What’s shakin’? – July, August and September 2018

What have you been looking at lately?

TV

I tore through season 2 of the Marvel’s Luke Cage. I’m enjoying the various Netflix Marvel series and Luke Cage is not exception. Like in season 1, there is a level of African-American cultural references that I suspect are going way over my head, but not in such a way as to make the story incomprehensible. I’ve enjoyed the course they are charting for Luke Cage, and I think they’ve set up for an interesting third season down the line.

Likewise I worked my way through season 2 of Marvel’s Iron Fist. This is still very newly out, so I won’t give away any plot spoilers. Suffice to say I enjoyed it more than season 1, and it seemed like they engaged with a lot of the issues people raised re: cultural appropriation and gender bias (maybe not completely, but they seemed to at least be acknowledged). My perspective should be treated with suspicion though, as I’m as likely as the next person to have biases and blind spots. I’ll be very interested to see how people who have direct experience around those kinds of issues engage with the show.

Final Space is a cartoon space comedy on Netflix. Season 1 is 10 episodes, and I liked it. A little bit Futurama, but a lot more blood and guts. I may have been reading too much into it, but the straight, white guy protagonist was such a doofus that it almost seemed a commentary on sticking someone like that at the centre of a narrative. A bit stupid, but a lot of fun.

Speaking of stupid, I also watched Future Man, another sci-fi comedy. Again a lot of blood and guts, and some funny and self-aware commentary on time travel as a plot device.

The Good Place season 3 has just started – the whole household is very excited by its return.

Books

Hidden City by Alan Baxter – an urban fantasy with strong horror elements (as you’d expect from Baxter). I enjoyed it, pace was good and Baxter develops the characters quickly and well. From Goodreads:

When the city suffers, everyone suffers.

Steven Hines listened to the city and the city spoke. Cleveport told him she was sick. With his unnatural connection to her, that meant Hines was sick too. But when his friend, Detective Abby Jones, comes to him for help investigating a series of deaths with no discernible cause, Hines can’t say no. Then strange fungal growths begin to appear in the streets, affecting anyone who gets too close, turning them into violent lunatics.

As the mayhem escalates and officials start to seal Cleveport off from the rest of the world, Hines knows the trouble has only just begun.

Cabaret of Monsters by Tansy Rayner Roberts – got this through Robert’s recent Kickstarter to resurrect her Creature Court trilogy. I enjoy Robert’s writing a lot, and this was no exception. Very much stand alone, although it I think it adds something if you’ve read the Creature Court trilogy (I’m planning a re-read when the new editions come out). From Goodreads:

Saturnalia in Aufleur is a time of topsy-turvy revels, of the world turned upside down and transformed before your eyes. The city’s theatres produce an annual display of reversals, surprises and transformations.

In this city, flappers can transform into wolves. Even the rats are not what they seem.

Evie Inglirra is on a mission to infiltrate the theatrical world of Aufleur and discover what lies beneath their glamorous cabaret costumes and backstage scandals. Has she bitten off more than she can chew?

Luna and Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald – great space opera.

I’ve been enjoying the Murderbot series by Martha Wells (not the only person on the planet that this is true of) so I decided I might try one of her fantasy books, and picked up Death of the Necromancer. Really good fantasy, set in a secondary world with a kind of 18th/19th century feel (muskets and swords, not medieval). Unfortunately, a lot of the books she has written based in this world don’t seem to be available in Australia, but I’ll keep looking.

Starting the Galactic Suburbia book club where they are reading How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ. Only up to chapter one at the moment, but I can tell it will be a very interesting experience.

I’m not reading as much as I should!

Movies

Normal superhero palaver – Ant Man and the Wasp, Deadpool 2, even went and saw Venom last night. I remain a sucker for superhero movies, even the bad ones. Ant Man and the Wasp I really enjoyed – funny, light hearted enough to be a good antidote to the slightly depressing Infinity WarsDeadpool 2 was funny, I’ve just picked it up on DVD and looking forward to watching the extended edition. Venom… wasn’t great, but watchable and I do like the anti-hero trend at the moment.

I suspect my daughter will insist on going to see the Teen Titans Movie some time these school holidays, and I’m also looking forward to the Spiderman cartoon with Miles as Spiderman.

Games

I’ve downloaded some old games onto the iPad – Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate 2. I loved those games when I was younger, and I love them still! Have completed BG1 and working my way through BG2 as a Cleric/Ranger character (which I’ve never played before).

