beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Started reading Asimovs, and on the first story found the first one I'm not going to read.

Soulmates.com by Will McIntosh

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Just finished reading the last story in this month's Analog.
Plaisir D'Amour, John Alfred Taylor.
It... seems very old school to me, and I was unsurprised to find the author started reading Analog when it was Astounding.
It's about a sociologist studying a mining ship full of genetically altered humans. He falls in love with a woman with four hands and knows it's doomed from the start.
Read more... )


Analog so far is readable, but not wow this month.
There was plenty I liked, but I had to go check the contents page to remember that, because nothing grabbed me and stuck around.

Still, plenty of readable stories and some good bits is plenty to get out of a magazine. I shall see what next issue turns up.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today fiction is just not working for me.
Like I don't know if I hit a run of nothingy stories or if I just didn't react to anything today.
It don't help that I was trying to clear out some older stories from my 33 page Marked for Later list; fixits for the first Avenger movie don't have quite the same emotional weight from here.


The one story I read in Analog had plenty of feels, or rather made plenty, by having its point of view character be relentlessly cheerful. Read more... )
It's not every story that can make winning handily and ending happy be something you go hide in fanfic to recover from.
Tony Ballantyne, The Human Way.



The physical copy of Analog is looking a bit the worse for wear. I read careful, but there's ink coming off the finger place on the back cover, and the thin covers are going a bit wrinkly edged. I haven't even finished it yet.

I know it's a magazine and probably thinks its ephemera, but I have copies from well before I was born, so I'm hoping to collect these just as careful. But I'm not quite sure they're up to that.

Shall see.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
analog march/april

Alexander's Theory of Special Relativity
About a relationship breaking up because only one of them changed.
I think it wrote the breakup too good because I couldn't see why they had been together in the first place or what they had planned for the future that they were now afeared wouldn't happen.
It was just like, now she tells the truth, and they don't fit.

Okays. Don't need a time machine for that, but okays.



There was a Men In Tie Dye Adventure. It thinks it is funny? I do not see where it is funny.



And then there was a quite good exciting one about football.
Ecuador vs the Bug-Eyed Monsters, by Jay Werkheiser.
It has people being people, football, and physics, all in one quick adventure, where you can see how the parts go together and belong there.
It left me wanting to do the maths though.
like, it sounds good, but if their thing works like that, I either worked it out wrong for my fight sequences in the other thing, or the measurements have to be a lot different, and then I want to do the maths.

Which as science fiction by high school teachers goes is probably a win on every front.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The Host
author is trying to work through their issues with a super religious upbringing. fair enough. but I don't see how the science in this science fiction leads to this set of behaviour. I mean Read more... )

Violent, dark, murder and suicide and war with a futility of good intentions.
I disliked it quite a lot.



The Snatchers
A story with one character, plus the woman he stares at and describes physically for the first and last time of any character intro, and their tragic brief shag that leaves him feeling bad when she dies. Read more... )
Bored.



Unbearable Burden
Suicidal artificial intelligence. Read more... )




On the whole I'm not having fun reading this set.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Still on ANALOG march/april 2017

James C Glass, Time Heals
A time travel story where someone goes back in time to kill their abusive stepfather, then changes his mind when he sees he was abused as a kid too. The 'happy' ending is him taking the guy who hit him some nice things to read in hospital.
Honestly I just find it deeply offensive. Read more... )


Adam-Troy Castro & Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Shakesville
Another time travel story, this time where fifty alternate futures travel back to warn themself, but only one of them was ever true.
I found it kind of nothingy. It ducked out. Boring.




And I'm still like half way through. And F&SF arrived today too, so I have two more whole magazines after this one. This subscribing thing is magic.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I picked up my computer to go yaay about a story

Europa's Survivors, by Marianne J Dyson
A woman with terminal cancer goes to Europa to spend whatever time she has left studying radiation resistant bacteria. But an accident as she lands endangers both the bacteria and her mentor. She sets out to make a daring rescue, but the radiation may end her studies before they properly begin. Will she survive long enough to unlock the secrets of alien life?
Read more... )

But my computer was auto updating, so I put it down and read the next short story while I waited.

