Monthly Archives: February 2011

Aside:

Shakespeare’s The Tempest

The Women of Fantasy Bookclub is reading Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter in March so I decided to read The Tempest in preparation (not that I’m sure it was necessary). I remember why I don’t like most of Shakespeare’s comedies. All the characters are putzes and nobody dies. My exception is Much Ado About Nothing and most loose adaptations of the comedies. While I haven’t seen it in a few years, it’s hard to believe that Forbidden Planet is based on The Tempest. I also have an especial sweet spot for 10 Things I Hate About You and the truest words that have ever been spoken about male-female relationships: Girls are suckers for guys that sacrifice themselves on the altar of dignity.

This and That on a Lazy Sunday

It seemed more appropriate to post my RoW80 update over at the Luck for Hire blog. So, that’s where it is.

Pas de Chat continues on: Chapter 36.

Kind of took the weekend off from Luck. Eric is taking a class in graph theory this semester and has a test on Monday, so lightening the narrative burden from him for a few days is a good thing. I’ve been reading a bunch and DMing a little and generally trying to be good and not re-up my EverQuest2 subscription.

The Women of Fantasy Bookclub is reading Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter in March so I decided to read The Tempest in preparation (not that I’m sure it was necessary). I remember why I don’t like most of Shakespeare’s comedies. All the characters are putzes and nobody dies. My exception is Much Ado About Nothing and most loose adaptations of the comedies. While I haven’t seen it in a few years, it’s hard to believe that Forbidden Planet is based on The Tempest. I also have an especial sweet spot for 10 Things I Hate About You and the truest words that have ever been spoken about male-female relationships: Girls are suckers for guys that sacrifice themselves on the altar of dignity.

Today, I bake brownies. I would watch the Oscars but our over-air reception of ABC sucks and instead I’ll be following some blog/twitter/whatnot. This year’s bet is based on whether The King’s Speech (my pick) or Inception (Eric’s choice) will win more Oscars.

Book #5 & Nebula Short Stories

Book #5 – A Sense of Where You Are by John McPhee

Subtitled A Profile of Princeton’s Bill Bradley. Which is exactly what it is.

I’m not a big sports fan. I didn’t grow up with sports. Attending UNL made me into a mild ‘Husker fan. I’ve never been to a Nebraska football game, and I had never watched a basketball game at all until Eric decided to take me to one on a whim back when we were still on campus in 1998-ish. Incongruously, I picked up a slight interest in non-collegiate tennis before I met Eric.

Moving to Arizona intensified my sports fandom. Partly because I am now "out-of-state" and sports are a means of maintaining allegiance to my home state. Partly because I now play a sport and am around more people who are sports fans, Eric included. And part of it is also because sports have become my seasons. The move from NE to AZ meant no more seasons as I knew them. No falling leaves, no snow, no thaw, no bloomin’ spring, but lots of what a Nebraskan might consider summer. It started with football season becoming my fall. Tennis (French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) became my respite from the heat of summer. And basketball has become my winter. I’m a newbie fan to all these things. My history/knowledge of theses sports only goes back a few years, so I pick up a sports book here and there.

Conversely, I’ve always enjoyed a good sports story. I’m a total sucker for overcoming the odds and triumphs of the spirit. A Sense of Where You Are isn’t one of those sports stories. It’s a profile. Bill Bradley was an outstanding player. While he himself might have downplay his physical abilities, he was not particularly handicapped in any manner. Growing up, he had support of his ideas and goals. From McPhee’s profile, it seems that Bradley took what ability and talent he had, worked damned hard and became an outstanding basketball player. While he obviously had passion for the game, it wasn’t his end goal and that’s an interesting story in itself, but not one told in my edition of the book.

My edition, published 1967, only includes Bradley’s collegiate career. It is assumed, at the end of this edition, that Bradley will go on to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, utterly leaving basketball behind. This older edition kind of leaves off in the middle of the story. But still, I came way with a slightly better understanding of basketball and bit of its history. That was worth the quick read.

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I dove into the Nebula nominated short stories having already read three of them. I have a round up of my very shallow thoughts on them over at Reading Notes.

Book #5

A Sense of Where You Are by John McPhee

Subtitled A Profile of Princeton’s Bill Bradley. Which is exactly what it is.

I’m not a big sports fan. I didn’t grow up with sports. Attending UNL made me into a mild ‘Husker fan. I’ve never been to a Nebraska football game, and I had never watched a basketball game at all until Eric decided to take me to one on a whim back when we were still on campus in 1998-ish. Incongruously, I picked up a slight interest in non-collegiate tennis before I met Eric.

