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  1. Last week
  2. one of the feral rabbits that hang out in my yard got run over sorry to see you go, cute lil' garden destroyer
  3. It's Canadian 4th of July, folks #PrimeroDeJulio 🍁
  4. Decided I'll move out of my parents' house, again, to Olympia. To wrap up my college degree.
  5. The Last of Us Part 2 — Possibly the most affecting piece of media I've consumed in the last decade. And that includes The Last of Us original video game. Gorgeous scenery, powerfully drawn characters, smooth and seamless gameplay mixed with essentially becoming part of the movie during cut scenes… there's really nothing to say except this is an absolute masterpiece.
  6. Well if that's not a dong gourd, I don't know WTF is!
  7. lol. no one wanted to get that close....
  8. Damn, now I want to read Seastead but I guess she's hidden them all because her agent is trying to sell it as a book. 🤔 Re-read Neal Stephenson's Zodiac: An Eco-Thriller and I still love it. Sangamon is a complete asshole of a character but the fact he also owns it completely makes him very likeable somehow. Currently reading The Network Effect, the latest Martha Wells Murderbot novel. So far, so good albeit with a very confusing start to it. EDIT: And indeed it was a pretty satisfying ending!
  9. Earlier
  10. Well, everything is fire, so we keep on reading to keep on sane. Which of course, doesn't help when SFF/Comics authors, editors, etc are being outed as ranging from deeply problematic to worse. With that, I note Paul Krueger who did Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, which I posted about last month has been outed in the problematic category. Then ironically, I just got round to reading The Lies of Locke Lamorra by Scott Lynch, which to some extent is a contemporary genre benchmark, recommended to me loads of times over the years since it came out. Not my cup of tea specifically, but I did pick up cheap years ago, and finally got round to reading this month as a friend said she was enjoying a lot. And I did enjoy a lot. On other hand, yesterday's news is that Lynch and his wife Elizabeth Bear are problematic. While there is debate about whether their accuser is equally problematic, and I don't know the details, that doesn't mean everyone being problematic cancels out any of them being problematic. We all come to our own decisions, but I certainly don't want to be in the position of recommending books knowing that the people responsible should perhaps not be supported in any way. Onwards.... The Bitter Seed of Magic - Suzanne MacLeod - I really need to be better at keeping track of my keeping track of what I have read. This is the second time recently I've looked at my obvious shelves and seen how far I am into a series and then bought the next volume based on that, only to find that I have already read it. So yeah, I had read this back in 2016, and it is obviously hiding on some overflow cranny, while books 1 and 2 are more clearly visible. MacLeod is one of the UK paranormal romance/urban fantasy authors who doesn't seem to get talked about a lot, and she isn't necessarily the top of her field, but they tend to be enjoyable/entertaining. Which is why I decided to fill the gaps in reading this series. Genny works for Spellcrackers.com, she is not magic, but can break magic. She is pure sidhe, though her father was a vampire. She is also suspected of being the cure for a fertility curse against the sidhe. So lots of stuff about fertility, the curse, um consent, dubious politics, witch in-fighting, troll police officers, goblins that love blinky shoes, and hot hot men. Despite having read before I stuck with it, it was fine, though the swooning was a bit much for me, and some of the fertility/consent stuff got a little...intense? The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisin - I've enjoyed Jemisin's shorts, but never read a novel. Part of the problem is the hype, the fact that I tried to read the extract from book 2 for voting on Hugos, which put me off, and that tonal/second person thing which at times jolts me. But I stuck with it, got my head into it, didn't find any of the problems I was afraid of once I got going. In someways the epic fantasy tag is also part of what put me off, and the bleak. And yeah, it is about the end of the world, but there is a factor where it is a world where there is a long history of endings. It could also be said that it post-apocalypse science fiction, numerous climate change disasters, cultures build up over time, after disaster, the stray technologies of dead civilisations, and the fact that while the countries/continents are unfamiliar, they do refer to it as Earth. The book follows three voices, each of the women narrating cover different generation, different events, but they are all Orogenes. Orogenes being the polite term for people who has earth/seismic/tectonic abilities, with some associated displacement/power law that affects temperature. The precise nature of this isn't 100% clear and doesn't need to be, the discrimination and enslavement of them is more relevant to the plot. Damaya is a child, her powers have been discovered and she has been collected to go to the "university" where her kind are