April 29th, 2010

smirking half-hawk


8. Chill by Elizabeth Bear

Probably my favourite Bear setting. Nanotech! A decadent aristocracy fighting back form the brink of annihilation! In spaaaaace! I had forgotten how much influence this had on the Nano-Victorian Future setting. I want a basilisk.

9. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Steampunk! Zombies! Airships! Believable characters! Boneshaker's up for a Hugo, and it deserves to be.

10. The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios

*This* is the book on science and superheroes I wanted. Kakalios clearly loves comics in a way that Gresh and Weinberg (of "Science Of Superheroes") do not. His basic approach is to grant each superhero a single "miracle exception" - say, the Flash's ability to run really fast - and see how much of the portrayal of the character otherwise obeys the laws of physics. I have a better understanding of relativity and quantum mechanics after having read this book. AND it's an enjoyable read! I highly recommend this book to foolks with an interest in any of a) phsyics, b) superheroes, or c) education - the book comes from open lectures Kakalios gave at the university he teaches at.

11. Jhereg by Steven Brust

(reread) After the latest Vlad Taltos book came out, I realised that, since I'd read a number of them from the library and hadn't been logging them at the time, I had no idea which ones I had and had not read. So I'm starting over and re-reading all of the Draegara novels. I think, in total, there are something like 20 of them. Reviews will probably be brief and as spoiler-free as can be. For Jhereg; meet Vlad. Charming Vlad is charming.

12. Yendi by Steven Brust

Clever Vlad is clever.

13. Teckla by Steven Brust

Conflicted Vlad is conflicted!

14. Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow

Definitely the weirdest Cory book I've ever read. I found the politics felt a bit pasted on to what was an otherwise interesting novel. Not that there was anything deeply wrong with the poltical unwiring and dumpster diving parts, they just didn't really fit in with the rest of the stuff.

15. The Supergirls by Mike Madrid

One of those non-fiction books with a really long subtitle that I am not typing out. Madrid attempts to cover the history of women in superhero comics with a feminist viewpoint. He certainly covers the range of women in comics, and clearly knows his underwear perverts, but I think the feminist angle could use more work, and the book as a whole could use a more vigorous editorial staff. To be fair, it is put out by a small press with a bit of an agenda, so I'm inclined to forgive a certain lack of polish. I found Madrid's language was quite casual - at times, I think, a little too casual for a feminist reader. I cautiously suggest that the book could use a little more jargon. There were places where the male gaze was sort of talked around, for example. I'm also a bit annoyed that Madrid used the old saw about a woman's sexuality being a sort of power over men without pausing to deconstruct it.

I'd say The Supergirls is a book about comics with some feminism in it, instead of a feminist book about comics. It's not awful, and I'm glad I read it, but I think it needed to be about twice as long with more editing to really give the subject matter a solid exploration.

16. Taltos by Steven Brust

Novice Vlad is a novice!

17. Phoenix by Steven Brust

Frustrated Vlad is frustrated.

Now I just need to get the next Vlad books back from mycrazyhair, and wait for my Chapters order with the five after that to show up.
smirking half-hawk

52 Weeks of Music and Lunch: week 7 (Jonathan Coulton)

The Food

Sodium Suicide!

The Monday after Notacon, lunch was a can of Campbell's bean with bacon soup, with rice-a-roni added to it. High in fat, salt and carbs! My stomach did not appreciate it as much as my taste buds did. At least it wasn't Denny's.

The Music

Album: This time 'round, I decided to do somethign different - I grabbed 10 Jonathan Coulton songs from his site that I didn't have.

I grabbed:

  1. Tom Cruise Crazy

  2. Famous Blue Raincoat

  3. Skullcrusher Mountain

  4. Ikea

  5. I'm a Mason Now

  6. First of May

  7. I Feel Fantastic

  8. Octopus

  9. Monkey Shines

  10. The Big Boom

Genre: I firmly hold that JoCo's genre is "Internet Folk Music".

Similar Bands: Uh... Vaguely similar to Weird Al. A little bit of similarity to Voltaire. Also sounds somewhat like the easy listening soft rock that CHFI used to play in the 80s and 90s. But less irritatingly bland.

Review: 70% Hit rate, where "hit" means a song that I found myself singing to myself later. I already knew I liked JoCo's stuff, so this was just a top up in preparation for seeing him live at the end of May. Also, I wanted a copy of First of May before May 1st.

Playlist Potential: Humour, Singalong and various Driving Mixes will all likely get infusions of JoCo.

I completely failed to remember to bring leftovers in today. Hopefully tomorrow.