daddytodd: (Default)
This was a hellishly busy month. Hardly got anything read.

10/02/2012    The Moral Landscape (audiobook) by Sam Harris
10/09/2012    Titan (audiobook) by John Varley
10/10/2012    Space: 1999: Omega by William Latham
10/14/2012    Space: 1999: Alpha by William Latham
10/17/2012    Who I Am by Pete Townshend
10/18/2012    Wizard (audiobook) by John Varley
10/20/2012    A Feast Unknown by Philip José Farmer
10/22/2012    Giant Step (nv) by “Morgan Ives” (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
10/27/2012    Demon (audiobook) by John Varley
10/27/2012    Time’s Last Gift by Philip José Farmer

Listened to John Varley's Gaean Trilogy, from the early '80's. I remember really liking this trilogy when I read it in my early 20's. I was less excited by it three decades later.

Harris's The Moral Landscape was interesting, but seemed overly familiar because it covered so much of the territory already gone over by Dawkins and Shermer -- although in Shermer's case, I think Harris got there first.

The Space: 1999 duology, Omega & Alpha, published a couple years ago, left me pretty flat. It moved through a predefined series of tasks, concluding most of the "mythology" laid down in the first year of the series (mythology largely ignored in the second season) and setting all the pieces up for the forthcoming "Year Three" novels. So, it served it's defined purposes, but did so with little style or panache.

Pete Townshend's memoir was a great read, but I got the feeling Pete was massaging the storyline in places to Protect The Innocent (including himself -- his justification for how he ended up subscribing to a questionable website had the ring of a lawyer-vetted wording.) Picking another nit, Pete admits he cut the manuscript by about 50%, and there are a few artifacts of that cutting -- he makes reference back to incidents that didn't survive the cutting, leaving a few WTF moments. But all in all it was an enjoyable read, but for a fan like myself, much of the story was familiar.

I obtained a copy of the 1975 reprint of the complete run of The Mattachine Review. One issue from 1961 was almost completely taken up by an extract from Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel-in-progress, The Catch Trap (which didn't see publication for 18 more years.) It was interesting to read an early draft, and compare it to the finished version ("Giant Step" is essentially Chapter 12 of The Catch Trap.) Although it was extensively rewritten, the characters and the storylines are all the same. It made me want to re-read The Catch Trap, even though I only read it last year.

Read a couple of Philip José Farmer's short novels about a character who bears a striking resemblance to Tarzan. A Feast Unknown is a devious deconstruction of Tarzan and Doc Savage, in which the two characters, the immortal half-brothers (both sons of Jack the Ripper) battle each other -- and battle an affliction that prevents them from experiencing sexual arousal except during violent acts. The "climax" of the novel takes place when they fight each other on a narrow stone bridge, both naked and with enormous rampant erections, all meticulously described by Farmer. The 1975 small press edition has a number of homoreotic full-color illustrations by Richard Corben, making it a costly collectible today. So yeah, I had to buy one...

Currently listening to unabridged readings of the Star Trek: Vulcan's Soul trilogy by (the late) Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwarz. I've read the first volume, Exodus, before -- but remember almost nothing from that reading. The second and third volumes will be new to me. Reading several Phil Farmer books in round-robin, and trying to get started back into reading some Star Trek novels. I'm way behind on the current 24th-century chronology, and I have more than a dozen titles to get through before reading the current Cold Equations trilogy by David Mack. Here's a list of the Trek novels I want to read over the next few months (the last three titles haven't been published yet):
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Never-Ending Sacrifice by Una McCormick
Star Trek: Voyager: Unworthy by Kirsten Beyer
Star Trek: Titan: Synthesis by James Swallow
Star Trek: Voyager: Children of the Storm by Kirsten Beyer
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire by David R. George III
Star Trek: Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game by David Mack
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Seize the Fire by Michael A. Martin
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony by Dayton Ward
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night by David R. George III
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn by David R. George III
Star Trek: Titan: Fallen Gods by Michael A. Martin
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Brinksmanship by Una McCormick
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations I: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations II: Silent Weapons by David Mack
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations III: The Body Electric by David Mack
Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Stuff of Dreams (na) by James Swallow
daddytodd: (Default)
The postman delivered a very heavy box today - thank FSM for Media Mail!

It's the six-volume hardcover reprinting of the complete run of Mattachine Review (1955-1966).

I can't wait to dig into these.

If you don't know what Mattachine Review is, Google it. But you already know, right?

It seems fitting to receive this today, as we saw How to Survive a Plague yesterday (the three of us were 3/4 of the patrons at a 4:30 screening.) It was amazing, heartbreaking and inspiring. You should see it.
daddytodd: (Default)
Slow, slow month. Didn't have any theme going, so it was basically whatever fell into my hands upon completion of the previous book. I also abandoned several books that failed to grab my interest.

09/02/2012    Vultures of the Void: The Legacy by Philip Harbottle
09/03/2012    The Rocketeer Deluxe: The Complete Adventures (gn) by Dave Stevens et. al.
09/07/2012    The Believing Brain (audiobook) by Michael Shermer
09/11/2012    Last Chance to See (audiobook) by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine
09/16/2012    God is Not Great (audiobook) by Christopher Hitchens
09/18/2012    Star Trek Omnibus Volume 2: Early Voyages (gn) by Abnett & Edginton/Zircher, Collins, Pulido/Adams, Moncuse
09/19/2012    Love and Rockets New Stories No. 5 (gn) by The Hernandez Bros.
09/21/2012    Star Trek: Telepathy War (gn) by Cooper, Mangels & Martin, Abnett & Edginton/Renaud & Lanning, Grindberg & Almond, Morgan & Williams, Randall & Nichols, Zircher & Moncuse
09/22/2012    All The Lives He Led (audiobook) by Frederik Pohl
09/22/2012    (The Adventures of) The Peerless Peer by Philip José Farmer
09/23/2012    Star Trek FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise by Mark Clark
09/26/2012    John Byrne’s Next Men: Aftermath (gn) by John Byrne
09/27/2012    Manly (gn) by Dale Lazarov & Amy Colburn
09/28/2012    The Last Theorem (audiobook) by Arthur C. Clarke & Frederik Pohl
09/28/2012    Nightlife (gn) by Dale Lazarov & Bastian Jonsson
09/28/2012    Good Sports (gn) by Dale Lazarov & Alessio Slonimsky
09/28/2012    Aztlan: The Last Sun (na) by Michael Jan Friedman

The Dale Lazarov graphic novels barely count as "reading," since they're entirely wordless (makes it easier to sell around the world...?). Anyway, they were somewhat amusing, but not particularly arousing. I'll pass them on to the Boy and see if they work better for him.

