Books!

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:29 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Is there anything more satisfying than spending the day doing inventory?

... or more frustrating? Read more... )



New shelves!
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have read Down Among the Sticks and Bones
I am still thinking on what I thought of it. It ended sooner than I wanted, and was about different things, and I might have to read it again for the book it was instead of the one I wanted it to be.
But it is in large part about a character who ends up obsessed with being clean, which is a feel I know, and it made my fingers have black speckles. This is not optimal. I have washed twice already and will wash again when I post this.

Books don't usually do that.

Maybe I shouldn't have taken the picture cover off.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This one says DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH across the top, and also Volume One, which apparently means it just sort of stops when things are getting ominous.

But the magic words on the cover were Ted Kord.

Read more... )

I won't say I'm hooked, but this is an angle that could work, and what with everyone being more alive than when I quit reading there's all sorts of possibility in it.

But comics are so sloooooow. I don't know if volume two even exists yet, and if it did it would be more likely to put characters further up a tree than to resolve bits yet.

Also, still won't be primarily about Ted.

And never has been about his obvious partnership.

*sigh*



I may read the next bit but may also be tempermentally unsuited to reading an art form that's pretty much the world's longest and most complex WIP.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
A princess wants to be more practical than her parents allow, so she runs away to be a dragon's princess. Which involves swords, magic, latin, and cooking, just like she'd wanted to study, and also quite a lot of politics. But not marrying a prince, especially one she's only just met, so that works out well for her.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was it starts with the kind of fairytale where princesses are basically ornamental. Etiquette, protocol, dancing. Not so much about diplomacy or logistics or castle defence. But there were plenty of times later that the traditional princessing turned out to be useful, so I think on balance it didn't do the Not Like Other Girls or make anyone out to be useless.

I'll happily buy more like this.



Today is a theoretical holiday but Monday jobs are laundry and dishwashering because by Monday it needs doing. So I did one load dishwasher and two loads laundry same as usual. But that was a perfectly pleasant day.

I also put away the duvet and switched to blankets for the summer. More layers can cope with more variable weather, hopefully.


I feel like I need more things to do with my days. But basic maintenance functions would still need done, so.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Antimony Price, youngest sister, has to deal with the consequences of her elders actions, by going undercover, while already having an identity crisis. Layers of secrets unravel and the stakes are life and death on a large scale.

Read more... )


I stayed up until midnight trying to read this all in one go, despite my sleep cycle currently thinking 0500 is a luxurious lie in. And then I read it all morning. It's a good involving read.

If you liked the others in the series then Antimony's anger towards their point of view characters might be a bit of a speed bump to liking her, but she seems plenty logical to me.

I liked this.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have a vague impression of vaguely liking F&SF, or at worst being uninterested in a particular story.
But when I add up my opinions story by story I turn out to have not quite liked a lot.


Witch's Hour, by Shannon Connor Winward.
Trigger warnings, rape and abuse and not even getting away from it by killing the dude because ghosts.
That one was unpleasant.
Read more... )
Just... wrong.

Dirty Old Town, Richard Bowes
Didn't really connect with the narrator, not my kind of thing.

The Prognosticant, Matthew Hughes
Things happen to this guy and he makes clever choices that achieve goals.
And if any emotions happen I missed them.
Story with no feels, didn't connect, not my sort of thing.

My English Name, R. S. Benedict
Story about someone pretending to be an ill, gay, human, Read more... )

A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh And Stone, Brian Trent
Uploads and backup copies, with as many new bodies as they please.
Because that action hero dude doing One Last Job becomes a renewable resource if you've got a backup copy.
Read more... )

The History of the Invasion Told In Five Dogs, Kelly Jennings
Sad post apocalyptic thing with very little hope, told through bad things happening to dogs.
Effective angle.
Don't like the whole post apoc despair thing.

What The Hands Know, Gregor Hartmann
Fight club story, therefore boring and instantly forgotten.
Tries to do worldbuilding and politics and hint at wider conflict through one man's experience
but that one man isn't someone whose head I find interesting.

The Woman With The Long Black Hair, Zach Shephard
Skillfully written, plausibly characterised, achieved its goal, just did a bunch of bad things to characters to do so. So I didn't like it.

The First Day Of Someone Else's Life, John Schoffstall
Frenetic mix of almost intelligible strangeness of near future weird social evolution
through a guy whose deal I guessed pretty much from the get go Read more... )

Neko Brushes, Leah Cypess
Boy can paint so good it comes to life. Simples story with magic cats, and also samurai and politics and twists.
I liked.

Rings, Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Okay, but, why do we need a story about women taking men as slaves to breed from?
I mean, worldbuilding, characters, feelings, certainly a lot of women but why?
If it's to illustrate the stupidity of writing off half the human race I can think of a bazillion better ways.



... I feel bad saying didn't like so often, I mean stuff like I'd rather read things that left me in a better mood than I started, but all these certainly packed plenty of characters and ideas into decently written stories.

I don't know.

If I'm not looking for these, what am I looking for?

... more women that are less evil, and a sense that problems can in fact be solved, preferably by teamwork and application of intelligence.

