29 Aug 2008 12:31 pm
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Whipping Star by Frank Herbert rating: 4 of 5 stars
Superbly narrated by Scott Brick.

What I like best about Whipping Star are the conversations between McKie and the Caleban, and I like them for the same reasons that I like reading philosophy - they explore the difficulty of communicating about abstract concepts and the grounds of existence and experience.

These conversations are set in a storyline that bears a certain resemblance to a police procedural. It takes place in a universe where a variety of different "sentients" interact.

Herbert does a good job of creating actually alien aliens and exploring how they interact and manage to work together.

The sexual politics aren't so great. There is a powerful female character in the book, but she is a vain, sadistic villain. The only other character in the book who is identifed as female is the Caleban, but Brick gives her a male voice. Given how the Calebans communicate, this makes a certain amount of sense and it works for me, but it does leave only one female character, at least for the audio version.

View all my ( reviews.

Other stuff I've listened recently:

"Where Angels Fear to Tread," a Hugo-winning time-travel novella by Allen Steele. I enjoyed it. He expanded it into a novel called Chronospace, which I have heard is not very good.

"3:10 to Yuma," a short story by Elmore Leonard. I found it forgettable. I enjoyed the recent movie based on it. The movie expands the story considerably.


10 Aug 2008 10:25 am
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Children of the Night by Dan Simmons
Competently narrated. Entertaining. Possibly somewhat educational -- set in just-post-Ceausescu Romania; the historical details and sense of place seem plausible. The historical details about the career of Vlad the Impaler seem less plausible but an afterword insists they are meticulously researched and true. Hm.

Vampire theme of the "vampirism is due to virus/genetic condition" variety.

I wasn't crazy about the author's habit of deliberately pre-describing key plot details. ("Little did she know that a week from now she would have...")

View all my ( reviews.

There has been discussion elsenet lately about what "strong female character" means in a work of fiction. This book has a protagonist who qualifies somewhat as a strong female character. She is a top research scientist, divorced, not looking for a relationship. However, early in the book she lets herself be led around by men a lot. spoilers follow )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Does anyone know what the Mythopoeic Society Conference is like? It's in Berkeley this year and if it's any good the OH and I might consider checking it out.

Code 46

16 Mar 2007 10:06 pm
firecat: bag of popcorn and movie reel (movies)
The OH and I can't remember why we put the movie Code 46 on our Netflix queue. We liked it. So if you recommended it, thanks!

If you like atmospheric love stories with more-realistic-than-usual-in-mainstream-films sex scenes set in a multiethnic-flavored future and you don't mind a few asteroid-sized plot holes as far as the science fiction is concerned, you might like it too.

It's sort of like Gattaca meets Lost in Translation. Doesn't qualify under the Bechdel Rule, but has various women characters with minds of their own.

eta: spoilers in comments
firecat: vintage typewriter (typewriter)
I'm having loads of fun with this teaser from the Viable Paradise fantasy and science fiction writers workshop.

(Mike Ford used to teach at it, and I found it by reading Making Light's latest collection of Mike Ford links.)

I haven't used this particular set of tricks before, but I've used other semi-random ways of generating disparate plot elements or ideas and it sometimes gets my brain moving in interesting directions.


13 Jan 2006 01:05 am
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Via [ profile] marykaykare via [ profile] peake:
A list of all the major sf and fantasy award winners - Hugo, Nebula, Clarke, World Fantasy, Tiptree, Philip K. Dick, Stoker.
A few years ago I embarked on a Project to read all the Hugo and Nebula winners (which is proceeding in fits and starts), so I've read a bunch of these recently. The ones I've read are in bold; comments in italics. I've given ** to the ones I liked a lot (only the first time each is listed). Feel free to recommend others - my reading list can never be too long. :-P

HUGO: **Alfred Bester, The Demolished Man**
Read more... )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Saw it today with my folks.
spoiler free but opinionated comments (ETA: but other people's comments contain spoilers) )
If you posted about HPatGoF in your journal, I'd love it if you were to comment here with a link to your post(s). I skipped them all because I'm a stickler about avoiding spoilers, and I'd like to read them now, but don't want to go dig for them. :-)


firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
firecat (attention machine in need of calibration)

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