Monthly Archives: January 2017

January Reading Wrap-Up

Challenges

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tbr-dare mount-tbr-2017 read-the-books-you-buy-2017

COYER: Aside from Deal Me In stories, everything I read in January has been in electronic form. It’s getting rough though. Maybe near the end of February I’ll have accumulated enough “generator” points to have a physical book count for the challenge.

TBR Dare & Mount TBR: I’m staying the course. Everything I’ve read thus far in the year has been from my existing TRB pile. Of course, I’ve acquired only one book since the beginning of the year, so the task has been easy.

Read the Books You Buy: Since COYER is focused on free and >$1 reads, no progress here yet.

Finished in January

  • The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer – REVIEW
  • “Blackwater Lake” by Maggie James – REVIEW
  • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November-December 2016 – REVIEW
  • In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle – Review next week.
  • Moby-Dick, or the Whale by Herman Melville – Review later in the week.
  • The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf by Nick Bryan – DNF

Additions to my Library

Fascist Lizards from Outer Space by Dan Copp, ARC, NetGalley, acquired 1/17/17

Notes

My goal was 33 pages a day, 66 during Bout of Books (the steeper slope at the beginning of the month). I decided to include Eric’s manuscripts in my pages read because I’m not a fast reader and there just aren’t enough hours in the day otherwise.

What Else 2017, Week 4

WhatElse

Good Stuff

My good stuff this week is more on the personal level than usual.

This weekend was the 35th annual New Year Fest ultimate tournament. New Year Fest is run by VOTS, the local ultimate frisbee organization. Teams from all over the country (and occasionally from our border neighbors) come to Arizona to play ultimate frisbee for the weekend.

I attended my first New Year Fest in 2002 (Eric was playing) and played in my first in 2003. In 2008-ish, I switched to playing one day and helping out on the other at “frisbee central” where we sell shirts and discs and have bagels and PB & J for players. The entire event is run by volunteers.

If being involved with VOTS  is like being part of huge extended family (and it is), NYF is a yearly reunion. I’m not a super social person, but it is nice to *see* everyone, to trade hellos and hugs and how’ve-you-beens. Sure, I might see their updates on Facebook, but it’s so much better in person.

It’s also really satisfying to be part of something that people enjoy and appreciate. The college division of the tournament is sanctioned by a national organization, but for everyone else, the stakes are low. Winners get some swag and a discount on next year’s registration. The other 32 teams play ultimate really just for the fun of it. When someone thanks me for being a part of running New Year Fest, “you’re welcome” seems inadequate because it is honestly my pleasure to contribute to someone else’s enjoyment.

Writing Stuff

I had a pretty weak-sauce writing week. I added 1500 words and rewrote a bit.

Shared this week:

Blogging Stuff

Fitness Stuff

Played ultimate on Thursday night. Lugged a few banana boxes around on Saturday. Played two games of ultimate on Sunday.

Other Life Stuff

This week, I felt sort of…inert. I lost steam early in the week and never got going again. It’s hard to care about this world right now and not be continuously bruised.

Deal Me In, Week 4 ~ “In the House of Gingerbread”

(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

“In the House of Gingerbread” by Gene Wolfe

Card picked: Jack of Diamonds
From: The Architecture of Fear, edited by Kathryn Cramer and Peter Pautz

The Story

It’s the gingerbread house, she thought… It doesn’t eat you, you eat it. But it gets you just the same.

Tina’s husband died of lung cancer…from asbestos insulation. Her two-year old son was poisoned by paint chips. There is more to Tina’s house than she knows and more to Tina than her step-children suspect. “In the House of Gingerbread” plays with many fairy tale tropes, but it didn’t quite come together in the end.

The Author

Gene Wolfe has been writing science fiction and fantasy since the mid-1960s and has won nearly every major award in those genres (the Hugo being elusive). Though oft anthologized, this is the first story of Gene Wolfe’s to make it on to my Deal Me In list.

♣ ♣ ♣

Did you know if you can pull off eight perfect faro shuffles, a deck of cards is returned to its starting order state?

Tabular proof at Futility Closet

Favorite Stories from Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov-Dec 2016

Cover via ISFDB

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November-December 2016

I purchased a subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction back in Sept. 2016 due to one short story. While the subscription only cost me $5, I decided that if I was going to justify this, I was going to actually read each issue…unlike every other time I’ve had a fiction magazine subscription.

My reviewing of issues might get better as the year goes on, but for Nov/Dec 2016 I’m just going to highlight what I found to be the outstanding stories. All of these authors were new to me.

“The Rhythm Man” by James Beamon – Would you make a deal with the devil? If could, what would you ask for? What is that thing in your heart of hearts that you’d sell your soul for? All that bluesman Horace wants from the Rhythm Man is a song… Great mythology and a marvelous sense of place in the setting.