Eli's Coming, by Catherine Wells
A time travel story about Masada.
Read more... )




I will be reading some more tonight, but not I think from this magazine. I'm going back to where I know the genre and the ending. Possibly sticking with the happy ending kisses subsections.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I started reading ANALOG, which says March/April 2017.

The first story is a big long one, from page 8 to 41.

I don't quite know what to think of it. No, actually, I think it's being clever, and introduces just about all the science fiction types, and brings them to a logical climax. But I don't know how to feel about it.

The person you feel most sorry for is, by all mathematical logic, the bad guy. And all the characters are more trope than individuation. By the time they've explained what type of being they are their personal attitudes seem a bit tacked on. Or like the trope 100% explains the personality.

So I think it's clever, taking so many types of science fiction and crunching them together, but I'm not sure how I feel about the story. Puzzled, I guess, why they did it that way.

Still, they did it quite well.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The thing where I read about one book a day of these for as long as I has copies to hand speaks well as to their quality.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Thrilling battles, intricate politics, crucial dinner parties, and layer after layer of emotional payoff. I like this book very well. Makes a great conclusion to the series.

I also like that Temeraire and Lawrence are clearly the crucial protagonists in all this, the key cause of change, and yet Britain is nothing so simple as Team Good Guy. Read more... )



Very satisfying ending, proper happy with it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Amnesia fic, yaay!
This one had the emotional zings, both Read more... )

I have the next book right here and whole numbers of hours free to read it. :-)
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Finished reading Naomi Novik's Crucible of Gold, something like 7 in the Temeraire books.
It remains fascinating as au politics playing variations on this two intelligent species setup.
It continues to not give me emotional payoff even when the plot does interesting climatic things.

Also it's weirdly unsatisfying when terrible things happen but people are too busy to feel terrible for long.

The emotional distance sends me straight back to fanfic, and then the fascinating politics things to do with dragons brings me back to the next book.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today I read Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik.
I quite like the plot, and the interesting travel across alternate ecologies, but I want to go read fanfic for desert. I'm not quite sure what the emotional payoff is supposed to be. I mean Read more... )

I guess I just want to feel more about any given even than 'that's nice' with a side of 'huh, interesting'.

So I'm going to go read fanfic for a whole yearning/having cycle in a few thousand words. Not even Temeraire fanfic, I don't know who would do the yearning, they're all too brave faced sensible.

Abhorsen

Feb. 4th, 2017 03:11 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I finished reading this, eventually.
It took two weeks of picking it up, feeling my attention wander, reading a bit, then giving up and doing something else.
I'm sure it's a good example of the thing it's trying to be, but it's not my speed any more at all at all.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I just tried eating the 'vegetable lasagne' from the sainsburys free from range.
Gliten free pasta don't half take a lot of chewing.
It was a distinctive textural experience, to the point that I didn't really notice the taste, except to note that inly a few mouthfuls even had any.

won't be trying that again.



The magazine...

Dunnage for the Soul by Robert Reed...
I think I would bet a substantial bit of money that the author is not disabled.
Because it is ablist as all hell, while possibly attempting to satirise ablism?
It does that thing where someone society deems disabled turns around and makes people just like him, to leave them to see how they like it.
Read more... )

Alexandria by Monica Byrne is all made of feelings, and is quite a lot about impermanence and how sad it is. But it's not very much F or SF. It just put future dates on people finding the ruins. Made me feel things, but.

Wetherfell's Reed Runics by Marc Laidlaw
I looked him up and he appears to be an old white guy, so I'm not impressed with him inventing a not-Hawaii island and making the local characters there like cleaners and criminals. And bookstore guy, the point of view guy.
The plot is sort of... not? Like, it just shows us around the place, in the point of view of a guy who thinks he's a bad writer who can't describe it right, while kind of mocking tourists yet giving the reader a touristy experience.
I kind of didn't see the point. Like, stuff happens, but only a bit and around the edges.

