Book Recs and News

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:49 am
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
News: If you missed it yesterday, there are going to be two more Murderbot novellas for a total of four, and 2, 3, and 4 are all coming out next year.


***

(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)


Short story: The White-throated Transmigrant by E. Lily Yu


* Miles Morales - A Spider Man Novel by Jason Reynolds
Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man.


* Bright Thrones by Kate Elliott
An exciting e-novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Court of Fives, from World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott!


* Drawing Dead by SM Reine
The vampire slayer is turning into a vampire? Over her dead body. Dana McIntyre has been bitten by a master vampire. She's infected with the venom. And after killing hundreds of vampires to keep Las Vegas safe, she'd rather die than turn.


* Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen
On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner—code named “Clementine” —might have information about who’s behind the sabotage. Clementine will only deal with Jessica Chu, Kangaroo’s personal physician and a former military doctor once deployed in the asteroid belt. Kangaroo accompanies Jessica as a courier, smuggling Clementine’s payment of solid gold in the pocket universe that only he can use.


* The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture...a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes. But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.


* Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
Blackfeet author Stephen Graham Jones brings readers a spine-tingling Native American horror novella. Walking through his own house at night, a fifteen-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew.


* Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
Carina used to be one of the best biohackers in Pacifica. But when she worked for Sudice and saw what the company's experiments on brain recording were doing to their subjects, it disturbed her—especially because she found herself enjoying giving pain and contemplating murder. She quit and soon grew addicted to the drug Zeal, spending most of her waking moments in a horror-filled dream world where she could act out her depraved fantasies without actually hurting anyone.


* The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata
carred by war, in pursuit of truth: Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost.


* Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo
What Nanoannie and Kapera find at the Smythe’s Pharm is more than the girls bargained for. The hab has been trashed and there are dead bodies buried in the backyard! If that wasn’t bad enough, the girls crash the rover and Kapera gets kidnapped by Facers who claim her parents are murderers! Between Renegade Nuns, Facers, and corp geeks, Nanoannie and Kapera don’t know who to trust or where to go. Kapera only wants to find her parents so they can get to Earth Orbitals and she can be treated for her leukemia. Nanoannie wants to help her friend and experience a little bit of Mars before selling her contract to the first corp that offers to buy it.

Guns, Fictional and Real

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:04 am
chris_gerrib: (Default)
[personal profile] chris_gerrib
Guns, Fictional

One of the writers I follow, Tanya Huff, recently released a new book A Peace Divided. It's pseudo Mil-SF, in that the lead characters are ex-military who serve as a SWAT team for the interstellar police. It's an entertaining read.

However, in Huff's fictional world, civilians are completely disarmed. I've had issues with that before, in that a society that can repair toasters can make guns. Here, she's gone to even more extremes - her ex-military types literally do not have the word "pistol" in their vocabulary! All guns are long guns. I like the story, but this I don't buy.

Guns, Real

Readers of this blog know that I recently purchased a Ruger LCR. This "light carry revolver" is, as advertised, light. With full-power .38 ammunition, it's frankly painful to shoot. At my dad's recommendation, I purchased some Hornady Critical Defense bullets. These have lighter recoil and are designed for light carry guns. I shot some last night. My LCR still bounces, but it's gone from painful to unpleasant.

Incrementalism

Jun. 27th, 2017 08:12 am
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley

Air temperature 58 F, calm, mostly cloudy for the newspaper walk. Bike ride sooner rather than later -- possible showers or thundershowers this afternoon.

In a new On My Shelves...

Jun. 27th, 2017 07:55 am
seawasp: (Default)
[personal profile] seawasp
... Persona 5, the latest in the Persona series of JRPGs, takes my heart! 

