I haven't posted anything substantive in a while. Just... meh. Nothing to say. Ever get the feeling you're the extra in a movie, and disappear the moment you're off-screen? And it's not even an exciting movie, it's like some romantic comedy or something, which is fine if you're center stage, but just disappointing if you're on of the extras.
Anyway. Christmas coming up. Done most of my shopping, because most of my shopping is gift cards. Yay for thoughtless presents! Not all of it is giftcards, though. And I bought a turkey for a needy family. Not directly, but at the grocery story they were having a 'donate a turkey' thing. The charity played dirty, though, they had kids run up to people who were in that area of the grocery store and ask if I wanted to buy a turkey for a needy family. A few of them were even dressed as turkeys. How could I say no to kids dressed as turkeys for charity? Totally not fair. But I don't mind.
Had a freaky scare with one of the cats. (cut cause perhaps TMI and disgusting details). ( Read more...Collapse )
But yeah, it was freaky for a while there.
TV... not much has been going on. Still watching SHIELD, although it's been a disappointment. Arrow's enjoyable. Enjoyed the Doctor Who 50th, for the most part... had a few issues, but mostly it made me smile.
I think the only new show to speak of since last time is Almost Human. Where we learn a lot about the future (minor spoiler ahoy). In the future... ( Read more...Collapse )
Many other examples of rather inconsistently-thought out advances in technology... but... I kid, mostly, rather than rant. I mean, these are all pretty ridiculous, but I find myself enjoying the show nonetheless.
Continuum, another show that depicts Cops in the future probably makes similar mistakes, but they're not as bad because we don't focus on that world 24/7 in every ep (since they time-travelled to modern-day Vancouver). I did catch up on S2 of that finally, and enjoyed it enough that I'll keep watching.
Walking Dead was... well, it had a good start, and then dropped the ball again with the Governor. The finale wasn't too bad, but we REALLY didn't need the two episodes before that. Still, zombies are a guilty pleasure so I'm not dropping it even if it gets really bad (and there are plenty of ridiculous bits there too).
I've also caught up a bit on watching movies that I've been overdue for. Dredd was actually rather fun. Total Recall had nice visuals but was pretty dumb. Man of Steel, meh, dragged on an I didn't like the ending. Pacific Rim turned out to be a lot better than I thought it was, particularly for the genre. Dark Knight Rises overrated. Couple other that were okay but forgettable.
Finally, books... read a lot of them. In fact, as of this writing, I've completed my goal of 50 books in 2013. Still a chance I might get another 1 or 2 (I think I got a reasonable shot at 51, 52... maybe if the weather cooperates). But I usually write my reviews, and I have been slacking off, so, here we go, all in a rush at the end of the post, if you usually skip these, you can just stop reading here. As usual, I'm mostly copy/pasting from my Goodreads reviews... minor spoilers many be behind most cuts, but I don't think there's anything that would ruin a person's enjoyment... if there's anything major I'll try to single it out for a special warning.Finished: The World's Best SF 4,
(short story collection)
The Year's Best SF books are a reliable source for entertaining and thought-provoking short stories. This edition holds stories published in 1998.
Although you can always find something to enjoy, they're usually something of a mixed bag... ( Read more...Collapse )Finished: Defining Diana,
by Hayden Trenholm (received for free!)
Full disclosure, I received this book free through the Goodreads First Reads program.
2043, Calgary, Canada, Frank Steele leads a group of police officers who tackle the cases that are too big or too weird for anybody else. But when they discover the body of a young girl who doesn't exist in any of the usual databases, with apparently nothing wrong with her that might cause her death, they get a mystery that may connect with some of their other open cases... and have worldwide consequences. ( Read more...Collapse )
All in all, I'd recommend it to fans of police procedurals, or those who find the back-of-the-book blurb interesting on their own, but it's not the kind of book I'm liable to call a favorite myself. Certainly enjoyable, but not particularly memorable.Finished: Backwards,
by Todd Mitchell (received for free!)
Full disclosure: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads program.
The story follows a disembodied spirit with no memory, who witnesses the suicide of a teenager named Dan, and finds himself drawn inside... only to wake up inside Dan's body and everything's fine. Soon he realizes that every day he lives through takes him one day further back in time, and through watching his host's actions, and the actions of his family, former friends, schoolmates, as well as the girl he seems obsessed with, the mysteries of the people around him gradually become unveiled and The Rider becomes convinced he has a purpose. He has to gain control of this body and change what happened, somehow.( Read more...Collapse )
I do think this is one of those teen novels that can be enjoyed by adults and teens alike (as long as those adults don't mind reading about the lives of teens). Finished: The Star Fraction,
by Ken Macleod
In the near future, the UK is divided into microstates, each with their own laws, and many independent groups vying for the future of humanity. Some are struggling to bring their vision of a communist revolution to fruition, while others fear that unregulated computer science may be bringing about the creation of an uncontrollable artificial intelligence that could threaten the world. There's also a possibility that it's already happened.
