Today I read the Hugo Award nominations. Blade Runner, by virtue of it starting with the letter B, was the first film listed in the category “Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.” I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I admit that I was.
I was looking forward to this movie. I posted back in May 2017 that I wanted to see it. In fact, I was really disappointed when I couldn’t see it on release day. I was terrified that it would no longer be in theaters when I finally got to see it on October 28th. And honestly, that fear was justified. It should not have lasted that long.
I couldn’t do it. I’ve enjoyed some of the other Ilona Andrews books that I’ve read, but I couldn’t bring myself to like this one—not even a little bit. There are just some themes that should not be in fiction at all, and especially not mucking up decent SciFi and Fantasy.
And the number one theme that fits that category is the romance novel trope of Stockholm Syndrome.
Humble Bundle is doing an offer right now that I immediately had to purchase: Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy book bundle. At the lowest price point you get books like Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler and Kate Elliot’s Jaran. And since this is the Humble Bundle, you can pay as little as $1, and get some great books.
If you pay slightly more you’ll get Robin McKinley, more Octavia Butler, Elizabeth Hand, Jo Clayton, and others. And if you pay $15 or more you get even more books. This is a great deal for anyone who likes Science Fiction. I haven’t read every book in this bundle, but the ones I have are excellent. When I found out about this bundle I immediately went and paid for the top tier, as these are books I know I would want to read or re-read as the case may be.
I just finished watching the movie “Arrival” which I really enjoyed. This didn’t really surprise me as the protagonist is a strong woman who is also a Linguist and it was a Science Fiction story about first contact. Now I admit, I made the obligatory “E.T.” and “Close Encounters” jokes during the film, but in general, the movie was engaging and interesting. I enjoyed the twist (spoiler: there’s a twist…) and was fooled along with most everyone.
Lately I’ve been filling my book shelves with urban fantasy books and I especially like reading books in a series. The benefit to a series is that if I like the characters and the books, there are more. I don’t have to wait. I hate waiting. 🙂 I first read the “October Daye” series by Seanan McGuire and when I ran out of books, I discovered her “Incryptid” series.
This is, as I said, a fast and fun series about a sorceress who is also a gamer. She plays Dungeons and Dragons, video games, and likes pop culture, especially nerdy pop culture. This means there are a lot of quips and quotes from a multitude of fantasy and scifi works. Fans, like myself, will enjoy the references and the apparent in jokes that she regularly works into the stories.
There are some books that I wish would never end. I wish I could live in their world and follow the adventures of the characters forever. Stealing Symbols & Souls is one of those books. I started reading this book and couldn’t put it down. In fact, the way I got myself to put it down was by reminding myself that if I read it too fast it would be over. And since this is the first (hopefully) in a series of books about Stephanie Blackraven and her friends, there’s nothing yet to follow it. (Hint, Hint, D.T.…)
When I first started reading this book I was pleased to see that it wasn’t just another cookie cutter high fantasy novel. The characters are interesting and the world is different enough from our world or other fantasy worlds to be engaging, but not so much that I was confused. It starts out like a coming of age story, with the main character, Maia, traveling with a hired killer called a kishion. She is either on the run or in hiding—it’s not clear which and has to make her way across some inhospitable lands to save herself and her kingdom.
But then confusingly, the timing would change and suddenly we’d be back seeing what her life was like as a young child and then growing up. After two or three abrupt shifts like that it becomes clear that she is reliving her past when she falls asleep. Those transitions are very rough, and I almost didn’t make it through the book because I didn’t understand what was going on. That type of writing device can be interesting, but it tends to jerk the reader out of the story. And I didn’t really like that.