Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Rest in peace, Coach.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Check out his Comic-Con diaries:
homo comics news, a hearty congratulations to the extraordinary Alison Bechdel, who took home the coveted Eisner Award this past weekend for Best Reality-Based Work for her wonderful graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Check out Alison's blog for more Comic-Con stories!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
The Sunday morning "This apartment is a friggin' mess and I am under-caffeinated" book review link dump.
Meanwhile, despite my own personal bean-less tragedy, I leave you with the following good things to read about books:
At The Denver Post, a couple of good things: Janna Fischer gives props to Doris Lessing's new fantastic myth of a matriarchal Roman Empire, The Cleft; and Robin Vidimos raves about Jasper Fforde's newest, First Among Sequels.
At the Los Angeles Times, Regina Marler also discusses The Cleft; and Sonja Bolle talks about the effect that Harry Potter has had on reading, and whether Harry made reading fantasy hip. (Um, okay.)
At the New York Times, David Itzkoff takes on Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible.
Associated Press writer Chris Talbott talks to Kevin J. Anderson and Tor's David Hartwell about A. E. Van Vogt and Anderson's finishing of the sequel to Slan, Slan Hunter.
At the Portland Oregonian, Jim Carmin reviews Daniel Wallace's Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician.
At the Houston Chronicle, Bill Sheehan reviews William Gibson's newest, Spook Country.
At McClatchy Newspapers (formerly Knight-Ridder), Miami Herald critic Connie Ogle also takes on Fforde's First Among Sequels.
At the Independent (UK), Tim Martin reviews Brasyl by Ian McDonald, and Christian House discusses The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas.
At Newsday, John Freeman reviews Fforde's First Among Sequels and Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann (which you absolutely must read).
Book Fetish reviews John Scalzi's The Last Colony and gives it four stars (and if you aren't regularly reading this online review 'zine, you're missing out).
Somehow I missed this but January Magazine now has a blog. (Yay!)
And last but far from least, Fantasy Book Critic has a wonderful round-up of new genre titles for August.
This bit is freakishly accurate:
Friends are what life is about to ENFPs, more so even than the other NFs. . . ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis. (TypeLogic)And the strengths and weaknesses listed here for an ENFP are even more scary-accurate.
It's clear, then. I'm doomed.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Gentleman of the Road. (I haz nerds in high places.)
Edit To Add: By the way, this book is embargoed until August 6th, so I can't actually bring it home or read it until then. It is sitting here on my desk taunting me. TAUNTING ME! But I promised and a promise is a promise.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Via awesome new blog discovery Chris's Invincible Super-Blog, a hilarious review of Detective Comics #388 (originally published in 1969), featuring Batgirl's search for new digs in the big city.
Note: You may have noticed that I've gotten around the whole Blogger not letting me post files other than jpgs. It's a simple trick, really: I just load the files onto my WordPress account. Damned thing turned out to be useful for something, I guess. Heh.
my dog is at it
I hear my neighbors slam their
“shut that fucking dog up,”
every night it’s the
“shut that fucking dog up.”
it’s not his fault that he wants to dance
on top of a
it’s not his fault that he pretends his doghouse
is a sopwith
it’s not his fault that he spends many nights
on the typer
“shut that fucking dog up,”
it’s not his fault
he’s just a dog
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The Tuesday morning "I spilled my venti iced coffee on my own feet" book review & interview link dump. With an extra shot of espresso.
Ken Barnes at USA Today likes David Anthony Durham's Acacia quite a bit.
At the Guardian UK, Ursula K. Leguin reviews the enigmatic The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas. (Does anyone know if this book is being published in the U.S.?)
At PopMatters, Savannah Schroll Guz discusses Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts. (And dig that picture of Steven Hall - is it me, or does he look an awful lot like Richard K. Morgan?)
And speaking of Richard K. Morgan, over at the Seattle Times, Nisi Shawl writes a rave review of Richard K. Morgan's Thirteen. (Which is an amazing - if graphically violent and thoroughly gory - book, if you haven't read it yet.)
At UK SF Book News, Ariel interviews Robin Hobb about Renegade's Magic, the final volume in her Soldier's Son trilogy.
