Fool Moon

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2)Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Went back and listened to this one. Much like the first (Storm Front) I was surprised at how much I didn’t remember of the details. I’d read my copy long enough ago that there was still tension when I listened despite knowing “the future” of the characters. STILL really well done.

I am really enjoying listening to the audio production. Having the book read to me is a neat way to experience the story. I did actually pick up on one teeny tiny flub in the reading – but it was so slight that I suspect most people wouldn’t catch it.

Absolutely worth going to get this version and digging back into the series!

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Storm Front

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1)Storm Front by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know if I’ve reviewed Storm Front on here before or not. There are a number of books I read prior to joining the Goodreads community that I have avoided writing reviews for unless I have gone back and read them again while a member of Goodreads.

I got the first 4 books of The Dresden Files as a gift this year and I was thrilled. I love this series.

Going back and listening to the unabridged audio was a very interesting way to approach this. I knew the story, but what I hadn’t realized was all the little details that I’d forgotten over time. Some things I “knew” for sure turned out to be remembered incorrectly or worse, tainted by the television version of the story.

I recommend this series all the time. I have 2 extra “loaner” copies of the first book (I’ve ‘lost’ a handful over the years to folks that fell in love with the series). IF you’ve read the book before, listen to this production. It’s a great way to go back to the series. IF you’ve never read Storm Front before, I highly recommend it. Great series and worth the effort.

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Philcon 2017 Review

Taking off for another convention within about 18 hours of departing Philcon this year has delayed my normal post con review. Traveling for about a week straight was tiring and it is taking me a while to recover and get all my things back in order.

I was really happy with Philcon this year. The team managed to get a great guest line up and some really interesting panels. Above and beyond the normal comings and goings of the convention, it was fantastic to be able to reconnect with friends and colleagues that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.

I got to be the moderator on one of the most entertaining and exciting panels I’ve seen in a while. The future of sports. More than one person looked at me with skepticism when I told them this was a topic for a science fiction convention panel. You shouldn’t be shocked, there are numerous references in movies and other media that tie directly to science fiction. There’s also a ton of actual science behind all this too. It was one of the best panels I’ve had in a long time. I’m actually going to recommend snatching the idea for another con in the spring – I think it’s worth running again.

Next, and most importantly to me, Don Maitz was the artist guest of honor this year. I first encountered his artwork during my very first convention. Balticon 27 he was the artist guest of honor. He’d hung the picture 40 Thieves right in the entry. I walked in and was blown away. That was 25 years ago and this convention was the first time since then that I’ve been a part of the same con where he was attending again. I grabbed my copy of his book and practically ran to meet him. I was NOT disappointed. He brought amazing art, fun stories (jogging with a steer?) and tips on creating artwork! I went to a drawing demonstration he lead in the art show area and got to sit next to him as he created and doled out little things he’s picked up over all the time he’s been working. Words don’t really do it justice. I just sat there and took it all in, desperate to remember as much as I could.

When I got the chance to chat with him later he was at his sale table. I explained about Balticon 27 and just what an impact his art had – and he pulled out one of the samples of that exact painting, signed it and gave it to me. Then, as if that wasn’t nearly enough he graciously signed my copy of his book AND added a sketch. It was awesome.

A sketch and a signature!

For those who recall a little thing that happened a few years ago where a bridesmaid was defending a pizza… sadly there were no shenanigans of that level. I suspect it will be a long time before we see something like that again, but given that brides do show up from time to time…

there’s always the chance there will be another brawl.

Interesting panel topics, great guests and the chance to get up close and chat with folks in the industry – if you’re not signing up to go to your local convention you are missing out. I’m already looking forward to the next Philcon!

2049 – Special Screening

I don’t miss many Watch The Skies meetings. Getting together with my friends, spending time debating a novel we’ve read and dishing on all the latest we’ve found out about our collective interests always makes me feel better.

I was unable to attend the meeting this month. I was disappointed because we were lined up to do something we hadn’t done before, namely discuss a novel AND the movie(s) that accompanied the novel. Blade Runner was a fantastic pick for this – and I wasn’t going to be there.

I reigned in my disappointment when I found a monumental bit of coincidental timing. I was going to be out of state at a conference for work. The software company putting on this conference also happens to be the same company that makes and supports the software that many film makers use for their CG special effects shots. There was going to be a special showing of Blade Runner 2049 with a warm up talk given by the lead special effects director on the exact same night that I would have been at the meeting back home. I may have squeed a little – but it was very manly.

When that night came around I was in line for the “overflow” folks. I couldn’t get one of the few reserved seats much to my dismay. I had to stand in line and hope. Hope can be cruel. I was the next person in line to get in when they cut the line off. I was literally next up and they said “nope”. So I didn’t get to listen to the effects director then watch the show.

What I did get to do was be first in for the second run the next night. The director couldn’t be there to speak again, but I did get to see Blade Runner 2049 in the room they had set up for the showing. Then I got to go to the special “after party” set up the conference had lined up at one of the restaurants where we were staying.

I could see her in that version of LA.

I really enjoyed watching the film. It would have been an awful lot more fun to have had all my friends there to break it down with and discuss all the finer points. The party afterward had some fun aspects. All in all it was a very memorable way to “miss a meeting”. I look forward to sitting down and chatting about the finer points of the whole thing at a later date.

Until then, I will stick with being inspired by peeks behind the scenes.

Ink and Bone

I’m going to start my book review of Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine with the most important part. I finished this book then went and bought the second one and started reading. It has been pointed out to me that is a rare circumstance and speaks more to the quality of the story than anything I could have to say about it. So there’s that ~ there might be spoilery stuff below…

What if we didn’t lose all the works from the great library? What if indeed.

