stormsewer: (graveyard tree)
Occasionally I have known I was going to devote large chunks of my life to some pursuit even when I had little or no experience with it. The game of Go was one of those things, and today I feel like working out my relationship with it in writing.Read more... )
stormsewer: (up)
I've been thinking a lot about punching Nazis lately. I've observed a lot of conversation about it, both online and IRL, and it's even been in the news as something that happened today in the city I live in. I am generally not in favor.

As a martial arts instructor, it's not an option I'm willing to take entirely off the table. I do believe that "those who aren't willing to resort to violence will always be at the mercy of those who are." But also as a martial arts instructor, I've thought a lot about the consequences of applying violence. They are many, and they are grave. Read more... )
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As a preface, here's what I voted for in the categories that weren't works of written fiction (and thus I care less about):Read more... )
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You know, I more or less enjoyed every one of these. This is the best novel harvest we've had in quite a while. Is it the new rules we have to thank?

Read more... )
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Most of these do have a rather more overtly political slant than the novelettes, but they manage to come off more history than allegory (perhaps because the length allows deeper explorations of character and setting), so I feel better about them.

Let's see what we've got. )
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With the exception of my last-place pick, these were rather less shouty than the short stories. Two of them I out and out adored, which is a better performance than either short stories or novellas were able to pull off.

Onward! )
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At the time of writing, I've actually read all the short stories, all the novelettes, and five and a half of the novellas, and one thing I'm struck by is how still, even after the rule change, nearly all of the nominated works seem to have been conceived as bullets for the culture war, just rather more biased toward the other side this year. I recognize that all fiction is political, that attempting (or claiming) to be apolitical is still a political statement, and that it's probably just a sign of the times (I don't expect next year or the year after will be any better), but I'm a little tired of being preached at.

"I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." –J.R.R. Tolkien

Alright, let's get on with it. )
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Alright, let's talk about last year's winners, first.

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemison won Best Novel, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor won Best Novella, "Folding Beijing" by Hao Jingfeng (translated by Ken Liu) won Best Novelette, and "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer won Best Short Story. The only one of these that is at all surprising if you assume the psychology of the majority of voters was "vote for whatever the Rabid Puppies will hate most" is "Folding Beijing," since that was on the Rabid slate, but even that one is not so very surprising, since it likely would have gotten nominated anyway (one anonymous commenter suggested it was on the Rabid slate so they could claim they're not totally racist; they're cool with Asians) and is thematically very much in tune with the Jemison and Okorafor pieces. So, whatever. At least the Rabid Puppies can't really be said to have gotten their way with the winners.

Next up, my personal nominations for this year.

For best novel I nominated All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, Death's End by Cixin Liu, The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu (it puts the "science" in "epic fantasciencey"), and The Monster on the Road is Me by J. P. Romney (a perfect mixture of cleverness and awkwardness). The first two made the final cut, so that's nice.

I didn't read much new short fiction last year, and none of what I did read struck me as award-worthy, so I didn't make any novella, novelette, or short story nominations.

I nominated Arrival for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and two episodes of Black Mirror ("San Junipero" and "Hated in the Nation") for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Arrival and "San Junipero" made the final cut.

Finally, then, initial thoughts on the actual nominations.

Noticeably, there is no more than one obviously Puppy story in each category, which is kind of a relief. But it turns out there was a rule change this year that is kind of convoluted but essentially means that the force of any given vote is divided by the number of other nominations that voter made in the same category. (I might have nominated differently, particularly in the novel category, if I'd realized that earlier.) So the Puppies ended up focusing down on one nominee per category, though they are also claiming this was all according to plan (I guess along the same reasoning it's assumed the 9/11 attackers must be happy about America's apparent slide into autocracy). Whether the rule change will turn out to have been a good idea in the long run, I'm not sure, but the fact that I only have to read one John C. Wright story this year (and a short one at that) feels like a victory.
stormsewer: (Default)
So, this journal is recently imported from LiveJournal, so please excuse any broken links.


Oct. 8th, 2016 11:17 pm
stormsewer: (death)
For better or worse, I'm a sucker for the mixture of elements that come together in Babymetal, so here's a transcription/translation of a favorite song from their newest album. (My last Babymetal translation, of a favorite song from their first album, is here.) This is actually my current Encouragement Anthem.