Music meme: day 10 of 30

Jun. 27th, 2017 12:43 pm
liv: bacterial conjugation (attached)
[personal profile] liv
A song that makes you sad. It's hard to find anything sadder than one of my friends who posted a video of a scratch orchestra playing the European anthem Ode to Joy the day after the UK voted to leave the EU. But the song most likely to make me cry, personally, is the aria Voi che sapete from Mozart's The marriage of Figaro.

break-up sadness, plus video )

ConCertino 2018

Jun. 27th, 2017 07:01 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist posting in [community profile] filk
ConCertino 2018 will be in Dedham, Mass. (south of Boston) on June
29-July 1, 2018.

  • Guest of Honor: Cecilia Eng

  • Toastmaster: Errol Elumir

  • Fan Guest: Filthy Pierre (Erwin S. Strauss)

  • Interfilk Guest: Gabrielle Gold


More information at concertino.net.


This will, in all likelihood, be the last of the rotating northeast filk
conventions. Three meetings took place at Contata to plan the new
NEFilk, an annual convention with a single committee and geographic
area. Watch nefilk.us for updates.

Off-Topic Tuesday!

Jun. 27th, 2017 11:11 am
icon_uk: Mod Squad icon (Mod Squad)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

In the US, the new Healthcare scheme is being co-ordinated and planned in such cloak and dagger stealth and secrecy that the planning of the D-Day landings look like an information free for all by comparison.

The Supreme Court upheld, sort of, Trump's travel ban, until it's review later in the year, so we'll see how that one goes.

The British PM finalised a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (a party more regressive than even her own Tory Party are) to shore up her minority Government for Brexit, and the cost of this compeltely cynical move? A snip at £1 billion pounds. And this from a PM who told a nurse that the Public Sector pay cap of 1% had to stay because "We don't have a magic money tree"... yeah, right.

A new mini-version of the Super Nintendo is being released in September for $80

This weeks Doctor Who, the first of the two part season finale (and last regular story for Peter Capaldi) was pretty damn awesome... especially if (like one lucky friend) you had managed to avoid ALL spoilers, because the reveals were very, VERY impressive. And even if you knew what they were, they were still capable of holding an emotional gut-punch.

Missy was a delight, in her trying to be good, but not really having the right attitude for it. (Oddly, and I only realise this as I typed that last sentence, in some ways reminiscent of Capaldi's early stories, where his social skills were... distinctly lacking and he ponders over whether he's a GOOD man)

The Cybermen should always reflect a degree of body horror of course, but I can't recall anything on this scale before (The proto-Cyberman screaming "Pain!" repeatedly and endlessly through it's voicebox, until a nurse comes along to tend to it... by turning the volume on the voicebox down... That's just HORRIBLE)

My one serious concern is that Bill does not end up being a victim of the reprehensible "dead lesbian" trope in TV drama, but I'm hoping that Moffatt's tendency to NOT kill characters will shine through and it might end up being something to do with why he's seen regenerating at the start of the episode. Am REALLY jazzed for the finale!

And to shift slightly more ON topic (which I really do try NOT to do), it's the last week of Pride Month, and whilst we may not have had a theme devoted to it, since EVERY month is Pride Month on scans_daily (Well, it is if we're doing it right), a big shout out to all members who identify on the delightful rainbow which is the LGBTQIA spectrum! You are all welcome, you are all celebrated and if some of you want to post scans on the topic, then fly my pretties, FLY!

Water-Powered Robots

Jun. 27th, 2017 05:14 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
These robots crawl or grasp based on humidity rather than a conventional power source. 

Oh, God will save her, fear you not

Jun. 27th, 2017 04:42 am
sovay: (I Claudius)
[personal profile] sovay
I enjoyed this review of a new biography of A.E. Housman, but I got to the last paragraph and disagreed so violently that I spent my shower fuming about it:

But that sweetness, verging on sentimentality, is also Housman's limitation: the lads and lasses slumbering under the grass, never growing old or sick or worrying about how to find a job. Sadness in Housman is a one-size-fits-all emotion, not one rooted in particulars. It puddles up automatically. And reading "A Shropshire Lad" you can find yourself becoming narcotized against feelings that are deeper and more complicated. That may be the real secret of the book's enduring popularity, the way it substitutes for a feeling of genuine loss the almost pleasant pain of nostalgia.