I also bought the new Tomb Raider game, but haven’t had a chance to play it yet as my 10yo daughter has decided she is going to be Laura Croft when she grows up and is devouring the game herself.

Writing

I’ve gone back to my novel manuscript, and have been slowly working my way through it editing. It is a very slow process – I don’t have a lot of time to devote to writing at the moment, and what time I have tends to be late at night when I’m not at my freshest.

What’s shakin’? – June 2018

So, what have I been up to in June, culture consumed wise?

TV

Finally got around to finishing a couple of TV seasons that I’d left half done for some reason.

Lost In Space Season 1 – visually spectacular, good characterisation, tense. So if it was so good, why did I pause half way through and not come back to it for about 2 months? I’m not 100% sure, but I think it had to do with the Dr Smith storyline. Waiting for the other shoe to drop and people to work out what she was up to created a tension that took the edge off the show for me. However, when I got back into it it was a good run to the end, and it was an intriguing cliff hanger.

Shadowhunters Season 3 – don’t generally love the angel/devil based urban fantasy (I love urban fantasy, just not the Christian element) but I remain vaguely interested in this one. Not enough to watch religiously (pun intended), but every now and then. I could make some comments about world building, but honestly I think I like it mainly because I can switch my brain off and just watch along.

The Magicians Season 3 – now this was excellent TV. I’ve liked The Magicians all the way through, but I thought this season stepped it up a notch. It goes without saying that Margo and Elliot steal the show as always, but using a portal fantasy setup to allow for the meta-examination of the tropes of fantasy makes this show stand out for me. If you haven’t been watching, definitely go back to season 1. But put it this way – any show that uses misheard request to result in “trial by wombat” is always going to have my vote.

Also watched the end of The Flash and Supergirl (my daughter loves both). I’m less of a fan these days, I think the characters on both shows (as well as Arrow) makes questionable ethical decisions, at least from a utilitarian point of view. Still, it is a good experience sharing with my daughter.

Next month, I watching along with Gotham (bonkers!) and looking forward to watching the next season of Luke Cage.

Books

The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley. Do you ever get the feeling that you’re just not smart enough to understand a book? The Stars are Legion has got a lot of love from a lot of people whose opinion I respect, but I didn’t fall in love with it myself. Didn’t hate it either, my reaction was more of the “meh” variety. I appreciated aspects of the novel, what it was doing with gender etc. But it didn’t grab me me by the throat and I had to drag myself through. Just goes to show, all the novels aren’t for all the people!

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz – I know I’m a bit late to this particular parade, but I liked this novel. It had that William Gibson/Bruce Sterling kind of feel which conjured up that warm, snuggly feeling you get when you are reminded of your teenage reading habits. Some really interesting comments on the long term impact of intellectual property law taken to an extreme. Some great characters as well – I like a novel that can write from the perspective of both the protagonist and the antagonist and still make both have sympathetic elements (as well as non-sympathetic ones).

Next month I’ve got Alan Baxter’s Hidden City on my reading list, not sure what else yet. As always, happen to entertain any suggestions in the comments.

Movies

My 10yo daughter has fallen in love with Oceans 8, and has insisted on seeing it three times at the movies. So I actually got to go and see it one of those three times. Does a great job at replicating the feel of the first movie, but still being a very fresh take on the theme. Script was tight, acting great – a fantastic movie, but if my daughter’s experience is anything to go from, particularly good for any young women in your orbit.

Speaking of heist films, I also saw Solo towards the start of the month. I know it hasn’t received as much love as previous films, but I really liked it. It was good to see another aspect of the Star Wars universe, and I thought the plot was good for the style of film (fast paced). There were enough nods to the history to keep fans happy, but I think a non-fan would also get a lot from it.

Next month, it’s Ant Man and the Wasp on the radar. I’d also like to see The Incredibles 2.

Writing

The experience of having my novella (‘The Reclaimers‘) released in Dimension6 earlier in the year was fantastic. Since then, I’ve been motivated to start editing my novel draft (Unaligned) and working on a new short story that I’m excited about. Family life and work have left less time than optimal for writing (and this blog!) over the last few years, and I’m trying to reboot now.

Rewatching DS9 – Season 1

We all have our favourite Star Trek series, and for me that series was Deep Space 9. I noticed a few months back that all the Star Trek series were available on Netflix. Of course, I have them on DVD, but DVD is so last decade. My laziness has hit a new 21st century high when I feel like the act of changing discs and the effort involved in remembering which disc you are up to has apparently become too much for me.

