It's pretty, isn't it? Looks vaguely evil, but all the same.
Sci-Fi Friday today is just the pretty. If you want to know more about it, click on the picture up there. It's straight from Nasa JPL and I didn't really understand the explanation enough to try giving it to you.
It's pretty, isn't it? Looks vaguely evil, but all the same.
I wish that was a picture of my cat, but his ears aren't that perfect.
In any case, I promised you a challenge, didn't I? Because we don't all have more than enough to do, hu?
Well, you're here now, and since I've presumably gotten you, let's talk.
It's Well Written Wednesday, and I got to thinking earlier this week that as much as I don't write in a particular genre, I tend to read in a set of them. I love to write science fiction, and watch science fiction movies and things, but I don't read a lot of it. And I should. Everyone talks about how being well written requires being well read too. And I am, I read an awful lot, and it's not like all I read are the same five authors.
So, what's the challenge, you ask timidly (because you know better, you really do, whatever happens from here on is your own fault).
Every month I'm going to read one Science Fiction or Fantasy novel (because they get blended together a lot for a reason no matter what proponents of either genre say) recommended to me by someone who loves it. Cover to cover. No matter how much or how little I like it. The first Wednesday will be book review day, and I'll announce the next months book.
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it (like you have a choice) is to do the same thing. It doesn't have to be science fiction. Pick a genre you don't read (it doesn't have to be the same one for the whole year) and read a book a month. And everybody who comes on here the first Wednesday of the month and leaves me a note about what they read, and what they thought about it, gets a prize. Nothing elaborate, but I'll buy you a cup of coffee or send you a post-card or something.
So, who's in? Novembers book is going to be The Peace War by Vernor Vinge. You could always read it with me.
Well, it's not really a question of smell. I don't know, sometime titles are hard.
The Book Lover's Bazaar went wonderfully this weekend. We had panelists, and people wonder in off the streets, and lots and lots of booths. We raised a nice chunk of money (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say how much we made, but it was nice).
We hope next year will be even bigger, but we've got a lot of work ahead of us in other places before we get there.
Come back Wednesday, when we're going to talk about new challenges like we don't already have enough on our plates.
There are only about a million and a half reasons why I am unreasonably busy this week. In the last two days I've hand-painted a sign (which reminds me, I have to finish that tomorrow), knitted 3 bunnies, wrapped two boxes of book (with major, beloved help from the Chief Minion), made 30 some buttons, and fielded a whole gigantic ridiculous mine-field of things that weren't actually related to writing or the Book Lover's Bazaar or anything of the like.
Obviously my bandwidth for writing blog posts is a little lacking this week.
And yet here I am. Writing a blog post about how I don't have the bandwidth to write blog posts. Yes, we have officially sunk that low.
Next week is a 5 post week, and I'm promising all five. No lazy double posts or regurgitated extras.
Right now I'm going to bed. I have to chant my way into some bunny rabbits tomorrow.
Oh, and by the way, COME TO THE BOOK LOVER'S BAZAAR! On the off chance you missed that everywhere else from me lately :)
I did a big, long, insightful post on The Art of Procrastination yesterday, and I seriously don’t have another one of those in me yet. So yeah, take what you can get you greedy content-wanting people.
So I give you 5 reasons I suck at book reviews:
1-- I can be critical of literally anything. Really. It doesn’t mean I don’t like the thing, or I don’t see all the things right with the thing. But when I sit down to talk about it, what spills out is some version of ‘It had so much potential!’
2-- I’ve never met a reading schedule I liked. When I want to read, I read. A lot. Until my eyes are about to roll out of my head and my brain is fuzzy.
3-- I’m very very bad at finishing books I don’t like. Sometimes I’m even bad at finishing books I do like.
4-- I like exceedingly strange things. It's not a question of 'your mileage may vary,' there's at-least an eighty-percent chance it will.
5-- I worry way too much that I'm over-promising the thing I love, and then you won't love it. And then I'll have to judge you (I'll try not to, but it was so wonderful what is wrong with you).