... and yet the one that is all guy solves problems by application of intelligence doesn't work for me at all. So, also, feels. Emotional arcs. Becoming.

I don't know. Like this but not this.



Shall see if next month.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Bought this because it looked fun and like it would be about women.
Which, yeah, ish.
But it was mostly Being Funny, and it seemed to not like women very much unless they were hitting things. Read more... )


So that's 5/18 stories that were better than okay.


Buuuut an overall impression of :-/
and no particular desire to buy the other books in the series.


Think it's just not to my tastes.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Hrm. So. I think if this magazine were a conversation I'd find different people to talk to. Some of the stories are clever and have good qualities, but there's... stuff going on with them. The kind of stuff that says Our Kind Of People have all the smarts and the good thinking, and Those Other Sorts need to shape up and assimilate, or they're some kind of dangerous.

This is not what I look for in science fiction.

But there's other threads about listening to different views and learning better. I don't know. The big story at the start of this issue was foul so it stank up the rest.


The Girls With Kaleidoscope Eyes, Howard V Hendrix
I have said what I think of this nastiness.
I don't think I mentioned there but there was also a never plot relevant bit where the ten year olds looked 16 with "womanly curves". That creeped me out in its own distinct way.

To See The Elephant, Julie Novakova
Animal Psychologist here means mind melding with animals. Lady figures out why elephant is in distress. Turns out to Read more... )
It had neat stuff about elephant language and social groups, and the idea of animal mind melds is appealing, like all them soulbonded animal stories but with more leaving.

The Final Nail, Stanley Schmidt
On one level this is an interesting science problem. People start being allergic to red meat, and the protagonist is the guy who has enough pieces to figure out why. But it thinks it is more clever than the people it is lecturing. Read more... ) it just looks like it hasn't thought its own science through.

Kepler's Law, Jay Werkheiser
Fair play science problem, in a space colony that is 100% women.
So it has a lot going for it and I quite liked it.
It is not exactly ideal that they're all women because the colony needs wombs to grow transplanted embryos in. Read more... )
... I liked it more before I started thinking about it.


Those were the longer stories, then a ton of shorts.
Read more... )


Nothing that really stood out as making my reading time worth it.
Few things that were okay reads.




Also the cover ink continues to not last long enough for a fairly careful reader.
not best.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Reading Analog is making me feel kind of ugh.
Like, even if the story seems okay, I now feel like I have to shake it and look at it sideways for creepies.

I ordered it because Dad read it, but, thwt may be exactly the problem.
I mean, I can't stand the newspaper he used to read, and we didn't agree on anything much, so if it is still the kind of thing he would like?
*sigh*



even ignoring the creeps though
it makes me feel like I'm reading back issues.
like this isn't the literature of ideas, this is the reassurance you did all your thinking right the first time.

don't know, two issues, might be too soon to judge.

... don't like it today though.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Started reading "The Girls With Kaleidoscope Eyes" by Howard V Hendrix

you know I hate to stop in the middle, but, it is foul, and I don't know if I can wade through to its conclusions. ETA: I did, because I wanted to complain about it in very strong terms, so I checked. It really is that nasty all the way through. /ETA

It's your basic midwich cuckoos gig, the mysterious blackout babies that can outsmart and manipulate everyone, only there's stuff about the NSA making an AI with the purpose of understanding humans, and something something social media kids these days profit.

Read more... )

So the whole story is about laying out reasons to murder a bunch of neurodivergent gender fluid ten year olds.

Which is foul.

And it manifests as a giant Kids These Days rant which seems to blame communication for a lack of basic empathy.

Someone in this story lacks sufficient empathy, and it ain't who the story thinks it is.

The machine tasked with understanding people would be in the best position to actually explain them to each other. The one with the task of assessing threat could best understand where no threat truly exists.

The difference between raman and varelse is not in the creature judged, but in the creature judging.





I am currently regretting buying this magazine, even on a 'to see if I like it' basis.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
If I think of this as buying a 'short novel' with a bunch of filler stories then it's okay.

I quite liked the cover story, The Runabout by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
There's a crew of people going for salvage, a mystery they find and more or less resolve, weird tech, and actual emotional character arcs. Also, women.

Everything else... I just sighed really big, so, that.

Story by story reviews under the cut.
Read more... )




So that's one didn't suck, one interesting ideas, one where it's kind of interesting sf but my main reaction is vague embarrassment for the protagonist, and then a whole lot of forgettable and grubby nastiness.

I'm not liking the scoreboard there.


But hey, Runabout was a space adventure.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I started reading Asimov's. Maybe half way through.
Stories range from boring through tedious to grubby and outright nasty. So far nothing I want to have read and one that's just brain scrubbing time.
Kind of like the previous issue, iirc. Not cool.

I think I need to find something else to do, don't want to read any more like that.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Everyone go read this book. It is made of happiness and light and many good things. I have read it to the end now and it is Happily Ever After, or at least a good start.

It is women falling in love with women and starships. Many and varied women who are all unique individuals. And while there are several points where letting someone finish a sentence could have been a shortcut in the feels department, the whole yearning thing was really working, so I can forgive it.