Oh please. You’ve hit that level of peak laziness too.

There is a lot of good TV around at the moment, and I’m relatively time poor, so seeing them on Netflix wasn’t enough to trigger any kind of rewatch. I’d tried to watch Star Trek the Next Generation again, to introduce my 9 year old daughter to the Star Trek universe. I didn’t last more than an episode or two. It has not dated well.

So I’d given up on old Star Trek rewatches, but then I was listening to a podcast (Galactic Suburbia), and one of the hosts (Alisa if I remember correctly) started talking about rewatching DS9 and I got all nostalgic. It was crunchy! It was a bit darker!! It had great story arcs!!!

Back in the day, I remember being a bit sceptical about the premise – how good could a space station be? Nowhere near as cool as a space ship. They’d be stuck in one place. There would be no spectacular space battles. Hell, the guy in charge wasn’t even a captain.

In my memory, the first couple of seasons were a bit episodic, then as the “ongoing” story took over I liked it more and more. So, I approached it assuming I’d have to grit my teeth and “get through” season 1 (especially remembering my STTNG experience). My daughter had a medium interest level (at best). I finally convinced her to sit down with me and watch the first episode.

It was excellent.

I mean, really excellent. Even though the actors were clearly still going through the “getting to know you” stage of a new series, the episode was fantastic. The story line was interesting. I loved it!

My daughter was less impressed. She wandered off at one point, complaining she didn’t really understand what was going on. Explaining wormhole aliens that don’t have a sense of linear time was a bit challenging for a 9 year old. I waved her away, slightly impatiently.

Over the next couple of weeks I kept watching, and the quality of each individual episode was excellent. Significantly better than I remember. The characters were introduced intelligently and developed over the course of the season with an admirable efficiency. Relationships were created and used to good effect. The world building was tight and to the point. The acting was, for the most part, excellent. Some haminess, but in the best possible way.

Commenting on all the episodes would be tedious for you, but a couple of highlights:

  • In “Emissary” (the pilot episode), as well as everything above I loved the idea of a run down station, with everything broken. Perhaps its the engineer in me, but the lack of clean lines, the general grubbiness of the world really appealed to me.
  • “Captive Pursuit”, where O’Brien befriends an alien from the Gamma Quadrant who is being hunted, really endeared O’Brien to me. I loved his willingness to put everything on the line, and watching him mastermind a gaol-break was fantastic. I love it when engineers go rogue!
  • The episode “Dax” where Jadzia is accused of murder and refuses to defend herself, I found quite moving. She was quiet, she was determined and she was willing to defend the secrets of her previous host to the end. That episode really stuck with me.
  • “In the Hands of the Prophets” (the season finale) introduces then Vedek Winn – one of my favourite baddies in the whole Star Trek universe. She is just so loathsomely evil. Also in this episode was the first time in Star Trek that I noticed them introduce a minor character for a few episodes beforehand, so that when she suddenly played a major role it wasn’t as jarring as it could have been. This “seeding” was the fore-runner of the longer story arcs that came to characterise the show.

Somewhere in the middle of the season, my daughter wandered back in and started paying attention again. She likes Quark. A lot. I’m now not allowed to watch DS9 without her, although she is often doing other things while it is on. That’s OK. I think she’s slowly getting hooked.

Just in time for Star Trek Discovery.

Finishing Discworld

I’ve been a big fan of Terry Pratchett’s work for more years than I care to remember. I still remember coming across The Colour of Magic when I was at high school. It was a revelation – screwball comedy in fantasy done in a way I’d never encountered before. I laughed harder than I felt that a nerd with a taste for the fantastica had any right to. At that point only a few of Pratchett’s Discworld novels had come out, but I was hooked.

Ever since that first encounter, I have hung out for every new release, and each book has taken me back to that feeling I had in high school. When I heard about Pratchett’s alzheimers diagnosis I was sad. To be honest, sadder than I really had a right to be given I never met the man. And his death in 2015 struck me as it did his many, many fans around the world.

I read most of everything that Pratchett wrote, including the excellent Good Omens and more recently his co-authored Long Earth series. But there was one section of his bibliography that I had never ventured into, and that was his young adult novels (both in and out of the Discworld setting).

I’m not 100% sure why. By the time I became aware of them, I’d left the “young” part of young adult far behind. As I’ve got older, I’ve found less and less to empathise with in young adult books generally. These days, when I hear that a book is young adult it tends to drop down my “to be read” pile (so many books to read, it doesn’t take much to have one drop away). But still, this is Terry Pratchett. One of my favourite authors. And in the case of the Tiffany Aching series, they were even set one of my favourite worlds, the Discworld. Yet I put it off and put it off.

