"Every few years there appears a movement to improve or modernize or even "futurize" the writing of science fiction. The classic example was the New Wave, which had an effect on the style of SF literature and has been comfortably tamed and digested. Now there is something called "cyberpunk, " of which we have yet to learn a clear definition. It has something to do with computers and their programming and possibly— considering the derogatory term "punk "—with snubbing accepted traditions. This short story is said to be an example of "cyberpunk." It is certainly different from anything H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, or Hugo Gernsback would have dreamed up." - preface to Pretty Boy Crossover
William GibsonCollapse )

Pat CadiganCollapse )

Bruce SterlingCollapse )


All the Masq News that's Fit to Print

I have not posted a real post in like, the longest time. I read my flist daily and hang around other people's LJs/DWs, but posting, not so much. Things have been kind of insane-busy of late.

(1) Work. Multiple projects. Colleagues on vacations at the exact wrong time.

(2) On a marathon draft of my novel. This will take a while. I have sort of accepted that. It's a complicated little bugger.

(3) Also attempting to write a few short stories. Totally different mindset than a novel. Trying to get into that mindset by reading other people's short stories. Science fiction, mostly. Got recs?

(4) Cooking. I have been doing some cooking. Gets me out of my writer's chair on Sundays. I have made some actually pretty yummy, healthy foods. And lost, like, five pounds in the process. Then stressed out big time (see 1 above), went on a sugar rampage, and gained it all back.

Hi, I'm Masq, and I am a sugar addict. No, really. Despite the OMG-yummy (healthy fats! healthy carbs! Vegetables with actual flavor!), my body Freaked Out against the healthy, and now I have to do that withdrawal thing all over again. But at least now I know what to expect when I go back to my new healthy way of eating. My sugar addiction weathered previous periods of weight loss because I was eating processed diet foods with all those hidden, processed sugars. Take those away, and you're left dangling above a very deep pit you never knew was there.

But back to the cooking part. Here's the things my momma never told me about cooking:
(a) when you cook something, it's never one serving. So all that effort actually goes into multiple meals.
(b) when you cook, you can eat anything you want. This may sound like a trivial truth. I'm a grownup, of course I can eat anything I want. But as a processed-food eating grownup, I was pretty much restricted to what someone else had decided to make and package. When you make it yourself, you are still at the mercy of stores to stock basic ingredients, but so far I've been able to find everything.
(5) Anyway. It's Spring. I don't breath. I don't sleep. I just watch the city roll up the sidewalks for the coming months of hibernation.

(6) There's ten gazillion good things on TeeVee right now. OUAT, of course (*sob*lastweek*sob*), Continuum, Grimm, Cosmos, The Americans, and SOON more Orange is the New Black and Orphan Black. Yipee. Okay, The Vampire Diaries is tedious, OUAT: Wonderland was dull as a stump, and Criminal Minds is being written by a million monkeys with a million typewriters (would someone please put it out of my misery please)?

That's about the it.

Birthday Boy!!

Happy Birthday, humming_along!!

Birthday Girls!!!

Happy Birthday, shadowkat67!!!

Happy Birthday, marciaelena!!!

Birthday Girl!!

Happy Birthday, femmenerd!!!

Science fiction's New Wave

The "New Wave" era represented the coming of age of science fiction, both when it started to enter the mainstream, and also when it attained a level of sophistication that could claim itself as "literature", as opposed to just entertainment. This, not coincidentally, coincided with the 1960's, when television shows such as Star Trek and Lost in Space drew mainstream audiences.

Interestingly, quite a few of the short stories I read for this era ended up as full-length feature films, but not until the 1990's.

Judith MerrilCollapse )

Harlan EllisonCollapse )

Philip K. DickCollapse )

Samuel DelanyCollapse )

Harlan EllisonCollapse )

Pamela ZolineCollapse )

Brian AldissCollapse )

Joanna RussCollapse )


Twice Upon a Time: The Return


Birthday girl!!!

