Memorial Day 2015

Meant to post this earlier, but was busy and couldn’t. And I forgot to schedule the post! Silly me.

I learned one thing this weekend. I did learn red flowers are in short supply during Memorial Day. I also learned sunflowers can be pink. Who knew?

All in all, it was a good weekend. Reasonable weather and flowers.

Pink sunflowers are stunning, by the way.

Pink Sunflower! Isn’t it gorgeous?

 

A Reason Not to Read the End First

Me, I read the end of a book all the time. I do it randomly, sometimes to find out if a character I like will survive, things like that.

So last week I was reading the second Sharing Knife book, Legacy by  Lois McMaster Bujold. I read the end and then I read bits and pieces of the middle.

And you know what? It sucks. I really like the main characters. And the author destroys their lives.

I am not going to say it was unexpected. Despite not actually reading most of the book, this was an outcome that the author hinted at in the last book. She did more than hint in the first few pages of Legacy. So it wasn’t surprising.

But really! She rained wholesale destruction on their lives.

I have read – I don’t remember where – but I have read Lois McMaster Bujold say she likes to take the thing that their society likes least and do that to the characters. (I think that’s a really great way to murder your darlings.)

She does it in spades. By the end, they got almost nothing left for people to destroy. There is still hope, but yeah.

I am still shocked by what happens to them and I don’t know how or even if I will actually read the book.

I would probably have finished Legacy by now if I hadn’t read the end first. So, yeah, this is a reason not to read the end first.

Forever Canceled

My favorite TV show, Forever, is canceled.

There are details here: http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/forever-season-one-ratings-34006/

I loved this show. It was basically the only show I watched every week, regularly, despite the odd hour.

I am so, so upset. I don’t know why the ratings were so poor – it was a really, really good show.

I got nothing to watch now. There’s Gotham, maybe Grimm (I haven’t seen it, but it sounds interesting) and maybe Agents of Shield. But none of them sound as good as Forever.

 

Teaser Tuesday: Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My first zombie book ever. We’ll see how it goes.

My Teasers:

He liked to watch monster movies and the city churning below. He fixed on odd details. The ancient water towers lurking atop obstinate old prewars, and higher up, the massive central-air units that hunkers and coiled on the striving high-rises, glistening like extruded guts.

– Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Book Review: Quarantine by Greg Egan

Blurb from GoodReads:

It causes riots and religions. It has people dancing in the streets and leaping off skyscrapers. And it’s all because of the impenetrable gray shield that slid into place around the solar system on the night of November 15, 2034.


Some see the bubble as the revenge of an insane God. Some see it as justice. Some even see it as protection. But one thing is for certain — now there is the universe, and the earth. And never the twain shall meet.

Or so it seems. Until a bio-enhanced PI named Nick Stavrianos takes on a job for an anonymous client: find a girl named Laura who disappeared from a mental institution by the most direct possible method — walking through the walls.

I gave Quarantine three stars on GoodReads. This book was okay, but it didn’t grab me that much and I will never reread.

The main character, Nick, is a PI. He used to be a cop, but now is a PI. He left after his wife  died when his house was destroyed by a terrorist group.

It begins with him hired to find a woman missing from one of those place that takes care of those so mentally challenged they cannot care for themselves. I thought it was going to be a mystery in a science fiction setting.

Sadly, Nick solved the mystery relatively quickly. I wish it had gone on longer, but it didn’t.

I almost bounced off the long explanation of the world rules – what the science is, how it affects life and so on. The writer brought Nick’s past experiences into it, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The science eventually involves quantum mechanics and brain mods.

I am not that into quantum mechanics, but the idea of brain mods is fascinating. Our hero has a brain mod that keeps him from distraction, keeps from feeling anything and others. He even has a mod of his dead wife, to keep him from grief. She pops up at odd moments. (As a side note, if you could have any character as a brain mod and have it show up at odd moments in your life, who would it be?)

So Nick gets caught by the villains and they put a loyalty mod on him. So he basically can’t betray them and can’t save the kidnapped woman.

He – and everyone else the villains have saddled with a loyalty mod – decide no one else can be as loyal to the thing than them, because no one else has a loyalty mod. So there. Lots of mental gymnastics in this and I loved it. This was my favorite part of the book.