Time Magazine has a brief but fascinating feature on The House of Elsewhere, or Maison d'Ailleurs, Europe's only public SF/F museum.
Monday, July 23, 2007
No, you all weren't seeing things: you really did just see two teenage girls kiss on tonight's episode of Kyle XY.
Kyle XY is - for those of you who haven't had the pleasure - a skiffy show aimed at the what we used to refer to as the WB crowd (back when there was still a WB). Tweens, teens, and, well, nerds like me. (Okay, okay! I admit it! I liked Roswell! So sue me!)
The show features the requisite group of attractive young high school people doing attractive young high school people things with all the attendant drama that this entails, but in addition, Kyle XY takes on some surprisingly deeper issues.
I originally wrote about Kyle XY last year:
La Gringa stumbled onto this show quite by accident. Our DVR recorded it instead of some Discovery Channel thing we wanted to see. And we were pleasantly surprised! The show centered around a young man, around fifteen or sixteen, who is found naked and wandering in the woods near Seattle. He has no memory of his past, no knowledge of his identity and very little ability to communicate with the social workers and therapists who eventually are entrusted with his care. He also has no navel. Curiouser and curiouser! Eventually he is given a name (Kyle) and - because he is so ill-equipped to interact with other human beings - sent to live with one of his therapists and her family, while she works with him to help him piece together his identity.In tonight's episode, the show manages to brilliantly move from a benign plot involving Kyle getting a date to the school dance to a more relevant sub-plot involving the rights of same-sex couples to attend that same dance, all without the usual melodrama or annoying preachiness that would usually accompany a teleplay that is - essentially - one step above an ABC After-School Special.
As the show progresses, Kyle begins to exhibit unusual abilities: extraordinary mathematics abilities, physical speed and coordination that are almost superhuman, and extraordinary retention (he reads the entire World Book encyclopedia in one sitting!). But he is almost infant-like in other areas. It takes him ten days to figure out he is supposed to sleep at night, and that dreams don’t mean he is going crazy. He doesn’t know what hunger is, just feels a strange empty feeling all the time until one of the therapist’s children explains food to him. And in one scene that is funny and heartbreaking at the same time, Kyle wets his pants in public because he simply doesn’t understand when his body is trying to tell him to go to the bathroom. He gets an involuntary erection at one point and doesn’t understand why people are laughing at him.
The young actor who portrays Kyle - Matt Dallas - is a wonderful actor; he’s utterly charming. The cast works well as an ensemble, and the writing is surprisingly good. La Gringa says give this show a chance. If you’ve got kids around, even better. Kyle XY is one of those rare programs that approaches difficult subjects in a thoughtful way, and it might allow parents to more easily open up a dialogue with the kids after viewing.
So, um, yeah, you really did just see two girls kissing on Kyle XY tonight.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
At the Kansas City Star, friend-of-skiffy reviewer Robert Folsom gives a thumbs up to John Twelve Hawks's The Dark River and Michael Stackpole's The New World. Also, brief happy nods to Emma Bull's Territory and Will Shetterly's Gospel of the Knife.Now I must go eat some Corn Chex. (No, you don't get to judge me unless you have actually tried Corn Chex; they are weirdly addictive.)
Much skiffy goodness in the Washington Post Book World this Sunday. First, our pal Liz Hand pulled an all-nighter to get HP-7 read in time to get a review in under the wire. (Go Liz! How much caffeine did that require, anyway?) Next, Bill Sheehan reviews William Gibson's latest, Spook Country; Sheri Holman reviews Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician by Daniel Wallace, and Rachel Hartigan Shea raves about David Anthony Durham's Acacia. You thought I was done? Wrong! There's EVEN MORE wacky skiffiness! In a separate SF/F round-up column, our other pal Jeff VanderMeer takes on (okay, you ready?) Brasyl by Ian McDonald, Outrageous Fortune by Tim Scott, Shelter by Susan Palwick, and Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon, one of La Gringa's favorite writers, FYI. Last but not least, he also looks at Brave New Worlds: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction. (Cool!)