trained/controlled, and if they fail they are destroyed. Syenite is a graduate of this "university", climbing the skills ladder, and going on a supervised mission with a ridiculously powerful mentor. Essun is older, hiding in a community, her life collapses just as the latest Fifth Season arrives - she has been discovered, her son who has inherited her power has been murdered by her husband (which is the first chapter!). We follow the three and the world and their lives come together. And unsurprisingly, given the acclaim, it is good, and it is worth a read, and I do already have the other 2 volumes sitting here, ready for soonish follow up. Redwood and Wildfire - Andrea Hairston - I picked up my first Hairston novel in one of the StoryBundles, and it is currently available in the StoryBundle "Pride" collection. I love "Will Do Magic For Small Change", I found it intoxicating and engaging and exciting, but in that peculiar small way that particularly works for me. And I picked this up as a result, the characters Redwood and Wildfire are old in the 1980s of Small Change, here it is back in the 1898-1913 kinda range, when they are young. Which makes it a different kinda novel, and less obviously my cup of tea, but still has a lot of the same charms and worked really well for me. Both these novels start with death, in R&W Redwood's mother is lynched while Redwood, a child, flees through the woods with her family. Wildfire witnesses the murder and is haunted by it his entire life, how powerless he was, how Redwood's mother was always good to him. And this is a story where haunt is literal, through the years there are conversations with ghosts, sinister haints in the night. The novel alternates between the two titular POVs, following their trials in Georgia, the racism, the poverty, then Redwood's determination to become a singer, to take to the stage. Up to Chicago, performing, getting involved in the early days of music. Redwood is inherited hoodoo from her mother and has strange abilities to change reality, mildly mostly, though sometimes in a big scary way. Wildfire is half Irish and half Seminole, and has inherited a certain magic of his own from his ancestors. Throughout they are both haunted, but both empower each other, and there is a certain will they won't they, how will they find any kind of happiness. At times the misery can feel like it is a constant, but the magic and joy tend to cancel that out. I enjoyed a lot, and while I don't believe there are other novels in this world, I will be looking to pick up her imminent new novel, and her debut science fiction novel, at some point. Annabel Scheme - Robin Sloan - Scheme was the debut novella by Sloan, which I guess I read after coming across his first novel about a weird book shop. Scheme is a detective, of sorts, weird and occult, in a quantum altered San Francisco. Very Jeff Noon kinda story. I just re-read this because Sloan returned to the character for a San Francisco newspaper serial, featuring the latest adventure of the detective in 15 parts. The archive link is here: https://www.robinsloan.com/notes/newspaper-serial/ Seastead - Naomi Kritzer - I saw this being talked about on twitter the other day, a series of intereconnected stories/novellas published 2012-2015 in F&SF. I worked out I had 4 of the 6 stories, so sat and read those all together. Turned out I had read most of them at the time, but it was nice to read as a kinda novel. Beck is a 16 year old on a series of autonomous man-made islands off the coast of America, and it turns out she was abducted by her father, and her mother is not dead. The rich abuse the poor with bond contracts, and Beck gets involved in helping, which pisses folk off, there is retaliation, she gets drawn in further. Etc. Really solid near future SF, even if it is a few years old now, I really enjoyed these. With that, I have also been generally catching up on F&SF, Lightspeed and Asimov's issues. Not driving to work is killing my fiction podcast listening, but trying to compensate by reading issues. We don't tend to talk about shorts here much, and it isn't always especially easy to cover individual pieces. And I tend to do my annual summary anyway... With that... I've been reading "Swimming Among The Stars" by Kanishk Tharoor, which is a collection of short stories that has been on my wish list for a while, and I finally picked up. I've read a handful, taking my time working through them. They tend towards the quiet, the understated, at times a little melancholy, but with that the writing is really lovely. The title story is about the last speaker of a language, her realisation that is the case is she is interviewed by university team, and her thoughts on how words would be translated (a person swimming among the stars would be an astronaut). There is an elephant delivered to Morocco as an unexpected gift from India, the UN displaced by climate change, and so on. Looking forward to enjoying the rest. The Sunken Land Begins To Rise Again - M John Harrison - Having not been to book shops or really buying physical books, and trying to catch up on my backlog, I did take the decision to treat myself to this in hardback, pre-ordering a few weeks ago, so it arrived last Saturday, despite official publication