The reviewer claims earlier that "one reason 'A Shropshire Lad' has been so successful is that readers find there what they want to find," so perhaps I am merely following this well-worn tack, but I don't see how you can read Housman and miss the irony, the wryness, the sometimes bitterness and often ambiguity that never prevents the pleasure of a line that turns perfectly on itself. Some of his best poems seem to take themselves apart as they go. Some of them are hair-raising. Some of them are really funny. (It is impossible for me to take "When I was one-and-twenty" as a serious lament. In the same vein, it wasn't until tonight in the shower that I finally noticed that "Is my team ploughing" owes a cynical debt to "The Twa Corbies.") That is much more complicated than a haze of romantic angst and the vague sweet pain of lost content, especially seeing how much of Housman's language is vividly, specifically physical for all its doomed youth and fleeting time, not dreamy at all. Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale. I am not sure why the reviewer knocks Housman's Shropshire for not being "particular," either. Of course it's not actual Shropshire, where the poet himself acknowledged he never even spent much time. It's Housman's Arcadia, et ego and all. I finished the review and found myself thinking of Catullus—again, I had to have my hair full of soap before I realized why. I don't understand why anyone looks for the undiluted Housman in A Shropshire Lad any more than the Lesbia poems should be assumed to contain the authentic Catullus. Pieces of both of them, sure. But my grandmother didn't need the identity of the addressee of "Shake hands, we shall never be friends, all's over" pinned down in order to copy out the poem and save it after a college relationship broke up badly. (I thought it was hers for years.) Who cares if its second person was Moses Jackson or fictional? It spoke to a real loss. I don't think there is anything anesthetizing in that. I doubt Housman would have wanted the particulars known, anyway. I have to figure out a way to stop fuming and start being asleep.
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Keeping “It” Together
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 1 of 1, complete
word count (story only): 1755


:: Meanwhile, back in Mercedes… This is part of the Road Trip, the Mercedes story group, and the Polychrome Heroics universe. ::

::Pay Special Attention: Benjamin Smithers is an old-fashioned guy, so he deliberately frames his comment about Shana's behavior as “something MIGHT have happened,” and because he is a bigot, he made no attempt to soften that phrasing. Frankly, whatever Shana and Anthony got up to on Joshua Tull's sofa, well, the sofa is glad to be well beyond recovery, and anyway, Shana started it! ::





“I didn't mean to!” the girl shrilled, making Benjamin grind his teeth harder. She babbled the explanation for the third or fourth time, and it still didn't hold water with him. “Anthony found a pack of cigarettes when he went looking for the television remote in the drawer of the end table next to the and--”

Benjamin took a steadying breath. “And those were someone else's property, stolen while you were BOTH trespassing in his home! What on EARTH were you thinking, to do that?”

Okay, the deep breath didn't help.
Read more... )

decide for me

Jun. 26th, 2017 11:44 pm
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I am supposed to go to rounds every Tuesday from 6 to 7 at the raptor rehab where I volunteer. It's good to be up-to-date on protocols, and to get the news about the cases. On the other hand, there is always a lot of information I don't need, and there are other ways to get the information I do need.

Tomorrow night there is a storytelling event at a coffee house from 7 to 9. "The event will showcase a selection of community storytellers sharing stories on the theme of food and farm. We’ve invited six storytellers — writers, poets, performers, journalists, speakers — to prepare true, personal stories and share them in front of a live audience." I'd like to go. I am always interested in anything that could help me become a better storyteller.

I could skip rounds.
I could leave rounds 10 minutes early and go to both, but I hate getting up when everyone else is still sitting patiently, and also that would be a very long evening for me.
I could just stay home. Staying home is always good.

two books, neither alike in dignity

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:42 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
It's book talking time!