Good queer stuff going on over at the New York Times Book Review, Sylvia Brownrigg reviews Landing, by another of La Gringa's favorite non-skiffy novelists, Emma Donoghue. Also at the NYT's website, Dwight Garner interviews Alison Bechdel.
At the Denver Post, Carlo Wolff does not so much love Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Aqueduct Press has a fascinating interview with Nicola Griffith posted at their blog. Gwenda pointed y'all toward Part One a couple days ago. Part Two of the interview is now posted as well. Go! Read! Learn!
And then go out and buy Nicola's new book Always, which is wonderful!
::: ducks her head to keep from being brained by flying books :::
No, seriously. Never. Not a one. I bought and started to read the first book aloud to my nephew once when he was but a wee toddler, but he preferred Captain Underpants and endless re-reading of The Stinky Cheese Man ("You can't catch me; I'm the Stinky Cheese Man!") so Harry Potter was brushed aside like so much garbage. For all I know it still sits gathering dust on my nephew's bookshelf, next to the nine hundred volumes of Captain Underpants that he DID read. He's eleven years old now, and really only cares about his electric guitar and skateboard. ("Harry who?")
For a long time, My nephew wouldn't even go see the Harry Potter movies with me; he scared easily when he was younger and - after viewing one of the films - declared them "unsafe and too scary for a little kid like me". 'Nuff said. (Eventually he did get over it.)
When I was a bookseller in San Francisco, I lived through the initial Harry Potter insanity. Not the Scholastic insanity. The original Bloomsbury British edition insanity. The "Holy shit, tell me again why we're importing 500 copies of this weird kids book again? The Hairy what?" and the frazzled parents hitting the information desk, pleading with us "Just one copy? Surely you must have JUST ONE COPY!?" and the kids with piggy banks dumping their accumulated coins in front of the cash register in triumph so they could pay for their own copy of the book.
Yeah, I lived that one, thank you very much.
But even then, I never read the books, even though I regularly read - and love - middle-reader and YA fantasy.
I have no idea why I've never read a Harry Potter book. But if it's any consolation, I have listened to the Harry Potter books. Not all of them, just books One through Four. I actually listened to Book Two first, when Big A came over to help me paint my apartment about seven (yes SEVEN!) years ago. It was a blast! I was working for Big Ass Publishing Company at the time, and they regularly gave free copies of the new audio version to the employees, so I scrambled to listen to as many as I could. But somehow I am still two books behind the rest of the world.
This year I have resolved that I will actually READ the Harry Potter books. To aid me in my resolution, Kgaard has agreed to loan me his copies of the books, one at a time, until I have caught up with the rest of humanity. Will this make me a better person? I don't know. But, hey! Maybe it'll help me make conversation with hot nerdy chicks who have read the books!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
For those of you who are jonesing for the late lamented Miss Snark (the blog, not the person; she and her dog are alive and well, thank you very much!), I suggest you explore the following:
- The Rejector: An anonymous literary agency assistant gives some helpful advice and makes some astute observations about the book biz.
- BookEnds, LLC: A blog maintained primarily by Jessica Faust at the agency of the same name. Good stuff here.
- Nathan Bransford: This self-titled blog is maintained by an agent at the San Francisco office of Curtis Brown. Ltd. Again, useful information about getting published and the book biz in general.
- Lyons Literary, LLC: Jonathan Lyons maintains this blog. More good info here.
- Lit Agent X: Rachel Vater (who just moved to Folio Literary Management) has been been maintaining this blog for quite some time. She slowed down a bit in posting when she first moved to Folio - hey, everyone needs time to settle in, right? But it looks like she's back. Some really helpful stuff here.
Now enough with talking about the leaked books already. (And really, if you have enough time on your hands to take a digital picture of every single friggin' page of a six thousand page book and then post it to BitTorrent, well, clearly you aren't masturbating enough.)
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I have a confession to make: I am utterly addicted to paranormal romance. Every once in a while, I get sucked into a yet another new paranormal romance / urban fantasy / hot-chicks-in-leather-on-cover book series and get seriously addicted. My female friends and I have a term for these kinds of books: "crack fiction".
A quick definition of crack fiction:
- Generally involves vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts, djins, spirits, and/or characters with super-human powers; sometimes (as with Faith Hunter's extraordinary novels Bloodring and Seraphs) they involve angels, seraphs and other interesting guest stars from the Old Testament.