I really enjoyed the pace of this book. The story didn’t slow down for me. Even when the students were studying or working out how they were going to be tested next there were bits and pieces that tied in to the rest of the story. There was a lot more action than you might think for a bunch of librarians. The action was also believable – Jess ends up in the hospital more than once. None of that “I’ll just continue on because I’m so tough…” actually working out. He’s got the attitude for that, but more often than not he wipes himself out with that thought process.

Jess as a character was trying to do the right thing. He was not a whining anti-hero. I enjoy and appreciate that more and more these days. He was anxious, clever and dense in various turns, in love and certainly passionate about what he was doing. He really worked as a character for me. He played well off the others as well.

The rest of the cast of characters developed well. I consider it a well written character when I’m reading and think, “wow that guy is a douche. I wouldn’t get along with him…” and I got those visceral reactions more than once. Well done.

There is one thing that I would quibble with – and it is just a quibble really. The timeline. This book, even with the magic of obscurists, didn’t feel like a “modern” story. Despite having stated someplace in there that this was set in 2025 or something like that it absolutely felt like 1890. The technology, the locations and the general societal attitudes placed it there, but also the “technology” of the books hurts the concept if you move further forward. What I mean by that is this: you’ve got the ability to pass notes from one linked book to another all over the world. You have the ability to transport matter (if you can send books, you can send anything) and people across the planet without appreciable delay… even if it’s a limited ability. IF you take this time line as an “alternate history” those bits of technology change how major developments in our past happen during the 1900s. World War II CAN’T happen the way it did in our world if you have instant communication across distances like that. There’s no accident of timing. There’s no struggle to travel the distances necessary to fight others in a distant land… but why would you send soldiers at all? Just send the bomb and let that do the work for you with none of the danger.

I think there’s a lot of potential for this series and I am already enjoying the next book. I would recommend picking this one up and giving it a shot.

Divine?

City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m going to give this one a weak 3 stars. I struggled with this book on a couple of fronts.

Third person current tense? I’m not sure, but it was like a nature show narrator during certain parts and it really bothered me.

I actually liked the characters quite a lot once I got past the author’s style. I think the indestructible secretary was a little much, but I understood why he was there. It’s useful to have that sort of “action” person around if you are not that action person. There were times when Shara didn’t look like a hugely experienced operative, but I was totally willing to roll with that. I also really liked Mulaghesh.

The world building perplexed me a bit. I wasn’t sure how certain parts of technology were or were not supposed to fit. There was no clear definition of what worked and what didn’t, what people were aware of and what they were not aware of. Eventually I put it into the same category as an 80s Batman movie.

There are lots of parts to this book that look like a thinly veiled condemnation of modern religion. I think there’s a lot of potential conversation stuff in here. For that alone, I would say pick it up and give it a shot.

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Secrets and Star Wars

I went back to look at where I’d left off with all the “secrets” posts and found something I’d forgotten. It’s fortuitous timing as well, since I wanted to talk about the Star Wars trailer that was shown very specifically at half time of the Monday night football game.

Is that really the target audience? Who gets the most help from that – the franchise or the NFL and their saggy ratings? This is not the first time they’ve done the “event” trailer thing – did it help last time?

October 20, 2015

The human body has an amazing capacity to care for itself. My sleep patterns are not always the best and I end up somewhere on the sleep deprived scale more often than I would like. When that happens, my body does (eventually) right itself.

Last night during halftime of the Monday Night Football game a trailer was supposed to premier for the new(est) Star Wars movie. I had no real interest in the football game and wasn’t even planning to have the TV on last night, but I DO actually have an interest in Star Wars (even if it’s only nostalgic at this point). I did all the work I could before going out and settling on the couch. Hit the little buttons to make sure all my screen time was counted. Paid some attention when the commercials aired, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything… then my body decided enough was enough with this whole ‘not sleeping’ thing and turned me off – like a light switch. I woke up just as the announcers declared that halftime was over and the third quarter was ready to roll. I missed the whole damn thing. It’s not that I couldn’t go see the trailer on the internet the very next morning. I could (and did) more than once. It was more the idea that I attempted to actually make the advertising thing “work” and just conked out. On the up side – it still counts because even though I wasn’t actually awake to see any of the other commercials before or after, the little buttons were pushed and the lights were on recording that I was “there” for the big halftime ad. One to the good for the ratings?

Do not rocket while impaired…

Space TrippingSpace Tripping by Patrick Edwards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three stars-ish.

IF you’re looking for distant planets, space battles, far ranging corporate plots and drunk aliens doing the equivalent of “hold my beer” then this book is for you. It was amusing and a very quick read. I think I actually knocked it out in a day.

The reason this suffers in my opinion is that I have other drunken adventures that I am much more partial to. Totally not a “fair” thing to this author, but it is how I feel.

If you like this book and you’re looking for something else, you will probably very much enjoy the works of the Drunken Comic Book Monkeys in Scary Tales of Scariness (Fortress Publishing).

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Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom for Sale—Sold!Magic Kingdom for Sale—Sold! by Terry Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I read this once a long time ago. I suspect it didn’t fit with the sort of fantasy I was expecting at the time so I didn’t particularly remember it, but I picked it up again since it was a book group choice.

This actually falls directly into the category of “matters when you read it”. The main character is NOT the typical fantasy hero. He’s already had a lot of life and success in his career. He’s middle aged, not the mystery secret sixteen year old prince who’s been in hiding all his life. At this time in my life I really appreciated the difference in character.

Yes, there are other fantasy tropes in there that were kind of expected. Yes, there are some small hints of anachronism since the book was written over 30 years ago. None of those things bothered me and I really enjoyed the story this time. This may very well move up to the top of the Terry Brooks list for me.

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