Lots more assorted graphic novels. Somehow that seemed to be what I could concentrate sufficiently to read last month. The apparent wrap-up of Byrne's Next Men was every bit as weird as I was expecting. Great series.

The Star Trek Telepathy War crossover comics were not as good as I remembered them, and not really a GN, because they were never collected. Oh, and the Voyager chapter isn't really part of the series; no real connection between it and the rest.

Finished up Star Trek FAQ, which I've been reading bit by bit over the last few months. Highly recommended.

A couple Fred Pohl audiobooks at the gym. I liked All The Lives He Led a good deal more than his collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke. I've been a fan of Pohl's since the '70's, and one of the highlights of my Provo years was getting to be his chauffeur for one of the BYU Science Fiction Symposia, where Pohl was the guest of honor, in '84 or '85. Had a great time driving him up to the Salt Lake airport to collect his wife, who came in on a later flight. They were still fairly newly wed at that point, and it was clear that he simply worshipped her. It was touching to see that much love.

A couple of "new atheist" titles lent me by Boy John. I've never spent much time with Hitchens. He was a brilliant writer, and God Is Not Great is one of the best books I've ever "read." I'm looking for more Hitchens. Any recommendations?

A new volume of Love & Rockets is always a treat. Jaime Hernandez is simply brilliant. I think I might've mentioned that before...

Reading Stevens's complete run of Rocketeer has made it literally impossible to read the current stories coming from IDW. The new stuff (by Mark Waid and some hideous artist that I can't be bothered to get up and determine the name of) are simply dreadful in comparison. Scratch that, they're simply dreadful.

Vultures of the Void is a history of British sci-fi paperbacks in the '50's. I came upon this book as a result of looking for information about E.C. Tubb. It was a surprisingly engrossing read.
daddytodd: (Default)
A couple of nonfiction books slowed me down this month, but reading Delany's scholarly stuff was definitely worth the time.

08/03/2012    Dennis Wilson: The Real Beach Boy by Jon Stebbins
08/04/2012    Will-o-the-Wisp by Thomas Burnett Swann
08/07/2012    Starboard Wine: More Notes on the Language of Science Fiction (Revised Edition) by Samuel R. Delany
08/09/2012    Ringworld’s Children (audiobook) by Larry Niven
08/10/2012    The Not-World by Thomas Burnett Swann
08/13/2012    Revolt in 2100 by Robert A. Heinlein
08/17/2012    The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (audiobook) by Richard Dawkins
08/19/2012    The Goat Without Horns by Thomas Burnett Swann
08/24/2012    Doctor Who: Shada (audiobook) by Gareth Roberts based on a screenplay by Douglas Adams
08/26/2012    Why is the Penis Shaped Like That? ...and Other Reflections on Being Human by Jesse Bering
08/30/2012    Fate of Worlds:Return from the Ringworld (audiobook) by Larry Niven & Edward M. Lerner

I finished my three-month reading program of Thomas Burnett Swann in August -- apart from the three volumes in the "Minotaur Trilogy," I read all the fiction Swann ever published in June, July and August. (I read the MInotaur Trilogy perhaps a decade ago, and wasn't ready for a re-read quite yet.) I really enjoyed spending time in Swann's Not-World. Great stuff.

I slotted in Heinlein's Revolt in 2100 because I kept seeing references to Nehemiah Scudder (usually in articles about "Mittens" Romney) and wanted to get an idea what it was all about. After reading Revolt in 2100 (and Heinlein's notes about "stories not written" that would have chronicled Scudder's rise to power) I recalled reading some of this when I was in junior high (side note -- I pulled out my old Heinlein paperbacks, and found that the bookmark I was using was a note excusing me from class to go to the orthodontist to get my braces adjusted. When I was 13 or 14. So I abandoned reading that particular book almost 40 years ago... How time flies!) Back then, I thought the notion of America falling into a religious dictatorship was ludicrous. How naive I was!

Reading about Dennis Wilson's life and death was just sad. What a waste! Listen to his brilliant solo album Pacific Ocean Blue and weep for the loss of a great talent. POB unquestionably rates as the best record to come out of the Beach Boys camp since Pet Sounds -- and better than anything since, including Brian's stuff, with the possible exception of SMiLE.

Ringworld's Children and Fate of Worlds were much better than the preceeding couple of Ringworld books, but not quite as enjoyable as the Fleet of Worlds quartet. But Fate of Worlds provides a nice capstone to Niven's Known Space series, and if he never gets back around to it, this is a good ending.

Gareth Roberts's novelization of the legendary lost Douglas Adams Doctor Who serial Shada was an enjoyable listen -- perhaps more for Lalla Ward's excellent reading than for the somewhat ponderous and overpadded novelization itself. Seriously, stretching 6 half-hour episodes into a 400+ page novel was occasionally tedious. But great fun! It was nice seeing Dr. Chronotis again (Adams salvaged the character for Dirk Gently) and the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), the Second Romana (Lalla Ward) and even K-9.

Dawkins is awesome. I loved Greatest Show on Earth. It was interesting listening to that, surrounded by Niven's books which maintain that humans are descended from aliens transplanted from another world. I wonder how badly Niven wishes he's never come up with that conceit, because it's utterly untenable in light of what we know today -- and probably even knew when he came up with the Pak. That's the danger with writing "Hard" science fiction -- science doesn't stop discovering more about the universe, rendering story ideas ludicrous or worse.

Jesse Bering's collection of "popular" science essays was entertaining, but perhaps better read as occasional articles than straight through. And his explanation for why the human penis is shaped as it is is kind of gross, but convincing.

Delany's Starboard Wine, originally published in 1984, is largely aimed at showing why all those "Science Fiction as Literature" courses that were popping up in the '70's and '80's were wrong-headed. He convincingly argues that "science fiction" is a way of reading (and a corpus of texts meant to be read that way.) "Literary" fiction is read differently that science fiction, and to read SF as lterature is to read it wrong -- or, at least, read it less effectively. The best way to read SF is to read it AS SF. I'm good with that.
daddytodd: (Default)
August already? My, how time flies.

July was a fun month, mostly spent reading Thomas Burnett Swann (to such a degree I only have three Swann novels left to read -- of an output of 16 novels during his short 18-year professional writing career.)