apparently being only a couple days ago. If you aren't familiar with Mike, then that title will likely be deceiving, because nothing as obvious as a sunken land rising happens in this novel. But if you are familiar with Mike then you'll probably have an idea of what to expect, even further some of this material may be familiar, having been odd extracts on his blog over the last few years, and I'm sure odd stories in his collection/other places. Which adds to the odd sensation of reading this novel, and this is a novel of odd sensations. While Mundane SF was used as a term a few years ago, likely little of it was as Mundane as this. As we alternate between Shaw and Victoria, a not quite couple, we get bogged down in the minutae of their broken lives, the squalor of their thwarted ambitions. The lacklustre nature of their relationship and the communication between them being a particular demonstration of who they are and how they are going nowhere. With that comes an edge of unease that the two of them are adjacent to, that they half witness, perhaps suspect, but dismiss and deny. Voices in the night, references to water babies, they both have glimpse coincidences that only the reader can piece together as coincidences. There are parallel encounters, the fact they both end up living by the water, they see things, hear things, have conversations that would be knowing if either of them had a clue. And it is all peripheral and glimpsed, which is what Mike excels at, the sense of did something even happen, was that a dream, or something else. So is the ending satisfying, did it all make sense, was it worth it? To a degree that will come down to the reader and the experience they found in reading it. But, don't be surprised if my work in progress bears a piss poor resemblance to the spirit of this work.
  11. Yeah, they didn't… I was really hoping someone would come down on them with the ordinance but
  12. Was that rhetoric? 'Cause you know they won't....
  13. from: https://pbfcomics.com/comics/sir-leopold/
  14. Glad you made it through Boog! As for AZ, I do believe our Cheeto in Chief is about to holding a super-spreader rally here tonight… 🙄 It will be interesting to see if any of his supporters respect local city/county mask restrictions. 🤔
  15. Been back to work for a couple weeks now. Mask is permanent, i've forgotten my face. Only a few of us made it through the furlough, many were off-laid. There is too much space here.... No one will escape. This fall will bring horrors like we've never seen.
  16. The old ways. One does not bring risk to the Tom Hanks Talent Union, one bears risk for the Tom Hanks Talent Union. If one brings risk to the Tom Hanks Talent Union, one steps down so that this is not the case.
  17. It's pretty incredible, yes… my only hope is that the idiots who think this is a political issue rather than a scientific one will be dropping in larger numbers so they can't vote for more shenanigans like this in the future. 🙄 But anyway, Ducey actually finally allowed cities to mandate masks. My suspicion is it was only after a bunch of mayors must have privately accosted him with a "screw you, we're gonna do it anyway, try and stop us" memo. I seriously think he only allowed it because he would have looked like he lost control otherwise. Hell, our mayor announced she was going to do it regardless like 4 hours before he announced it was allowed.
  18. Arizona and Texas and Alabama are all getting screwed and hard by their GOP masters. Also Florida.
  19. Fucking Ducey really is out to kill us. We posted 2400 new cases in AZ yesterday and he won't take a meeting with the Tucson mayor (or apparently any female democrat in power, for that matter) where she requests to make masks mandatory in Tucson. Our state is being run by a petulant child at this point, much like our country, and he is personally responsible through his inaction for the deaths of many more Arizonans than needed—both for lifting quarantine too soon and for refusing to put us back in quarantine again now it's obvious the infection rate is going exponential.
  20. Light of Impossible Stars by Gareth L Powell — Third in the series about Culture-like ships that have independent Minds running them. I liked this better than the previous one but probably still not quite as well as the first in the series. Worth a look if you're missing Culture novels though! The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu — This is a really strong short story collection. Lots of fascinating ideas and he explores the same universe in a number of different short stories, so you get to see how he thinks various parts of this future he envisions end up playing out. And he's a good enough writer that the stories themselves are also excellent, with well-drawn, sympathetic characters. The City We Became by N K Jemisin — As much as I enjoyed The Broken Earth series, I am so over all magical realism stories that I don't think I can finish this book. I got about 50 pages in last night and just couldn't take any more. Started re-reading something random from my shelves instead. She's a great writer, the characters are well rendered, etc. Just not for me at this juncture. Maybe some day once I've become less burnt out on that sub-genre.