Happy Birthday, [personal profile] scrollgirl!!!

Elements undergoing change

January talking meme, Jan 29. From harsens_rob: Choose 2 Joss-verse characters who've died. One that you believe was handled very well and one that you think... wasn't.... How were they handled differently and why do you feel one worked and the other just didn't?

As usual, giving thought to this put it beyond two characters.

It's said one of the hallmarks of urban fantasy (this also obviously applies to contemporary horror) is that all characters are Fair Game. The potential death of any character, no matter how central to the narrative, ups the stakes and lets the reader/viewer know the characters are playing for keeps.

Joss Whedon, of course, isn't just an example of this, he's the King.

Joss sets the tone for his attitude towards character death in the very first episode of BtVS with the death of Jesse. It's well-known that Joss wanted to put Jesse in the main credits of Welcome to the Hellmouth just so he could stun the audience by killing him off. And behind-the-camera troubles aside, I'm pretty convinced that's (the writers' reason) for the death of Doyle in Season 1 of Angel. Both deaths were, IMO, non-gratuitous. Jesse's death occurred to instruct both viewers and the characters (in particular, Xander and Willow) that This Is Serious, Folks. Doyle, on the other hand, chose to die for a noble cause. It was no less shocking than Jesse's death, though, and you can imagine Joss' glee at finally being able to kill off a credits character.

Characters die for all sorts of reasons on BtVS and AtS, but one of the main reasons they die is to signal a change in the character who killed them. For Joss, this is usually a character we've come to trust, but sometimes, it's the rise of the bad guy (or both). Showing a character murder someone is Joss' signal that "something's changed." Examples abound: Jenny Calendar (Angel(us), Deputy mayor Allan Finch (Faith), Maggie Walsh (Adam), Katrina (The Trio), Warren (Willow), the wine cellar W&H lawyers (which Angel allows through inaction), Lilah (Beast-Master!Cordelia). The problem isn't that Joss does this. The problem is, he does this A LOT.

There are lots of other ways you can signal a change in a character and a change in the direction of a season. Wesley's betrayal of Angel in Season 3 was an effective way to change the stakes mid-season and resulted in interesting developments for both characters, without anyone having to die during the act of betrayal.

Joss' over-reliance on this trope lead to a lot of "the devil made me do it" story lines in which trusted friends (e.g., Angel, Cordelia, Spike [season 7 *oy*] must be robbed of their agency in order to make them kill somebody.

The other thing Joss overdid was Beloved Character Has to Die to Enact Change in the Hero or Season. Now, this can be an extremely powerful plot development. The first episode Joss did this in, Passion (Jenny Calendar's death), remains one of my favorites.

But there is a tipping point in keeping the stakes high where you start to lose a viewer or reader's investment, where it becomes so common for characters to die, viewers are no longer willing to invest emotionally in the characters. When a viewer reaches this point, they can either take a more flippant attitude towards the show, or stop watching it all together. I doubt either of these outcomes is something show-runners want.

I think the tipping point for me was Tara in Season 6 of BtVS. I could deal with Joyce dying in Season 5 to mark the transition of Buffy into adulthood. But Tara's death taxed me. Follow up that up with Cordelia's slow fade in AtS, and Fred's gratuitous assault in Season 5 of AtS, and I pretty much held my "giving a shit"-edness together only by sheer force of will to the end of AtS season 5. My issue with each of these deaths went beyond "too much is too much." They were also each out-and-out slaughters. None of these characters had a chance against their killers (Cordelia was effectively killed by Jasmine in Inside Out, despite her coma and brief return in Season 5). They were ruthlessly slaughtered by a Baddie just to shake things up.

