reading · science fiction

Lack of Science Fiction

I was just updating my 2011 Reads page and I realized I have yet to read a single science fiction novel this year. That’s embarrassing, particularly as I consider myself to be a fantasy/science fiction reader.

Instead, my list is made up of romance and fantasy, urban and otherwise. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those, but where is my science fiction? I love Lois McMaster Bujold, Catherine Asaro and the much newer Hunger Games series.

Even the page I use to keep track of new, interesting releases doesn’t have a lot science fiction. In fact, the only one I see is How Firm a Foundation by David Weber. It’s dammed odd.

When did I stop reading or even keeping track of new science fiction? I have no idea. Maybe it’s that the science fiction/fantasy shelves in the bookstore and the library are mostly filled with fantasy. The book blogs I visit are also filled with fantasy and the books on Amazon’s “Customers who viewed this also viewed” list are also largely fantasy.

All I know is I need some new science fiction titles. Anyone got any ideas?

And no Isaac Asimov or Ender’s Game, please. I didn’t particularly care for the Foundation series and I’ve already read Ender’s Game (good book though!).

Also, which science fiction did you read last? And, like me, are there any particular type of books you like but haven’t read lately?

General

Friday Flash: Trains

Best wishes for Prince William and Kate Middleton on their wedding day!!! She looked gorgeous and so did her maid of honor (the maid of honor wore white!!! :o).

As an image prompt, I was tempted to choose Westminster Abbey or maybe Buckingham Palace in honor of the wedding and pretending like I was there. But I saw this wonderful, daydream-inducing image on wiki commons and went with that instead.

Thick black smoke poured from the train’s smokestacks. I shivered in my skirts and watched the rotary snowplow race away. Its red body was bright against the clean white snow.

My sister would be glad to be here, I imagined. Glad to be away from the dirty streets of the city. That filth was no place for a child, especially her illness prone boy. The clean, bracing air would be good for him. I prayed this delay wasn’t too hard on him.

An hour later, the tracks were clear. My sister’s train roared in. Joyfully, I went to meet her.

Book Review · reading

Book Review: Mercy Burns by Keri Arthur

Product Description from Amazon:

DARKNESS DESCENDS.
LOVE ABIDES. BUT . . .

MERCY BURNS

Mercy Reynolds is a reporter in the San Francisco Bay area, but she’s also more—and less—than human. Half woman, half air dragon, she’s a “draman”—unable to shift shape but still able to unleash fiery energy. Now something will put her powers to the test.

Mercy’s friend Rainey has enlisted her help to solve her sister’s murder. Then a horrible accident claims Rainey’s life, leaving Mercy only five days to find the killer: If Mercy fails, according to dragon law, Rainey’s soul will be doomed to roam the earth for eternity. But how can Mercy help when she herself is a target? With nowhere else to turn, she must join forces with a sexy stranger—the mysterious man they call “Muerte,” or death itself, who’s as irresistible as he is treacherous. But can even Death keep Mercy alive for long enough to find her answers?

Mercy Burns begins with a car crash and doesn’t lose momentum. It’s a quick, easy read and it sizzles on the page.

I like how it goes deeper into the draman than the first book, Destiny Kills, did. The romance and suspense are good, too. For a while I thought the romance wouldn’t work out, that there would be a second or even a third book before the romance is concluded. But it does, and it does so in a very believable way.

Mercy’s best friend dies and worse, she dies before the dragon death rituals can administrated. That’s why Mercy hunts her murderers, so her soul can rest. That’s the same reason Damon, Mercy’s love interest, has for hunting the same people.

My favorite part is when she melts lock off her prison door. The part when Damon comes back to her is pretty good, too.

But for all that, Mercy Burns is missing something. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s just not as compelling as the Riley Jenson books or as Destiny Kills (the first book in this series, written a long time ago). It’s not the characters or the plot, where aren’t bad. The plot isn’t terribly complicated, but that’s not a bad thing.

It’s a solid story, just not as interesting as the Keri Arthur’s other work. I can’t think of any scenes that were boring or that should have been left out. It’s solid. But also disappointing and I don’t know why. 😦

General · Writing

Show vs Tell: Proper Balance 2

I am reading Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction by Lisa Tuttle and this line jumped out at me:

Be concise. Explain less. Dramatize important scenes, but remember that despite the usual advice given to writers, on occasion, to keep the narrative flowing, information may be ‘told’ instead of ‘shown’.