- Characters are always - and absurdly - smokin'-hot (this is very important: there can be no unattractive people in these novels).
- Covers almost always have some variation of a hot chick wearing leather, carrying a gun or a crossbow or a sword or all of the above (hopefully centered around a gratuitous ass-shot); tattoos are also involved in a major way (see cover of Patricia Briggs' Blood Bound and Jenna Black's forthcoming The Devil Inside - both entirely crackalicious novels, by the way - for examples)
- Those hot chicks in leather are usually (but not always) the protagonist, and - make no mistake - they will kick your ass to hell and back, and they'll do it cheerfully, while spouting snarky witticisms; afterward, they won't have so much as even smudged their fuck-me-red Mac lipstick (although they sometimes do break the heels on their four-inch Manolo stilettos).
- Rare exceptions: covers that feature hot dudes, usually bare-chested, wearing leather or wings or both, with flowing hair (usually red or black), sometimes carrying a sword or a crossbow or a gun; not so much with the tattoos for some reason
- Sex. Lots and lots and lots of sex. Girl/boy sex, boy/boy sex, girl/girl sex, girl/werewolf sex, werewolf/vampire sex, vampire/private detective sex, private detective/lawyer sex, lawyer/plumber sex, etc...
As someone who has always been a genre reader but rarely a romance reader (I don't count the five Danielle Steele novels I read when I was fifteen and in the hospital for three weeks with blood poisoning, because that's all they had in the gift shop and my father didn't know any better and I was on serious painkillers and just thought the covers were pretty and, really, who are YOU to judge!?) this new addiction of mine is somewhat surprising to me. I blame many people for this:
- Book Stud, who turned me onto Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series long ago and started me on this long road to literary depravity (waves fists at the sky ::: damn you all to hell, you drug-dealing fiend! ::: ) (and really, if you haven't read these books yet, what the HELL are you waiting for???)
- Big A (mother of Baby Crumpet), who also writes crack fiction (and I just finished reading one of her unpublished manuscripts called Animal Attraction which is totally AWESOME and worthy of the title "crack fiction", if you are an agent looking for a new author, I suggest you email me now so I can tell you all about how much you need to publish this book and then we can go drink heavily and gossip, and afterward we'll get a pedicure)
- Village Chick, whose entire apartment is an endless source of crack fiction goodness, in teetering stacks and piles on every available surface (which is going to be a problem soon, since she is expecting, and will eventually need to somehow squeeze a crib in between all these books, unless she can figure out a safe way to balance a bassinet on a pile of mass-market paperbacks) and . . .
- Nightgarden / Melicitlu (yes, you may be under the impression that these are two separate human beings but you would be wrong; I have evidence that they are in fact part of advance force of brain-sharing, super-intelligent and snarky aliens who have begun a surreptitious invasion of the Bronx), who continuously feed me a steady stream of books that are each more depraved than the last. (Um, hello, J.R. Ward? Ya big pervs.)
I blame Joss Whedon.
So, if y'all will excuse me, I have some rockin' good crack fic to read.
Ranger Up is a line of t-shirts produced by ex-military dudes for current military dudes and the chicks that dig them (because it is very clear from reading the "About" page that these guys don't believe that chicks belong in the military).
Some things that Ranger Up stands for, according to their website:
AMERICA. Nothing like her anywhere, anytime, in the history of the world.
Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coastguardsmen, Firemen, and Police Officers. Basically, the crazy SOBs that put their lives on the line every day for less pay than they deserve so that we Americans can sit in front of our plasma televisions and watch crappy reality TV shows, drive nice cars, eat great food, and generally not have to worry about anything of substance.
Dogs. Never trust anyone that doesn't like dogs. They're loyal. They'd die for you, and all they want in return is some dried food, some petting, and the occasional piece of bacon.
Reversing the growing oppression of the proletariat in today's society. We, uhhh, think this is a good idea. (This one nearly made La Gringa snarf hot tea all over her keyboard.)
Hot chicks. Honestly, aren't they the reason we do anything? (Well, okay. I'd have to agree with this one.)