Recently, my 8 year old daughter was looking for something to read and I thought of the Tiffany Aching books. I didn’t know much about them, just that they were set in Discworld, involved witches and were for younger readers. So I bought the books on Kindle, and told my daughter I’d read the first one at the same time she did.

Now as it turns out, even the first book is a bit advanced for your average 8 year old and my daughter put it aside after a couple of chapters. I’m sure she’ll come back to them some day. But me, I kept reading. And reading. And reading. And soon I’d read all five books.

This isn’t a review of the series. They are good. If you like Pratchett, they are very good. And I will gentle nudge my daughter back towards them when she is a bit older, because there are some excellent themes for young women. If my daughter grows up wanting to emulate Tiffany Aching, well let’s just say there are much worse role models out there.

But reading them made me a bit sad, because reading them marked the end of a chapter of my reading life. There are no more Discworld novels to look forward to. I will never again feel the anticipation of an impending new release, never more have the satisfaction of settling in to read the opening chapters, never finish reading and feel the sting of having to wait so long until the next release. There are no more new words to be consumed.

Yes, I’ll reread at some point and yes it will be marvellous. But it will never again be new. And that makes me sad.

And so, I’ve written this post in an utterly self indulgent desire to share that sadness, and perhaps through writing come a little more to terms with it. No artist lives forever. But with Pratchett, I wish we’d had a little longer.

The Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett (with links to each book’s Wikipedia page) includes:

Monthly roundup culture consumed – July 2016

How was July?

Books

This month I read (and reviewed) Vigil by Australian author Angela Slatter. I reviewed the book for the Australian Women Writers Reading challenge here, so you can read my opinion in great detail.

I also read the final “Long Earth” book by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, called The Long Cosmos. I’ve enjoyed the series without loving it, and I must admit that my primary motivation around this book was to be a completist. The writing was good, but I must admit that the plot didn’t really seem to build to anything. If you like the series, you’ll probably already have read the book. If not, you can quite safely give this one a miss.

I’ve started on The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. I’m only a little way through the book, but enjoying it so far. It’s been a long introduction, but the characters are enjoyable and the world building interesting enough to carry me through. More next month!

Never having read any Lois McMaster Bujold, I’ve decided to give the Vorkosigan Saga a go. I’m starting with Falling Free. Hopefully I’ll have finished that next month too.

TV

As reported last month, the second series’ of Dark Matter (a science fiction show that actually features a spaceship) and Killjoys (intergalactic bounty hunters) started back up. I’ve quite enjoyed both through the course of the month. Dark Matter is probably my favourite of the two, but only just. It is jumping around a bit cast wise, with one of the main cast from last season killed off and an array of new characters popping in and out. But the overall plot is interesting, and the acting good enough to keep me coming back.

Killjoys is getting better this season, with more of an overarching storyline to keep me interested. I think the show is a bit tighter this season.

I just today realised that the second series of Marvel’s Agent Carter is playing on one of the free to air channels (7flix). Fortunately their catch up TV still has the first six episodes so I’ll make a concerted effort to catch up.

Movies

A lot of movies this month. Last month I mentioned that my 8-year old daughter and I were going to see Ghostbusters. My daughter really enjoyed the movie, and loved the cast (and the “icky ghosts”). The movie was everything I was hoping it would be in terms of strong female cast, good story, good special effects etc. I’ve read some commentary about some people being disappointed, but it did everything I wanted it to. Well worth going, especially if you’ve got a young person in your life who’d like to see strong representations of women on the big screen.

I also went to the IMAX in Sydney to see the new Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond. I think this might be my favourite of the three new reboot movies, with a strong storyline and some great set pieces. The characters were strongly played (although seriously, how many times can they go back to the Mr-Spock-doesn’t-have-feelings-except-yes-he-actually-does-oh-he-is-human-afterall well?) and there was a good balance of action and humour. Clearly you’re probably not going to see the movie unless you’re a Star Trek fan, but I would say that if you like science fiction generally, this is the Star Trek movie I’d probably recommend for you.

Speaking of Star Trek, has anyone else seen the news that there is going to be a new Star Trek TV series starting early next year? And that Australian Netflix is going to show the episodes the day after they air in the US? I can’t seem to find any further details than that, but the news has made me unreasonably excited.