That sort of fits with Well Written Wednesday, right?
I'm supposed to be writing blog posts tonight, so I can get through this week without having to literally chain myself to the computer just for blogging.
But I can't, because my late evening--my work time on Mommy days--started with my kid coming into my room, looking at me with big sad eyes, and saying "Mommy, CoCo's dead!"
He wasn't wrong. I wish he was. Never mind Coco had a pretty sweet, life, for a tiny little rodent that makes it about a year in the wild. Never mind he outlived the curve for any small animal I've had, ever, by like six months. We hit one of the crappy parenting milestones today. My son experienced death for the first time.
And don't get me wrong, Little J is just fine. We had an impromptu burial, and discussed a short respectful break from pet ownership (other than the cats) before we embark on Coco Mark-2. We discussed the fact it's always okay to be sad, just don't purchase real-estate there. Yay healthy coping mechanisms blah blah blah.
I don't know. I don't have anything profound to say. I'm just sad, and I'm spilling it all over here instead of being productive.
Yeah yeah, I know, that's a healthy coping mechanism too.
Enjoy the big hamster-wheel in the sky, little dude.
At least you didn't get eaten by a cat.
Alright, I'm done crying over the hamster.
If I knew what I was doing Wednesday, or on the Art of Procrastination, I'd put it here. But I don't. I might figure it out shortly before you do. Life's a ride, and I feel like this is going to be one of those bumpy weeks.
So. hehe. Time travel, and I'm gonna ask you to pretend it's still Friday.
I was going to do a blog about time travel without mentioning Doctor Who, but f-that.
I love time-travel. Obviously I love Doctor Who, because I have a hard time understanding how someone can not. He's so ridiculous, and then sometimes he's so amazing that the collection of the two pretty much always gets me. But that's more a character conversation, for some Wednesday when I'm out of other topics.
I write time-travel utterly nothing like Doctor Who, but I love it just as much. At it's base, time-travel is just the 'stranger in a strange land' story-line that's been going in Science Fiction/Fantasy since it became a genre. And I know there are all kinds of issues with lumping those, but I'm going to, because for me the best sci-fi stories have a bit of fantasy. Maybe not orcs and trolls, but all the same.
Time-travel is one of the clearest exercises of Suspension of Disbelief I think you'll find, outside of actual Shakespeare. Very rarely do we get any actionable explanation of how the time travel works, unless someone just has utterly horrific world-builder's disease. Because even if the author was smart enough to come up with actionable science--and seriously, if you can come up with completely plausible science for time travel put the writing away and go. I want to see a dinosaur. Safely, from a very long way away, but still--the audience most likely isn't going to be capable of understanding it.
It's that tacit permission, for an hour and a half of TV or a couple of hours of a book, or whatever, to step out of literally everything we know and just pretend. It's being six and tying a towel around your neck and pretending to be a super-hero who makes exploding mud pies that attain sentience. It's pretending the refrigerator box can fly.
But more than that, if it's done right, it's using the past (or the future) to teach us something about ourselves. You think you're a screaming liberal? Can you imagine what people in another two-hundred years would think of you? How about the other direction? How frustrating would it be to find yourself in 1954 Alabama? The future and space seem scary? How about we drop you on a boat in the middle of the ocean in 1450. Are you feeling particularly safe?
There's a secret to that archaeologist quote up there.
I was an archaeology major in college. And there's a long, unrelated story to why I didn't finish that has to do with the job market, and life, and the fact I'd more or less taken whatever classes I wanted, which meant I had one major class left and nearly two years of gen-ed.
Anyway, aside from knowing things--about late-Omaha pipe structure, and the shift in the use of the letter A in English that caused the relationship of apron and napery to loose all actual sense--no one needs, I remember exactly how...inexact archaeologists are. I did base study of dendrochronology, and the general run-down of the time-frame you get from radiocarbon dating, and potassium-argon dating. There's a reason archaeologists qualify everything.
And have a less than stellar opinion of historians.
