Thursday, May 19, 2022

Random Thoughts, Part 18: Random is the New Order


 

My Random Thoughts series continues with Part 18! Still with random memes for exponential randomness! In fact, my inventory of memes is at an all-time high. These memes have to go! Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2022

Review of Reviews: TV and Movies, May 2022

 


Apparently I haven't done a "review of reviews" since February 2021 and most of my reviews on the blog lately have been for books, so I figured it was time to do a "Review of Reviews" for some of the TV and movies I've been watching lately.

So check out my review of reviews of Firestarter (2022), Everything Everywhere All At Once, Severance, Outer Range, Inside Job, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Gremlins 2: The New Batch! (Okay, you got me. Gremlins 2 is hardly new, but I did watch it recently, so here you go.)

I've also been watching all the new Star Trek shows as of late: Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. It's a fantastic time to be a Star Trek fan! But that's a lot of Star Trek, so I will cover those in a separate post.

Without further ado: my review of reviews!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Empires and Persons: A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

 


I loved the first book in this series: A Memory Called Empire. It grabbed me right away and carried me through until the end. This sequel, not as much. Maybe that "new universe smell" has worn off. Maybe I had forgotten too many details to get invested in the political intrigue, or maybe the interesting stuff doesn't really get going until about halfway through. Still, once A Desolation Called Peace does get interesting, it gets really, really interesting and expands some of the philosophical themes of the first one. So I recommend it to fans of the first one. In fact, you might benefit from reading this soon after reading the first one, rather than two years later like I did.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Looking for What you Find: The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

 

I read the first book in John Scalzi's Interdependency Series (The Collapsing Empire) several years ago and probably would have gotten more out of the first 100 pages or so of this second book (The Consuming Fire) if I had reminded myself what happened there before diving in (I had a general idea of the Flow and the Emperox, but I had forgotten the who's who of the various political intrigues, a lot of which I admit I have trouble following or caring much about).

Honestly the book didn't get super interesting to me until about halfway through, but then some really cool stuff started to happen (more on that in spoilery section).

I also have to say I think that while Scalzi's acerbic wit is still there, the patented Scalzi snark is toned down a bit in this volume, and the book is honestly better for it. You still get a few little smirks now and then, but honestly Scalzi's dialogue can sometimes be a bit extra and get in the way of the story (as if everyone is speaking in carefully-crafted tweets at all times). I appreciated the milder version of all that.

Okay, I have to get into some mild spoilers here. So be warned. 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Gwendy and the Tower: Gwendy's Magic Feather and Gwendy's Final Task

 
 
 
Gwendy's Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar

I enjoyed the first Gwendy book and meant to read this second one for a while. Then when the third book came out recently and I heard it had explicit Dark Tower connections, I figured I should finally read this second book, too.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Women's Future Month 2022: Finishing Series by Butler and Le Guin

Reading the Patternist series with a beer on a nice afternoon

March is Women's History Month, so echoing my "Black Future Month" post, this seemed like a good chance to finish two series by two of my favorite authors: Octavia E. Butler's Patternist series and Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series. Okay, so the Earthsea books aren't about the future, at least not our future. 

But Le Guin's fantasy may be about my future: I hope to do some serious academic work on both Butler and Le Guin in the future (building on the article on Le Guin I've already published), so maybe this will be a seed of some future project. Echoing a phrase from Le Guin, I might even call it something like Realists of a Larger Reality.

 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Shifting Realities: Four Past Midnight by Stephen King


In my long-term quest to read all of Stephen King's books (a quest that feels about as attainable as Roland's Tower), I finally arrived at this classic. Four Past Midnight isn't up there with The Stand or Different Seasons, but it's solid middle-tier King, which is still good stuff. These are technically novellas, but I think The Langoliers and The Library Policeman might really be short novels for King (what would be average length novels for other writers).