Coincidentally, I have recently read two separate books about French spy-courtesans in the 1920s 19th century. One was Alexander Chee's The Queen of the Night. The other - well, I call it a book, but it is an incomplete series, by Jo Graham, beginning with The General's Mistress and continuing in The Emperor's Agent and The Marshal's Lover.

Alexander Chee, award-winning author, is interviewed about TQOTN in Vogue and reviewed in the New York Times. Jo Graham is interviewed about her books in Amazing Stories and reviewed on, well, Goodreads. There is a great difference in the height at which your brow is meant to sit while reading these books.

Which just goes to show why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

The Queen of the Night is rapey-er than Game of Thrones, and you will not collect that from reading any of those interviews or reviews, but holy shit, it's grim and unrelenting. There is a lot of sex in this book - never let anyone tell you that Serious Authors don't write sex. What Serious Authors don't write is enjoyable sex, because that has the filthy female whiff of romance about it, and Chee will have nothing to do with that trap: enjoy 561 pages of bleak fucking, at best survival sex, at worst violent rape. But it's described like opera! So, you know: it's Art.

Whereas if on the other hand you like slumming, you could read a page-turner of a picaresque sex-and-war-and mysticism perspective on the Napoleonic Wars that is super, super interesting for someone who has tended to read about it from the English perspective! It reminds me very much of that Roger Ebert quote that's been floating around Twitter:
There's a learning process that moviegoers go through. They begin in childhood without sophistication or much taste, and for example, like "Gamera'' more than "Air Force One" because flying turtles are obviously more entertaining than United States presidents. Then they grow older and develop "taste,'' and prefer "Air Force One," which is better made and has big stars and a more plausible plot. (Isn't it more believable, after all, that a president could single-handedly wipe out a planeload of terrorists than that a giant turtle could spit gobs of flame?) Then, if they continue to grow older and wiser, they complete the circle and return to "Gamera'' again, realizing that while both movies are preposterous, the turtle movie has the charm of utter goofiness--and, in an age of flawless special effects, it is somehow more fun to watch flawed ones.
Both books are preposterous. But Jo Graham's books are cheerfully preposterous, with love at first sight being based on mystical reincarnation through the ages and a vow between Cleopatra's handmaidens or some such thing; and Alexander Chee's characters blankly drift through the ludicrous motions of a musicless opera plot because, as The Worst Bestsellers likes to say about characters in books like these, they are lizard people. Human motivations and actions are foreign to them! They hatched from eggs and now they are wearing human skin suits and that's why the author acts like their entirely, artificially plot-motivated behavior is normal and requires no explanation. It is normal, for lizards!

Whereas Jo Graham's books involve people having difficult but ultimately productive conversations about ambition and infidelity and polyamory - they don't have that vocabulary, but the ideas are definitely there - and people who aren't entirely good or bad, and an enby protagonist, and conflicted feelings about children, and the fear of aging and death, and politics that are rooted in the deep personal urge for freedom, and yes - magic, and sex, and fun! I got the third one as part of a StoryBundle, which was annoying as it spoiled the first two, obviously! But the moment I finished it I bought the other two anyway. Spoilers don't matter that much - they're not mystery novels, if you're writing about the Napoleonic Wars the interest of your story had better not depend on the reader not knowing how things turn out. The Queen of the Night I got from the library, and I tried to finish it, I really did. It just wasn't giving me anything to work with. It is the kind of book where spoilers matter - my loan of it ran out before I made it to the end, and I placed a hold on it to check it out again just because I did, honestly, want to know the answer to the mystery. But when my hold on it came due, I admitted that I did not want to know enough to drag myself through to the end of a very, very, very boring book, and I never checked it out the second time.