07/01/2012    Where is the Bird of Fire? (na) by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/03/2012    Betrayer of Worlds (audiobook) by Larry Niven & Edward M. Lerner
07/04/2012    Lady of the Bees by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/07/2012    How are the Mighty Fallen by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/07/2012    God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls (gn) by Jaime Hernandez
07/11/2012    Ringworld (audiobook) by Larry Niven
07/11/2012    The Beach Boys FAQ: All That’s Left to Know about America’s Band by Jon Stebbins
07/13/2012    Viewpoint (ss) by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/14/2012    The Dolphin and the Deep (na) by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/14/2012    Vashti (nv) by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/15/2012    Bear (nv) by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/15/2012    Outland: The Complete Library Sunday Comics 1989-1995 (gn) by Berkeley Breathed
07/16/2012    The Manor of Roses (na) by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/17/2012    The Stalking Trees (nv) by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/19/2012    The Ringworld Engineers (audiobook) by Larry Niven
07/21/2012    The Weirwoods by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/24/2012    Wolfwinter by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/27/2012    The Ringworld Throne (audiobook) by Larry Niven
07/30/2012    The Gods Abide by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/31/2012    The Tournament of Thorns by Thomas Burnett Swann
07/31/2012    The Lost Beach Boy by Jon Stebbins with David Marks

I spent my gym time listening to various Larry Niven Ringworld-related audiobooks. Ringworld was pretty good - I haven't read it since probably 1973, when I was 13 and the world was much different. I see why it won a Hugo, but can't fathom why it won a Nebula. The ideas are grand and wondrous, but the actual writing is fairly awful. But markedly better than the next 2 in the sequence - The Ringworld Engineers is notable mostly for seemingly having been written only to correct the scientific errors in Ringworld. Not thrilling or wonderful, but light-years better than the tedious and pointless The Ringworld Throne. I listened, but can't remember much of what happened. Only the memory of the boredom lingers. Ringworld's Children is shaping up to be the best novel in the series since the first one, so I'm quite enjoying it. The Niven/Lerner "prequel" Betrayer of Worlds was, frankly, better written and more consistent with the Known Space "mythos" than any of Niven's solo outings in the series.

A couple of books about the Beach Boys, read because I briefly toyed with the idea of making the trek to Provo to see them perform on the 4th of July at "Stadium of Fire" in BYU's football stadium. But I knew that the day would be political, and I ultimately decided I couldn't bear 2 hours of Mitt-a-palooza for the opportunity of seeing an hour or so of all the surviving Beach Boys together again for their 50th anniversary tour. I may regret it, but I just couldn't force myself to go.

A couple graphic items: Jaime Hernandez's latest Love & Rockets GN, The Return of the Ti-Girls was really awesome. It was mostly reprinted from the first two Love & Rockets "annuals," but included some 30 new pages. I love Jaime's stuff. The Outland collection was fun, but seemed kind of tired & played out by the end. I see why Breathed abandoned Opus and the rest for a decade or so after finishing this run.

Polished off 6 more of Swann's slender "novels" (which are really novellas, according to SFWA classification) and all the rest of his short fiction, leaving me just three of his novels in the to-be-read pile: Will-o-the-Wisp, The Not-World, and The Goat Without Horns. Currently reading W-o-t-W, which is a bit of a departure, using an actual historical character from the 17th century as a protagonist. Interesting. I'll probably go all the wayaround and re-read Day of the Minotaur, The Forest of Forever and Cry Silver Bells (the "Minotaur Trilogy") which I first read a decade or more ago. George Barr's covers and interior illustrations on the DAW editions are uniformly splendid and startlingly homoerotic, if you are into the twink thing, especially for books published in the early '70's.

I've also discovered that Wildside Press is publishing e-book (and POD trade paper & HC) editions of Swann's 16 novels, and promising a collection of his short fiction. Two are already available. Oddly, they started with the middle books in Swann's two identifiable trilogies, The Forest of Forever and Green Phoenix. They're both about three bucks for Kindle or Nook or as ePUB (directly from Wildside's website.) If you want to give one a try, I'd suggest Green Phoenix. If it appeals to you, then you might want to start reading more of Swann's work. That's what happened to me.
daddytodd: (Default)
We saw a film yesterday at the LGBT film festival ("Damn! These Heels" has got to be the stupidest name for a film festival ever. But I digress...)

It was Cloudburst with Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker. It was wonderful for about the first 90% of the movie, then the motivations all fell apart in the last 15 minutes or so. Seriously, if you've see it -- can ANYONE explain what the motivations of Stella and Dot were, from right after the pub scene through to the end? I just can't imagine real people making the choices they did. And, of course, one of the lesbians {SPOILER!} has to die at the end. Why couldn't they go on and live a few more happy years together? Are we still not past the "homo must die" cliche in movies?

Dukakis was really good; she should've gotten an Oscar nomination for this performance, but the script really let her and Fricker down at the end.

Came home and watched John Carter on DVD. Surprisingly, since I don't like much of anything, I quite liked this film. Why did people hate it so much? It was no dumber than any of a dozen other superhero movies that make the fanboys swoon. It was significantly better than Prometheus, which some people are having religious experiences over.

The Beat

Jul. 5th, 2012 06:29 pm
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The postman brought me my latest order from Amazon.uk: the reissues of The (English) Beat's three albums, in double CD+DVD "Deluxe" editions.

I don't know what Dave Wakeling thought "Save it For Later" was about, but it was about Coming Out for me ("Cry cry but I don't need my mother. Just hold my hand while I come to a decision on it" in particular) (You have to remember that my coming out was basically coming to a decision: come out, or kill myself. There were no longer any other options.)

One of the greatest songs ever recorded. Just amazing. Anyone who makes fun of "80's music" needs to be strapped to a chair and forced to listen to this stuff. The '80's was more than just Duran Duran and Flock of Seagulls.

June Reads

Jul. 2nd, 2012 08:46 am
daddytodd: (Default)
Considering how busy June was (Pride Weekend, Beartown Weekend, working my way back to a regular workout schedule) I got some good reading in, mostly in the second half of the month.