There Used to Be Olive Trees by Rich Larson
interesting post apocalypse with lots of interesting nasties running around
and a bit of a gay love story
though I'm really tired of homophobic violence even in a futuristic hellscape.
really, we don't need that, there is plenty of drama, do something else.
Other than that, interesting characters, vivid setup, coherent plot.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The story I just read "On the Problem of Replacement Children" by Debbie Urbanski says the author's son was just diagnosed with autism, so they wrote this thing about changeling myths. And I kind of want to pull those pages out and burn them. I think it's trying to process some big emotions and make things silly by exaggeration, but it might be making things scary on purpose, I'm not sure. The parent reactions are scary, that's probably deliberate, it's just so weird and distanced and choppy. Either way, that's not why my reaction. It's just this whole visceral reaction to yet another bloody framing of autism as if it's primarily about the parents. As if you can't talk to actual autistic people. As if there's an original and a replacement. I pretty much don't care what else the story does, if it does that.

Which is a pity, because the story right before that, One Way, was fun SF that took an idea out and booted it around a little. But it wasn't very good, the characterisation was irrelevant to what happened, there was stuff about wives and girlfriends that never clicked with the actual happenings, and things happened mostly to and because of men, for no good reason. But still, I liked the little what does this idea do bit, and was in quite a good mood. Until reading the next story.

Vinegar and Cinnamon was quite fun, but honestly I got wrongfooted by assuming Sam was a girl and felt cheated by the gendering and then my reaction wasn't specifically about the story. It was pretty neat, though.

The Regression Test by Wole Talabi was plain good, full of thinking and vivid. I'd rec that one. I'll be turning the ideas over in my head later

A Gathering on Gravity's Shore didn't do anything for me and I forgot it as soon as reading the next. Maybe it makes more impact as a sequel?

Homecoming by Rachel Pollack is a lot of running around showing off a whole layered world with a bunch of different players. But everyone was nasty and I didn't feel enriched to have read it.

I'm only up to page 162 out of 257, I just wanted to stop and let the annoyed out before I read the next bit.

I've been reading them a couple at a time since Wednesday. Is good reading, I think.

I had forgotten how much harder original fic has to work to earn my buy in, and how starting from scratch in a short form leaves things sketched in. Also you don't get that one zingy yaay that you're promised in every story found by searching by pairing. I feel like different reading muscles are involved.

Also I keep getting distracted by the characters in my head in the story I ought to be writing.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Lirael is a bit of a frustrating book. Like, I can see it is a complete story, because Lirael starts out with a problem and ends up having more or less solved that initial problem, but the bits that get solved are all her personal growth. The actual outside her head problems all remain. It's frustrating.

Also both Lirael and Sameth, the point of view characters, are epically depressed at various points. Read more... )

So now all the problems are set up, and two teenagers are on hand to do anything about them, and I should to to sleep and leave them hanging between books.

And I don't want to, because from here it mostly seems like mentally ill children in danger. I think I may have left the age range where I can read them growing through trauma into heroism and not just want to yell at the olders who should still be looking after them. Even though I know very well that they're about as old as kids who can join the army in the here now; that don't exactly sit right these days neither.



So basically I like the library bits, but I mostly want to get these kids proper mental health care and get actual mature adults who know what they're doing in to help.


And I'm fed up of magic that runs in bloodlines, too, but that's a different argue and more about politics. Still, it's why responsibilities land with crushing weight on these young people, instead of being taken up by a university full of responsible adults, so, fed up of it.






... I should go write my own stories. People in their forties setting out to have adventures because they've got enough experience in they think they can probably handle them. ... granted no one on their first adventure straight away can handle them, but more mature people can fail in more interesting ways.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I just gave up on reading this book, skipped to the end, and was not impressed.

It's about a man with a psychic big cat, except apparently it being psychic is meant to be a big reveal, rather than immediately obvious. Read more... )

Add to that an epic lack of female characters worth the name, and a main character who is a total dumbass and acts like nobody else has a brain yet is clearly really ridiculous, and I give up. I'm not the slightest bit inclined to read the middle of the book.

And that takes work, because who wouldn't want a psychic big cat partner of their very own?

If it takes being mind melded with an entire planet and quite possibly giving up on that whole individuality bit, ma. Do not want.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I am in a good mood today
and started following tumblrs from more fandoms
but so far ones that show up on the sides of the tumblr recommended, because it's still puzzling and weird about boundaries to actually go find fans on tumblr

I actually like two current ongoing shows!