This weekend I also saw Suicide Squad. Look, I don’t don’t really want to get on the Suicide Squad bashing bandwagon. It’s not the greatest film in the world. You can probably wait until it comes out on DVD. Introducing such a lot of relatively unknown characters in one movie means that a LOT of time is dedicated to backstory. And the team bond together remarkably quickly considering they are all bad guys. But if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief it is a harmless enough way to kill a couple of hours. It gets a “meh” from me.

Other

Not much else this month. I’m not going to be at my computer next Sunday, so next week’s post might be a little delayed (I’ll try the automatic publish thing but quite frankly it has not served me well in the past). If it doesn’t work, I’ll publish on Tuesday. Promise!

Continued general ramblings

So, what’s up this week?

David McDonald has been kicking a lot of goals recently, including a Captain America novel, becoming a SFWA member,  and writing some really interesting series of posts, on things like “Paying for our passion” (writers talking about how they support themselves in their writing). If you haven’t had the pleasure, I’d recommend jumping over to his website and having a look. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

One of my favourite podcasts, The Writer and the Critic, is back onto a monthly publishing schedule, which I quite like. They’ve moved to a more “curated” format, where they pick books according to some theme. Admittedly usually a somewhat obscure theme particular to them, but a theme nonetheless. This is one of only two endeavours that I sponsor through Patreon, well worth checking out if you haven’t had a chance to.

I took my 8 year old daughter to see the new Ghostbusters movie. It was a lot of fun, and I got a real kick from seeing how inspired my daughter was by such a strongly female led cast. The friendship showed between the characters was great, and if this movie doesn’t pass the bechdel test, no movie does! If you’ve got any young women in your life, I definitely recommend taking them along to see Ghostbusters.

Monthly roundup culture consumed – June 2016

How was June for everyone?

Books

I mentioned last month that I’ve started watching The Magicians TV show, which reminded me to read the last two books of the original trilogy by Lev Grossman (The Magician King and Magician’s Land). I really liked these books, in fact I’m surprised I haven’t read them before now. Modern fantasy for adults definitely, but also the popular culture references that abound in the book seem particularly suited for people around my age. It does make me wonder whether the books will age particularly well. Still, for the time being I really enjoyed these two books and reading them did enhance my enjoyment of the TV series.

TV

Nothing hugely different for the month of June. At the very end of the month, the second series of Dark Matter (a science fiction show that actually features a spaceship) and Killjoys (intergalactic bounty hunters) started back up. Looking forward to those shows.

Movies

No movies for me this month, but I did suddenly realise that another Star Trek movie is due out in the very near future. This wasn’t on my radar at all! As a result, I did make it my business to re-watch the two recent Star Trek movies, both of which I quite enjoyed. Looking forward to seeing Star Trek: Beyond in the next couple of weeks.

I am filled with joy that my 8-year old daughter is super excited about the release of Ghostbusters next week. I was relieved that the movie has been rated PG, so next weekend we’ll be off together to see the film. I can’t tell you how happy I am that there are more and more examples of strong, female led films and franchises for my daughter to consume. I know things aren’t perfect and still have a long way to go, but if I think back even 5 years ago I worried a lot about what would exist for my daughter in the future. Now, I can at least find a fairly steady stream of material.

Other

My daughter and I enjoy a show called Teen Titans, Go! There are quite a few nods to adults watching along, including an episode where one of the main characters listens to a song called Night Begins to Shine, a very 80s sounding song that you would almost swear you remember from your teenage years. It isn’t – the song was written for the show. However it is way too catchy, and I was forced to go onto iTunes and buy the song. It has made its way onto my exercise playlist. I’m currently a lot in love with this song!

General ramblings – Part 4

One of my favourite authors, Jason Nahrung, recently posted a free short story set in his “outback vampire” universe. I’m a big fan of Jason’s writing, and so it was a great thrill to read some more work set in an imagined world that I’ve really enjoyed. Details can be found on Jason’s website. If you enjoy the short story, you might want to try the two novels (Blood and Dust and The Big Smoke).

Are you still watching Game of Thrones? I recognise that there are many problematic elements of the story, depiction of women etc but I must admit that I still find it compelling viewing. The storylines do feel like they are starting to come together, I’ll be interested to see how many seasons there are left.

I don’t really have much else to contribute this week – I’m feeling a little out of interesting news. I might leave this entry as a very short one, and try to come back stronger next week!

General ramblings – Part 3

Some more general ramblings, brought to you by me – your friendly neighbourhood writer-nerd.