For me, when it comes to major characters, the best deaths (1) show a victim dying against their killer after a valiant defense and because no other, alternative plot developments can effectively accomplish what their death can in the story (hence why Jenny Calendar's death works better than Tara's or Fred's); or (2) someone (directly or indirectly) causing their own death because their actions, or deliberate inaction, either heroic or villainous, resulted in it. When this happens to a villain, it's poetic justice. When it happens to a hero, you get Doyle, or Buffy (but she always comes back), or Darla in Lullaby (although there is a Madonna/Whore element to her death that annoys me a little).



I don't know how to cook. I never learned. I have a HUGE mental block that kicks in whenever I see a recipe that requires I put more than two ingredients together. And a disgruntled impatience with the idea of a meal taking longer to prepare than it does to eat. The origin of all this, though, was growing up in the 70's, when women's lib was blossoming full flower. It was a matter of principle to me not to prioritize traditionally female skills. And my mom, who was more interested in law school than cooking herself, didn't worry too much about this gap in my education.

For the record, I was equally disinterested in my father's attempts to teach me how to change the oil in my car. I was an intellectual.

When Mom got busy in law school, my dad took over the cooking duties. Before he got married, he was a cook in the National Guard, so you can imagine the sort of stuff he made for us. He didn't bother to teach me to cook, either.

How did I eat once I didn't have the college mess hall to feed me? It helps not being a fussy eater, but lots of ways, really. You wouldn't believe what comes in cans and boxes and takes a couple minutes to nuke in the microwave. Later, there were girlfriends who cooked (I always dated women who could cook). And when I lost twenty pounds a few years back, it was in part because my mom had been on a crockpot cooking kick the year before.

I occasionally ate meals out, although I rarely relied on that. It was fattening. I did learn how to prepare a few things myself, like pasta, and my father's French Toast (which gave me heart palpitations, so I didn't make it very often). But see above re: two-ingredient cooking.

As I get older, though, I am wanting to take more charge of what goes into the food I eat, and that means learning a skill I never learned. "Never learned" is a sweeping generalization, I've found, though. Earlier this month, I decided to try my hand at Actual Cooking with a 17-ingredient beef stew. I actually knew quite a bit more about what I was doing than I imagined I did. You don't get to be [bleep] years old and not pick up a few tricks here and there.

I'm not saying the stew is particularly good, but I think it's more the recipe than me. Next time, I'm leaving out the onions, tomatoes, and oregano. But it was improved with some chopped chili peppers thrown in. And in the effort expended vs. outcome received department, I made a dozen portions to finish up.

My next experiment this past weekend was more successful: a black bean veggie wrap. I still strongly resent the time expenditure. As for Ingredient Overload, I try to concentrate on one line of the recipe at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Next up, baked fish, I think. And then mamculuna's Dharma Shala Soup.


Birthday Kids!!!

Happy Birthday, crimsonsenya!!!

Happy Birthday, lakrids404!!!

You know you're getting old when....

January talking meme, Jan 23. From cactuswatcher: If you were asked to write a series of novels with the same central characters, what qualities do you think a protagonist's significant other should have and why? Should they be faithful, duplicitous, honest, suspicious, helpful, boring, good listeners...?

As it turns out, I am in fact writing a series of novels with the same central characters (more or less). And what I am struggling with is giving aforementioned central characters any significant others at all. These are healthy young women in their early 30's. By all accounts, they should have love lives or sex lives or something. And yet I am much more interested in the mystery they have to solve than who they are sleeping with or dating.

Trying to squeeze significant others into a story where I haven't made room for them just because it is weird for them not to be there is kind of a pain.

There was a time when the romantic relationships in my stories were front and center, and the sci-fi/fantasy elements were window dressing around them. And when that was true, the significant others could have any of the above qualities. The plots were character-driven, so the traits of the significant others weren't chosen to be helpful to the plot, the plot was chosen because it fit the characters.

My stories are still character-driven, but not by the romantic relationships in them. So Significant Others tend to be more plot-driven than the main characters, who drive the plot. Now, my characters' romantic/love/sex interests must have some other role to play in the story, just so they don't feel tacked on. For example, the story has a police officer character. So what if one of my main character's exes is that cop? The story has a person from a mysterious group spying on my other main character. So what if he's the guy she picked up in a bar and had a one night stand with, and now he's starting to fall for her a little?