This is a little amazing. This is probably the first time anyone has ever said that sometimes telling is better than showing.

When I first figured out the difference between showing and telling, I thought I had to show everything. I was slow to realize that I didn’t, that somethings are best told, that there needs to be a balance between showing and telling.

I felt guilty whenever I  ‘told’ something and searched for ways I could “show” it instead. Sometimes I let the tell stand. Often I wrote a scene and lots of times it seemed to me that the scene made it more complicated. Sometimes that was good. But sometimes it was too complicated and I would look for ways I could insert the info into two-line segments here and there.

Reading that bit of advice in Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction is reassuring. I mean, I was doing it, but there was also a little tingling doubt in the back of my head. It’s because pretty much everything I’ve ever read says, “Show, don’t tell.”

Do other do that? Feel guilty because they tell a piece of info instead of showing? Two lines of telling verses a hundred lines of showing.

reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Mercy Burns

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.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 teaser:

The screaming of tires as Rainey stomped on the brakes, trying to stop us from being shunted through the guardrail. The roar of the truck’s engine being gunned, and a second, more crushing sideways blow that buckled the doors and forced us through the very railing we’d been so desperate to avoid.

– Mercy Burns by Keri Arthur

Short Story · Writing

Succinctly Yours: Freaky Cows

Succinctly Yours is a weekly meme by grandma. Of this meme she says:

How low can you go?

Use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters OR 140 words. It doesn’t have to be exactly 140, just not more. This one clocks in at 138 characters.

Rolling hills and open grassland! Ugh! And the way that cow stared at me was freaky. Did it know it would die soon? Did it want to eat me?

flash friday · General · word count · Writing

Friday Flash: A Girl and her Horse(s)

This is the image prompt (by zemotion on deviantart) I used for today’s Friday flash. It is a 100 words. Last Friday, someone called this a drabble and before that, I wasn’t aware it had another name. 😮

I had a lot of trouble with this. Rewrote it three times so it makes sense and is 100 words. Not sure I succeeded with the make sense part.

I slowed Sheena’s headlong rush, coming to my senses at last. She couldn’t run like this, not on a night this blustery. The wind was icy enough to cool even my anger. I bit my lip.
I’d said so many hurtful things. “I hate you.” “You cost me my dreams.”

It wasn’t true. Even if we had arrived on time, nothing would’ve changed. It wasn’t mom’s fault. Wasn’t anyone’s fault that my Penny didn’t make the jump and I barely got off before she broke a leg.

I rubbed my eyes. I needed to go back and make things right.

General · work in progress · Writing

Stupid POV Mistakes

So, yesterday I was reviewing what I had so far for the Write 1, Sub 1 challenge. The first paragraph started out in the third person and the by the fourth paragraph, I had somehow migrated to the first person.

I have no idea how it happened! My mind must have been wondering. What a stupid POV mistake!

Somehow in the middle of writing, I switched from “she” to “I”. My only excuse is that all of my recent stories have in the first person POV. Somehow, by habit, I switched here without realizing what I was doing.

Than, when I was rewriting, I realized some of what I wrote just would work in the third person. I know the third person limited POV is very similar to the first person POV, but they are not exactly the same and so I had to rewrite all of the second half.

Has anyone ever done that before? Changed from third person to first person POV by accident? I am still stunned I managed it.

General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Quicksilver

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.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!

He kept walking, waiting for his quarry to leap out of the shadows. He heard the faint rush of movement from the yawning darkness of the crypt a few heartbeats before the figure swept toward him. The preternatural speed and the certainty with which the attacker moved in the darkness told him everything he needed to know. He was dealing with a strong hunter-talent.

– Quicksilver by Amanda Quick

General · Short Story · Writing

Succinctly Yours: Two Old Men

This is a weekly meme hosted by grandma. Of this meme she says:

How low can you go?

Use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters OR 140 words. It doesn’t have to be exactly 140, just not more.

This week’s picture is:

She tells us stuff about the picture, but I am ignoring that. I am doing the 140 character one.

I glared at him. He’d cozened me into this hot, dreadful place. If I was home, I could have a sea breeze, Madam Y’s girls and a cool drink.