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Showing posts from April, 2010

Recent Reading Roundup 25

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If I finish the book I'm reading right now (J.R.R. Tolkien's collection of essays The Monsters and the Critics) before the end of the month, I will have read as many books in April as I read in the three months preceding it.  That's what reading holidays and volcano-induced delays will do for you.  Of course, this is far too many books to give any of them an in-depth look, so here are some quick thoughts about some of them.
Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente - Valente's latest novel, currently on the shortlist for the Hugo award, took a while to win me over.  A portal fantasy in which the fantastic world (the titular city) is reached via sexual contact, with visitors to the city 'infecting' their partners and giving them access to the portion of it that is tattooed on their skin, Palimpsest revolves around four such visitors--a lonely Californian beekeeper, a New York locksmith obsessed with the death of his sister, an Italian antiques dealer infected by his wi…

Home!

At long last I am back in the holy land, after a seven-leg, thirteen hour trip comprising four different kinds of trains (one of which, the London Underground, very nearly scuttled all my plans when the tightest change of the lot became a great deal tighter due to a mechanical failure on the Circle line), two countries, and one rather pleasant flight from Paris.

Kudos are due to Niall Harrison and Nic Clarke, for opening both their home and their library to me while I was stranded, and to my airline El Al, for handling my (and, from what I've heard, many other passengers') case with impressive grace and efficiency, and making it their priority to get stranded passengers home, or as close as possible to it.  Less praiseworthy are my phone company Orange, who threatened to disconnect my phone due to irregular usage, and did so just as I was traversing France, cutting me off from the people in England and Israel waiting to hear about my progress.  While it's understandable th…

Asking the Wrong Questions, the Blog in Exile

The plan for today was to land in Tel Aviv at an ungodly hour of the morning, get home, sleep for a bit, and then write a post about my journey in the evening.  Unfortunately, everyone's favorite volcano Eyjafjallajoekull had other plans, and I have joined the ranks of tens of thousands of other stranded travelers all over Europe.  Attempts at securing an alternate route have thus far proved futile--I have a booking for a flight leaving Madrid on Tuesday night, but at present I haven't been able to make train or bus reservations for the London-Madrid leg, and the likelihood that I'll manage to do so grows slimmer by the hour.  Happily, my situation is quite comfortable.  Not only do I have a place to stay, thanks to the kindness of Niall and Nic, but it is stacked to rafters with books, so that if it weren't for the uncertainty of my situation I would quite happily settle in for another reading week.  Plus, if you're going to be stranded in a foreign country, there…

The 2010 Hugo Awards: The Hugo Nominees

Coming to you straight from Eastercon 2010, piping hot Hugo nominations--unless you've already got them from one of the people who were tweeting or liveblogging or webcasting the event, which I considered doing before deciding that that would just not be the AtWQ thing, and that I'd much rather add my thoughts about the nominees to the lists.

It has been confirmed that there will be a Hugo voter packet again this year, but I promised myself to cut back on my emotional involvement with this award, and decided I'd only purchase a supporting membership of Aussiecon if there were nominees I truly wanted to see win.  As you'll see in a moment, this has not been the case.  As usual, I will review the short fiction nominees (assuming the ones I haven't read are made generally available).

For those keeping track, there are eight female nominees out of 23 nominated works in the four fiction categories.

Best Novel:
Boneshaker by Cherie PriestThe City & The City by China M…

Away, Away

This blog has been quiet enough recently that such an absence might go unnoticed, but for the next two weeks I'm going to be on holiday in the UK.  This weekend I'll be attending Odyssey, the 2010 Eastercon at the Radisson hotel in Heathrow airport, and following that I'll be visiting friends and hopefully charging up on blogging fodder.  I'm participating in a panel, on Sunday the 4th:
Writing Meaningful Reviews of TV Shows and Books.  12PM-1PM.  Room 41.  Too often reviews of TV programmes (or books) are a knee-jerk reaction condemning (or praising) a production while considering just one or two facets. What should a detailed review consider? How can we analyse more deeply? John Clute (mod), Chris Hill, Abigail Nussbaum and Alison Page. Other than that, I'm trying something new by taking my laptop with me, but will endeavor to spend more time offline than on, so though I may pop up on occasion, normal service won't resume until the middle of the month.  I leav…