06/01/2012    Devil May Care (audiobook) by Sebastian Faulks
06/10/2012    Redshirts by John Scalzi
06/11/2012    Star Trek: Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within (na) by Christopher L. Bennett
06/14/2012    Fleet of Worlds (audiobook) by Larry Niven & Edward M. Lerner
06/18/2012    The Minikins of Yam by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/19/2012    The Murex (nv) by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/21/2012    Juggler of Worlds (audiobook) by Larry Niven & Edward M. Lerner
06/21/2012    Winged Victory (ss) by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/21/2012    Night of the Unicorn (ss) by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/23/2012    Moondust by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/24/2012    Queens Walk in the Dusk by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/26/2012    The Dryad-Tree (ss) by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/26/2012    The Painter (ss) by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/26/2012    The Sudden Wings (nv) by Thomas Burnett Swann
06/28/2012    Destroyer of Worlds (audiobook) by Larry Niven & Edward M. Lerner
06/30/2012    Green Phoenix by Thomas Burnett Swann

Scalzi. Sigh. I know he's beloved of the geekarati, but he's just not to my taste. His snarky smart-ass protagonists don't appeal to me. It's like those profiles you see on Certain Websites where the dude thinks sneering and flipping you the bird is somehow attractive. No, just tiresome. Thus with Scalzi's characters. It's too bad, because the idea behind Redshirts is kind of cool. Frankly, I enjoy his blog a lot more than his novels.

Read Christopher Bennett's Star Trek: Typhon Pact e-novella The Struggle Within. That's a terribly generic title; the story was better. I was intending to start David R. George III's new Typhon Pact duology (Plagues of Night & Raise the Dawn) right after that, but got sidetracked.

Thomas Burnett Swann wrote short lyrical fantasy novels (most were really novellas, by current SFWA definition) and stories about the interactions between humans and prehuman intelligent creatures who populated ancient Earth.These interactions have come down to us in the forms of myths and legends. Swann's books and stories are truly wonderful. And so very, very gay - in the best possible way. Swann is one of those lost & forgotten writers who certainly deserves to be remembered and read today. He died in 1976; the last time any of his work was in print in English was in 1996. Why doesn't the estate make it available in ebooks, at the very least? My old DAW and Ace and Ballantine paperbacks are getting pretty tattered.

The Niven/Lerner Fleet of Worlds series remind me a bit of those late-career novels by Asimov where he tried to stitch his three independent series into a single future history -- with mixed results. Niven seems to be attempting something similar here, adding context around seemingly-unrelated stories such as "Neutron Star" and "The Soft Weapon". They're enjoyable listening while at the gym or driving back and forth to work, but when Ron gets in the car with me I just shut off the sound system. It's too much work trying to explain how the current narrative fits together with Niven stories he read 3 or 4 decades ago...

Armistead

Jun. 25th, 2012 08:55 pm
daddytodd: (Default)
Ron & I went to an Armistead Maupin reading on Saturday night. He was fresh in town after hitting Winnemucca to do some research for his forthcoming "final" (when have we heard THAT before...?) Tales of the City novel.

So, he read a chapter from the work in progress. Hilarious.

At the suggestion of the sponsors of the event, they auctioned off the print-out he read. I managed to be the high bidder. I can't wait till the book comes out, and compare the work-in-progress version to the final version.

During the Q&A, I asked "Your characters seem so real & vivid, it's hard not to think of them as being based on real people. So, who is the "real" Mary Ann, and what did she do to piss you off?"

Armistead explained that he thinks of Mary Ann as embodying elements of himself that he's not particularly proud of, so, really, she's him. It was not what I was expecting to hear, but it made a lot of sense.

It was a wonderful evening.

May Reading

Jun. 1st, 2012 12:42 pm
daddytodd: (Default)
May is Sint Maarten month, so I got my 2 weeks at the beach. Unfortunately, it rained almost every day we were there. Not all day, but it did cut into some tanning time. Then all three of us were sick with a really persistent respiratory infection. John was sick before we left home; Ron got it next, then I got it last. I had the mildest bout, because John is still going through the final stages, and I've been pretty good for the last week.

So, between those two things I didn't get to do as much as I'd hoped. I still haven't been to any of the neighboring islands (Anguilla, St. Barths, Saba) and this was the year I was definitely going to make a day trip to at least ONE of them.

I did get to read:

05/06/2012    You Only Live Twice (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
05/06/2012    A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length: More Movies that Suck by Roger Ebert
05/11/2012    Tales from Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made? By David Hughes
05/14/2012    Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock by Christopher L. Bennett
05/15/2012    Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History by Christopher L. Bennett
05/16/2012    Speaking of he Fantastic by Darrell Schweitzer
05/18/2012    The Jester at Scar by E.C. Tubb
05/19/2012    Star Trek: That Which Divides by Dayton Ward
05/20/2012    Lallia by E.C. Tubb
05/23/2012    The Man With The Golden Gun (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
05/25/2012    Free Amazons of Darkover edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley
05/27/2012    Jack Vance: The Moon Moth (gn) adapted by Humayoun Ibrahim
05/27/2012    Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders by Samuel R. Delany

It was the last book I finished in May, but I really spent the entire month reading Delany's Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. I would just have to stop every few chapters and read something less disgusting before going back to it. Seriously, I just don't need 500 pages of the uninterrupted consumption of cum/piss/toejam/snot/dickcheese/shit. I may be exaggerating -- but not by much.

Once Delany gets through the preliminaries, the last 300 pages (yes, this novel is 800 pages long) was a very nice novel about the lives of these characters, starting in the present and extending some 70 years into the future. On that level, it was SF -- but the characters live so far off the beaten track that the technological marvels of the coming decades barely touch them; they seem stuck in the world of 70's porn classics like "L.A. Tool & Die." Which ain't a bad world to be stuck in, all things considered.

If you revere Delany, read it. Otherwise, skip it.

Three Star Trek novels. The two by Christopher Bennett were excellent and even mind-bending in a "time travel is complicated" kind of way. Ward's offering was good, but seemed a bit longer than the story really required.

A couple more Dumarest novels by Tubb. What were these about again?

The graphic novel retelling of Vance's classic short story "The Moon Moth" was effective, even if I didn't think much of the artwork.Vance is awesome.

The last two Fleming 007 books both showed evidence that Fleming was close to being tapped out at the time of his death. In fairness, Golden Gun was only half-finished; Fleming had planned to rewrite most of it, but died before he could do so. So the publishers put it out anyway.

I love Roger Ebert's reviews of bad movies. These reviews are actually more entertaining NOW than when originally written, because I usually have some awareness of the movie being reviewed, even if I've never seen it (I think there were only 1 or 2 that I'd seen out of a hundred or more reviews in the book.)