Supergirl
and
Legends of Tomorrow

they're both fun to watch!

I was wondering if that was going to happen again, like, ever.

I liked quite a lot of Lost Girl but then got very annoyed with bits of it. But that was pretty good. But not ongoing by the time I got it.

And on my To Watch pile there's all of Leverage and two seasons of The Librarians, so that's a bit promising.

Also there's Dark Matter, which has been recommended to me by the guys at the pub, because there are women in it.

Lots of things to see and stuff I'm not annoyed with and shows I'm looking forward to.

:-)



I would also like to watch season 2 of Agent Carter, but it doesn't appear to be DVDs. How do you see it if it isn't DVDs? Okay so i know a bunch of answers but none that my equipment is set up for. stupid multi level no ease of access boo. maybe it is DVDs later?



But today I am feeling more cheerful about media.




Also last night I read the latest Tanya Huff book about Torin Kerr, space marine gunnery sergeant: An Ancient Peace. It was why I didn't go to sleep until four in the morning. Excellent book, proper amounts of whoosh and boom and funny that shouldn't be funny and horror and eventually hope.
The only problem with this series is that humans can only write so fast.
:-)



and next week I shall order more new books
and get to leave the house at least twice
life is pretty good :-)
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2032 books :-D

I have catalogued 2032 books :-D

And there is a very good chance that that is all the books :-D



... I mean, lets face it, it's never all the books
but it is all the boxes, all the bookcases, all the shelves
gone through at least once and put into LibraryThing.

:-D

... is there a way to back up LibraryThing?
... not that I'm paranoid, it's just the first time in my life the catalog is a near approximation of reality...



There's still all the magazines, the Analog, F&SF, Galaxy, IF, Asimov's and Venture
and those will go in the LibraryThing, probably, but I may have to type them all in manually, which was the case for far too many of the last couple of shelves and takes half way to forever. The idea of adding manually a whole bookcase of magazines, which are skinny and very numerous... oooooh, that's going to take a run up.



So for a while the number of books in the catalogue maybe might go down instead of up.
I mean, that seems fundamentally unnatural, but I've given away several feet of books by now, on account of them being actually rather boring.
Since everything is in the catalogue from now on if I decide anything else is boring the count might go down.

... but it's entirely possible for me to go to a book shop once a week if I feel like it, so let's face it, that number is unlikely to shrink much.



I am doing a happy dance
and I texted my mum
because this is a momentous occasion.


All! The! Books!
:-D
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I got to the end of this book and was mostly puzzled.
Like, however did the writer come to the conclusion that could work, even for two pages right at the end of the book?

The book is about a society where genetic engineering produced the first Optimen 80K years ago, and Optimen are believed to be immortal with the right medical treatment. So all future engineering is about making Optimen, or making the conditions optimal for Optimen. This has led to 80K years of stasis and totalitarian rule by an elite who think they'll never die.

Optimen have enemies, Cyborgs, who think that the proper way forward is upgrades for everyone. But for different reasons Optimen and Cyborgs both have a problem: they flatten out their emotions, either by replacing them with computer logic, or by keeping their biochemistry on such an even keel they mostly only feel boredom.

Read more... )



The compromise between emotionless stasis and crazy change is slow pregnancy with its inevitable calming effect and consequent life extension in the ten thousand year range.


... so, no, I couldn't at that point suspend disbelief even for the remaining handful of pages of this book.


So either it's very poorly understood science fiction or it's a mess of a metaphor, but the whole nausea and rejection reaction right at the end made it fail either way.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm all tired and stressy now, because the world keeps making Noises from quite early in the morning, and it's annoying.

Also because books.

I mean, when I buy a book new, I often research it a little, I buy from recs lists, I maybe know the author already, and I have some idea what I'm getting. Or, you know, I run out of book and pick up something with a nice cover. Either works sometimes.

But these 500ish books I inherited... looking them up hasn't been very helpful. Somehow people reviewing old books don't feel the need to mention the underage noncon parts. Trigger warnings like woah, yet never mentioned. And whatever the reviewers are looking for in a book, star rating does nothing helpful either, because wildly not matching my opinions thus far. So what am I left with? Reading one at random and hoping. And thus far? That has been stressful, and intermittently ugly.

