So, I haven't posted since the con, as it turns out. What have I been doing since then? Not much. First I got an annoying dose of Con Flu, but thankfully, that's worn off, I think. I rooted my phone, mostly to remove some of the annoying bloatware apps (I don't need a separate app for Google Magazine and Google Movies and Google whatever, especially since I can get all of them through the app store). I also changed the start screen, so instead of an ad for the phone carrier I got the phone from, I get a shot of the TARDIS flying through the Time Vortex while I boot up.
I considered doing some kind of stargate-gate-dialing animation but I couldn't find any I liked. I also had a crazy idea that I don't think's already implemented and too lazy to do myself, but... wouldn't it be awesome if, instead of entering a pin, you had to dial a gate address on the Stargate? Sure, you'd have to use more digits than most people use, but it'd just be cool. ;). In other phone news, I've started reading books on it more actively, but I still prefer paper books, so I do it in two circumstances: first, when I'm walking to work and it's too dark to read normally, it's easy to read on my phone. Eventually it'll probably get too cold to do that, but for a while, it means more reading time. And secondly, of course, when I finish a book but am still on-the-go, I automatically have a backup. Before I realized how easy it was to read in the dark with it, I spent a few too-dark-to-read walks listening to audioplays... the Neverwhere adaptation, and the adaptation of Iain M. Banks' "The State of the Art", both quite enjoyable. There are also some short stories I can get readings of online for free I'm going to load on them.
Anyway, beyond that, I'm still alive. Not much changes in my life, but I consume media, so let's see the results of my digestion... wait, that sounds inappropriately icky. Strike that. Something else.
Thanks to st_aurafina
, I've discovered an amusing weekly webcomic, Monster of the Week, which is basically... a (usually) comedic take on every episode of X-Files, as a (usually) 12-panel comic, from the beginning, in order. They just did "War of the Coprophages" which is here
, but if you want to start from the beginning, click here.
New TV season has started, but on the whole I'm not too excited about it. So far I've only checked out two, SHIELD, and Sleepy Hollow.
Let's start with the good.
How about you guess which one that is?
Did anybody guess Sleepy Hollow? Then you're not a good guesser. SHIELD was pretty good... a little rough, and, because of the ubiquitous promos, all the best bits fell a little flat, since we'd seen them so many times. As Whedon pilot episodes go, it's probably on the low end, but that still means a watchable show with some great moments, and I look forward to seeing where they go with it. Also, surprise Ron Glass! (Well, a surprise to me!) Hopefully he's recurring. Maybe now that he's got two big SFTV credits, he'll be more likely to be recruited for cons. :)
Now Sleepy Hollow... I guess it's not outrageously BAD, the actors have mostly been good, and once in a while there's an interesting moment of friction between attitudes of the past and present, but... it's not nearly good enough to get past the silliness of the premise of Ichabod Crane teaming up with a modern day police officer to solve crimes (magic crimes!). Every time they do something to make Ichabod surprisingly useful in the modern day, or find some way to allow him to continue to help, I feel the beams straining under the weight of the sillyness. Honestly, I can't imagine how it got approved to the pilot stage, much less a full series. But maybe it'll surprise me and be a success... apparently the first couple episodes got decent ratings, but.. meh, I might watch as long as nothing else airs at the same time, but I would not bother to download if I missed an episode or something else started airing in that space.
I have no faith in the quality of the long-term plot either... prepare to have nothing in the series mean anything or make any sense, because Sleepy Hollow is done by the same people that did the recent Trek Movies, so, I guess that's as good a time as any to Segue into talking about movies (I also need to talk about cartoons a bit, but it's a shame to waste a good segue, so let's do that a little later).
I saw Star Trek Into the Darkness. You may or may not recall that I was not at all impressed with the original remake
, it was just full of stupid, and this... this is more of the same. The only thing these movies have going for it are some good actors and a good flashy look, it is practically completely brainless, plotholes up the wazoo. And, annoyingly, the writers treat Starfleet... well, they pretty much treat it like it's Hollywood: Where even if you haven't paid your dues or have in fact $!$@ed up spectacularly in the past, you can get control of a flagship based on a lucky success or somebody liking you personally. (Longer complaints below, some spoilers) ( Read more...Collapse )
I also watched World War Z, and... another meh. In this case, the movie itself's not bad... there are even a few good ideas here, some decent action moments. But it wasn't a World War Z movie. As I expected, it was a "Brad Pitt is awesome and fights zombies and beats impossible odds and saves the world" movie. And ANY movie could have done that, but a World War Z movie could at least have done something different that matched the book. I've mentioned this before, but I actually read (and have on my HD) what was allegedly an early script by J. Michael Straczynski where ( Read more...Collapse )
Now let's dart back to the small screen, for cartoons. Legend of Korra is back for season 2, finally, and it's good so far, although some of the manipulation is pretty obvious to everybody but Korra and I kind of want to take her aside and shake her by the shoulders to point out some of the stupidity. But it's nicely animated and got some funny moments.
Beware the Batman is the new Batman series, featuring a military-grade Alfred and Katana as a sidekick, all done in CGI. It's actually not too bad, mostly owing to the (frankly, brilliant) commitment to use obscure Bat villains instead of the classics, so we don't have to face the 30th Poison Ivy origin story, or the 30,000th Joker story. I just kind of wish they didn't go with Katana as a side kick and instead went with Cassandra Cain, or used a Stephanie Brown Robin or something. And, the animation... it's too clean and stiff. I feel like I'm watching plastic toys walking around in a plastic world. That's a risk in lots of CGI, but I've not only simply seen it done better as a whole, but it also stands out much more because Batman should be... grittier. But the stories are generally keeping my interest.
