September 2017

September was a pretty ordinary month. Some big goings-on at the office, but they’ve been going-on for several months. Mostly, I just read some books, read some short stories, saw some movies, and listened to some music.

The books

I read two: Zadie Smith’s NW and John Lanagan’s The Fisherman. I liked them both. I don’t have a whole lot more to say about either.

The stories

I’m not entirely sure how many I read in September. I have a record of twenty-six, but I’m pretty sure I missed a couple in my final tally. (I missed a couple of days too, though, so it wasn’t thirty.) Either way, these were my favorites:

  • “Seven Kinds of Baked Goods” by Maria Haskins (Luna Station Quarterly)
  • “You and Me and Mars” by Sandy Parsons (Luna Station Quarterly)
  • “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny)
  • “Evil Opposite” by Naomi Kritzer (F&SF)
  • “Still Tomorrow’s Going to Be Another Working Day” by Amy Griswold (F&SF)
  • “God-Ray” by Gregory Norman Bossert (Saturday Evening Post)
  • “The Lamentation of Their Women” by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com)
  • “Angels of the Blockade” by Alex Acks (Tor.com)
  • “Crossing” by A.C. Wise (PodCastle)

The movies

I watched 18 of them in September:

  • Deep Red:

  • Horror of Dracula:

  • Personal Shopper:

  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof:

  • American Graffiti:

  • The Omen:

  • It:

  • Night on Earth:

  • It Comes at Night:

  • Beat the Devil:

  • Camelot:

  • Giant:

  • The Hills Have Eyes:

  • The Big Sick:

  • Klute:

  • Babylon A.D.:

  • The Dark Crystal:

  • The Founder:

The music

August 2017

In August, I went to Finland.

I attended the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, and I really had a great time. The Finns were super-friendly, the con itself was a lot of fun, and I even met a few Kaleidotrope writers while I was there. I tweeted about it a whole bunch and even took some photos. I’d definitely recommend a trip to Helsinki if you’re able.

Beyond that, it was a pretty average month. I read some stories–and even one book–and watched some movies. I even listened to a little bit of music while I was at it.

The stories

For the sake of accounting, I am going to say I read (or listened to) 29 short stories in August. I’m almost positive there were one or two others, but I have kind of a lousy memory for these if I don’t write them down–even sometimes when the story’s really good. Anyway, these were my favorites from the month. All but the last one–an audio reprint–is original to 2017.

  • “If a Bird Can Be a Ghost” by Allison Mills (Apex)
  • “In the Blind” by Sunny Morraine (Clarkesworld)
  • “Reversion” by Nin Harris (Clarkesworld)
  • “Glasswort, Ice” by Emily B. Cantaneo (Lackington’s)
  • “Promises of Spring” by Caspian Gray (Nightmare)
  • “And With Her Went the Spring” by Caroline Ratajski (Nightmare)
  • “The All of Nothing Days” by Gus Moreno (Pseudopod)
  • “Shades of Infinity” by Heather Morris (Shimmer)
  • “These Constellations Will Be Yours” by Elaine Cuyegkeng (Strange Horizons)
  • “Taking Notes on the Varietals of the Southern Coast” by Gwendolyn Clare (F&SF)
  • “Rocket Surgery” by Effie Seiberg (Escape Pod)

The book

I finished just one book in August, Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero, which I read for my book club. The book was kind of a mess, way too clever for its own good–but it was often clever. I often wasn’t sure if I was really enjoying it or hating it, which is an odd experience when reading a book. It was mostly fun, but forgettable–which is good, considering all the parts of it that weren’t fun.

The movies

I only watched 6 movies in August, and half of those were on the plane back from Finland:

  • Colossal:

  • Life:

  • Live By Night:

  • Power Rangers:

  • Theater of Blood:

  • The Matador:

The music

And there was some of that, too:

July 2017

It’s taken me longer than usual to get this post written, partly because I was in Finland for a week at the start of August. (More on that in my August post.) Anyway, I did the usual books, stories, movies, and music thing in July.

The books

I finished three books in July:

  • The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon
  • Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Starflight by Melissa Landers

I really liked the first two books and really did not like the third one. I spent a few hours talking about why I didn’t like it at my monthly book club, but for here, let’s just say that I definitely won’t be reading the sequel.

