June was better than May, I guess, even if I’m still not 100% convinced by this 2015 thing.
I read two books, which seems to be what I’m averaging lately each month. The first was Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey, the latest book in the Expanse series, which did not disappoint. And the second was Sourcery by Terry Pratchett, continuing my slowly ongoing read of the entire Discworld series.
Pratchett has his weaknesses — he’s maybe not phenomenal at describing big action set-pieces, of which there are occasionally a few — but the warmth and humor in the books just keeps getting stronger with each volume. (And here it was just nice to see Rincewind and the Luggage again.) I’m led to understand the some of the very late books, like Raising Steam, might not be as good, but right now I’m really enjoying the series and discovering it all for the first time.
Right now, though, I’m taking a short break before moving on to Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters and reading Wool by Hugh Howey.
I saw only five movies in June:
- The Curse of Frankenstein
- Kingsman: The Secret Service
- Jupiter Ascending
- The Falcon and the Snowman
None were what I’d call remarkable, though they all had some great moments.
Well, maybe not Jupiter Ascending, but that sure isn’t for lack of trying. I don’t think there’s anything that movie doesn’t try. I give the Wachowskis a whole lot of credit this kind of ballsy, heart-on-their-sleeve kind of film-making, even when it when really doesn’t pay off.
The biggest problem with Jupiter Ascending — beyond whatever it is that Eddie Redmayne’s doing with his voice, which is also the best thing about the movie — is that instead of being one big space opera epic it tries to be about twenty. It’s better once you figure out the basic plot underlying all the other exposition and window-dressing, but oh man is there a lot of that to get through.
I was a much bigger fan of the Wachowskis’ recent Netflix series Sense8, which also really shouldn’t work on paper. (It’s not the place to go, for instance, if you’re looking for propulsive narrative. Or maybe narrative at all.) But it’s so risky and courageous, and strange and diverse, and made with such warmth and love, that I completely and totally fell for it.
Frankenstein was good solid Hammer horror, the first pairing of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. (Lee’s recent passing was why I sought the movie out.) The Falcon and the Snowman has good performances, particularly from Sean Penn. Kingsman has an uber-British Colin Firth and a couple of genuinely incredible set-pieces, though it’s considerably weaker in other respects. And Dumbo is…well, it’s short, only about an hour in total, and some of it’s quite lovely. But maybe it’s the short length, maybe it’s that Dumbo as a character never speaks, or maybe it’s just a product of when it was made — the movie’s not overtly racist, but those crows aren’t the best characters. I’d just say it’s not essential Disney, I guess.
In June, I read 34 short stories. My favorites were:
- “The Three Feats of Agani” by Christie Yant (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
- “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye” by Matthew Kressel (Clarkesworld)
- “The Fisher Queen” by Alyssa Wong (Fantasy & Science Fiction)
- “The Breath of War” by Aliette de Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
- “What Merfolk Must Know” by Kat Otis Flash Fiction Online)
- “In the Dawns Between Hours” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)
- “The Cure” by Malinda Lo (Interfictions)
- “Bucket List Found in the Locker of Maddie Price, Age 14, Written Two Weeks Before the Great Uplifting of All Mankind by Erica L. Satifka (Lightspeed)
- “The Deathbird” by Harlan Ellison (Deathbird Stories)
- “Voidrunner” by Rachael K. Jones (Daily Science Fiction)
- “Flash” by Lavie Tidhar (Daily Science Fiction)
I didn’t write as much, and it’s been many weeks since my online writing group last met, but I’m hoping to change that. The former part — the writing — that I need to change.
I also listened to some music in June, though not as much new stuff:
There are months like that. Some months, it’s like I can’t stop stumbling over new songs I want to keep listening to, and then some months…there are only seven.
Anyway, that was June for me. Beyond that, it was mostly work and getting the tires on my car replaced. Exciting times, I know. I did put together a new issue of Kaleidotrope that I’m really happy with. So there’s that.
How have you been?