The end was a bit odd. It sounds like Nick ends up in a refugee camp. The world is torn apart, under the weight of the quantum mechanics brain mod (that is what the villains were researching). Lots of people in this city end up with it, willing or no, and it rocks the world.

In terms of character arc, there really isn’t one. So that’s a zero. But the plot is interesting. It was a little meh for me, but if you like hard science fiction based on quantum mechanics, this is for you.

Teaser Tuesday: Stories of the Raksura, Vol 1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am rereading this week!

My Teasers:

Argent broke off her dive and circled uncertainly above Indigo. Cerise saw her look down at her claws, checking for blood. Below her, Indigo dropped her spines submissively and shouted again, “I yield!”

Stories of the Raksura, Vol 1, by Martha Wells

A to Z Challenge Reflection Post

Another A to Z challenge done! It went okay. I did every single letter, on time. Well, sometimes I pushed that, but I usually made it.

I only brainstormed the first few letters, so 3/4 of the challenge was done on the fly. I did that last year, too, but with slightly more planning; I prewrote most of my posts the day or two days before. I brainstormed a lot of them on Sunday.

So last year I actually had more time to actually visit A to Z Challenge blogs. This year, I mostly visited the same ones I visited last year. At least the WordPress ones I had subscribed to. I know I visited a lot on Blogger regularly, but I don’t remember which ones now. Plus a few more I discovered this year, also mostly on WordPress. (These few were very interesting and that is why I subscribed to them.)

But it was a good challenge. I think it would have been easier if I had brain-stormed ideas for posts in advance. I will do that next year. And I will try to write more of them in advance, too, preferably on Sundays.

Z is for Zombies

The zombie is the second creepiest icon of horror. Just witness:

It’s the whole shambling walk and rotting body parts thing. And fingers and toes crawling on their own. And that skeletal grin.

I can’t watch without being seriously creeped out. I just can’t.

At least if you chop off vampire’s hand, the hand won’t crawl forward and try to strangle you. It will stay chopped off!

It’s why I don’t watch Walking Dead and other zombie TV shows/movies. And I pretty much avoid all zombie novels, including the  Newsflesh Trilogy. I have heard so much about it, but no.

It feels like zombies are becoming more and more popular, which is disturbing.

Do you avoid zombie shows?

Y is for Yucky Scenes

merriam-webster defines yucky as:

adjective \ˈyə-kē\

: causing discomfort, disgust, or a strong feeling of dislike : unpleasant and disgusting

: having an unpleasant feeling in your stomach : somewhat sick

What scenes in a book did you read and go: This is disgusting.

I think probably most books have a few scenes that are like that. They don’t make you dislike the whole book

But some stand out.

One I remember was one of the sexual scenes in A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear. I don’t think the scene ever said and I don’t think the main character ever thought of it like that, but it felt like gang rape to me. (I think it was rape.) It’s just that characters were never portrayed as rapists and it caused me some cognitive dissonance.

Like: how could they even do that and be okay with themselves.

It was part of the book, it made sense in the book, but it was disturbing. But I enjoyed the book as a whole so . . . Sometimes I wonder if I should revisit and see if it is as disturbing as a I remember.

What yucky scenes stand out for you?

X is for Xris Cyborg

While searching my WordWeb dictionary for a word starting with X. I didn’t find anything I could use. Why there are so few words starting with X?

But than I recalled a character whose name started with X: Xris Cyborg. 

Xris Cyborg is the cyborg leader of a mercenary group called Mag Force 7. There is a fantastic pilot and a poisoner who spends half his time on recreational drugs and lots more fun characters. The books are by Margaret Weis and Don Perrin.

I really loved them and reread the books every so often – a future mafia, crazy plans to break into a top secret military installation, a man who changed gender to hide from everyone who wants to kill him/her.  It’s lots and lots of fun.

So I Googled Xris Cyborg – I was hoping to find a picture or something someone had drawn. I have no artistic talent, so I could not draw him myself.

But! The Wikipedia listed every book I’d read – plus three more. Three books that had been published previously and apparently feature my favorite cyborg as a minor character.

The Mag Force 7 books I loved were a spin off series, not the original, and all this time I never knew. I don’t know how I missed them, but I am hoping they are still in print.

I think the lesson here is to look at all the books from the writers you like rather more carefully. So you know if the character you love pop up somewhere else, in some other series.