Only problem with this approach is you need to follow up on the relationship repercussions of Significant Other's independent connection to the story (as opposed to the regular plot/character repercussions), and sometimes I forget to do that.

Maybe it's not that I'm getting old. Maybe my priorities are just shifting. I've read enough fiction to know a lot of time the Significant Others are just tacked on (especially the wives). But honestly, if your main character goes through Changes, you need to show the person they are intimate with reacting to those changes, which in turn the main character reacts to. The best written stories make SO's an active part of the plot in some shape or form, even if it's peripheral.

It could be magic

alias will
January talking meme, Jan 21. From cornerofmadness: what draws you to the urban fantasy type of story lines?

I am drawn to urban fantasy stories because I like stories that show a secret supernatural world existing in what is ostensibly the mundane, scientifically skeptical world we all live in, and characters who lives are recognizable to the average reader, who are nevertheless part of that supernatural world.

Stories like BtVS, Harry Potter, or Dresden Files, make it easy to imagine that the supernatural exists around me in the world I see everyday. Stories like this allow me to think, "Underneath all this drab, dreary mundanity is a fantastic world full of excitement and magic." All I need is the right book/movie/TV show to reveal what's hidden all around me.

And that makes the mundane world I see outside my window seem just a little bit more magical.

Take Buffy, for example. As I understand it, the BtVS/Angel world is supposed to be our world. Not an alternate universe or anything like that. It's our world, but what most of us don't realize is that magic is real if you know how to tap into it. Demons exist, just hope you don't run into one.

Why do I have this need? I guess because I'm an agnostic, and an empiricist, but what I feel compelled to believe is not the same thing as what I wish were true. "Urban" fantasy lets me step away from that for an hour or two.

This is the reason I am not drawn much to High Fantasy (e.g., Lord of the Rings). High fantasy stories are set in completely imaginary places that aren't Earth, nor even historical Earth. They often contain humans, dogs, oak trees, and other earthlike things to make them more accessible, but the resemblance to our world is usually a pseudo-resemblance to some historical era I have little connection to. I don't mind fantasy or science fiction set in a historical period on Earth, as long as the historical period is genuinely drawn outside of its supernatural elements.

So the "on Earth" is important to me. As is the "secret." I want a story world where the supernatural is considered debunked and its delights and dangers lurk in the shadows, only known to a select few. For this reason, I also don't care much for urban fantasy where the supernatural elements of the story are out in the open (e.g., Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton). Partly because the supernatural being "secret" makes it easier to pretend all this really is going on all around me. But also, I have always had a kink for "the big secret" that only select characters know and the rest of the world is oblivious to.

All Things Philosophical...

January talking meme, Jan 18. From rahirah: How did you come to start ATPOB?

I entered the world of online fandom in 1998 shortly after season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was looking anxiously for spoilers after that season finale, and being new to online fandom, I naturally went to the official WB network BtVS site,, and the Bronze Posting Board. I hung out at the Bronze during seasons 3 and 4 of BtVS, and was known for pointing out nods to various philosophical ideas that I found in different episodes. The first one I ever noticed was the contextuality of knowledge, which appeared in a debate between Giles and Jenny Calendar in I Robot, You Jane.

Some of my Bronzer friends encouraged me to create a webpage where I listed all the philosophical references I found. A web PAGE. I sort of suck at brevity. "All Things Philosophical on BtVS/AtS" was born on January 1st, 1999. Hard to believe that was 15(!) years ago. 15! The website soon became more than one page as Joss and company continued to produce deeply intelligent television. From '99 to '04, I lost entire weekends to my website analyses.

I occasionally got emails from visitors to the site. Some of those folks urged me to create a discussion board where they could discuss the show at deeper levels than other discussion boards they frequented. On June 14th, 2000, I set up one of those canned forums. The folks that came to hang out there did the rest.