Also you can always see why the characters would do what they do, it's not just plot yanking them around, their insecurities are built in and worked through.

The only thing I'm a bit hmmm about was Read more... )

But everyone else's happy endings were coolness. I mean you don't usually end up with a happy ending involving (big yet happy spoilers) Read more... ) I mean for a start that's more women than you even get in quite a lot of science fiction, even before you get to the eventual configuration.

I am just :-D now and want to tell everyone to go read.

It has a plot and a romance and the plot is necessary to the romance and the romance is necessary to the plot. The whole yearning having cycle is there. And there's many varieties of moments of awesome.

You will probably like this book if you like anything even close to this sort of thing.

The only thing wrong with it is there is only the one of it
and it is from 2013
:(



Also I just saw some Amazon reviews of it, and whoever read the protagonist as a drug addict has the reading comprehension of a squirrel. She's chronically ill with a genetic autoimmune disease that attacks muscles and she controls her condition with medication. If the reviewer didn't understand that then the protagonist's motivation and urgency is going to elude them.


But! No matter what the reviews say, the book makes plenty good sense.

And it is complete in itself, with a satisfying ending, even if that is all we get.

I'll just pout because I like these characters and want to see more stories like this.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I finished reading this issue of F&SF
and then I realised I'd mostly have to read the contents list to remind me what I just read.

The two memorable ones:

Read more... )


The book review section that started and ended with the reviewers reaction to the US election was also a bit memorable, though I can't remember what it said about the books.

It also means there's like six months between deadline and me reading stuff. I forget that paper has such a long lead time.


The rest of the magazine:

Ten Half Pennies
I found the protagonist deeply boring, so the story was too.
Also he finds out about someone using magic for rape, which is illegal even in the wizard guild, and all he does is use the knowledge for blackmail.
Also also it's the kind of story where characters are men and objects they do stuff to are women.

so much for that.


The Avenger
The basic problem with this is we're meant to sympathise with the rich guy who doesn't give his half brother a half share of his inheritance. I mean, the story sets up the brother to be a violent thug, but that's part of the problem. Who needs magic to punch down like that? Being rich means they've got all the options and yet chose to hire a magic hitman.
Everyone is extremely unpleasant and boring.


The Toymaker's Daughter
Girl has magic, girl is exploited economically for her magic, girl loses father and stops talking or doing or apparently thinking, until boy comes along to get her attention.
Sod that? How about, girl has thoughts of her own, doesn't need saving by guys?

A Green Silk Dress and a Wedding Death
A nasty corner of economic hardship is escaped by shagging wrong guys until she meets a magic one.
... really?

Miss Cruz
Can't remember this without reading the story again...
oh, it's the one where he discovers he can control minds and does awful things and then decides to stop. that's the whole story.
magic is used from powerless to authority, this time
but a lo of the wrapping seems entirely extraneous and didn't come together in my head to be interesting.

Daisy
A PI is hired to go look for a pet octopus.
Not bad, but I felt like it didn't have any possibilities other than the one that turned out true, and then spent the whole story telling the thing I guessed up front.
Which guess was cued by the bit in italics above the story. Read more... ) No more twists left.



So, issue didn't wow me, in whole or in parts.

Maybe next month.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I finished reading Asimov's.

Final tally was two skipped, one I kind of wish I skipped, and the last story, Tau Zero, I don't know what it was doing but it didn't do it successfully from where I'm sitting.

It left me grumpy and thinking I didn't get much out of the magazine.

But, I liked Number Thirty-Nine Skink
The Ones Who Know Where They Are Going was strong idea stuff
A Singular Event In The Fourth Dimension had a nice robot child
After The Atrocity did interesting stuff about self and how choice and experience shapes us, quite compactly.

So that's some story.

Just in a sea of stuff I either actively disliked or it didn't do much for me.

Being left grumpy is annoying. But you never know what next issue looks like.

Asimov's

Mar. 28th, 2017 11:52 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been reading more of Asimov's march/april 2017.
I'm up to page 107 and there have been two memorably interesting stories, but also two I skipped because I could see where they were going and no thanks.

Number Thirty Nine Skink, by Suzanne Palmer, had some lovely worldbuilding and felt packed with good bits.
The Ones Who Know Where They Are Going, Sarah Pinsker, is an answer to Omelas and I think will stay with me.

Three Can Keep A Secret was full of tricks but didn't make me feel anything.
Kitty Hawk... I know alternate history is SF, but, it left me vaguely dissatisfied and feeling like it somehow ignores that there's plenty of historical women that are not alternate. Eh, not my thing.

And then the skipped were Soulmates.com and Invasion of the Saucer Men.
I mentioned Soulmates.com before. There's an interesting story in the premise, but it's hers, not his, and it wouldn't look like this.
Invasion is just... Read more... )

I don't usually give up on stories, so, finding two in one publication is not awesome.

There's like another hundred pages to read so there's still plenty of room to be interesting.



I'm trying to stay awake long enough to finish the laundry and let the cleaner in, so I'm a bit grumpy right now.

I think I'd rather be reading fanfic. Always at least one bit of interest in fanfic.

... but not always suitable to be reading when employees turn up, so, I read other things...
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.

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