Monthly roundup culture consumed – September 2016

I hope September treated everyone with dignity and respect. I’m afraid my culture consumption has been a little light on this month – too many work events and family obligations preventing a good read!


I finished Lois McMaster Bujold’s Falling Free (Book 1 in the Vorkosigan Saga). I enjoyed the book, but my initial concern that it didn’t seem to contain anyone called “Vorkosigan” in it was born out. I am assuming that it was some kind of prequel book, that has been listed as Book 1 for anyone wanting to read chronologically? In any case, the book was a good story, but not enough to make me immediately want to pick up another in the series. I’m told I should definitely try the next one, Shards of Honour, which I might do in the fullness of time.

I started the first book in Tansy Rayner Robert’s Mocklore series, Splashdance Silver. It is interesting to go back and look at the earlier work of an author you admire. I won’t say much here, because I’ll probably do a full review once I’m finished the book.


You know what I did? I got lazy and missed the last couple of episodes of the second series of Marvel’s Agent Carter on Channel 7’s catch up TV. Really kicking myself on that front – now I’ll have to wait to be able to obtain it through alternate legal means to find out how the story ended. Very disappointing. I believe that is the last series of Agent Carter, which is a damn shame.

Have been catching up on the latest series of Musketeers, but must admit to be finding it harder going this series. Not exactly sure why, I think the clash of modern sensibilities with the realities of a 14th century French monarchy are starting to overwhelm the show. Still, there is still a nice balance of both swash and buckle, so I keep going back.

Lots of the DC universe TV series are starting up this week – Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow. I’m in two minds about a couple of these series – almost ready to let some of them go. I might give them each a few weeks and see how I feel.

Speaking of superheroes, I watched the first episode of Luke Cage on Netflix last night. Looks really good – that is one superhero show I’ll definitely be sticking with.


Besides taking my daughter to see Secret Life of Pets I’ve been once again cinema free this month. I’m considering going along to see The Magnificent Seven, but that isn’t really SF so not much point in mentioning it.

I did watch the extended cut of Batman vs Superman on Blu-ray last week. It’s still not the best superhero movie of the year, but I did find that the extra material plugged a few gaps for me and made the movie seem a bit more coherent. I especially felt that Lois Lane came out seeming much more well rounded, which was good.

I rewatched Captain America Civil War as well (a father’s day gift). I really like Spiderman. Just sayin’.


Issue 219 of Antipodean SF is out now, including my eBook versions (I actually got them done on time this month).

I have an Xbox, but I don’t really play it much anymore. I did, however, purchase a new game – Deus Ex – recently, which I’m looking forward to giving a whirl. I’ve always been a sucker for an futuristic augmented human game (harking back to my favourite game back in the day, System Shock).

From a writing perspective, things have been meandering along slowly. I’ve almost finished a first round of edits on my 27,000 word novella, The Reclaimers. Next I’ll be typing out the first 20,000 or so words of a science fiction novel or novella (depending on how much more story there is in it). I quite like the characters in this one, so looking forward to revisiting them (I hand wrote the story about 6 months ago).

So, what have you been up to?

Monthly roundup culture consumed – August 2016

Hello everybody! How was your August?


I mentioned last month that I’d started The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, and sure enough I finished it off during August. It turned into much more of an epic story than I was expecting from the first 20% or so. It is a “high level” novel – covering a fair period of time and dipping in and out of the various characters stories. The writing is very good and the novel pulls you along. I haven’t read much of Liu’s short fiction, but I could certainly see why he has gathered much acclaim in his short fiction career.

I also read Chuck Wendig’s latest Star Wars novel, Life Debt. This is one of the novels released around the new movies, to provide some context between the end of Return of the Jedi and the start of The Force Awakens. The novel is written in present tense, which is interesting but ultimately a little jarring. I know present tense is meant to impart a sense of immediacy, however I’m so used to reading in past tense that it kept jarring me out of the novel. Apart from that, it was a good read. I enjoy Wendig’s style of writing, and it is a good way to get a better sense of the new “canon”.

I’ve started on Lois McMaster Bujold’s Falling Free, billed as Book 1 in the Vorkosigan Saga. It is an OK read, although it doesn’t seem to have anyone called “Vorkosigan” in it. Still, I haven’t finished yet so more next month.


I’ve been making my way through the second series of Marvel’s Agent Carter on Channel 7’s catch up TV (I missed one episode because it expired, but other than that I’ll be able to see the rest). A great show – I love the retro look and the storylines without all the complexity of the 21st century version of the Marvel universe. It made me go back and re-watch Captain America: The First Avenger the other day. Well worth the watch if you can find it somewhere.

Not much else on the TV front – I’ve been watch a couple of non-genre shows on Netflix, but nothing worth including on a speculative fiction blog! I’m hoping to pick up Orphan Black next month and watch that from the beginning.


No visits to the cinema this month, had to compensate for the glut last month. I’ve been re-watching a couple of Marvel movies at home, but that’s about it. Sorry!


I’ve mentioned before that I produce the eBook versions of the Antipodean SF monthly fiction releases. Worth checking out if you like flash fiction, we just put up issue 218 on the website at the time of writing.

What’s everyone else been consuming?

Monthly roundup culture consumed – July 2016

How was July?


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.


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.


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.


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!