Now I have a bunch of Book Foo to get through, most of the reviews will be copypasted from Goodreads as usual, with maybe a few additional comments.Finished: The Rapture of the Nerds
by Cory Doctorow and Charlie Stross
It's after the singularity, and much of humanity has uploaded into digital consciousness out in the solar system, but there are plenty left on Earth, trying to live the old way. One of these is Huw, a technophobic Welshman who signs up for a special kind of jury duty, to evaluate a piece of new technology sent to Earth by the occasionally incomprehensible cloud, and decide whether it should be allowed among the public. Huw plans to vote no on general principle, and maybe use it as an excuse to rant about the cloud in general, but instead gets wrapped up in events that will not just change him, but potentially the whole world.( Read more...Collapse )
Short version: It's a solid book, fast-paced, fun... probably not going to be one of my favorites, but worth-reading. Finished: Hyperion
by Dan Simmons (reread)
A war is brewing around the distant planet of Hyperion, between two factions of the descendents of old Earth, but what happens on the planet itself might affect the universe more. ( Read more...Collapse )
It was a pleasure coming back to the universe, even if it doesn't capture quite the sense of wonder as it gave me the first time I read it, and I notice a few more flaws, I still think it's a great book.
Throughout the Hyperion series there have been occasional quotes that strongly reflect my values, or I just really like, and I believe I've posted them before, but I feel like quoting again, so, I'll do that. It's non-spoilery so I'll leave it uncut:Sol wanted to know how any ethical system--much less a religion so indomitable that it survived every evil mankind could throw at it--could flow from a command from God for a man to slaughter his son. It did not matter to Sol that the command had been rescinded at the last moment. It did not matter that the command was a test of obedience. In fact, the idea that it was the obedience of Abraham which allowed him to become the father of all the tribes of Israel was precisely what drove Sol into fits of fury.
After fifty-five years of dedicating his life and work to the study of ethical systems, Sol Weintraub had come to a single, unshakable conclusion: any allegience to a deity or concept or universal principle which put obedience above decent behavior towards an innocent human being was evil.Finished: The Fall of Hyperion
by Dan Simmons (reread)
As interstellar war threatens the human Hegemony, a poet dreams of the planet of Hyperion and the quest of several pilgrims for the time-bending Shrike... events that are actually occurring, and may decide the fate of all of humanity. ( Read more...Collapse )Finished: Ancillary Justice
by Ann Leckie (received for free!)
Full disclosure, I read an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book through Goodreads' First Reads program.
The Justice of Toren was an artificially intelligent starship serving the Radch, a galactic empire, controlling both the ship itself and many ancillaries... soldier bodies that were once human, their minds replaced entirely by the AI. But that was before... now all that's left of the Justice is Breq, one of those Ancillaries, carrying on the ship's memories and a futile quest for revenge on the Radch Emperor.( Read more...Collapse )
Short version: Quite good, I enjoyed it all the way and wanted more, has an interesting approach to gender for those who might not read the full review but are interested in such things.Finished: I Am Legend (and other stories)
by Richard Matheson (reread)
Robert Neville is possibly the last uninfected man on Earth after a plague has killed billions... and returned to life as monstrous beings that stalk the night looking for fresh blood. Every day he renews his supplies or researches the phenomenon, while by night all he can do is hole up in his home and hope the defenses hold.
This is it, the granddaddy of the zombie apocalypse tale, ( Read more...Collapse )Finished: Endymion
by Dan Simmons (reread)
Hundreds of years after the fall of the human Hegemony, a man named Endymion is rescued from execution and given a task... to intercept and protect a young girl named Aenea, expected to appear out of a portal from the past and walk into an army of soldiers controlled by the now corrupt and ruling Catholic Church, so that she may fulfill her destiny. ( Read more...Collapse )
As I recall, the last book has more problems, but this one is one of the better books in the series.
And a quote:"Entropy is a bitch," I said.
"Now, now," said Aenea from where she was leaning on the terrace wall. "Entropy can be our friend."
"When?" I said.
She turned around so that she was leaning back on her elbows. The building behind her was a dark rectangle, serving to highlight the glow of her sunburned skin. "It wears down empires," she said. "And does in despotisms."Finished: The Mothership
by Stephen Renneberg (received for free!)
Full disclosure, I received a copy of this book through Goodreads' First Reads program.
The Mothership tells the tale of a spaceship craft in a remote part of Australian. A US military team is sent in to investigate and retrieve any alien technology they can find, and destroy it if it becomes a threat, and a few locals are also caught up in the alien crash.
This book unfortunately left me cold, (some more-than-usual spoilers ahoy)( Read more...Collapse )Finished: The Rise of Endymion
by Dan Simmons (reread)
This novel concludes the Hyperion Cantos and the tale of Raul Endymion, as he stands by the messiah figure Aenea's side (or, occasionally, is forced to leave her) against the dangers of the corrupt Catholic Church who, in league with the parasitic AIs of the TechnoCore, not only want her dead, but are also about to launch a new crusade throughout the galaxy to destroy all of humanity who won't submit to their rule and the resurrection-providing cruciforms.
It serves as a pretty good conclusion, overall, ( Read more...Collapse )Finished: Blindsight
by Peter Watts (reread)
I've probably reviewed this book on LJ several times already so I won't even bother with an introduction before the cut. ( Read more...Collapse )
I'm not the kind of person to choose just one favorite book... but this would absolutely be in my top ten. Started: The World's Best SF 4
(short story collection)Started: Defining Diana
by Hayden Trenholm (received for free!)
So, yeah, that's about all I think I have to say.