What can I say about this book? I really, really, wanted to like it. There were some great ideas, and, at times, I was engaged with the characters. But the world they inhabited didn't entirely ring true to me, and even when it did... I just didn't care about it. ( Read more...Collapse )Finished: Embassytown,
by China Mieville
Avice Cho lives in Embassytown, a small human outpost on an alien world. She doesn't talk to the alien Hosts who are born to the world.. because they don't understand humans, except for specially trained Ambassadors. Because of a quirk of evolutionary history, the Hosts only perceive language that is spoken with two mouths, speaking different words, at the same time, with the same mind. As such, Ambassadors are specially-created clones, bred and trained from birth specifically to communicate with the Hosts, effectively being one person in two bodies. Avice isn't an Ambassador.. but she does occupy a special place in the Host's language, she's a living similie, something the Hosts compare things to. The Hosts' language is changing thanks to contact with humans, and that is changing them and their society. But when a new team of Ambassadors arrives, their use of the Language throws the world into turmoil. Short version of review: liked it, high quality, but I appreciated the quality more than I actually enjoyed it. ( Read more...Collapse )Finished: Postsingular,
by Rudy Rucker
In Postsingular, tiny machines devour the Earth and copy everybody they eat into a simulation... luckily, one of the machine's developers also created a backdoor, and with the help of his autisitc son, they're able to reverse the situation, restoring everybody.
Soon after, another set of tiny self-replicating machines are released, which don't devour, merely reproduce until they cover every inch of the Earth, sharing information with each other and the people they're on, changing society forever as everyone can instantly access information about virtually anything.
That's all in the first fifty pages. And after that, the story starts to get REALLY weird. ( Read more...Collapse )
If he hadn't included the Hibrane subplot, I probably would have given it four stars. As it is, three, but a high three. Finished: Wormholes: A Novel,
by Dennis Meredith (received for free!)
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book free through Goodreads "First Reads" program.
Weird events have been happening all over the world, either matter is disappearing, or appearing, and often with disastrous results for those nearby. One scientist figures out what's happening (psst, the answer's in the title), and then works to harness this power.
I'm afraid I never really got into this book. The premise is an interesting one, from a distance, but, there are just too many issues with the plot. In short, it never felt real, which is especially a shame considering how it mostly tried to stick to an Earth-based plot with scientists investigating a new phenomenon, rather than explore the wilder frontiers of SF. (slightly more spoilery than usual)( Read more...Collapse )Finished: Hylozoic,
by Rudy Rucker
Putting the description behind the cut too, because it kind of spoils Postsingular's ending. Short version: some decent ideas, and enjoyed it, but didn't like it as much as Postsingular.( Read more...Collapse )Finished: He is Legend,
(short story collection)
A collection of short stories honoring Richard Matheson, legend of horror, by some other famous and not-so-famous authors. Each story is either a sequel, prequel, alternate point of view, or otherwise inspired by something in Matheson's work.( Read more...Collapse )Finished:
A book that shall not be named that I got for free
I did not like this book, and I don't want to name it for fear the author might google himself and find my LJ (though he read my review and was polite about it)... and also I don't want to further bash it connected to the name. But since I'm not naming it, I will, here, completely spoil it and one of the big issues with it: ( Read more...Collapse )Finished: The Maze Runner,
by James Dashner
A teenage boy awakens without memory, having arrived in a location called the Glade, filled with other boys who were all in the same predicament, having arrived once a month, also remembering little more than their names. Thomas, like those before him, learns that the Glade is surrounded by a maze, filled every night with monsters. By day, everyone has jobs to keep their little community going... but the elite of the group, the Maze Runners, run out and try their best to solve the mystery of the shifting walls and look for a way out so they can go home and find out who they really are. But Thomas is different from the others, he develops a growing feeling that he's been there before, and a certainty that he must become a Maze Runner. And everything changes when, shortly after he arrives, for the first time, a girl arrives in the Glade.
It's a YA novel, and, as you might expect, marketed as being a good book for fans of The Hunger Games, so it's only natural to compare them. Well, it's not nearly as good as that, but it's a solidly enjoyable read.( Read more...Collapse )
Otherwise, it's an appealing book, not great, but I enjoyed it, and I might check out the movie when it comes out next year. As for the sequels? Unlike The Hunger Games, I'm not immediately eager to track down the next book and see where it goes, but I'm at least curious enough that I might pick it up down the line, especially if I see it in a used bookstore for a decent price.Finished: Pump Six and other stories,
by Paulo Bacigalupi (Short story collection)
This is a series of short stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, best known for his novel The Windup Girl. Two of the stories are set in the world of that novel.
Short story collections are usually a mixed bag of quality, themes, and styles... but when they're all by one author, they can be less varied than even a collection centered around a theme, and certainly more than a "Best Of" collection. In this case, we have a set of stories that I'd describe as well-written, and individually, I might enjoy, but when you take the collection as a whole... it gets to be too one note.( Read more...Collapse )
I just don't really connect to his characters and I'm starting to think that his writing in general may not work for me.Finished: Outcasts of Heaven's Belt,
by Joan D. Vinge
A starship arrives in the Heaven system, hoping to trade, only to discover that in their years of transit, the system has suffered a severe civil war... and now their own spaceship is a prize every faction feels they need in order to survive. Short version: Bit flat and dry, some interest for fans of Vernor Vinge's "Zones of Thought" universe. ( Read more...Collapse )Started: The Chronoliths,
by Robert Charles Wilson (reread)Started: The Bohr Maker,
by Linda Naginata (reread, but I only read it once probably 15 years ago so I barely remember it)
That's it until next post. Merry Christmas to all that celebrate it. I'll try to post before the New Year if only to post my complete reading list, but if not, Happy New Year too.