But when I decide a thing, like that a whole author's work is just blah so far so I may as well send a foot of books away at once, well that's stressful too. Because what if secretly six inches down the stack there's a book that would change my life? You never know.

And never mind that a bare handful of these things meet my basic reading criteria in the first place - the ones by women I have mostly read already, some of them thirty years ago. The ones about women are... rare, and frequently poorly labelled. The epic and blatant sexism is really difficult to get away from if I'm going to read those decades. There's so many stacks of books where they don't even make sense because women are just moved around like dolls, be the girlfriend now, ignore all the reasons not to, who knows how women think? Ugh. Or women are there to think about babies. Or the basic failure of imagination that is projecting tens of thousands of years into the future while preserving the systemic sexism of stereotyped media of the 1950s, ignoring even the reality of the 40s which they ought to have known about, and writing well into later decades. The simple assumption that doctors are men and nurses are women? How do they even get stuck thinking that, let alone deciding it's true of a future so far away it's multiples of humanity's entire written record out?

And the racism... jeez, the basic difference in assumptions about what's polite, or how you talk about humans. It boggles the mind. The times the writer is apparently trying to be nice about someone they've known a really long time, but all they're telling the ages is they were a little colored woman servant... I mean typing that feels wrong, but they were clearly sad of them and trying to be nice about them. So do you adjust your brain filters? It leaves a feeling like tripping over the steps every time. And then there's the times people are trying to be helpful and positive but they just end up with stereotypes like strong blacks or subtle orientals.

The basic idea that people are people are people, all of them just as much people as the straight white male manly man protagonist, well, that's ... that's advanced stuff, apparently.

So then I think, how about I skip the sixties. How about I leave the seventies alone for a while. The eighties can keep. Possibly I could just leave the books be until I've read some things I actually like for a bit. That would be nice.

... and then I get all anxious, because who knows, I might be skipping something important!

*facepalm*



I know I'm making progress. I know I've sent away entire bags full of books, shelf feet at a time. I know I am keeping books that will be an interesting collection to refer back to in the future.

... it's just making me really anxious, because what if?

*sigh*



Onwards.

And maybe upwards.

I mean, considering some of the stuff I've read lately, TV and film tie-ins from the 90s onwards are looking like literature, because already they have characters I could like and some borders on the situations they'll put them in that on the whole I can live with.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
In the last couple days I read Tiger Tiger and then, while trying to decide what I thought of it, started reading Golem100.

That one is easiest to comment, because I've stopped reading now and I'm getting rid of it. Read more... )


So, TigerTiger.
Read more... )

The people don't work in this book.

And yet, I read it all.

I want to figure out the trick.



I also rather want to rinse my brain out, for the second night in a row, but on the bright side once I get rid of this kind of thing I know the remainder will be safe to re-read.

*sigh*
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today's book from the inherited pile turned out to be a good one. Gender balanced, or near enough to it I didn't notice, varying ethnicities, and a neat science/social puzzle to solve.

It's about a bunch of scientists sent from Earth to figure out why the first alien civilisation ever discovered is all dead. And it's particularly fraught because they're brought out there on humanity's first and thus far only FTL spaceship, and the world back home is not so sure that exploration is what they want to do with their money when these are the kinds of things they're finding.

Read more... )

This one buys its shelf space handily. Will read it again later and have a think about bits of it.

Just maybe also rewrite the ending in my head.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This one was pretty much nasty. It looks like it's going to be about an AI exploring a new planet, and it turns out to be about child abuse and rape and murder and blood drenched colonial history and slavery and many layers of nasty. It's all exploring the nature of mind and self and personhood, but I just don't feel the need to go through bleeding sewers to do that. Plus I don't know what it was trying to do with race, though those themes are prominent, but I feel starting by killing Africa is at best a mistake. So I will not be keeping this book.

Also it did that thing where it messes with language to say that future people is different, but it messed with like grammar and punctuation, and was mostly just annoying.

I thought I had more to say about it than that. I mean, it tried some proper big thinking. But I dislike the tools it used to do it with, so, all done.

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