Category Archives: sci fi

What’s Next?

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Last night I not only finished Thursday Next: First among Sequels, but I got well into One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, the last of the series available (in the U.S., anyway). What’s next after Next? {I’m sure that’s not an original.} I also read the entire All About Emily “novelette” by Connie Willis. I liked it, but didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Blackout and All Clear. But generally I prefer novels to short stories, so it’s not too surprising.

I spent half the day in bed again trying to get over this bug, but dragged myself up this afternoon and evening to pay a few bills, and to work on a job application which is due tomorrow. Funny that this job sounds the most interesting, and requires the most application effort (essay type questions, online examples, etc.), but pays the least of any of the three jobs I will shortly have apps into. But, you never know. I’m trying to, as they say, “keep my options open.”

Missing things

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Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, Mar / Apr 2012

I finally finished Something Rotten tonight. I can’t believe how little time I’ve spent reading over the last few months. Very uncharacteristic of me. But there is a lot of stuff going on, namely 3 new people who need attention and shuffling around. I have to figure out how to give myself that reading time again. First Among Sequels is the next one in the series.

But before I start that, I’m going to start on Fantasy & Science Fiction Mar/Apr 2012, which just appeared on my Kindle a few days ago!

Blackout & All Clear: SciFi + mystery + WWII = captivating characters that I hate to say goodbye to

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All Clear by Connie Willis

I finished Connie Willis’s All Clear today, the sequel to Blackout. I devoured these books back to back over the last two weeks (that’s 1132 pages) and I’m really going to miss the characters. Normally, I don’t enjoy reading historical fiction about war, but there is something about Willis’ writing that I’m willing to make allowances for. Even though there is much detail included about the types of bombs used on London during the blitz, and many military operations in the surrounding areas and across the years, it’s directly related to the everyday activities of the handful of time-travellers who are involved, so it somehow isn’t too tedious.

Blackout

I also don’t ordinarily enjoy mysteries, but these books definitely keep you guessing until the very end, leaving clues scattered about across time and characters. An ode, it seems, to Agatha Christie, who has a minor appearance in All Clear and is a favorite author of one of the main characters.

If you want to read a story that explores the question of what each individual’s purpose is in life, and how our actions might affect the rest of the world, then I suggest diving into these novels. My recommendation is to read All Clear immediately after Blackout—as Blackout itself is a sort of cliff-hangerit’s really like one very long novel that she chose to split in two.

“Blackout”: Next, “All Clear”

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Blackout

Stayed up super late to finish reading Blackout. I’m glad that I have the sequel (All Clear) to jump right into, because nothing is resolved at the end of the book—it really is a cliffhanger. I don’t usually enjoy reading about war, but I got sucked into this book anyway because I like the author and her time-travel tales. The detail is a bit overwhelming, and I’m sure some of it would make more sense to me if I had a better grasp of WWII history. But because of the length, the character development is good, and I love a book with characters that I can really get to know.

Fantasy & Science Fiction mag delivered automagically to my Fire today

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Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan/Feb 2012The new Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan/Feb 2012 was delivered automagically to my Fire today! So cool to see the cover in color again. We’ll see how the reading experience compares to the old Kindle.

Crammed in the corner, time travelling with Connie Willis

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Gave up my home office last summer for a kid bedroom. Being crammed in the corner of the master bedroom is getting very old. Everything’s a bloody mess. Maybe tomorrow I can reorganize somehow. I miss having my own space.

In the meantime, so many good books to read right now.

I’m on the library wait list for the hardcover All About Emily by Connie Willis. {I wish more books were available as library ebooks. But pretty cool that I could get the Kindle book from Amazon right now for $4.99, when the hardcover is not yet released.}

I loved To Say Nothing of the Dog {probably the first time travel fantasy that I ever appreciated} and enjoyed Bellwether and Lincoln’s Dreams as well. I didn’t know Willis had published several other books in the last few years, including Blackout, which I got from the library today. It sounds like All Clear is the followup to Blackout, so I have that on order too.

But first, I still have to finish up Shades of Grey. Nearly there. Not sure if I want to jump into another Fforde next, or go with Willis…

The wider the grin, the sharper the blade

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 27

Optimism. Mindfulness is all about the present moment, yet we often live our lives in the past and future. Since we cannot change the past nor predict the future, remaining hopeful seems the best course of action each time we are taken out of the present moment. For this reason, I spend time observing my thoughts. My outlook and attitude depends upon it. When we think negatively about things, more negativity occurs. When we think positively however, more positivity follows. Like increases like. This week’s theme is optimism. Optimism is all about our thoughts – having a bright outlook.

I’m all for being mindful—definitely something I’m constantly working towards. But don’t even get me started on optimism. A natural skeptic, I’m not convinced that it’s healthy or helpful to constantly try to think “positively.” In fact, it can be detrimental at times (think: cancer patients feeling guilty that they’ve made themselves sick or are not getting better because they have not been “ positive” enough).

Have you ever met a person who smiles all the time? Who you can describe as constantly cheerful? Don’t trust them. Don’t trust them to be honest with themselves—or with you. They’ll be the first one to have a mental breakdown—or to stab you in the back. Someone I was once close to used to say, “The wider the grin, the sharper the blade,” and for the most part, I’ve found that to be true. I did not realize at the time that he was essentially quoting one of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition: “The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife,” but it makes sense because he was a big Star Trek fan. (For the record, I’m an appreciator of Star Trek, but not sure I’d consider myself a fan, namely because I do not watch the movies and episodes over and over again, memorizing the dialog. Also, I’m sure the origin of the idiom goes further back than Star Trek.)

This does not mean that we all need to be full of gloom and doom, nor does it give us an excuse to be assholes to each other. Nor does it mean that I don’t appreciate that rare individual who has faith in humanity but has not lost their critical thinking skills or sense of humor. It does not even mean that I’m not sometimes hopeful. If I didn’t have a glimmer of hope to latch on to at times, I wouldn’t be here.