Moving to Arizona intensified my sports fandom. Part of that is because I am now “out-of-state” and sports are a means of maintaining allegiance to my home state. Part of this is because I now play a sport and am around more people who are sports fans, Eric included. And part of it is also because sports have become my seasons. The move from NE to AZ meant no more seasons as I knew them. No falling leaves, no snow, no thaw, no bloomin’ spring, but lots of what a Nebraskan might consider summer. It started with football season becoming my fall. Tennis (French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) became my respite from the heat of summer. And basketball has become my winter. I’m a newbie fan to all these things. My history/knowledge of theses sports only goes back a few years, so I pick up a sports book here and there.

Conversely, I’ve always enjoyed a good sports story. I’m a total sucker for overcoming the odds and triumphs of the spirit. A Sense of Where You Are isn’t one of those sports stories. It’s a profile. Bill Bradley was an outstanding player. While he himself might have downplay his physical abilities, he was not particularly handicapped in any manner. Growing up, he had support of his ideas and goals. From McPhee’s profile, it seems that Bradley took what ability and talent he had, worked damned hard and became an outstanding basketball player. While he obviously had passion for the game, it wasn’t his end goal and that’s an interesting story in itself, but not one told in my edition of the book.

My edition, published 1967, only includes Bradley’s collegiate career. It is assumed, at the end of this edition, that Bradley will go on to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, utterly leaving basketball behind. This older edition kind of leaves off in the middle of the story. But still, I came way with a slightly better understanding of basketball and bit of its history. That was worth the quick read.

RoW80 – February 23rd Check In

Finished my first pass of rewrites on Monday, writing a tad over 600 words. The manuscript is still not 40K words.

Yesterday and today, I took a look at the list of scenes and decided what each scene does, what each scene should do, and jotted down some thoughts on how to make up the difference. Eric and I will talk about all of this tomorrow and over the weekend around his homework and studying. In the meantime, I should write some faux news stories which are going to go between chapters.

Had a moment today when I marveled at how much rewriting I’ve done thus far. Eric’s been a little impatient with this project and is pushing me to get the editing done. This rewrite pass might have taken a month in the past instead of a week.

I’m also quite tired of this project. I really want a break. This is probably just general/hormonal malaise that will pass. This is the hard part of writing and I’m not allowed run away. Yet.

2010 Nebulas (Stories #6-8)

2010 Nebula Short Story Nominations

I had already covered:

Arvies” by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine 8/10) – I started reading this previously. I imagine that I didn’t finish because I have to be in the mood for science-philosophy. This is my pick to win.

The Green Book” by Amal El-Mohtar (Apex Magazine 11/1/10) – More fantasy than sci-fi. Lovely, but maybe lacking enough teeth.

Ghosts of New York” by Jennifer Pelland (Dark Faith) – This pushes all my buttons. My favorite of the bunch.

Conditional Love” by Felicity Shoulders (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 1/10) – Listened to it via Escape Pod. Not my preferred method of consuming fiction, but I’m glad I did. This is the most solid story of the bunch.

Recently Read

(x-posted from Reading Notes)

Book #4: Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Paul Kidd

To me, Paul Kidd’s Greyhawk novels and short stories personify the sheer fun that is tabletop RPGs. Using classic modules as a backdrop, Kidd presents us with a fun, slightly munchkin, party. At its core, there’s the Justicar, a dour ranger; Cinders, his sentient hell hound pelt; Escalla, a slightly naughty faerie; and Polk the plain-old human teamster. The characters are eccentric and, occasionally, Kidd’s jokes go on just a little too long, but that’s how it sometimes goes in gaming.

I haven’t been a big fan of novels based on fantasy RPGs. Usually, they boil down to being fantasy novels and not much else. Kidd’s tales read a little more like a campaign journal. That’s both good and bad. On the one hand, if you’re familiar with the game, you can see how the game mechanics get translated into narrative. That sort of wink-and-nudge is a nice touch. On the other hand, sometimes that battles are too blow-by-blow and get a dry.

My favorite bits though are when Kidd describes parts of the world. Despite the zany antics of the ranger and the faerie, Kidd treats war-torn Keoland with respect and poetry.

Short Stories:

"By the Job" by Paul Kidd

"Keoland Blues" (Dragon Magazine, December 2000 – Issue #278) prompted me to buy Kidd’s Greyhawk novels, but I hadn’t realized that that was his second story for Dragon. "By the Job" (Dragon Magazine, May 2000 – Issue #271) is the first and the origin story of Jus and Cinders.

"Breakaway, Backdown" by James Patrick Kelly

Not sure I agree with all the science, but a good story in that "what space would do to society" kind of way.

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Nebula nominations have been announced so I’ll probably try to soak up some of that goodness in the next few days.