If one day we actually manage time-travel, and it doesn't unmake everything (I could drone on and on about theory here, but I'll save us all), can you imagine how much history we'd have to rewrite?
It's Well Written Wednesday today, and even though I should be doing my goals post--it's September and aside from jumping for joy that summer's over, I'm up to my neck in goals...--I'm going to talk about something else. Something writing related.
I briefly, with what felt like utterly no success at all to me, tried the Three Day Novel challenge this holiday weekend. And I looked at my calendar for the next couple of weeks. And then I decided to spend a couple of hours just messing about on the internet. Because.
Anyway, I stumbled on this post on Mental Floss, about the best parents in fiction. With full understanding that clicking on something on Mental Floss is about like falling into the pit that is TV Tropes, I read it anyway. Parents in literature are definitely a soft spot for me. I deeply identified with Elizabeth Bennett as a young woman for a whole lot of reasons I'm sure my lovely parents would rather I not admit to. I loved books about orphans, and children who strike off and go their own direction.
I have parental issues. I was writing in something approaching a professional way for about five years before I realized I was worse than Disney. My characters almost never have parents. Generally, they've been dead quite a while. They were utterly unfit, they didn't care, I could keep going but you get the point. I realized if I ever got published I was probably going to have something to explain there. My dad's an avid reader, and my mother's been a psychiatric nurse since almost before that was actually a thing.
Here's the thing. I was a difficult child, for all of us I think. Oh, I didn't run off and drink or do drugs. I didn't get suspended from school or pick fights. I was shy, and withdrawn even with them. I don't think I ever actually liked to be touched, and I have trust issues that exist in my head so far back I'm not sure it's possible for them to be anybodies fault, even if those always worked that way. Which they don't.
I seriously doubt anyone who tells me they have a perfect relationship with their parents. How can you? We're not little seed-podlings. It's no different than roommates assigned by a computer. If your parents have done their jobs right you should disagree on all kinds of things, because you should have learned to think for yourself. And in doing that, since you didn't have their experiences growing up, all kinds of things have to change. If you're any age between 12 and 40 and you can't tell me one thing about your parents that drives you absolutely insane you're lying to someone. For your sake I hope it's just me.
So that list I linked to, of all the great parents in literature. It's a little idyllic for my taste. I like Mr Bennet, who is so engrossed in his books he misses things he really shouldn't and makes crappy decisions because they mean he gets peace. I even like Mrs Bennet, despite her drama and hysterical tendencies--in small doses. I like Narcissa Malfoy because let's all agree, without her Draco Malfoy would have turned out even more screwed up than he did.
Parents are people too, outside of their job as parents. They should be in fiction too.
ppssst. Come back Friday. We're talking about TIME TRAVEL.
It's September! Mothers and fathers and care-givers all over the country are breathing a sweet sigh of relief. School has started again.
So. About that whole writing/business thing. Hahahahaha.
Ahem. Anyway. Is there any point in going over last month's goals? It's pretty telling that I have utterly no idea what they were. I think I knitted a hat. I did manage to finish The Case of the Armadillo. Golden Fleece Press has it's first actual book going into an ARC run probably next week (fingers crossed). I did another round of edits with the publisher for Undiscovered Country. Whatever my goals were, I'm just sticking with that.
Now, about September. I'll keep this short and sweet, since sometime tomorrow I'll post a bunch for Well Written Wednesday, and Sci-Fi Friday this week is long and already written.
Goal 1: Blogging.
Same old same old. Some weeks I do really well. And then some I really really don't.
Goal 2: Case of the Armadillo
An edit must happen fairly early this month.
Goal 3: Businessy business.
The list is long. It is scary. I will accomplish it all. No really, I will.
Goal 4: The Finishing of SOMETHING
I have so many projects in my in-progress folder it's getting excessive. I will finish one of them this month. Possibly. Alright, I'm going to try.
I think that's good. I'm sure there will be knitting, just to get away from the computer, and other things.
There's a link to my bio at the top of the page, but for these purposes it's probably best to just say I'm strange.