Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

We took time away from Comicpalooza to see X-Men on its opening weekend, because I mean, come ON! New Bryan Singer X-Men movie!!

Spoilery thoughts behind the link:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Short Hiatus

Long work hours this week. No time for reading or blogging, and too tired half the time to listen to stories on the commute.

This weekend is Comicpalooza. Not sure yet which days we'll be there. I'm most excited about Nichelle Nichols, of course. Also, Stan Lee, John Scalzi, bunch of other cool folks. I'd love to meet Tricia Helfer too. And here's one way I'm already pining for WorldCon. There the price of admission is steeper, but you get to meet tons of really awesome people and get autographs galore and spend time talking with your favorite authors and EVERYTHING is included in the admission price. It'd be neat to meet a lot of the people at Comicpalooza, but the autograph prices are always really steep, so I may not be able to meet more than Nichelle Nichols. Ah well. I'm sure it will be fun!

On a side note, currently-listening-to book The Sword in the Stone is much sillier than I remember it being.

I'll be back early next week. Be seeing you!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review: Godzilla

Godzilla (2014)

I went expecting a Godzilla movie. Meaning I expected really really bad science, people making really stupid decisions, some amount of cheese, and Godzilla seriously messing up some city. I got exactly what I expected. I didn't realize it was going to be a Godzilla vs. Other Monster movie. Bonus!

By the end we were clapping and cheering and someone in the theater shouted "Go Go Godzilla!"

Of course Alamo Drafthouse movie theater sets us up with lots of fun old Godzilla clips before the movie. I need to look something up - the preview, at the beginning of the real movie previews, that was rated "G" for "Graawwrrr" - was that something Drafthouse added, or was it something that was distributed with the Godzilla movie?

Definitely not something to consider for the 2015 Hugo nominations, but still. That was fun.

ETA: Not spoilery, because it was in the previews. The only thing that made a lick of sense was the revelation that all the nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean wasn't actually testing - they were trying to KILL IT. Because seriously, the extent to which nukes were tested is completely insane once they had any idea what nukes could really do. Unless they were really trying to kill off a scary nasty monster and needed to tell the public they were just conducting tests, so as to avoid a big scare.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Using "No Award" Effectively on the Hugo Ballot

Good explanation of how to use "No Award" on the Hugo ballot:

http://theweaselking.livejournal.com/4574210.html

Dig down into the comments for more detail.

If you make use of No Award on the ballot, please give it a read. It's very easy to accidentally award your vote to works you meant to vote down.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com / Tor.com, 09-2013)

This story is available for FREE at Tor, right now. Thanks, Tor!

I just... Wow. If you haven't read this story, go read it now. It's short. I'll wait. 

(Though if you're in public, maybe wait until you're not.)

I'll be right here. 

After you're through, I have a few spoilery thoughts behind the link:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: “The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen

“The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)

This novelette is available for FREE listening at Starship Sofa, episode 285. Thanks, Starship Sofa! I don't find a free print version anywhere.

I only have one novella left to read, and it won't be available until 5/15, so I'm moving on to the novelettes!

Spoilery thoughts on the other side of the link:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Hugo Voter's Packet

For those of you who don't know: typically, purchasing a Supporting membership to a WorldCon gets you a packet containing most of the printed Hugo nominated materials, as well as voting and nominating rights for the Hugo Awards. The price of a Supporting membership varies from year to year - I think it's typically $40-$60. This year it's approximately $42, depending on the exchange rate. You get a LOT of interesting stuff to read for that price!

Well, Orbit has made a really interesting choice, according to the joint statement Ann Leckie and Charles Stross posted today. Especially interesting in light of the fact that Tor is going to include ALL of the Wheel of Time in the Voter's Packet this year.

Orbit has decided that its THREE Best Novel nominated works will only be made available in the voter's packet in excerpt form. The three novels not included in the voter's packet: Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, Charles Stross' Neptune's Brood, or Mira Grant's Parasite.

Wow.

Of course, it's easier for them to make this decision since they control three of the five Best Novel nominees. It's interesting to note that this decision seems to be against the wishes of at least two of the affected authors. I don't see Seanan McGuire (aka Mira Grant) weighing in yet - but I know that several of her works were included in the voter's packet last year. [ETA: Seanan McGuire is weighing in on twitter - she is part of the joint statement with Ann Leckie and Charles Stross, but can't post it while LiveJournal is down. So, Orbit's decision is against the wishes of all three affected authors.]

Of course, I completely agree that it should be entirely up to the nominated entities whether their work is included for free in the Voter's Packet.

I can only speak for myself, but in my mind it makes perfect sense to include your nominated authors' works in the voter's packet. Even though it may seem like a short-term loss on the substantial investment in that particular work, it opens the door not only to a potential award, but to a few thousand people potentially falling in love with your nominated author's work, resulting in the purchase of a lot more of that author's works. That's what's happening to me! I'm actively seeking out Seanan McGuire and Aliette de Bodard after reading their nominated shorter works in last year's voter packet. I don't know that I would have ever found them otherwise.

I wonder how Orbit's decision will affect the final outcome of the Best Novel voting this year.

All that being said, I expect there will still be an ENORMOUS amount of interesting stuff in this year's Voter's Packet. There are ALL THE OTHER CATEGORIES for the 2014 Hugo's, and then let's not forget, we're hoping to see a substantial portion of the 1939 Retro Hugo nominated materials as well!

Also, I'm not at all sorry that I've already purchased the three Orbit-owned books in question. I generally don't mind giving a little bit of royalty to Hugo-nominated authors - and if I wait for the Voter's Packet, that's a lot of reading time I've wasted and a lot of categories I potentially can't vote in having not finished reading the nominees.

[ETA 2: Looks like the affected authors are having to walk away from Twitter this morning because of the hate they're receiving. NOT cool.]

[ETA 3: Allegations that Orbit made this decision because of enormous pressure from Amazon. I can respect Orbit's decision even though I disagree with it... But my initial thought at least is that it's none of Amazon's business. Will try to wait and see what news...]

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

2014 Best Novel nominee: Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)

I'm listening to all of this year's Best Novel nominees through Audible. Not my preferred way of reading. I prefer to imagine the voices, pronunciations, and pacing for myself. I prefer to be able to pause to think about things or look back in the book to reference things. I also like to have the spatial memory of where things are in relationship to each other in a physical book. Real life is real life, though. With my commute and my work schedule, I have to do as much audio "reading" as I can, or I won't be able to get through a lot of the material. Besides, commutes are boring.

Thoughts, with spoilers, behind the link below.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Amazing Spider-Man 2

We saw the new Spider-Man movie this weekend.

I've said it before, and I'm not seeing any signs that I'll stop saying it any time soon.

I really like the Spider-Man character, but I really don't like Spider-Man's story. It's a downer on so many levels. I suppose it's about hope in the face of countless traumas, but come on.

Some spoilers behind the link.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sci-Fi/Horror Author Needs Help

Science fiction and horror author Stephen Romano was in a bad accident and needs help. Please read about him and his contribution to the field here and consider chipping in, even just a little bit, if you can:

http://www.smileslewis.com/blog/2014/05/01/support-my-friends-recovery-fund-author-stephen-romano-needs-our-help/