Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Stirring the Past Into the Future: The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

My 2023 Hugo reading continues with The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal. What did I think?

I like the concept of this book, which you might call stirring the past into the future: pour a bit of the old Thin Man movies from the 1930's and 40's (married couple travels with their dog, drinking cocktails), but in space with a healthy splash of hard SF engineering--all served in a large glass of murder mystery. 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Birthday Report: 2023


Every year I've had this blog, I've written a little something for my birthday. And this year is no different!

But aren't birthdays for kids? First of all, why should kids have all the fun? If being an adult requires draining life of all fun, wonder, and joy so you can pay bills and work until you die, well, then, what's the point of that?

I've always liked the message of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (yes, I am that old!): "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." And birthdays are great days to do that!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Hugo Ballot 2023: Short Stories and Novelettes!


It's Hugo reading season! The voting deadline is coming up on Sept. 30! There was a bit of a delay in releasing the list of nominees and the Hugo packet, and then summer travels and the beginning of the fall semester happened to me ... so, how am I doing?

I'm almost done with the novels. I may or may not get to all the novellas (sad, I know!). But I have now finished the novelettes and short stories.  Maybe because this year's Worldcon will be taking place in Chengdu, China, there are more finalists from China than usual! Unfortunately I won't get to China this year, but Worldcon will be in Glasgow, Scotland next year, and I'm hoping to attend in person as part of the Science Fiction and Philosophy Society (stay tuned for details).

Anyway, overall I thought there were some great novelettes and short stories this year. The novelettes in particular were really difficult to rank (reading the Hugo nominees in the last several years has taught me that I seem to enjoy the novelette-length short fiction best: enough space to dig in, but it's still not too long). Here are my rankings and what I thought about this year's short stories and novelettes!

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Serious Cozybusiness: Legends & Lattés by Travis Baldree


I definitely recommend Legends & Lattés to anyone who has ever played Dungeons & Dragons, or really anyone who enjoys this quote from Tolkien: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

I'm nearing the end of my Hugo reading (for novels, anyway). I admit when I first saw this was nominated, I ... didn't know what to think. It kind of looked like a wacky self-published thing (and it was originally published directly on Amazon before Tor picked it up). It didn't really seem, well, like a Serious Hugo Nominee.

Dear reader, I was wrong. This may be my favorite Hugo novel nominee yet. It's not that the novel is "serious" in the sense of not having any humor. I chuckled out loud several times reading it. But there is, I think, a serious deeper point.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Digging New Wells: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Slivia Moreno-Garcia


I've enjoyed Moreno-Garcia's other work, like Mexican Gothic. I really loved Certain Dark Things, which I'd describe as an excellent vampire novel for people who usually don't like vampires. So how is The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, which has been nominated for a Hugo award this year?