adelynne: (Default)
( Jul. 9th, 2007 09:25 am)
Readercon was great, though much less with the panels and much more with the social this year. Bought many, many books just the same.

Gave Friday-morning brunch ride to an overcrowded car, including [ profile] maureenmcq and her lovely husband only to return in time for her kaffeklatch. Stayed after for [ profile] blackholly's, had a fabulous time and also met Laura Anne Gilman. Saw [ profile] mroctober, who reminded me that I do need to write up my thoughts on Vintage and So Fey (and, for that matter, Megan Whalen Turner and the love I bear for her). Also [ profile] sdn who, upon learning of my love for MWT told me "Here's Elizabeth Weir. Megan loves Elizabeth's writing. You should read." (I totally will.) Caught [ profile] matociquala in the lobby, and she told me of the hotel's hot tub and a fabulous Korean BBQ place two miles away from the hotel, then caught her kaffeklatch. Went to fabulous Korean BBQ place with my "con family" of [ profile] grailquestion, [ profile] lunaratu, [ profile] rosefox, [ profile] sinboy, and [ profile] yuki_onna, along with [ profile] megmccarron and a lovely person named Liz whose LJ I do not know.

Somewhere in there was also dessert at Finale for my birthday, drinking beer on Saturday night while falling asleep to [ profile] yuki_onna's rather strong opinions on Neil Gaiman, a girly shopping trip to the mall with [ profile] grailquestion and [ profile] lunaratu, and seeing [ profile] fuyu_no_fuhei, though too briefly.

I went to more readings than I did panels, and I am now searching somewhat desprately for the anthology from which Theodora Goss read her story despite acquiring ridiculous (and I mean ridiculous) quantities of anthologies this weekend. Caught a bit of the Interfictions readings - everything Interfictions was scheduled opposite something else I was also interested in. The reading was Sunday "morning" (noon, actually) when I'd gotten so burned out on con I just drove in late.

Despite it all, I did miss [ profile] ellen_kushner and her guitar. [ profile] yuki_onna's commentary on that was great: "And I now know all the lyrics to 'Beeswing,' too!" There's always next year, I hope.

Now I'm at work, desperately trying to remember how I do that. I hope I shall be able to overcome my desire to flee editing my book and post more this week.
Fantasy & Fables: Fantasy in Graphic Novel Form )

I was going to write up George R. R. Martin's reading, but someone else did it better right here.

The Fantastic and the Mundane: A Look at Urban Fantasy )

Next up, Sunday!
I went very late on Friday - mostly to pick up my registration stuff and see if I could track people down. The original plan was to meet [ profile] yuki_onna at the con, but alas that was not to be. My friend N also completely lamed due to being a grad student with a deadline, so I just walked around briefly and headed home, exhausted.

Saturday was much better, con-wise.

Fantasy, Folklore, and Myth )

More later, work now.
adelynne: (dragon reading)
( Dec. 22nd, 2006 10:11 am)
Apparently all the talk of slash and yaoi annoyed [ profile] matociquala away from reading reviews. Which is a shame, I think, because I believe in positive reinforcement. And this might be my favorite of her books to date.

I'll try not to let the OMG!SQUEEEE!!! and drool overrun as I type, but no promises.

I wasn't going to get Carnival until after the New Year. With my habitual lack of faith in the library system (Actually not true, I think libraries are great. I just don't think they work well for me.) I've come to rely heavily on the kindness of strangers and my Discover card to provide me with Borders and B&N gift cards which allow me to buy books without compromising my ability to pay rent. And the holiday season is a time when bookstore gift cards are showered in my general direction because people (my family) understand that one of the greatest gifts they can give me is the license to prance around a bookstore and actually get to pick out things that I can take home with me. And other people may be stumped beyond the knowledge that "She likes books. And biology. But we can't really get her biology. And we're not too sure on what kind of books she likes." [ profile] mrsix is an exception, but he rocks like a rocking thing. (Sorry, tangent.)

Anyway, I was going to wait until I had accumulated a nice pile of gift cards before making the book purchases that would hopefully tide me over the next semester. But given the slash debate (on which I am not taking sides), I was intrigued enough to go read Amazon and see if I could find more reviews. And then I stumbled on the Exerpt.