Currently reading some kind of random stuff, waiting for something to grab me -- another volume of Darkover short stories, another Space: 1999 book, a couple Star Trek novels. Currently listening to Devil May Care, the 2008 James Bond novel by Sebastain Faulks. He could've spent some time working on the pacing, but it's OK. I liked it better when I read it right after it came out.
daddytodd: (Default)
If any of you handsome SF bears are at the Lone Star for beer bust tomorrow, keep an eye out for my new friend Kazu (aka Joe) from Tokyo. We met him in Sint Maarten the other day, and he has a long layover in SF on Sunday before heading on to Narita.

I suggested he might have a great time at the Lone Star beer bust...  Hope he's able to make it. He's a delightful man...
daddytodd: (Default)
Dammit, it was a busy month! I had political stuff that pretty much took up most of EVERY SATURDAY this month. And supporting/associated activities took up another half-dozen evenings. That, plus work and workouts really cut into the book-reading time. I only finished 2 (yes, TWO) books this month. Gym listening was confined to 7 more James Bond novels.

At least I leave Friday for my annual two weeks in Sint Maarten; two weeks of glorious beach reading. The iPad and Nook are primed and ready.

What I did finish this month:
04/05/2012    Diamonds Are Forever (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
04/07/2012    Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album by Ken Caillat with Steven Stiefel
04/11/2012    From Russia, With Love (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
04/15/2012    Doctor No (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
04/21/2012    Goldfinger (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
04/25/2012    Thunderball (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
04/28/2012    The Spy Who Loved Me (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
04/29/2012    Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers
04/30/2012    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (audiobook) by Ian Fleming

That's 7 Ian Fleming James Bond audiobooks, a memoir on the making of Fleetwood Mac's classic album Rumours by its co-producer, and Tim Powers's long-awaited new novel.

First, the Bonds. Well, they're nice and short. And deeply sexist, racist, and just about every other -ist you can think of. Fleming states at least twice in 3 books that women long to be raped. I'm not entirely sure that's true. No, wait, I'm sure that's complete and utter bullshit. Unless "rape" meant something entirely different a half-century or so ago. Nope, it was the same thing. Nobody would unironically write those words today, except to paint a character as a complete piece of shit. Progress!

Ken Caillat's Fleetwood Mac memoir was an interesting read. I might have included more about how particular sounds were achieved, and less about Lindsey Buckingham choking his girlfriends, but that's just me. It did send me back to the FM catalog. For an album I pretty much despised when it was new (mostly because you couldn't turn on KFXD back in those days without hearing a Fleetwood Mac song) I've discovered that Rumours, it's predecessor (Fleetwood Mac) and, especially, it's successor (Tusk) are truly amazing records. Hopefully Caillat will write a sequel about recording Tusk. There must be some great stories there -- certainly Lindsey must've had new girlfriends to abuse.

What to say about Hide Me Among the Graves..? It's beautifully written, with Victorian atmosphere dripping from every pore, but it never really engaged me. Tim has now covered the bulk of the 19th century in London, between The Anubis Gates, The Stress of Her Regard, A Time to Cast Away Stones, and Hide Me Among the Graves. Maybe there's just not that much left to surprise me with. Maybe it's because the Pre-Raphaelites mean absolutely NOTHING to me. Maybe it's because I read the first three of those four books over the last couple months, and the new one doesn't come close to matching the gonzo-manic intensity of The Anubis Gates. Which, lest we forget, is one of the books that defined "Steampunk" as a genre. (Of course, NOTHING matches Anubis Gates except possibly Declare. Or Last Call.)

Or maybe it was just because I was hoping Tim would take the opportunity to weave William Ashbless into the narrative, thus turning it into another accidental series, like Last Call/Expiration Date/Earthquake Weather.

It seems strange saying that a book that includes Queen Boadicea and John Polidori as Nephilim/Vampires, a reformed whore who had the misfortune of having one of a Vampire's "family" among her clients, a veterinarian aided by an army of the ghosts of his dead charges (cat ghosts and horse ghosts, for example) and the Vampire's "family" including the four Rossetti siblings, all inhabiting a milieu where there are skull-shaped caverns under the streets of London inhabited by the aforementioned Vampires... well, to call all that "not weird enough" seems churlish. Nevertheless, that was my reaction upon finishing the book last night. Compared to Powers earlier output, this was practically mainstream. **SIGH!** Maybe that will be good for sales.

Not sure what I'll be reading in May, apart from several books partially finished. Likely to be first up are:
Star Trek: That Which Divides by Dayton Ward
Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders by Samuel R. Delany
The Alton Gift by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Deborah J. Ross
Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock by Christopher Bennett
Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History by Christopher Bennett

Delany's new one is quite good, once you get past the coprophagy. I downloaded the ebook from B&N, then learned that the publisher had inadvertently left out an entire chapter. D'OH! With the help of an errata page and a .pdf of the missing chapter from Delany's agent (and an etext unencumbered by DRM) I was able to "correct" my copy in Sigil. Someone wagged that my ebook wasn't "Mint" any more. BFD. I'd rather have it correct.
daddytodd: (Default)
So, after posting yesterday, John and I went to 24 Hour for our workouts. We finished within 5 minutes of each other, did some hot tub/steam time.

Came home and lounged around for a couple hours before heading out for dinner & a show with Jenna & Erika, two of my best friends. Erika and I met years ago when I worked for Chase (aka EvilBank.) They're both graduating from the UofU Law School in May, so we haven't seen much of them for the past couple years -- and won't see much of them between now and July, when they sit for the bar exam. Erika has a job at a local firm lined up, but before that starts she had a clerkship with a judge for a year. Jenna is starting a firm with a couple friends for law school. I'm so proud of them!

We ate at The Bayou, which has the most extensive selection of beers in the state. I, of course, was drinking vodka/cranberry... hehe! After dinner we walked across State Street to The State Room, a really nice, intimate performance space, to see Amy Ray. Jenna & Erika & Ron & I have seen Indigo Girls two or three times in the past, so we wanted to check out Amy's solo show.

She has a good, young band, and I was startled not once but TWICE when Amy introduced, first the bass player, and later the lead guitarists, and it became clear both were women. I had assumed they were 20-ish boys... Heh.

The show started off promisingly, with 4 straight, upbeat power pop numbers. "This is a power pop band!" I exclaimed to Ron. Yeah, well, not so much for everything that came after... Lots if Melissa Etheridge/Bonnie Raitt-style blues rock, which doesn't really do it for me. But it was a nice show, and all was well when we headed home about midnight.

