 

 

New Year, New Plan

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To go along with all my favorite blogs I’m going to hop onto the bus ride of 2013 and make some goals! Very exciting goals. Some writing and some reading and some manage to blur the line! 

Goal 1 – Review 80% of the books/media that I consume. Most of that will happen here and on my Goodreads page. A ‘book’ will count as anything that is longer than a short story, hell I might even review a few of those. I do have at least a full years worth of Asimov’s and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction burning holes in my overstuffed bookshelves, demanding to be read. 

Goal 2-Actually write here, at least once a week. That would be good and possibly more interesting than, you know, not writing for months on end. 

Goal 3-Read 50 books. While not as impressive as some people’s goals (looking at you mother with your two books a week), finding a way to squeeze in enough reading time to do so with an almost five year old, an almost husband, a full time job and writing part time is no easy feat. Especially when I’m doing a Wheel of Time reread so I can fully enjoy the last book (IT COMES OUT TODAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!) so that’s about 10k pages right there. More actually. 

And that’s enough goals. More than that and it all becomes too overwhelming to even attempt and I’m likely to plonk myself down on the couch for a nap rather than be inspired to get writing/reading/working.

Here we go 2013. Lets do this!

 

Book Review – Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

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Hogfather (Discworld, #20)Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Hogfather is just like santa…except with more pig. On Hogswatch night he flies all over the world in his sleigh drawn by four large pigs and leaves presents for the good little boys and girls of the disc. Except this year the jolly fat man has gone missing and Death has taken up a fake beard and stuffed a pillow under his robes and will be filling in until the Hogfather can be found.
Susan, Death’s granddaughter just wants a normal life. In her current job as a governess to two terminally cute children she has as much excitement as she needs beating up bogeymen with pokers. But on Hogswatch night she will find herself getting involved in yet another adventure, this one with the God of Hangovers, the Tooth Fairy(ies), and the occasional assistance of the Death of rats.

I just recently started reading Terry Pratchet and this is the 4th Discworld book I’ve read. I enjoyed it as both a holiday story and as a Discworld book. At times it has some gently pokes of social commentary interspersed with the wonderful Pratchett humor that make it so easy to immerse yourself in his books. The plot took several twists and turns and felt very scattered at first. As the book went on however things began to tighten up and by the end everything wraps together nicely.
A fantastic holiday read for those tired of the traditional holiday tales.

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Minuscule Review and Link to Ken Liu’s ‘Paper Menagerie’

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I never did finish reading ALL the Hugo and Nebula nominees but luckily I did read this one. It was amazing. A great read that was heartfelt and felt genuine. There are really only touches of the fantastical in this story but they are what makes it work I think. Please read it and enjoy! You can do so for free at i09.com!

National Novel Writing Month

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I have decided to take the giant leap and attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I contemplated also attempting to do National Blog Posting Month again this year but that seems like entirely too much to do in one month. We shall see though. I fear by the end I will be wringing by brain out in the sink to try to get a few last drops of creative juice out to throw on the screen.
At the least I can probably blog about the process I’m using. That will be helpful to…you know…lots of people? Or no one. Either way it’s cool.
I finally finished a short story a few months ago and I’m pretty happy with how it came out. That one was inspired by one sentence that I really liked the sound of, and initially I thought well I’ll just do that again! Then I thought about it some more and realized trying to craft an entire novel without any forethought beforehand is maybe a bad idea. So I did an outline and I’m really hoping this thing will come together.
But I’ll be happy if I can get 50k words out regardless. Even if it’s trash. :)
If any of you reading this are also planning to NaNoWriMo, Good Luck!

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