See transcription/translation and notes. )
stormsewer: (the rock)
(In approximately chronological order)
Pocatello, ID
San Diego, CA
Idaho Falls, ID
Salt Lake City, UT
Provo, UT
Calgary, AB
Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Los Angeles/San Bernardino counties, CA
Las Vegas, NV
Takashima, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan
Osaka, Japan
Kyoto, Japan
Austin, TX
Ruston, LA
Boston/Cambridge, MA
Berkeley/Oakland/Emeryville, CA

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Washington, D.C. area
Dallas, TX
Modesto, CA
stormsewer: (power lines)
Right at the deadline, here are the novels. I read every word of all five. Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
Once again, four from the Rabid slate and one from the Sad. Though I was actually surprised to find that I didn't hate any of these. In fact, I think I actually enjoyed reading every single one (which is in stark contract to last year's pickings in this category). So that's a positive sign, at least.Read more... )
stormsewer: (power lines)
Once again, four of these are Rabid and one is Sad. They are better than the short stories, though. Read more... )
stormsewer: (the rock)
Well, friends, today I found out that one of my favorite books published in the last few years is being made into a movie, as we speak, by Alex Garland (who made 28 Days Later and Ex Machina). The book is Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer, and it is strange and knotty and dark. The narrator and main character, called merely the "the biologist," ranks among the fictional characters I feel the most affection for (in a taciturn, standoffish, alone-in-the-woods, go-away kind of way). Natalie Portman will portray her in the movie. I had frankly imagined her as more of a Tilda Swinton type, but I'm not about to complain about one of my favorite actresses portraying one of my favorite characters. If you like Weird, check this book out.

"A religious or superstitious person, someone who believed in angels or demons, might see it differently. Almost anyone else might see it differently. But I am not those people. I am just the biologist; I don't require any of this to have a deeper meaning."
stormsewer: (death)
This category is mostly a disaster. Four out of five are Rabid picks of varying degrees of trollishness, and the last is a Sad pick. Whatever, let's do this. Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
So, I have been remiss in my Hugo coverage. Let's fix that. Read more... )


Apr. 21st, 2016 08:54 pm
stormsewer: (power lines)
A playlist of my favorite songs about my favorite books. If you have Spotify, you can listen to it here.

0. "Track" by Artist (Book by Author)
1. "1984" by David Bowie (1984 by Geroge Orwell)
2. "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)
3. "The Drowning Man" by The Cure (Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake)
4. "Holland, 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel (The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank)
5. "Soma" by The Strokes (Brave New World by Aldous Huxley)
6. "No Spill Blood" by Oingo Boingo (The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells)
7. "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix (Night of Light by Philip Jose Farmer)
8. "The Scentless Apprentice" by Nirvana (Perfume by Patrick Suskind)
9. "More Human Than Human" by White Zombie (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick)
10. "The Call of Ktulu" by Metallica ("The Call of Cthulhu" by H. P. Lovecraft)
11. "Atrocity Exhibition" by Joy Division (The Atrocity Exhibition by J. G. Ballard)
12. "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin (The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien)
13. "Baobabs" by Regina Spektor (The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
14. "Charlotte Sometimes" by The Cure (Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer)
15. "Rocket Man" by Elton John (The Illustrated Man (specifically, "The Rocket Man") by Ray Bradbury)
16. "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane (Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)
17. "5 1/2 Minute Hallway" by Poe (House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski)
18. "The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen (The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck)
19. "The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash (The Bible)
20. "The Booklovers" by The Divine Comedy (various)

new pet?

Oct. 27th, 2015 04:50 pm
stormsewer: (graveyard tree)
So, we finally got around to watching Jurassic World last night, and now of course the wife wants a pet velociraptor, and I have to explain, that no, you don't understand, these things have to be potty trained, and they can't be left alone and they're going to follow you around everywhere you go, and what with her clinical year coming up and then residency, you just know that I'M the one who's going to be walking it every day and constantly telling the neighbors, "Oh, no, I haven't seen little Jimmy today, where could the little rascal possibly have gotten off to," but yeah, sure, great idea, let's get a velociraptor.
stormsewer: (rocks)
2015 Hugo picks: Novels

This post is of course too late to influence voting (life intervened, though I did vote (and who am I kidding about influence?)), but these are my rankings. Read more... )


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