The ATPo board included folks from all over the world, males and females, teenagers to 60-somethings. Posters wrote essays that brought in philosophy, psychology, politics, critical theory, literary analysis, you name it, somebody did it. The archives are a good read. Discussions were sometimes deep, sometimes shallow, sometimes serious, sometimes silly, sometimes paragraphs, sometimes essays (that were actually (Long) when warned to be so). The board's hey-day was from June of 2000 to Spring of 2004, but a lot of those folks are still my good friends. I was reminded of how important they are to me when we recently lost one of our own, atpolittlebit.

Whenever I stop to think I've accomplished nothing in my life except earning a PhD I've done very little with, someone tells me a story about how ATPo touched their lives. And I take heart in that.



Gratuitous self pimpage.

2ceuponatime is back with "Heart of Darkness"!

January talking meme still open for business:

Masq reviews science fiction short stories through time:


The golden age of Science Fiction

Depending on who you ask, the "Golden Age of Science Fiction," is either "undisputedly," or just "widely recognized" as the 1940's (and possibly 50's). Of course, one person's Golden Age is another person's capital-E Establishment, but historically, the 40's and 50's are the era when a younger generation of very talented writers weaned on the pulps and unafraid of speculative-fiction-that-incorporated-science took up pen or typewriter. Among them: Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov.

It is interesting that of the three biggies I review here (Clarke, Bradbury, and Asimov), Asimov was always my favorite, but (perhaps due to story choices?) this time around, I was much more impressed with Bradbury.

All of these writers are masters of creating fully-realized portraits of everyday life in the future, or on space stations, or the Moon, in very few words.

Isaac AsimovCollapse )

Ray BradburyCollapse )

Arthur C. ClarkeCollapse )

Tom GodwinCollapse )

( Robert Heinlein )


January talking meme, Jan 11. From ann1962: What band that you enjoyed in your youth has held up the best today, to you, and doesn't sound dated?

Okay, first off, this question assumes I know what contemporary music sounds like, compared to which earlier music would sound dated. I SO don't. I don't have cable TV or listen to the radio, and most musak in stores is oldies--have you ever noticed?

What contemporary music I have heard doesn't sound all that different to me than stuff I listened to back in the '80's. In fact, I've been surprised by how *not* different it is. If someone is doing ground-breaking new sounds out there, I am not aware of who that is.

That said, there is clearly a "sound" to some music genres in particular decades that us unique to that decade. '50's rock sounds very different from 60's rock, which sounds mildly different from 70's rock. Contemporary Hip Hop has clear roots in 80's Rap, but a different sound at the same time. "My music" was late 70's-early '80's Punk and New Wave, and a LOT of that sounds dated now. Especially the peppy, shallow stuff and anything that used a lot of synthesizers.

Favorite bands:

Queen: hardly sound dated at all, but that's either because their music was purposefully vintage even for the time (e.g., Bohemian Rhapsody), or has become so ubiquitous it can't get dated (e.g., We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions).

Depeche Mode: Early DP *does* sound dated, but see above re: peppy, shallow stuff. Later (late '80's) Depeche Mode doesn't, to my ear.

Ultravox: Okay, yeah, big synthesizer band. But you know, stuff you listened to, like, a MILLION times is so familiar, it's hard to judge.

Roxy Music: Not so much, but they did a lot of deliberately vintage sounds.

Echo and the Bunnymen: They don't to me, but my ear, not the best judge. These guys might fall into the "Extended life via the Goth movement" category.

Elton John: KindOfYeah. But some bands/musicians are so closely equated with a particular decade, they're going to sound dated whether they are or they're not.

Japan: These psuedo-punkers were not mainstream enough to have a trendy sound, and also did a lot of deliberately vintage work. But some songs do sound punky-dated.