Well, shit. There went that plan. Frantically I search for a bookstore in the general area, only to find they're all way out of my way. Annoying, but then it turns out that Doyle's doing some last-minute holiday shopping in the neighborhood of one store that says it has it. Yay! On the sixth night of Hanukkah my boyfriend gave to me....

It is somewhat amusing to realize just how much Bear's writing style (at least on the sci-fi end) appeals to my brain. Or maybe it's just training. Hammered took me a bit to really get into, it was on my second try that I actually did. Scardown was a race between myself and my dad (the last time I bring something he might want to read as my first book for a family vacation), and by the time I picked up Worldwired it was such a smooth transition I don't think I noticed. Much like Vincent hitting his stride, Carnival and I just clicked the moment I read that exerpt.

That's at least partly due to the fact that Our Heroes were giving off enough sexual and other tension to drive me up a wall. You read "Chapter One" and bang! here comes conflict. I love it.

Have I mentioned just how much I love the fact that Bear's protagonists are, as a rule, over the age of 50? It gives so much more to the plot - in wisdom, in knowledge, in experience and depth. When you say "these people were lovers who were separated" that doesn't mean "they had one or two screws and went their separate ways" but "they maintained a secret relationship for over 20 years before they were forced apart for 17." So much more history, so much more at stake. It explains everything from how well they work together to how much weight on their shoulders they're both carrying.

It is a love story. Without a single "I love you," without weepy dramatic sex, without things that may look fine to a romance writer but generally make me want to spork my eyes out in the cold light of day. (There is sex; it's not weepy.) It's difficult to describe just how the way Vincent and Angelo are presented together appeals to me, except to say that as I've grown, I've encountered the fact that love is like this. That no matter how much you love, there are things you will not sacrifice, or forsake for the fear of no longer being yourself. That the thought of giving something so precious up would terrify and hurt you, but to do the morally wrong thing would simply destroy you. And these two are the best example of it I ever read.

To put simpler, their love is not hearts and flowers. It's pain, and lies, and spoiler )

But the book cannot stand on its own with just the two of them. Ultimately, as much as it is about Vincent and Angelo's relationship, it is also about New Amazonia, about New Earth and Ur, and the OECC (which we never actually see, so that's pretty darn impressive), about Lesa and how far you will go to give your children the best chance you can, about cultures taken to the extreme, and about the lies we tell ourselves to live.

Pretty impressive, no? Throw in all that physics (I'm pretty sure one round of research on superstring theory will keep on giving as far as Bear's writing goes), more spoiler ), espionage and intrigue, a bit of art, and you get an incredible book.

When I first met Elizabeth Bear, I told her that I, traditionally, had a hard time reading science fiction. Not entirely true when I think back to my childhood - Verne was on top of the list - but generally true when I open an Asimov novel. I suspect that in this "deficiency" I am far from alone. I told her that what really made me care about the story was character driving plot driving character development. Perhaps that's why this novel works so well for me.

I do have some quibbles, though. I'm not sure if one of them isn't just an error in printing, but one is a small plot point that's never addressed. It doesn't detract from the story, but if I'm giving a full review, it feels right to note that as much as I love it, it's not a perfect book.
adelynne: (firebird)
( Sep. 22nd, 2006 04:00 pm)
What the title says. I've been buried under a pile of grad-school-y stuff. It's been an amazingly positive experience thus far, but certainly an exhausting one. Voluntarily I've been putting in hours that have had people in the lab I'm rotating telling me that I'm working too hard and I really shouldn't stress so much. The funny thing is that I'm not stressed at all on this score - it's the most biologically-related fun I've had since I left undergrad. Absolutely wonderful!

So wonderful, in fact, that it's been stimulating my writing. Out of the blue I started rewriting one of the most troublesome parts of Glamour - the prologue - and just today came up with a really nifty idea for short stories. Cut to spare those who aren't interested. And also, rambly. )

In other news, I'm enjoying the latest season of Stargate: Atlantis like little else. Character moments! And backstory! And group bonding! Yay! Though I haven't seen last weeks', and won't see this weeks' for a bit. SG-1 is looking good too, though I'm sad about the cancellation.

