November 2016


So November. I think it’s safe to say that the first week of it did not play out as expected. The many long weeks since then have pretty felt just like shell-shocked aftermath. It’s anybody’s guess how exactly things will play out over the next four years, but it’s almost guaranteed to be difficult and ugly on a lot of levels.

But Thanksgiving was nice, so there is that.

Anyway, beyond the holidays — which was just me, my sister, our parents, and my sister’s cat — and politics, November was a pretty uneventful month. I read one book and thirty-two short stories, watched sixteen movies, and listened to a little music. It was that kind of month.

The book

I read Company Town by Madeline Ashby for my monthly book group. And I didn’t much like it.

It wasn’t terrible, but I think the group largely agreed with my own assessment: there’s way too much going on in the novel, with too few of its threads connecting or being resolved. And the ending…ooh boy. It’s rare to find a book where you want many, many longer stretches of exposition just so you can better know what’s going on and who everybody is. The book’s pacing is really weird, and it really does feel like working on a mystery without any clues.

It seems to set itself up for a sequel — despite rumors it’s a one-and-done — but I don’t think I’d read more. Maybe another book by Ashby, or even a completely rewritten and expanded version of this book, but no, not a sequel.

The stories

I read thirty-two short stories in November, upping my one-a-day habit all the way up to two-a-day on a couple of occasions. (I took all of Thanksgiving week off from work.) These were my favorites:

  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny)
  • “Kamanti’s Child” by Jennifer Marie Brissett (Uncanny)
  • “The Place of Bones” by Gardner Dozois (F&SF)
  • “Where I’m From, We Eat Our Parents” by John Wiswell (Daily Science Fiction)
  • “Project Earth Is Leaving Beta” by J.W. Alden (Flash Fiction Online/Nature)
  • “Spirit Tasting List for Ridley House, April 2016” by Rachel Acks (Shimmer)
  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar (Uncanny/he Starlit Wood)
  • “Migration” by Tananarive Due (Nightmare)
  • “Natural Skin” by Alyssa Wong (Lightspeed)
  • “A Shot of Salt Water” by Lisa L. Hannett (The Dark)
  • “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)

All but the last two were from 2016. I don’t set out to read current short fiction and nothing but, but it does often turn out that way. After last month, when I read a whole bunch of much older reprints, I was probably due.

The movies

  • All the President’s Men:

  • I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House:

  • The Hitcher:

  • 13th:

  • Arrival:

  • The Neon Demon:

  • Sunset Boulevard:

  • Duel:

  • Sing Street:

  • Martin:

  • Seven Men from Now:

  • Hell or High Water:

  • Chunking Express:

  • Carnival of Souls:

  • My Left Foot:

  • Big Fan:

The music

Election daze

I voted and I worked. In that order. That’s pretty much the highlight reel of my day.

Meanwhile, my sister and her husband are back home in Maryland.

Yep, that was pretty much my Tuesday. I’m making a concentrated effort to ignore the election results (and therefore Twitter) this evening.


It’s true, I didn’t do much today besides watch the first couple of Season 3 episodes of The Walking Dead, watch Thunderball, and watch the third and final Presidential debate.

I think that may be a textbook example of diminishing returns.

The Walking Dead had a surprisingly very good pair of episodes leading into the new season. I’ve never hidden my problems with the show, but I thought these episodes absolutely improved upon some of the problems of last season. It helps that the prison is a much more interesting location, but it was more interesting in the comics, and I threw up my hands after only six issues of that (18 total).

Thunderball was okay, though of the four James Bond movies I’ve watched in recent months probably my least favorite. There are far too many underwater fight scenes, and it honestly starts to drag.

And speaking of starting to drag…well, again, you can always check out my Twitter feed if you want to know what I thought of the debate.

I’m back to work tomorrow, though not from the office, which is nice.

In too Veep

A quiet day, mostly working on a little of this, a little of that, getting ready for my work trip to Maryland next week.

This evening, I watched the Vice Presidential debate, a much more spirited event than the previous presidential one. I’ve made no attempt to hide who I’ll likely be voting for next month. Some of the bloom is off the Obama rose for me, though mostly for policies like drone attacks and not the things that seem to have the Republicans all flustered. But, unlike the Republicans, I feel like Obama’s at least operating from a point of reality and that he acknowledges, as Joe Biden did this evening, that “facts matter.”

If you want more analysis than that, more political thought from me, you can always check out my Twitter feed. Right now, though, I’m going to bed. Ninety minutes of that was kind of exhausting.

Tuesday various