The stories

I’m not entirely sure how many I read. I only have record of 25, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t skip that many days. I did skip some days, though, never on purpose, and I hope to get better about that as the year continues. Anyway, of the 25, these were my favorites:

  • “Dipso and the Crow” by Rich Larson (Mythic Delirium)
  • “An Unearned Death” by Marissa Lingen (F&SF)
  • “Texts from the Ghost War” by Alex Yuschik (Escape Pod)
  • “I Built This City for You” by Cassandra Khaw (Uncanny)
  • “When Dooryards First in the Lilac Bloomed” by B. Morris Allen (Lackington’s)
  • “That Game We Played During the War” by Carrie Vaughn (Escape Pod, orig. Tor.com)
  • “The Joy of Baking” by Holly Lyn Walrath (Luna Station Quarterly)
  • “Daddy’s Girl” by Jennifer R. Donohue (Syntax & Salt)
  • “Flowers for the Moon” by Clio Yun-Su Davis (Luna Station Quarterly)
  • “The Bridgegroom” by Bo Balder (Clarkesworld)

The movies

I watched 15 of ’em in July.

  • The Belko Experiment:

  • Heartburn:

  • Okja:

  • Johnny Handsome:

  • The LEGO Batman Movie:

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming:

  • Baby Driver:

  • The Lost City of Z:

  • Kong: Skull Island:

  • Certain Women:

  • Dunkirk:

  • The Spirit:

  • Dreamscape:

  • Free Fire:

  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:

The music

I discovered quite a bit more of it in July than in recent months. A lot of listening through my backlog of All Songs Considered podcasts, among other things.

May 2017

“He went to Paris, looking for answers to questions that bothered him so” – Jimmy Buffett

So yeah, in May, I went to Paris.

It was just for a couple of days, over a weekend, flying in Saturday morning and flying out on Monday. My parents had a hotel reservation that they couldn’t cancel but also couldn’t use, so I wound up using it in their place.

And I really did enjoy myself. I saw the Mona Lisa, went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, caught sight of brand new President Emmanuel Macron’s inauguration, had some good meals, and took a bunch of pictures. I’d been a little worried my extremely limited French wouldn’t be enough to get by, but Paris is an incredibly cosmopolitan–or at least touristy–city, and everyone I spoke to was very courteous and willing to switch to English when my lame attempts at more than merci beaucoup didn’t pass.

Anyway, it’s definitely a city I’d like to return to. I saw the Arch, the Louvre, and the Musée d’Orsay–which might have been my favorite–but there’s a lot I didn’t get to see in two short days. I saw the Eiffel Tower only from a distance.

Other than that…? Well, at work, we’ve had a bunch of changes, with people leaving for new jobs (and/or cities), including my boss. It’s meant some added responsibilities for the rest of us, but it’s also meant just a general sense of oddness. Y’know, things change.

Except this cough. I’ve been trying to get that to change, trying to shake it, for weeks, and so far no real luck.

Anyway, it wasn’t all Parisian holidays and post-nasal drip ’round here, no sir. I also read read some short stories, some books, saw some movies,and heard some music. The usual order or things.

The stories

  • “The Ladder-Back Chair” by Barbara Krasnoff (Mythic Delirium)
  • “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon (Uncanny)
  • “The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom” by Max Gladstone (Tor.com)
  • “Beetle-Cleaned Skulls” by J.E.Bates (Escape Pod)
  • Whatever Tower, However High” by Julia K. Patt (Escape Pod)
  • “Paradox” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny)
  • Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Sparza (Uncanny)
  • “James, In the Golden Sunlight of the Hereafter” by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed)
  • “Rising Star” by Stephen Graham Jones (Uncanny)
  • “And Then There Were (N-One)” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny)
  • “The Stars That Fall” by Samantha Murray (Flash Fiction Online)
  • “Yosemite” by D.S. McNab (Escape Pod)
  • “Red Kelly Owns the Moon” by Shaenon K. Garrity (Escape Pod)
  • “Rings” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (F&SF)
  • “The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs” by Kelly Jennings (F&SF)
  • “But Only Because I Love You” by Molly Tanzer (Nightmare, reprint)

The books

I read three of them in May. Well, okay, technically I finished the last of them on June 1, but I’m gonna count it — and not just because the other two were maybe closer to novellas.