We were heading south on West Temple, approaching the freeway on-ramp. At the 800 South intersection, two 20-somethings heading north in an aging Nissan Altima made a left turn directly in front of us. John was driving (because, well, vodka/cranberry!) with me in the passenger seat and Ron sitting behind the driver. John tried braking and swerving, but to no avail. We took off their front bumper, deploying their airbags. My car (a 2010 Hyundai Sonata, which I bought in November, 2010, so it's only 16 months old. It barely has 14,000 miles) didn't get it as bad -- no airbags in my car -- but it's still pretty bad, mostly driver's side front end and quarter panel.. Nobody was hurt -- we all had seatbelts on -- but I worry that Ron's neck might be further screwed up by the impact. I'll keep an eye on him for the next few days.

"I didn't even see you!" exclaimed the dazed driver as we pushed his hulk out of the middle of the intersection. Well, if you hadn't been looking down TEXTING you might've seen me... Anyway, by the time the SLCPD FINALLY showed up to take the accident report, he and his buddy had cooked up a story -- they had a green arrow! Of course! Well, no you didn't, because the light at that intersection only cycles red-yellow-green at that time of the night. The officer observed the light cycle through several times to confirm NO GREEN ARROW, but he still didn't cite the other driver. DAMMIT! He did suggest we could call the city and confirm that there are no green arrows at that intersection at midnight, so we might have to do some legwork to make sure he ends up at fault. Since he totally was.

So, it was a shitty end to a pretty great Saturday. How's your weekend?
daddytodd: (Default)
It's been a busy month. Work has been very stressful -- one full week of training early in the month (NEVER do 5 straight days of training. I was toast by Thursday afternoon, so Friday was pretty much a complete waste...) And this last week we had sessions with the vendor and the project SME's that were profitable, but exhausting. Oh, and never let your system vendor hire an all-new team to implement their product. We've been at this for a full year, but the vendor's BA's still seem clueless about what their system can and can't do. I facilitated for about 3 hours on Thursday afternoon, after the vendor team left for the airport, and the SMEs said I did a better job explaining how the system works than the vendor team -- and I've probably spent less than 40 hours in the system over the last year. Flattering, but also frightening, as it makes the vendor team look incompetent.

Just sayin'.

I also spent about 15 hours (evenings & Saturdays) at Democratic Party HQ working on the Platform Committee for the Salt Lake County Democratic Party. I missed the final meeting on Thursday evening because I had neglected to take my 12-hour Sudafed that morning, and by the time I left work, I had a Richter-10 sinus headache, so I came home and crashed. Yay for early allergy season!

And I'm still managing to get to the gym about 3 times a week. Weight is up, but the waist is smaller -- shirts feeling tighter across the pecs rather than belly. This I can live with.

All this explains why I haven't really read as much this month as the last couple. But still, I did get through a huge number of Farscape comics one weekend. That was lots of fun!

Here's the skinny:

03/04/2012    Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma’s Fabulous Flaming Lips by Jim DeRogatis
03/08/2012    Farscape: The Beginning of the End of the Beginning (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Patterson
03/09/2012    Farscape: Strange Detractors (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Sliney
03/09/2012    Farscape: Gone and Back (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Patterson
03/09/2012    Farscape: Tangled Roots (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Sliney
03/09/2012    Farscape: Red Sky at Morning (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Sliney
03/10/2012    Farscape: Scorpius: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (gn) by O’Bannon & Mack/Ruiz
03/10/2012    Farscape: Compulsions (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Sliney
03/10/2012    Farscape: Scorpius: Glorious Basterds (gn) by O’Bannon & Mack/Ruiz
03/10/2012    Farscape: The War for the Uncharted Territories I (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Sliney
03/10/2012    Farscape: The War for the Uncharted Territories II (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Sliney
03/10/2012    Farscape: The War for the Uncharted Territories III (gn) by O’Bannon & DeCandido/Sliney
03/12/2012    The Selfish Gene (audiobook) by Richard Dawkins
03/15/2012    Babel-17 (audiobook) by Samuel R. Delany
03/18/2012    Traitor’s Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Adrienne Martine-Barnes
03/19/2012    Colonel Sun (audiobook) by "Robert Markham" (Kingsley Amis)
03/23/2012    Casino Royale (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
03/26/2012    Live and Let Die (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
03/31/2012    Moonraker (audiobook) by Ian Fleming

The book about the Flaming Lips was a fun read. Those guys are kind of amazing. Saw them last summer, and they put on the funnest concert I've yet seen. As I said at the time, a Flaming Lips concert is like watching performance art where the audience gets to be in on the joke, rather than being it's butt.

Keith R.A. DeCandido is one of the very best Star Trek novelists. Unfortunately, he seems to have fallen out of favor with the bean counters at Pocket Books (no new Trek from KRAD for 3 or 4 years.) His Farscape comics were excellent fun. Reading through the equivalent of 44 issues over the course of a weekend felt like another season of the show. Now I want to go back and re-watch the entire series. And I want to read his Farscape novel from 2002. It's in the stack...

The only novel I read this month was the third of Adrienne Martine-Barnes's dire Darkover titles. Lord in heaven, reading that was a slog. Glad that's over with. With any luck I'll never have to suffer through that again.

On the audiobook front, I started the month with a couple deadly-serious books. Dawkins's first book, the landmark The Selfish Gene, was brilliant. I thought he went on a bit at times (three examples are as compelling as 12) but I feel like I have an understanding of evolution that I've never had before. Again he shared reading duties with the wonderful Lalla "Romana" Ward. I think I'm a little bit in love with her.

I followed up with Delany's Babel-17. When first published in 1966 it caused a sensation, picking up a Nebula award and a Hugo nomination. 45 years on, it's less groundbreaking. The idea that the way one perceives the universe is shaped by language (rather than the other way around) is pretty widely accepted today, but was revolutionary then. Some of the stylistic tricks feel dated, and get in the way of the narrative. However, if you've never read it, you really should. Delany is one of the few geniuses who have ever written SF. He should be treasured and studied -- and I'm sure he will be in generations to come.

Then I went for something lighter -- the original Ian Fleming James Bond books. I read through the entire series in a single gulp a decade or so ago, so I was prepared for the crushing sexism. What came as a big surprise was the pervasive racism -- especially in Live and Let Die. I wasn't prepared for casual use of the n-word, or the patronizing view of people of color. Fleming was probably being fairly progressive in 1954, but today it makes for a painful read. I suppose that's a testament to how far we've come. I hope so, anyway.