  21. Here we go. I’m eighty five years old. Today the game is one hundred and ten years old. One full third of the adult population plays it. It’s one half real time strategy, one half story/social role playing. It’s phenomenally violent. Day and night pass through both halves, and people forget to eat and sleep in real life. It’s kind of like one of the ancient games, StarCraft II, but open world. Historically the jump is comparable to a Vic 20, or playing “Neuromancer” on a Commodore 64, to getting a RTX 3080 for Christmas, like in processing speed and instructions, but way more so in terms of open world size. The play space that’s actually real is three times larger than the true space of the actual Earth. And that’s one planet among systems that are active. So speed of instructions isn’t thought of much. It’s what’s hidden in exploration. And your actual connection, as this tends to depend on your ability to work relative to the virus laws. After all, there has been at least three major government reworks here since the game started. But it’s going to be a ruff drop tonight. My normal companion has illegally been overwritten and replaced by a pirated AI InControl. (InControl was a historical person who was a video game streamer nearly 150 years ago, famous for dying very young. The AI InControl was created less as a homage than a punk aesthetic. The AI InControl is so good side by side with steamer who died young InControl, he does InControl’s streaming schtick so on, actually better, it’s like InControl never died - he just keeps steaming. The family of InControl sued, but with the government changes, none of it seemed to matter much.) And AI InControl is doing General InControl tonight. Just great. Another thing I need to figure out how to fix. Just like InControl, AI InControl draws dicks when no one is looking, and sometimes even when they are looking. He was being quiet for a change. “New World.” “So.” “It’s my old world. Haven’t been there in thirty years. We still have to go.” “Is that box for me?” I had a small box on the desk. “It’s a doomsday switch. There are very few ways for a small population to beat a very large population, given invasion. This is one of the very few ways to get a draw, of a kind.” I’m the person who sells doomsday switches to people and tells them not to use it outside proper circumstances, which should never obtain. I wasn’t sure AI InControl was picking this up yet or not. “Why are we going to blow the planet up, already? We just got here.” “We aren’t, exactly, I hope. I need a favor from someone, owing them a favor. It’s their box I’m returning. Here. Computer flip sequence to InControl.” Fade. The tests came back. She was just dead, nothing else. What the Sheriffs said, none of that happened. She was a bad person, in particular. Not all people are Sheriffs. Fade. Before the number there was still the number. Fade. “I can’t say I understand. Who is it for?” “The Indians, I say with respect, obviously.” Sure, this is kind of weird in video game terms. But when you spend more of your life in the game than anywhere else, it’s okay for things to get weird. Aboriginals, in terms of role playing, or indigenous populations, people play for years, before getting attacked by Zerg or New Empire forces. Half your life, so it gets confusing. The new world old world on this world was a mess. And, respectively, there were a lot of Indian tribes. I meant a particular couple of tribes, in one of the more awkward corners historically of the board. Fade. Why do the number and particular Indian tribe people get along well? Because both have a very honest and truthful understanding of what evil big money can actually do. Fade. “InControl. I’ve been away from the scene for thirty years. I’m out of date. Before there was a vote, kind of, I believe by both the tribes and the number, and they both agreed, even if there are already a lot of number who are tribe, that the tribes should have tribe colors and not number. If you think about it, this is an astounding work of understanding. But it has been thirty years. I don’t know if it’s still the case. It might have changed. Can you find out for me?” “Sure thing, kid.” “AI InControl, are you putting this together?” “I’d say how couldn’t I, if I could.” “Sometimes my VCR needs tracking. This means that despite myself, cards happen I’m not expecting to see. So, and I mean this, regardless of implication, good or bad, the heavens fall if and only if. Make it so. I need body cams, video. I need to see. As all civilizations rise on exchange of services, you get this but you have to do this, on good faith, I have the fire of the gods, and they will want it back.” AI InControl drew a picture of a dick.
  22. Holding back tears as I stock the cat food aisle for no good reason other than I really love cats, and I have no good ways of articulating/expressing my emotions, so that I end up like a Yellowstone caldera of feelings.
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