I'm feeling less-than-thrilled over the upcoming VM and BSG premieres, though. Both shows have kind of left me underwhelmed in the aftermath of their second seasons, and the only way I was able to enjoy the Veronica Mars finale was by tossing the plot out the window and forgetting anything that even stank of continuity and cohesion. Though to be fair, I wasn't thrilled with the the first season's finale, either. Battlestar Galactica sort of went downhill for me after the Pegasus episodes, and for pretty much the same reasons. I'm not at all impressed with the commercials SciFi's been running, either.

My semagic informs me that today is [ profile] matociquala's birthday. Happy Birthday Bear!

Today is also the start of Rosh Hashannah, so if you thought that I'd be on more now that I've appeared briefly, you were most likely mistaken. Nevertheless, Shannah Tovah to all that celebrate, and may you be inscribed in the Book of Life!
So. There has been a recent "meme" of sorts about the all the cool people's blogs about "how to write a novel." (In case you don't read, it can be found here, here, here, here, and here, at the very least and in the order I saw them.) And really, that's great.

I've already (technically) written a novel, though. And while I don't think I'm cool enough to share the process, I will say that my brain did conjure something very similar to the spreadsheet idea as a cookie for me (it was a notepad file, started off by keeping wordcount, and then evolved to keeping the names of the chapters - Glamour's not the sort of book where I need to keep track of the POV). In any case, I have a fairly "set" method for writing novels that is differently-evolved from my method of writing short stories or essays, and I'm pretty happy with it. It works for me.

What I don't have is a way to actually get myself to look at the book again. I can think about it, make a list of all the things that are broken and need to be fixed - even, on occasion, how I can fix them, but I can't bring myself to open that bloody file labelled "Glamour Draft 2.doc" and get to work. I dread it. I'm absolutely sure it'll be horrible, and I'll hate it and won't stand to even edit it and will destroy my own creation in a blaze of madness.

Rationally, I know it's not that bad. I know where it's broken, but I also know where the strong points are. It is fixable, but I actually need to be willing to fix it. I'm willing to bet that it'd be nice work if I could get it. And if you can get it, please won't you tell me how?
One of the weird things about this book is how long it's taken me to really figure out what I think of it. In fact, it wasn't until I was sitting at the sushi bar two hours ago that it hit me.

For me, Blood and Iron, is a problem book. [ profile] matociquala has previously stated that it's a story told from the point-of-view of a villain, and that might cause people to have issues. That isn't mine. I find villains often much more interesting than the heroes, brave and true. At least in the stories, I look with fondness on my villains.

Stray with me into Stargate: Atlantis for a moment. A lot of fans (at least from what I could see) had serious problems with the moral choices the expedition (otherwise known as Our Heroes) made at the end of last season and the beginning of this one. [ profile] thepouncer pointed out, I think correctly, that they were faced with an "Us or Them" choice. And given that one, choose Us every time.

B&I also presents the reader with an "Us or Them." Significantly, it is told from the point-of-view of the Them. Which could be cool, and is at times. But here we have what was the problem for me. I can't bring myself to support the Sidhe. It is not for lack of trying, but for what I see as a lack of vision on their part. In The Three Musketeers, Cardinal Richelieu was undoubtably the villain. But he was a villain with vision. A goal he was working toward. Our Heroes might have opposed him, but at the end of the day they knew he was working to further France as much as they were. And from there we have a connection.

The fae may be dying. Horrible and beautiful and magical as they are they are dying, bound by their own bargain with the Devil Himself on one end and the iron chains of the Prometheans on the other. It is a truly horrible fate. But as much as I seek it and try to see, what is the alternative for the Us? We see the horror and the reason the Prometheans started their war in the first place, but we're never given a good reason to side with the fae. Carel says that the world shouldn't be safe, and to an extent I agree with her. But there must be a give and take, and for the danger they bring they must provide a reason for their existance, or in the "Us or Them" humanity would always choose us.

And as a reader, I'm still human.

Please don't think I didn't like the book. I did. It made me think, and rubbed at me in ways only a good book can. The characters are engaging and though I cannot be convinced to side with Elaine, I can see how she came to her choices. It is a good read, and I would recommend it for what, at least in my experience, is a unique take on the Sidhe, Arthurian legend, and dragons. I'll definitely read the sequel.

But it is a problem book for me.


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