New Order: Dance music always sounds dated after ten or fifteen years. It's a thing.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Early OMD falls in the same category as early Depeche Mode. Too trendy for its own good. Later OMD less so, but still.

Peter Gabriel: Most early PG has become classics, too ubiquitous to sound dated (to me). His later pop stuff sounds more dated. Word to the wise: being trendy means being forgotten in five years.

Siouxsie and the Banshees: God, I just can't tell. Maybe?

The Smiths: See above re: too closely associated with their era to ever sound anything *but* dated.

Music I associate with the era and so inevitably sounds dated: Devo, Oingo Boingo, Tears for Fears, U2, X, Yaz, Visage, Thomas Dolby, Spandau Ballet, PIL, Eurhythmics, The Cure, The Clash, Adam and the Ants

Other artists who have continued to be played and so don't sound as dated: Joan Jett, Sisters of Mercy (saved by the Goth movement!)


My Sense of Snow (January Talking Meme)

January talking meme, Jan 10. From astrogirl2: Once Upon a Time! Maybe talk about Snow White.

So apparently I had a few things to say about Snow.Collapse )


January talking meme, Jan 5. From shadowkat67: Connor (angel the series) arc vs. Henry (ouat) arc.

My initial reaction to this topic was, "What do these characters have in common besides being the brats of their respective story universes? Not much!" But this turns out to be untrue.

As characters, both Connor and Henry are the children of the primary protagonist/hero of their respective shows (you can disagree with me that Emma is the primary protagonist/hero of OUAT, but there is a strong case to be made for this). Both were raised by their parent's enemies. And both are presented as relatively passive characters who are manipulated and that things happen to rather than characters who make choices and act on them.

Let's look at their respective arcs. Warning: as astrogirl2 would say, the deer got a bit teal here. Spoilers for all five seasons of Angel, and up to episode 3.11 of OUAT.

ConnorCollapse )

HenryCollapse )

Transcripts courtesy of

Chiming in

a wizard named harry
…on the topic du jour. Sherlock 3.1:

I liked it.

What's not to like? It's completely neurotic.

January talking meme


January talking meme

From chaos_by_design: How do you cope with living in a state filled mostly with Republicans?

It helps living in Tempe. This is a college town with a residential population that skews rather liberal for the area. During recent election years, for example, I saw more Obama/Biden signs in yards and windows in my immediate neighborhood than the Other Guys. During a recent mayoral election, the son of our ex Democratic Congressman Harry Mitchell won over the Republican candidate strong in old business ties to the city. Also, the way electoral districts are carved up puts me in a district that tends to vote Democratic. We elected the outspokenly liberal openly bisexual Kyrsten Sinema as our congresswoman in 2012.

The other thing that helps is my family lives here. I would not be living in this state at all if my parents had not retired here. My mother and brother are both very liberal. I have to avoid my brother's Facebook page sometimes, though, as he likes to post and rant a little about the right-wing nuts in this state.

In fact, I have to confess that my primary method of coping is just to avoid the media: local news (heck, national news as well), local television in general, newspapers, magazines, etc.

And of course, the Biggie: don't read the bumper stickers. It's almost a reflex, when you are sitting at a traffic light and a little bored, to look at the bumper of the car ahead of you. Tip: Just. Don't.

Avoidance is not always possible, of course. The worst time for the avoidance strategy is during even-number election years, when all the placards go up on street corners. Some countries and states have laws that limit the number of weeks those signs are allowed to be up. Not here. In an election year, they go up in the early Spring and often are still there weeks after the election is over in November. And they can be really, really nasty. Coping strategy: just drive, and keep your eyes ahead. But not on the bumper of the car in front of you.

January talking meme

I was a bit slow on the uptake in December, what with it being December and all. Plus I am not at all sure anyone wants to read my ramblings. But if you are so inclined, pick a date below and give me a topic. It can be anything from fandom, life, the universe, or everything. The more specific the topic, the more likely I'll be to think of something to say. ; )

Topics: you can get an idea from my tags.

JanuaryCollapse )

TV meme

So apparently, I did this meme for 2011, but not 2012. 2013 was weird, TV-wise, because I dumped cable TV in December of 2012, and in some ways, watched more new (to me) programs than I did when I had cable. It really has changed the way I watch TV. Now, I'm much more likely to at least watch one episode of something on spec, knowing I can catch up with it in order if I want to. Streaming video makes it easier to find stuff you actually like, as opposed to meandering through the glut of 2000 channels of 24-hour cable. One thing that hasn't changed is my hesitation in trying brand-spanking new traditional network shows. I still wait for my flist's reaction, and a few seasons to pass, as a rule.

The ability to watch entire seasons of a show in one fell swoop can make the actual "start date" of viewing a blur, so some of the below I'm not 100% sure about starting in 2013:

Which TV shows did you start watching in 2013?

The Americans, Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black, Continuum, The Vampire Diaries, Weeds, Sleepy Hollow, Eureka, Sherlock. Probably a few others I can't remember.

Which TV show did you let go of in 2013?

Revolution. I watched until the final ep of season 1, but post-apocalyptic gung-ho paramilitary hijinks, just not my thing.

Dexter, but that was over anyway.

I keep threatening to stop watching Criminal Minds, just because the show has become a parody of itself. I couldn't quite get a finger on why, until I started a recent rewatch of the early seasons. In seasons 1-7, you could always count on the team being wrong about something in their profile, and having to refine it, and even then getting a twist on each classic psychosis. And not a twist at the end, but a twist in the entire episode. It wasn't predictable. Now? Seasons 8 and 9 have just become paint-by-numbers stories, where you can predict the outcome, and the perp's "signature" right off the initial crime scene.

For me, the show ended perfectly at the end of season 7. But I still watch.

Which TV show did you mean to get into but didn't in 2013? Why?

My Netflix queue is full of shows I may or may not get around to: Alphas, Breaking Bad, Doctor Who, Elementary, Fringe, Fullmetal Alchemist, Skins, Supernatural, Torchwood. I donno. Lately, I've been on an Investigation Discovery True Crime series kick. Totally disturbing, and yet the stand-alone episode tabloid histrionics doesn't require brain cells to watch.

Which TV show do you intend to check out in 2014?

The potential new post-Voyager web Star Trek series, Star Trek Renegades, looks interesting. At least it's not JJ Abrams pseudo-Trek.

Which TV show impressed you least in 2013?

Sleepy Hollow. I still see a lot of my flist gushing over it, apparently because it's insane crack to them. But I think enjoyable insane crack is taste-specific. My idea of enjoyable insane crack was season 2 of Lost.

Which TV show did you enjoy the most in 2013?

Once Upon A Time became my first real TV fandom since Angel was cancelled (I liked Lost, but didn't start really posting about it until season 6, and those were mostly chirping cricket posts). I was a "Yeah, sure, I try to catch it each week" OUAT fan until the episode Manhattan. Then they totally got me hook, line, and sinker.


Pulp (Science) Fiction

Yeah. So. I might have been a little hasty in my prediction that all 30's pulp sci fi would be melodramatic. Too much (over)exposure to Captain Proton. That said, the sci-fi of the 1930's still seems to have an earnest straight-forwardness to it. That is, with the exception of minor details, it does not read as particularly revolutionary to the contemporary eye. But you know, neither does a Mondrian abstract painting.

Looked at from a purely 21st century perspective, your gut reaction to such paintings (or such short stories) is "So what? Lots of stuff looks like that." Yes. These days. But then you glance at the year the painting or the story came out and contrast it with what passed as popular design or entertainment in its day, and the work is friggin' revolutionary. Indeed, any one of these stories can be classed as a primordial example of what is now a common sci-fi trope. If H. G. Wells is the grandfather of modern science fiction, these writers are his sons:

John W. CampbellCollapse )

Stanley WeinbaumCollapse )

A. E. Van VogtCollapse )


don't fuk
Not sure how I feel about this. OTOH, I loved the Millennium trilogy and the character of Lisbeth. OTOH, the author is deceased, and I don't know if any ghost writer "gets" Lisbeth like her creator does. OTTH, I get to use my Lisbeth icon!