Kingsley Amis's Colonel Sun was the first James Bond title written after Fleming's death, and it's pretty damn good. Published in 1968, it apparently bombed, so the Fleming estate didn't commission any more pastiches for another dozen years, when License Renewed began a 2-decade run in which at least 1 new James Bond novel was published each year.

Currently reading  the following:
The Alton Gift by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Deborah J. Ross
Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers
Star Trek: That Which Divides by Dayton Ward
Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey by Ardath Mayhar

As soon as it comes out on April 10th, I'll start:
Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders by Samuel R. Delany

I don't generally read 4 or 5 different books at a time, but sometimes I start new titles when the current one hasn't grabbed me yet. That may be what's happening here -- but I'm just about ready to put everything else aside and focus on Hide Me Among the Graves. Powers is awesome.
daddytodd: (Default)
Here's what I read in February:

02/04/2012     33 ⅓: Zaireeka by Mark Richardson

02/05/2012    Toyman by E.C. Tubb
02/08/2012    33 ⅓: The Who Sell Out by John Dougan
02/10/2012    33 ⅓: Pet Sounds by Jim Fusilli
02/10/2012    The Yellow Cabochon (na) by Matthew Hughes
02/11/2012    Hastur Lord by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Deborah J. Ross
02/12/2012    Kalin by E.C. Tubb
02/13/2012    Phallos (na) by Samuel R. Delany
02/14/2012    The Space-Born by E.C. Tubb
02/15/2012    Exile’s Song by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Adrienne Martine-Barnes
02/17/2012    The Stress of Her Regard (audiobook) by Tim Powers
02/20/2012    Space: 1999: Born for Adversity by David A. McIntee
02/25/2012    The Shadow Matrix by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Adrienne Martine-Barnes
02/25/2012    A Time to Cast Away Stones (na) by Tim Powers
02/28/2012    Space: 1999: Resurrection (audiobook) by William Latham

Started out the month reading some of the 33
series of monographs on "classic" albums. The book on Flaming Lips' Zaireeka was a fun read, especially considering I've never listened to the album as intended (it comes on 4 CDs and you're supposed to cue up the 4 disks on 4 CD players to play simultaneously, so the final mixdown happens in your living room. Or something like that.) The other 2 33 books are about albums I've listened to literally thousands of times. No new insights really, but it was fun reading along while listening.

Two Space: 1999 titles. Resurrection is the first book Powys published. It's pretty dire. Fanfic -- and not good fanfic at that. McIntee's Born for Adversity was lots lots better. It's the first Space: 1999 book I'd actually recommend to someone who's not a die-hard fan of the show.

A trio of Darkover books -- I'm reading all the "Modern" Darkover titles again in preparation for a new book (by Deborah J. Ross) that's supposed to be out later this year. This was my third attempt to read The Shadow Matrix and I finally got through it. It's awful, but at least now I can say I've read every Darkover novel. Yay...?

Three E.C Tubb titles. The first two were books 3 & 4 in the Dumarest of Terra series. The third was an interesting take on life aboard a "generation" ship, written in the mid-'50's. It might have been an influence on Logan's Run.

I came down with a miserable sinus cold early in thew month -- that's how I was able to read a book a day for a week or so -- I was doing nothing but blow my nose and read on my Nook. One of the books I read that week was Delany's Phallos, which is really something you have to experience. It's allegedly a review/summary/academic treatise on a nonexistent gay porn novel from 1969. Delany is awesome. He has a new book coming in the next couple months.

The Stress of Her Regard and A Time to Cast Away Stones are related works by Tim Powers (they're also related to The Anubis Gates). Powers's forthcoming Hide Me Among the Graves is related to all three, so I'm getting ready for that as well.

The Matthew Hughes is his latest
Luff Imbry novella, published as a small stand-alone hardcover. Wonderful, if expensive for the word count. Hughes has 2 novels coming out in the next few months (One is a gaming tie-in under the pseudonym "Hugh Matthews" he uses for tie-in writing.) I'm detecting a pattern that I wasn't conscious of during the month, reading books to get ready for new books coming in the next few months. I'm weird like that.

There's one more day in the month, but I know I won't finish anything else by tomorrow. I've wrapped up a bunch of reading "projects" this month, and I fully intend on getting back to Trek soon. Typhon Pact, DTI and the latest from Ward (e-bought just today) and Cox are all begging for my attention. March may just be their month!
daddytodd: (Default)
Themes this month: Space:1999, James Bond in 2 flavors, a couple MZB's, and a group of Luff Imbry short stories by the brilliant Matthew Hughes.

01/01/2012    Space: 1999: Rogue Planet by E. C. Tubb
01/03/2012    The Survivors by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Paul Edwin Zimmer
01/04/2011    The Eyes of the Overworld (audiobook) by Jack Vance
01/08/2012    Space: 1999: Alien Seed by E.C. Tubb
01/11/2012    Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
01/12/2012    The Winds of Gath by E.C. Tubb
01/15/2012    The Heirs of Hammerfell by Marion Zimmer Bradley
01/18/2012    Derai by E.C. Tubb
01/24/2012    Carte Blanche (audiobook) by Jeffrey Deaver
01/26/2012    Space: 1999: Shepherd Moon edited by Mateo Latosa
01/28/2012    Passion Ploy (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    Nature Tale (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    Enemy of the Good (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    Another Day in Fibberty (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    The Meaning of Luff (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    The Farouche Assemblage (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    The Eye of Vann (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/30/2012    The Anubis Gates (audiobook) by Tim Powers

Tubb's Space: 1999 novels are better than expected -- quick, breezy reads. Remember when they used to be able to tell a complete story in 160 pages? Those were the days! Today, SF & Fantasy writers can barely clear their throats in under 500 pages. The Space: 1999 story collection from a couple years ago was wildly uneven -- from good (Tubb and Brian Ball, genuine SF writers who contributed to the Space: 1999 novelizations back in the day) to bottom-drawer fan fiction. Definitely missible.

After enjoying Tubb's Space: 1999 books, I decided to try reading some of his long-running Dumarest of Terra series. I started collecting this series in junior high school, up until the mid-80's, when the publisher gave up on it after #31, but as best I can recall have never actually read one. The first two were better than I expected, and am currently reading the third one. As these are blissfully concise, I can easily read one in a single lazy afternoon, so I'll keep some on the Nook and iPad for "snacking."

