Rob has headed off to Hawaii to visit his folks so I’m playing bachelor girl tonight. For me, this means hunkering down with a good book. This is fortunate because I had started reading Paul Cornell’s British Summertime and was already deeply sucked into the book and the characters and then it just went places I didn’t expect.
Have you ever finished a book and immediately wanted to start reading it again? That’s the way I felt about British Summertime. It has deep, rich characters and a totally mind-bending plot. I want to understand how he pulled it off.
I had the strangest experience while reading Jay Lake’s Green. I kept feeling like I’d read it before while absolutely knowing I hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing derivative about the story and the plot turned in ways that surprised me. What it felt like was that this was a book that I’d read and loved, but so long ago that I’d completely forgotten it. I finally realized that it was because the character Green was so real and vivid to me that I recognized her the way I’d recognize a friend.
You know how you meet someone and feel like you’ve always known them. I had exactly that experience with this book.
This is seriously good first person writing from word one. I adored Green the character and loved Green the novel. I highly, highly recommend this book, particularly if you’re looking for a strong female protagonist.
As small gifts at Christmas, I made homemade Balsamic dark chocolate truffles. This was my first foray into truffle making, so I was surprised by how easy they were to make. They were so easy that I decided to try another recipe from the same site that several reviewers recommended.
Tasty, yes. However, it prompted me to post to twitter, “I am hoping that wrapping the homemade truffles in gold foil will keep them from looking quite so much like turds.”
Why am I writing about it now? Because I need to make another series of small gifts and am strongly considering the truffles. My only problem is that I don’t know where to go for the gold foil in NYC.
The LED bug kicks feebly, trying to push itself away from the wall. Its wings are rounds of mica, and the hole in its carapace where someone has tacked it to the graying boards reveals cogs and gears, almost microscopic in their dimension. The light from its underside is the cobalt of distress.
It flutters there, sputtering out blue luminescence, caught between earth and air, between creature life and robot existence. Does it believe itself insect or mechanism? How can it be both at once?
I always get excited when I see Cat Rambo’s name in a table of contents because I know I’m in for a good ride. Not only does “Worm Within” live up to that expectation, it is seriously disturbing. Go read it and see if I’m right.
Just in case I didn’t say this clearly enough before: This is a wonderful production and if you are in NYC you must go see it.
Sinking Ship Productions delivers ingenious new stage adaptations of three science fiction tales, using elements of story theatre, puppetry, and video. Director Jon Levin takes 3 stories and turns them into wonderfully theatrical fare:
“How The World Was Saved”, adapted from the story by Stanislaw Lem
“On the Nature of Time”, based on the story by Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg
“There Will Come Soft Rains”, based on the short story by Ray Bradbury
This production received excellent reviews and sold out in its original run. The performance has been extended through September, so don’t delay in ordering tickets!
I was having a conversation with someone about why there aren’t more SF plays. And lo! One appears. there will come soft rains contains adaptations of three short stories by Ray Bradbury, Stanislaw Lem, Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malzberg. Using puppetry, minimal staging, dance and actors this created some of the most compelling theater I’ve seen in a long time.
What’s really exciting to me about the show is that the staging itself pushes the boundaries the way that the best SF does. I’ve often said that the thing that attracts me to both puppetry and speculative fiction is that they are both places where anything is possible. There Will Come Soft Rains took full advantage of that juxtaposition.
There Will Come Soft Rains is the sort of thing I want to see on the nominations list for Dramatic Short Form, but never do.
Seriously. Go see it. There’s only one show left. Saturday at 7:30.
First, take your husbandâ€™s awkward, enthusiastic letters from the night-stand drawer, the ones he wrote on his way from England to India. Take those smooth papers and wad them up tight. Keep your sorrow out of your actions; let the sadness of the letters speak. Use your anger and frustration to ball up the papers, and marvel at the unfairness of your life. Use the hurt of your loss to crumple each piece into one tight, circular shape. These papers represent the body of the bird you will make.
I’ve had a copy of Cherie Priest’s Four and Twenty Blackbirds sitting on my shelf for over a year now. The stack of “please read me” is very tall and I look at it with longing, but the thought of adding a book to all the other things I’m lugging around the city is not appealing.
Then Tor solved my problem by releasing it as a free ebook. I downloaded that sucker faster than you can say download and have to wonder why I waited so long to read it. Granted, my family is from Chattanooga, so there’s an immediate connection there, but more importantly, the story and characters are compelling.
How compelling you might ask? When Eden was — no spoilers, suffice to say she was in deep, I went an extra stop on the train and then walked back READING. You think walking while reading a book makes you look nerdy? Walking while reading a palm pilot… now that’s dedication.
If you haven’t read it, and the idea of Southern Gothic horror sounds appealing, let me recommend Four and Twenty Blackbirds. I’ve got a copy of the next book on order. I just wish I could get it as an ebook.
I was given an ARC of Scott Mebus’s Gods of Manhattan The basic premise is that a parallel, magic, Manahatta exists throughout Manhattan. It is inhabited by the Gods of Commerce, The Best China, Guilt, Opposite Side of the Street Parking, and the like. These gods used to be mortals, but after their death if they lived on in memory, they could become elevated to godhood. People like Peter Stuyvesant and Babe Ruth run through these pages along with two totally believable kids.
I started jotting down favorite parts but then got caught up in the story and forgot to keep doing it. So here are two from close to the beginning.
He knew she couldn’t see what he was seeing. Because he was going crazy and that’s not really a team sport.
When Bridget picks up her only Barbie (she doesn’t normally pay with “such girlie things” and had given it a makeover) we get this fabulous bit.
This was Malibu Death Barbie. A fashion-conscious dealer of justice. The last thing her enemies saw before their horrible dismemberment was a flash of pink lipstick and a really big knife.
If you’ve got a teen reader in your life, look for Gods of Manhattan when it comes out. History, adventure and magic! What more can you ask for?
One of the things Mom had wanted to do while she and Dad were here was see some theater. So, her birthday present to me was to take us all out to see Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart. When we realized that we had two tickets available, Rob and I invited Rick Bowes and Emily DeCola to accompany us.
All of us agreed that this was the best production of Macbeth we’d ever seen. Start with a good strong cast. Then, my god, give them a production design that is about as close to perfect as anything I’ve seen. Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s sharpest plays and this dives right in and cuts.
It’s hard to explain why it’s so good, without spoiling some surprises for people who are planning on seeing this production. So — don’t click on the cut if you don’t want to know. Before I get all private on you…
They just posted the works whose eligibility for next year’s Nebulas expires at the end of January. I noticed that Cat Rambo’s story, “Foam on Water” published in Strange Horizons, has seven recommendations. I loved this and recommended it a while ago.
The story only lacks three recommendations to be on next year’s preliminary ballot.
May I recommend, especially if you are a SFWA member, that you read it?
This takes the Little Mermaid and makes it look like Hans Christian Andersen was writing stories made of cotton candy.
In what may be the coolest tool for someone trying to get a quick handle on accents, the Speech Accent Archive ((Spotted by Jenn Nixon)) has scores of non-English speakers reading the same paragraph in English.
Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.
There are languages that I’ve never heard of. Mortlockese? Xasonga? Teochew?
Very cool stuff.
Edited to add:Alex Wilson pointed me to a similar project which has both English dialects and accents of other language speakers. One of the strangest things, for me, about the sample text they use is that my maiden name shows up in the middle of it.
The goose’s owner, Mary Harrison, kept calling, “Comma, Comma,” which Sarah thought was an odd choice for a name.
Astonishing the number of different ways one can say Mary Harrison. I shudder to think what would happen if they tried Kowal.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]