“Lord Elgin at the Acropolis” by Minsoo Kang – The director of a museum is certain that paintings and sculptures are being replaced by forgeries. Except, there’s no evidence. The art is re-certified as original; the security tapes show no tampering. Is he going insane? Or is technology beyond current comprehension to blame? This is half story, half thought experiment, and all good.

“Special Collections” by Kurt Fawver

We only have two rules at the library. The first is that you don’t go into Special Collections without a partner.

I’m lying when I say I don’t like cosmic horror. My problem, I think, is one of scale. To abruptly see some grand transdimentional horror and claim that it is so incomprehensible that it inspires insanity—that doesn’t work for me. But show me the little things that get under a character’s skin, show me the creeping obsessions that lead to questionable moral choices. Then, I’m all in. “Special Collections” is a deliciously spooky tale.

Publishing info, my copy: Kindle (the navigation is really nice!), Spilogale, Inc., Nov. 2016
Acquired: Sept. 2016
Genre: science fiction, fantasy, horror

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More #COYER Reviews
Generator Points Earned: 1
Generator Points Total: 4

#24in48 Wrap-Up & It’s Monday, What Am I Reading?

#24in48 Wrap-Up

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Okay, despite best intentions, I didn’t really participate in the 24 in 48 Readathon. By Saturday evening, I was firmly in self-preservation hermit mode. I only read for 8hrs 50mins, but I got caught up on Moby-Dick and PHYSIC mACHINEs, finished the Nov/Dec. issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and am about halfway through In Calabria. So, really this was just a quiet, more-reading-than-usual weekend.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

Moby-Dick In Calabria 
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville – heading into the last fourth.
  • In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle – might finish this today.
  • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January-February 2017 – I have a whole month to not be behind!
  • “In the House of Gingerbread” by Gene Wolfe – for Deal Me In

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

What Else 2017, Week 3

WhatElse

Good Stuff

Moby-Dick was the subject of a Big Read project back in 2012. Each chapter was recorded by a different person, some of them famous. I’ve been reading and/or listening along. Not surprisingly, Benedict Cumberbatch does a pretty fine job here.

Writing Stuff

The laptop arrived Monday evening. While I’m still settling in with it, it’s been really nice to take work to a different area of the apartment. I’ve installed Chrome and Spotify, but the biggest differences between the laptop and my desktop system is that there is no room for video on the laptop and that I don’t have email notifications on the laptop. When I’m using it, I’m working. For right now, that compartmentalization is helping me get some work done.

Added 4020 word to the manuscript.

The #1LineWed themes was “tree”/”leaf”.

Blogging Stuff

Fitness Stuff

It’s been a rather wintery week in Tempe. Wednesday lunchtime disc was a little lighter than usual and Friday disc was rained out. Thursday night was the first night of “B” League. We scrimmaged instead of an actual game to give some of the newer people a chance to play before it “counts.” My team has some fast, quick-to-throw guys, but they were okay dumping when there was nothing open down field.

Class Stuff

Decided not to do the Science & Cooking class. One of the disadvantages of edX is that you don’t get to see make-up of the course before the course opens. There was too much reliance on making videos and such. Not for me.

Other Life Stuff

Other than the above, not much going on. I’ve felt a little scattered over the last couple days. Maybe just too much caffeine.

Deal Me In, Week 3 ~ “The Ghost-Extinguisher”

(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

“The Ghost-Extinguisher” by Gelett Burgess

Card picked: Ace of Hearts
From: Introduced to me by Tim Prasil at The Merry Ghost Hunter. Published in Cosmopolitan in 1905, you too can read it online.

The Story

My attention was first called to the possibility of manufacturing a practicable ghost-extinguisher by a real-estate agent in San Francisco.

Our ghost-hunting narrator Garrish learns about an ancient Japanese* method of ridding properties of “ghosts” or rather the astral remains of the recently dead. Garrish sciences-up the ritual and devises a way to capture and store ghosts. When the ghost hunting business runs dry in his local area, Garrish takes a trip to England, thinking that the old country should be lousy with ghosts. Unfortunately, in England having a ghost in your house is sort of a status symbol, so no one wants their ghosts busted er, extinguished. Ever a capitalist, Garrish realizes he has a supply that is in demand. Not surprisingly, things don’t go as planned…

This is fun story. It brings to mind, of course, Ghostbusters, but also The Frighteners, in which hauntings are levied for fun and profit.

* Early 20th century racism alert!

The Author

Gelett Burgess was an artist, art critic, and humorist of some note. In addition to “The Purple Cow,” he also coined the term “blurb,” thus giving authors everywhere something to seek or be pestered for depending on which side of fame that author stands.