And, incidentally, between the grim, boring, rapey book, and the picaresque, sexy, fun book? The fun book is the one that's based on a real historical person. Maria Versfelt was a Dutch adventure star, as she is delightfully described in that Dutch website (thanks Google Translate), and her published memoirs are the basis for Graham's books. I think the reincarnation thing is invention, though.

SPECIAL ALERT!

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:47 pm
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Special alert!

[personal profile] alexseanchai is hosting a fiction sale (approximately four cents per word, or roughly $14 per page, with the estimated average of 350 words), for a laudable goal. I'd like to do more than spread the word; I'd like to add to the words.

Give me a PM or reply to this post (ON MY BLOG) when you've made a donation, so I know how many words to write, AND give me a story prompt so I know what to write. You can be vague, or as specific as you like, but I generally write gentle fiction (no sex, minimal violence, lots of cuddling instead of arguing). No, it absolutely does NOT have to “match” or tie into whatever Alex is writing; they are creating the entree, while I am working on desserts.

Your copies are for personal reading, of course. They may be posted on my blog at a later time for others to enjoy as well, but they are paid for by donations to Alexseanchai. If you want a preview of their writing style, check out The Finch on the Apple Bough, a beautiful Cinderella story for the rest of us! To preview my style, well, scan my blog for the last three years; there's plenty of fiction to choose from!

Spread the word, put a little in [personal profile] alexseanchai's tip jar at Paypal, and let's make some summer reading!


For my subscribed readers: I'm still writing the Road Trip stories, and will keep to my posting time and schedule.
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
[personal profile] starwolf_oakley posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Conflict is needed for drama. And in a group, there is that one character who is around just to cause conflict with the other characters. WEST COAT AVENGERS #69 is an example of when there are two characters there just to cause conflict, and what happens when they fight each other.

Story by Roy Thomas, with art by Paul Ryan.

awc-cover.jpeg

Grudge Match )

Unexpected encounters, part 3

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:55 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
It was the first day at St. Bonaventure University, to which I was transferring after two years above the Adirondacks at Potsdam State. One of the girls down the hall, who had been there for a couple of years, was showing me around the campus and filling me in on which professors to take for which classes, and which to avoid because they weren't as good, and which to avoid because they hit on the students -- all good things to know.

After we'd wandered around most of the buildings, she took me to the nature trails, on the wilder part of the campus by the river. The trails had been there for a century or more, weaving through the woods and the nearby swamp; the longer trail we ended up on ran from the village to the west, past the campus, and into a park halfway to the city of Olean, on the east. It was well-worn dirt, not bad for walking, and she was talking and gesturing as we walked and I listened.

Then I looked up.

There were trees on both sides of the trail, so we were walking under the arch of their branches. And on one of those low branches -- say, 15' from the ground -- there was a bald eagle, and it was staring at me. It shifted around on the branch to face me full on.

I tried to get her attention; I couldn't manage to interrupt her, and we kept walking forward toward that branch.

The eagle lifted off, watching me the whole time, and swooped low, its claws nearly touching my head, and swung off into the woods.

The girl with me never saw a thing.

I learned later that the eagle was one that had been found injured in a farmer's field, had been taken to a branch of the Audubon Society, where they had a vet who patched up wounded birds, and rehabilitated. When she was released, she built a nest on the edge of the swamp, near the river. That wasn't a bad choice for a fish-eating bird -- that river had four-foot carp, not to mention catfish and other fish.

I used to see the eagle again, when I was walking through the trails, taking a break from class. There was a small clearing in the woods, with a stone bench that caught the sun, and it was a good place to study or catch up on reading -- I've never been able to study with other people around me. After a while, the animals would come out to see what this odd thing was that smelled like a human but didn't move like one. I would see deer fairly often, and parts of wild turkeys (you never saw a whole one -- they always kept part of a tree between you and them), and once or twice a fox. But they left when I moved, and none of them gave me the intense close encounter that I had with that eagle.

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