Originally posted by [profile] abebooksblog at Lisbeth Salander to return in Millennium Trilogy sequel

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson  The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Fans of Lisbeth Salander probably weren’t expecting to meet her again, considering Stieg Larsson‘s best-selling Millennium Trilogy was published posthumously.  The widely popular series was originally intended to include 10 parts, but it ended with just three titles due to Larsson’s death in 2004.   Norstedts, the Swedish publisher of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, has signed up ghostwriter David Lagercrantz to produce a fourth book, expected to be released next summer.  The yet-to-be-titled novel is said to have a different plot from the unfinished fourth book Larsson was penning before he passed away, but it will include the characters Lisbeth and Mikael Blomqvist.


Birthday Girl!!

Happy Birthday deadsoul820!!!


A very Congel Christmas
I am looking forward to some parts of Christmas--spending time with my family, eating good food. But the gift-giving parts, not so much. Not that I have a problem spending a little dough on my loved ones. But this year especially, I am not looking forward to being on the receiving end.

Back in January, I made a New Year's resolution to declutter one item a day for the entire year of 2013, and I am pleased to say I've kept that resolution. A lot of it was finding ten things to tie me over for the next ten days, then ignoring the resolution for a week and half. And sometimes, I would count four identical items as one day's item, while other times, I'd put the multiple identical items I wanted to ditch on different days, depending on how likely it was I'd fall behind in my resolution.

But yeah, December is a third over, and I'm finished for the year. You wouldn't know it to look at my place. I kept all my crap tucked away where no one could see it, so visually it hasn't changed all that much. But if you were to walk into the Good Will down the street from my place? It would be, like, House of Masq.

What really has changed is my feeling about "stuff." I don't want "stuff" for Christmas. The thought of it just viscerally turns me off. I want tickets to a show, or a gift card to a spa, or something else experiential. Enrich my life, don't clutter my house. My sister-in-law, bless her heart, got me some random stuff for my birthday that sad to say is going to end up in the Good Will box. I just have no use for it whatsoever, but I don't want to insult her by saying so. If I must have stuff, the annual trading-of-the-Amazon-gift-cards is A-Okay with me. I will purchase eBooks.

This may suck some of the fun out of Christmas. The Sculptor and I always play Santa for each other and fill each others' stockings. How many of her stocking stuffers ended up in the GW box after last Christimas and/or on the kitchen counter at work for other people to eat so I could maintain my girlish figure? Yeah, I'm kind of Scroogey that way now.

Not sure I will play 365 things next year. I was actually stunned I could always find stuff if I looked hard enough this year. I probably could find 365 more things if I put my mind to it, but it can be exhausting at times. What it did do was change the way I look at the importance of "gotta keep this in case I need it" and "gotta buy this!" And it makes me value the stuff I hung on to all that much more. So I'll carry one thing into 2014: a new attitude.

Science fiction short stories

As threatened/promised, a brief review of the science fiction short stories I have read so far in my chronological tip-toe through the genre. My descriptions/reviews below are somewhat spoilery in terms of premise and tone, although I don't out and out describe how the stories end.

The first two stories have been dubbed 'proto science fiction' in that they were written well before there was any such genre as science fiction, and were labeled in hindsight as "science fiction-like." H. G. Wells is the first of this batch to be truly a "science fiction" writer, although he would not have used that term, since it was not invented until the mid-twentieth century.

Edgar Allen PoeCollapse )

Nathaniel HawthorneCollapse )

H.G. WellsCollapse )

Edmond HamiltonCollapse )

Robert HeinleinCollapse )