Deaver's James Bond "reboot," Carte Blanche, is really, really good. It made me want to run out and read more Deaver, which is a good sign. I hope he writes more Bond books. I could do with one a year no problem.

Matthew Hughes is one of my very favorite writers. His most recent novel, The Other, features his rascally forger-thief character, Luff Imbry. It also features some of the sharpest satire I've read in a long time. You should read it. Yes, right now.

Anyway, Hughes's publisher, Angry Robot, has obtained rights to 7 Luff Imbry shorts (published between 2005 & 2008 in F&SF, PostScripts and the odd anthology) and made them available as reasonably-priced e-texts (I got all 7 from the Angry Robot website for $3.99, after all kinds of discounts and price conversion from pounds to dollars) and read them on Saturday. Delightful.

Two MZB pieces down this month: The Survivors, her second collaboration with her brother, Paul Edwin Zimmer. I strongly suspect that PEZ did the actual writing -- the book is stuffed with a kind of gently explicit sexuality that Marion would never write. I'm actually surprised that she let it go out under her name. I then tackled the last Darkover book Marion wrote on her own, The Heirs of Hammerfell. This book is not well regarded among Darkover cognoscenti. For about 2/3 of the book, I was puzzled by the reaction, because it seemed a perfectly acceptable entry into the series, illuminating the period after the Ages of Chaos, as the Comyn were just starting to consolidate the Hundred Kingdoms into the familiar Seven Domains. Then it turned into a sappy romance novel, with a cliched ending that was painfully forced, and suddenly I understood the hate. Damn.

Consulting my MZB database (yes, I know having a MZB database makes me an ubergeek. So?) I see that I don't have a whole lot left to read. There are a couple pieces I don't have (anyone out there have a copy of the Mattachine Review Vol. 7 Number 4? Apparently Marion has a story in it) but of what I have in the collection, I either have to read some of the late-period ghostwritten stuff or the "lesbian" potboilers. I tried both Black Trillium and Tiger Burning Bright and was horrified by the generic "fantasy princess" plots and the fairly dreadful writing. I Don't know if I'm going to be able to force these down. Maybe Glenraven will be better. If not, lesbian potboilers, here I come!
daddytodd: (Default)
Meticulously crafted, so subtle it begs for repeat viewings, and simply astonishing acting.

I commented to both Ron about halfway through "This is like the anti-James Bond."

I'd like some more films like this one, please.

7 Skies H3

Jan. 1st, 2012 08:15 pm
daddytodd: (Default)
Spent most of the weekend listening to The Flaming Lips' 24-hour "song," 7 Skies H3. Or, to be more accurate, I had it playing while doing other things (reading, surfing, etc.)

Some sections I really like. some sections I really dislike. Has anyone else listened to it? Any thoughts?
daddytodd: (Default)
Got through some fun stuff, but not as much as I'd hoped. The audiobooks have been making my increasing number of workout hours far less intolerable.

12/03/2011    Parable of the Talents (audiobook) by Octavia E. Butler
12/06/2011    Life, the Universe and Everything (audiobook) by Douglas Adams
12/09/2011    BFI Classics: 2001: A Space Odyssey by Peter Kramer
12/10/2011    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (audiobook) by Douglas Adams
12/11/2011    Warrior Woman by Marion Zimmer Bradley
12/12/2011    Young Zaphod Plays it Safe (ss) by Douglas Adams
12/13/2011    Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (audiobook) by Douglas Adams
12/16/2011    The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (audiobook) by Douglas Adams
12/17/2011    Steed and Mrs. Peel (gn) by Grant Morrison, Anne Caulfield & Ian Gibson
12/18/2011    The Other by Matthew Hughes
12/19/2011    Mostly Harmless (audiobook) by Douglas Adams
12/22/2011    Douglas Adams’s Starship Titanic (audiobook) by Terry Jones
12/23/2011    The Dance at the Gym (ss) by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Elisabeth Waters
12/23/2011    A Feminist Creation Myth (ss) by Marion Zimmer Bradley
12/25/2011    Space: 1999: Android Planet by John Rankine
12/26/2011    The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (audiobook) by Douglas Adams
12/30/2011    The Dying Earth (audiobook) by Jack Vance

I'm currently reading The Survivors by Bradley & Zimmer, and trying to get into The Heirs of Hammerfell, the last Darkover book Marion wrote. Reading both feels like work, unfortunately. I don't think Marion had much input into The Survivors; the text doesn't read much like anything Marion would've written. I suspect her name on the cover was there for commercial reasons. It did provide her brother Paul with a toehold into becoming a published writer, which was, I suspect, its purpose.

Currently listening to The Eyes of the Overworld, by Jack Vance, with the last two Dying Earth titles (Cugel's Saga and Rhiallto the Marvellous) to follow. I'm finding Jack Vance less satisfactory in audio form. So much of the pleasure in reading Vance lies in lingering over the delectable prose and really experiencing the shapes of the words and sentences. The audiobooks' reader is doing an admirable job, but I keep wanting to go back and listen again to passages -- which is kind of hard to do when I'm on the treadmill or lying under some exercise machine. I don't think I"ll be spending a lot of time listening to Vance's works; I'd rather read them!

I do have some of the "Trillium" books on audio. I think I'll listen to them after the Dying Earth books.

I have several fun things planned for 2012, including reading E.C. Tubb's Dumarest of Terra series -- all 33 volumes. They're quite short, so it;s not like reading 33 of the kind of novels that get published these days. It's more like reading 4 Neal Stephenson tomes.

I'm not going to even try and get current on Star Trek novels, but I am planning on reading the rest of the Star Trek: Vanguard series, which is ending with the eighth volume in a few months. I got to about page 40 of the third volume before I ground to a halt, so I have a bit of catch-up to do. I'm also going to read the last couple Star Trek: Voyager books, which are far better than the series ever was, even if (perhaps because...?) Janeway is Still.Dead.

I'm looking forward to new novels by Tim Powers, Matthew Hughes and Samuel R. Delany in the first few months of 2012, three of my all-time favorite writers.
daddytodd: (Default)
Just got home from seeing Almodóvar´s latest, (The Skin I Live In in English).

I don't know what to think. It was beautiful to look at, but kind of cold & distant. No emotional connection to the characters -- perhaps because they were all despicable on one level or another.

Still, I want to see it again and see if my reaction is any different on a second viewing.
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