I’ve recently discovered a game on the Xbox One called “Elite Dangerous”, based on a very old game that I used to play back in the ’80s called Elite. It’s a spaceship/trading/bounty hunting type of game, where you make your way across the galaxy, building up your ship and making as many credits as you can. I think it is only very recently out, and its as buggy as all hell, but I’m getting a huge nostalgia kick out of playing it.

The Victorian speculative fiction convention, Continuum, is running this long weekend. I’ve been to Continuum a couple of times, but couldn’t get away this year. I’ve been vaguely following through Twitter, and it seems like a good time is being had by all. I’ve always found conventions to be a lot of fun, and over time they’ve got better. I’m not exactly “well connected”, but over the years you do get to know a few people and conventions are an excellent way to catch up and get to compare notes with fellow travellers. Hope everyone is having fun – maybe I’ll be able to come along next year!

Many years ago I supported a crowd funding campaign for a book called Glitter and Mayhem. Despite the book itself being released in 2013, I never received a copy. To be honest, I started thinking that perhaps I’d only thought I’d supported it, or maybe supported it at a lower level. Imagine my surprise when a copy of the book showed up through the week, along with an apologetic note saying they’d found a box of books that were supposed to go out back in 2013, but had been misplaced. That is some serious delay, but also a timely reminder that I don’t always check to see that I’ve actually received stuff that I supported through crowd funding.

But, in more timely crowd funding news, I also received my copy of In Your Face, an Australian anthology of speculative fiction stories that tackle confronting themes. I think, given the relative timeliness, I’ll read this one first! The book was put together by Fablecroft Publishing, a really innovative small press here in Australia that is well worth checking out.

And to keep the crowd funding theme, my radio in the car was finally replaced (it only took the insurance company 9 months to process the claim after my car was broken into). Why is that important? Because I’ve finally been able to start listening to the Night Terrace radio series with my daughter. So far, we’ve listened through the bonus “My Name is Eddie” short series, and are now listening to “Horatio’s Travels” before getting to the main event. I sponsored this season at a higher level, and as a result my daughter should be called by name in one of the main episodes. She has no idea, so I’m really looking forward to that particular surprise.

If you haven’t listened to Night Terrace, it is really worth checking out.

I’ve started trying to do a bit more exercise (sorely needed exercise), and I’ve been using an app – Zombies! Run. It overlays your music with a story about the zombie apocalypse, and it is awesome. The production values are fantastic, with great voice acting and an interesting plot. If you’re a spec fic fan and trying to get some motivation to exercise (especially if you’re a runner), I’d certainly recommend it.

OK, that’s about it for this week. Feel free to drop in a comment if you’ve experienced any of the above!

 

General ramblings – Part 2

I know, I know. I’m going to have to come up with a better line of blog posts than this. You’re all busy people, and you can’t afford to have your time wasted by some stream of consciousness malarky by a blog writer obviously running out of things to say. I mean, come on. This first paragraph alone has taken seconds off your life. And seconds can be the difference between success and failure, life and death, pancakes and burnt, inedible frisbees.

I read a good review of an advanced copy of Vigil by Angela Slatter over on Alex Pierce’s blog. I remember the short story that the novel is based around, from the anthology Sprawl. It was excellent, so I’ve pre-ordered the novel. Go and read Alex’s blog post then think about doing the same, unless you’re visiting this blog from the future, in which case just buy the damn book already.

Speaking of Alex, she also runs a great series of posts over on tor.com focusing on Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction called Aurora Australis. It’s a great way to keep up with author and publishing news from the antipodes, well worth adding to your monthly reading list.

David McDonald, who I did some parallel podcasting with a couple of years back, is going from strength to strength in the tie in novel space. He recently posted a teaser cover with Captain America on it, so that has to be a good sign. Great guy and all round good egg – well worth checking out his work.

My daughter’s love of the Teen Titan Go! series has morphed into a desire to own some of the comic books of the same name. We ventured into the city today, and my little girl got her first proper comic books. I could never really afford comic books growing up – pre-internet it was a bit difficult to know where to start, and south-west Sydney wasn’t exactly nerd heaven. Besides, the unrelenting cost! I never could have afforded to follow a series, even if I could have found a reliable source. I’m hoping my daughter might have better luck falling in love with this branch of the speculative fiction tree than I did. And Teen Titans seems like a good place to start.

Well, I hope you’re all doing better than me on the interesting culture news front. If you’re engaged with something fascinating, make sure you drop me a line and let me know.