I really enjoyed The Sorrow Proper by Lindsey Drager, which is a meditation on books and libraries and love, with some very nice writing. I thought The Invisibility Cloak by Ge Fei was interesting. And Pyramids by Terry Pratchett…well, wasn’t my favorite Discworld book so far, but it had its moments.

The movies

I watched eleven of them in May, including three I watched on the plane back from Paris. (And am I ever glad we had to taxi for a little so I could watch how Jack Reacher 2 ends. Spoiler: badly.) Anyway, the movies I saw were:

  • A Boy and His Dog:

  • Paterson:

  • Moana:

  • La La Land:

  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back:

  • Once Upon a Time in the West:

  • Alien: Covenant:

  • Get Out:

  • Joe Kidd:

  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter:

  • The Emperor’s New Groove:

  • The music

    All of two songs, but I did listen to ’em.

    April 2017

    April was a less eventful month than March, which is maybe for the best. Mostly just some stories, books, movies, and music.

    The stories

    I read twenty-nine short stories in April. Or thirty-one. But I only wrote down twenty-nine of them, and if I can’t remember the other two, they can’t have been that great, right? It’s altogether possible I missed a couple of days altogether.

    Anyway, the ones I liked most were:

    • “Seven Permutations of My Daughter” by Lina Rather (Lightspeed)
    • “Maybe Look Up” by Jess Barber (Lightspeed)
    • “How the 576th Annual Pollen Festival Blossomed My Budding Career” by S. L. Saboviec (Flash Fiction Online)
    • “With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips” by Beth Cato (Uncanny)
    • “Infinite Love Engine” by Joseph Allen Hill (Lightspeed)
    • “Remote Presence” by Susan Palwick (Lightspeed)
    • “Jonathan’s Heaven Has Many Cats” by Rachael K. Jones (Lackington’s)
    • “Sex After Fascism” by Audie Shushan (Luna Station Quarterly)
    • “An Abundance of Fish” by S. Qiouyi Lu (Uncanny)
    • “Auspicium Melioris Aevi” by JY Yang (Uncanny)
    • “Marta Ranunculus Wolf Calf” by Gillian Barlow Graham (Lackington’s)
    • “On Grief and the Language of Flowers: Selected Arrangements” by Damien Angelica Walters (Mythic Delirium)
    • “Phase Day: A Log of the Journalistic Career of Amaltua Obon” by Kara Dennison (Devilfish Review)
    • “Some Remarks on the Reproductive Strategy of the Common Octopus” by Bogi Takács (Clarkesorld)
    • “Never Truly Yours” by Marion Deeds (Podcastle)

    The books

    I finished two books in April: Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Pratchett’s book was fun enough, a welcome respite from the bleakness that had been my last read in March, Stephen King’s The Long Walk. But it hardly felt like Pratchett’s best. I did really like this line, though:

    They thought they wanted to be taken out of themselves, and every art humans dreamt up took them further in.

    Tartt’s book, meanwhile, is one I’d been reading off and on since at least September. I’m not wholly convinced it wasn’t too long, and not just because it’s taken me several months to finish it, but I really liked the book, and I loved its last few pages, which contain some of its best and most beautiful writing:

    Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair….And I feel I have something very serious and urgent to say to you, my non-existent reader, and I feel I should say it as urgently as if I were standing in the room with you. That life–whatever else it is–is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.

    There’s a little part of me that’s going to miss that book.

    The movies

    I watched twelve movies in April.

    • The Blackcoat’s Daughter:

    • Independence Day: Resurgence:

    • Ghost in the Shell:

    • Bone Tomahawk:

    • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:

    • The Discovery:

    • Hidden Figures:

    • The Girl With All the Gifts:

    • To Live and Die in L.A.:

    • The Fate of the Furious:

    • Underworld: Blood Wars:

    • Only Lovers Left Alive:

    The music

    I listened to some of it in April: