Monday, January 19, 2015

Musical Monday - William Fucking Shatner by Wil Wheaton (with Paul & Storm)


This is a story about gatekeeping. Although it isn't phrased as such, this story is an example of someone with apparent authority mocking and belittling someone they don't think belong in their group. The fact that the villain in the story is William Shatner and the target is a sixteen-year-old Wil Wheaton isn't what is really important here. What is important is that gatekeeping, in all of its pernicious and obnoxious glory, has been around for far longer than most people seem to realize.

The sad thing here is that Shatner could have both avoided having this story told for decades and made a sixteen year old fan's day by simply not being an ass. It would have literally cost Shatner nothing to be nice to a kid who was star-struck to see him. And to be perfectly honest, an ass is what gatekeepers sound like when they try to play their self-selected role. We can only hope that all would-be gatekeepers would be the butt of a story told about their public jerkiness for a couple of decades.

And what is also important here is that the target of the gatekeeping was, in all likelihood, a bigger geek who was probably more knowledgeable about Star Trek than the gatekeeper himself. The only targets of geek gatekeepers seem to be nerds who are young, who are women, or who are minorities. It is almost as if the knowledge about, or love of things genre-related is completely beside the point, and the (almost always) white, male, and established gatekeeper is simply looking to punch down at someone who they can identify as potentially vulnerable because of their difference.

But the larger issue stems from a question I would pose to would-be gatekeepers of the genre world: Who cares? Does it really matter if someone isn't as knowledgeable about the intricacies of Batman lore as you are? Or if they can't recite every plot detail of Star Trek: The Next Generation, or aren't able to recite from memory all of the mottoes of the Houses of Westeros? If they love the genre, why does their level of obsession over details matter one way or the other? Does the fact that they don't know that the name of the character Elric in the Babylon 5 episode The Geometry of Shadows was probably a reference to the Michael Moorcock character of the same name make them less of a fan than you are? Fandom is defined by your love for something, not your ability to recall enormous amounts of trivia.

When you meet a fan who is not like you, this is not an opportunity to quiz them on how devout they are in their adherence to the faith of the church of geek trivia. This is an opportunity to celebrate the breadth of people who share common interests with you, no matter their age, gender, appearance, or even knowledge of the genre. This is an opportunity to welcome those who might be new to all things nerdy into the community. This is not an opportunity to check on someone's nerd credentials or to try to impress them with your comprehensive command of vast amounts of useless trivia.

The final, and I think, most important part of this story is how all of the other members of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast and Gene Roddenberry himself provided support to their disconsolate compatriot. And not only that, Roddenberry called Shatner out when he acted like an ass. He wasn't able to do it on the spot, because he wasn't there, but when he found out about it, he clearly made sure that Shatner knew that he had behaved in a manner that was entirely out of bounds. And this, I think, is the only reasonable response to would-be gatekeepers.

Previous Musical Monday: Opening Band by Paul & Storm

Wil Wheaton     Paul & Storm     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Book Blogger Hop January 16th - January 22nd: The Wenger Swiss Army Knife Has 87 Tools

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you feel comfortable enough approaching a stranger when you see he or she is reading a book to ask what they are reading?

No. When I am commuting, I will often pick a seat next to someone who is reading if I can, because then I know that my reading probably won't disturb them. But the reason I do that is so that I won't bother anyone, and I'm not about to ruin that by stopping someone who is reading and asking them what book they are living in at that moment. I read when I am in public, in part, so I will be left alone and don't have to interact with other people unless I absolutely have to, so I assume everyone else is as well.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: Maxwell Smart Is Agent 86

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Friday, January 16, 2015

Follow Friday - Most of the Defendants in the "Trial of the 193" Were Acquitted


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the Featured Blogger of the week - Mom With a Reading Problem.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Do you own any doubles of your books? What led to getting that second . . . or third or fourth . . . copy?

I don't have an exact count, but I have at least several hundred duplicates in my book collection. I have most of them separated and stored in a a couple dozen boxes stored our front closet. I generally have duplicate books for three reasons:
  • Some of my duplicate books I acquire intentionally, usually because I already have a paperback copy and I find a hardback copy. Or because I have a worn out, dog-eared, or otherwise beat up copy and I find a copy that is in good condition. These kinds of duplicates form a relatively small portion of my stock of duplicate books because I only keep them around long enough to catalog the new books and find a new home for the older copies to go to.
  • Some of my duplicate books are the result of merging my collection of books with the redhead's collection of books, to form our library of books. At some point, we'll get the books out of the boxes they currently reside in and figure out which copy to keep in our library and which to pass along.
  • I acquire some of my duplicate books by accident, because even though I keep a list of books that I own and books that I am looking for, I have over nine thousand unique books in my collection and it is sometimes hard to remember whether I actually own a particular book or not, and I end up buying it again. These sorts of books make up the bulk of my duplicate book collection, because right now, many of my books are boxed up due to the limitations of the space the redhead and I currently occupy. As a result, I am unable to compare the two (or more) copies of books that I have so I can decide which one to keep and which one to send to a new home with someone else. When I have more space and can actually have my books out of boxes, I'll probably spend a few weeks going through all the the duplicates and culling them.
A lot of my duplicate books have been purchased because I buy most of my books at library book sales, so I have a lot of used books (leading to my having many books that are in poor enough condition that it would make sense to consider replacing them), and acquire books in large batches of a hundred or two hundred or so at a time (increasing the likelihood that I will inadvertently buy duplicates). As a result, I have ended up with a collection of duplicate books that is larger than some people's collections of books.


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Thursday, January 15, 2015

30 Days of Genre - What Genre Novel Did Think You Wouldn’t Like, but Ended Up Loving?

The Dragonlance Chronicles

First off: Yes. It has been a very long time since the last entry in this series. As I have said before, the meme says "30 Days of Genre". It doesn't say "30 Days of Genre in a Row".

This is a fairly difficult question for me to answer, because I don't usually start off thinking I won't like a novel unless I have a good reason for that predisposition - and in those cases I usually don't read the book in question unless there is some fairly compelling reason for me to do so. In all of the cases I can remember where I anticipated I would not like a book, it has turned out that I actually didn't like the book when I read it. I didn't like think I would like, for example, Dark Dawning or PureHeart, and when I read them, I actually didn't like either of these books.

Most of the time, I find that I have the opposite problem: Anticipating that I will like a particular book and being disappointed in some way by it. This is because I like science fiction and fantasy, and my usual reaction when I see a new science fiction or fantasy book is to look forward to reading it. I look forward to reading books so much, that I have piles and piles of unread books because I acquire them much faster than I can actually read them. When I do read them, I am usually very happy about the experience afterwards, but once in a while a book I was excited about reading lets me down. It happens fairly rarely, but it does happen.

I guess the closest thing to a book that I didn't think I'd like that turned out okay when I read it was the Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, which is actually three books: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning. I'm usually not particularly excited by licensed fantasy or science fiction, and licensed role-playing game related fiction is usually the weakest of this type of fiction, so when I picked up the Dragonlance Chronicles it was mostly out of a desire to catch up on the lore of the Krynn role-playing setting. I anticipated a fairly bad series of fairly weakly generic fantasy books set in a fairly bland Dungeons & Dragons based campaign setting. While I won't say that the books were particularly good - they are a fairly generic fantasy story - they were somewhat better than I anticipated, providing a mediocre but passable adventure story. While I didn't end up loving the Dragonlance Chronicles, I did end up enjoying them more than I thought I would when I picked them up.

Go to Day 30: What Is Your Favorite Genre Novel of All Time?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review - Analog Science Fiction and Fact: Volume CXXIX, No. 9 (September 2009) by Stanley Schmidt (editor)


Stories included:
Turning the Grain, Part II of II by Barry B. Longyear
Evergreen by Shane Tourtellotte
The Last Resort by Alex Nevala-Lee
From the Ground Up by Marie DesJardin
Attitude Adjustment by Eric James Stone

Science fact articles included:
From Atlantis to Canoe-Eating Trees: Geomythology Comes of Age by Richard A. Lovett

Full review: Featuring the conclusion to the two-part Barry Longyear story Turning the Grain, the September 2009 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact is full of interesting but mostly unspectacular stories even though one seems out of place in a speculative fiction magazine.

The out of place story is The Last Resort by Alec Nevala-Lee. The story centers on an eco-terrorist attack against a pumping station to be used to develop the mountains around a crater lake into a ski resort. The story is decent and well written, but there is no science fiction (or even fantasy) element to the story unless one believes that the idea that a group of committed eco-terrorist anarchists would blow up a pumping station would qualify. This sort of story always annoys me when it is included in a magazine like Analog, not because these sorts of stories are bad, but because they simply don't belong in this type of publication.

The two short stories in the issue are From the Ground Up by Marie DesJardin and Attitude Adjustment by Eric James Stone. From the Ground Up features a disillusioned former astronaut cast off from a moribund NASA space program remembering a crashed alien spacecraft filled with tiny aliens on her family property. She, of course, waits until the space program has collapsed to reveal her secret (it seems to be common in science fiction stories these days that those who discover amazing things keep them secret for prolonged periods of time, see, for example, Lambing Season and The Last Apostle). The story is okay, but not much more. Attitude Adjustment, detailing the efforts of the crew and passengers on a lunar tour shuttle as they struggle to survive attempted sabotage seems to have been inspired by the classic "engineering puzzle" science fiction of Clarke and Asimov such as A Fall of Moondust and Marooned off Vesta. The story is good, if a little predictable.

The real meat of the issue is in the novelette Evergreen by Shane Tourtellotte and the conclusion of Longyear's two part story Turning the Grain. Evergreen is about well-meaning genetic engineering, featuring a pair of characters whose parents had them genetically altered to never age beyond childhood. The protagonist chafes at the enforced immaturity of his body, reacts bitterly to those who treat him as an actual child, and fights against a world that doesn't know where he and others like him fit in. He strikes up a relationship with another one of the "frozen", a woman who, despite being a brilliant computer programmer, plays the part of a little girl for her parents, reveling in her ability to partake of child-like pleasures. The story raises serious questions about genetic modifications, whether a condition that one dislikes is actually a disability, and what sort of responsibility parents might have for imposing (with good intentions) changes that might be at best a mixed blessing for their progeny. The story doesn't come to any solid conclusions, but it does not need to. The questions and the varied ideas the characters have as to what the answers should be is what makes this story so compelling.

Turning the Grain, which began in the last issue, finishes in this one. The story started well, and this portion does not disappoint despite being somewhat predictable. Gordon Redcliff, having been marooned in the distant past in the previous installment, settles into his new life by taking a wife, a profession, and adopting a son. After solving the problem of why the older men in the village can't perform their "manly duties" (to put it politely) and a superstitious chieftain who threatens his life, Gordon deals with the dilemma of what duty he owes to his future and whether to allow his new found community to be destroyed as they are "supposed" to be, or to act and save them. I'm not sure if it was because Gordon was so well drawn a character that his actions were mostly predictable, or just that the story was predictable. In any event, the story is well-written, with solid characters and a satisfying conclusion.

The issue also includes the science fact article From Atlantis to Canoe-Eating Trees: Geomythology Comes of Age by Richard A. Lovett, which is an interesting look at the field of geomythology, the science of connecting local mythology to geologic events, attempting to unravel the inspiration behind many of the fanciful stories told about gods, heroes, and monsters by relating them to geologic events.

Overall, this is a good issue, with a few average stories, a few good stories, and no weak stories. It is marred only by the including of the non-science fiction The Last Resort (although the story itself is not bad, just out of place), and consequently this is an above average issue of Analog.

Subsequent issue reviewed: October 2009

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Musical Monday - Opening Band by Paul & Storm


Paul & Storm are going to be performing at Jammin' Java in Vienna, Virginia this Friday, and although this is very close to where I live, I won't be there. I won't be there for the same reason I won't be attending MarsCon in Williamsburg, Virginia this weekend: A lack of funds. I would like to go see Paul & Storm perform, and I would like to go to MarsCon, but the Christmas season more or less tapped out me and the redhead, so we have to take a month or two in order for our finances to recover.

Since I am unable to go see them live, I'll do the next best thing - post a video of the pair performing Opening Band, their classic song of musical futility, live on JoCo Cruise Crazy. And they are in prime form here, with "_____ is the name of my ______ cover band" jokes, stopping the song in the middle to comment about panties being thrown, and proving, yet again, that they can actually hold that long note. Maybe the next time they come and perform near me, I'll be able to go and see them. Also, maybe someday the redhead and I can go on JoCo Cruise Crazy and see all of our favorite nerdy musical acts perform.

Previous Musical Monday: What's On My Mind by Kansas
Subsequent Musical Monday: William Fucking Shatner by Wil Wheaton (with Paul & Storm)

Paul & Storm     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Book Blogger Hop January 9th - January 15th: Maxwell Smart Is Agent 86

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: If you could have dinner with your favorite character, who would it be?

I'm not sure that I would actually want to have dinner with my favorite characters, because most of them are fairly damaged or difficult individuals. reading about the travails suffered by Paul Muad'Dib Atreides is interesting, and I love the character, but he would probably make for a less than enjoyable dinner companion. Lorq von Ray is a great character, but probably wouldn't be someone I'd pick to have dinner with. The same holds true for so many of the other characters that feature in the stories that I love. Many of the characters range from narcissistic and overbearing jerks to badly wounded and damaged personalities, with everything in between. Very few of my favorite characters would make good dinner company.

The handful of my favorite characters that would be good company for dinner would be some of the protagonists in some of the young adult books that I grew up on, so I may as well pick Taran and Eilonwy, the central characters from The Chronicles of Prydain, which is one of my favorite series of books. Although they deal with some difficult circumstances in the books - Taran's search for his missing parents turns out to be fruitless and one of his oldest friends and mentors dies during a war against Arawn, while Eilonwy has to deal with the demands placed upon her by her heritage, as well as having to actually renounce that heritage in the end - they both remain capable, kind, and generally nice people. Compared to the various other choices I might make for dinner companions, these two characters would be excellent choices, and so I am choosing them.

Subsequent Book Blogger Hop: The Wenger Swiss Army Knife Has 87 Tools

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Follow Friday - Herodotus Says That 192 Athenians Were Killed at the Battle of Marathon


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the Featured Blogger of the week - Creativity and Crazy.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Do you have any fun collections (other than books)?

How does one count collections? I have a number of Star Trek novels. Are they just part of my book collection? Should I combine them with my Star Trek DVDs and assorted tribbles to form a Star Trek collection? Should all of my Star Trek material be combined with an array of other books, DVDs, toys, and games related to Firefly, Farscape, Babylon 5, and other science fiction stuff to create a science fiction collection? Are my numerous role-playing games books part of my game collection or my book collection? Are my fantasy games part of my fantasy collection, and are my science fiction games part of my science fiction collection?

I'm not really confused by this. My point is that what collections I have depends on how you count collections. By some measures I have basically one giant collection of science fiction and fantasy material. But another measure, I have dozens of collections, many of which overlap in substantial ways - including many that overlap with the contents of my book collection. How one answers the question of "what collections do you have" is an answer that depends upon how much granularity one wants to provide in response. I could say I have a collection of issues of Asimov's Science Fiction, but I consider that to be ancillary to my collection of magazines, but I consider that to be ancillary to my collection of books, which I consider to be ancillary to my collection of science fiction and fantasy material in general. And so on and so forth. So the answer, which is probably entirely unsatisfying, is that I have a couple dozen collections (with the lines between them being blurry and indistinct) that are all pretty much part of one large collection.


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review - Asimov's Science Fiction: Vol. 33, No. 3 (March 2009) by Sheila Williams (editor)


Stories included:
Act One by Nancy Kress
The Long, Cold Goodbye by Holly Phillips
Getting Real by Harry Turtledove
Intelligence by R. Neube
Slow Stampede by Sara Genge
Whatness by Benjamin Crowell

Poems included:
First Beer on Mars by David Lunde
Nightlife by Sandra Lindow
Cabaret by J. E. Stanley

Full review: The March 2009 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is one of the better issues of the magazine. It contains a collection of strong stories, with only one noticeable weak one. Even the two-page story Whatness is an excellent story, packing more into its few pages than many much longer stories can in many more pages.

Act One by Nancy Kress returns to some familiar stomping grounds for the author in a tale concerning genetic engineering. In this story, a well meaning but somewhat empty headed actress finds herself in over her head dealing with genetically modified children and the "Group", an organization that has been illegally enhancing children. The story is told from the perspective of her attorney, who has his own troubles to deal with and a somewhat ambiguous relationship with genetic modification. In the end, they all must deal with the Group's plans and the public blowback from those plans. It is a good story, as most of Kress' output, but sometimes I wish she'd write more stories that don't have genetic modification of children as the central theme.

The Long, Cold Goodbye by Holly Phillips has a kind of dream-like quality as the protagonist moves about a strangely empty alien city in search of her friend. The story tries to be deep and emotional, but I found it to just be maudlin and mostly pointless. The icy atmosphere of the setting seemed to extend to the entire story, and made it simply dull. Slow Stampede by Sara Genge is more or less the exact opposite kind of story despite its name. Set in a swamp in which a bandit tries to steal from passing caravans of giant, slow moving alien beasts of burden and finds himself negotiating for his life with an alien water dweller, this story seems to be pulp action updated to reflect modern sensibilities and science. While Phillips' story was turgid, this one flows well and was fun to read.

In Getting Real, Harry Turtledove sets forth a truly disturbing future (if you are in favor of U.S. hegemony) which is less disturbing if you are a Sinophile. Basically, the premise is that the U.S. becomes remarkably like the society portrayed in Idiocracy but still tries to throw its weight around, and finds itself foiled by the superior technology of the Chinese in their role as the new big dogs on the block. The story, like many Turtledove tales, has an edge of humor, but builds a mounting sense of hopelessness as the reader watches all of the efforts made by gallant American patriots turned aside easily by technology that they simply cannot comprehend. I was especially struck by the unremarked upon hypocrisy of the Chinese characters in one scene involving a flamethrower, which only served to underscore how far the wheel had turned. The story ends on what might be called a hopeful note as one sees the potential seeds of the victor's downfall, On the whole, this is a typically well-done story by Turtledove that is one of the high points of the issue.

Intelligence by R. Neube is a darkly funny story about an evolving AI and the human handler paid to keep it company. The story revolves around the fact that an AI may very well be incredibly intelligent and able to amass huge quantities of data, but it might not be able to actually understand what it is looking at well enough to evaluate it sanely. Though told in a silly manner as the computer tries to get around the security that surrounds it, the story does pose some serious questions about what an advanced computer system gone awry might be like. Also quite funny is Whatness by Benjamin Crowell, which is the shortest story in the issue and my favorite. It concerns an alien dealing with the vestiges of a human and his dog. The story is so short (taking up a mere page and a half) that to try to describe it would result in giving the whole story away. The most I can say without completely spoiling it is that humans talk too much and dogs have simple, easy to fulfill desires.

As with most poems in Asimov's, First Beer on Mars by David Lunde and Nightlife by Sandra Lindow are serviceable, but unspectacular. Cabaret by J. E. Stanley, on the other hand, presents a deeply disturbing possibility in an almost offhand and casual manner.

On the whole, this issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is quite good. With only one story that didn't work, two excellent stories, and the rest clustered in the "good" range, March 2009 proves to be a good month for the magazine. This issue is well-worth picking up for any science fiction fan.

Subsequent issue reviewed: April/May 2009

Asimov's     Sheila Williams     Magazine Reviews     Home

Monday, January 5, 2015

Musical Monday - What's On My Mind by Kansas


The past two years have been years of serious transition for me. The most obvious transition has been getting out of a bad marriage, which finally happened in 2013, and getting into what has thus far been a very good marriage in 2014. Although I could go into all the ways that my previous marriage was terrible, I'm still trying to take the high road, even if my former wife abandoned that in favor of shit-slinging from almost the very beginning of the breakdown of our relationship. Suffice it to say that the problem was that we stopped fighting - because we stopped fighting by simply leaving all of our differences unresolved indefinitely. This is not a recipe for marital success.Things are much better for me now on the relationship front, as the redhead is pretty much the perfect spouse for me. She's also my best friend. It's not that we don't ever disagree - but when we do we actually resolve our disagreements with compromises that we both actually follow through on. This is new and different for me.

This past year has also been a transition year for me health wise. I began the year with a number of persistent issues that all seemed unrelated and that had accumulated so slowly that I merely chalked them up to being maladies associated with getting older, with the most bothersome one being that I got tired very easily, and always felt lethargic, drastically cutting into my productivity. Eventually, the mystery was unraveled when I was diagnosed as being diabetic, and all of the apparently disparate symptoms were actually attributable to this one illness. I have since started dealing with it, and although everything isn't (and probably won't be for a while at least) back to what it was before my body decided to stop properly processing sugar, I'm getting better. I hope to be able to use my refound energy to actually complete more projects this year.

But my diagnosis isn't really why I chose this song. Rather, my transition from a bad relationship that left me "out in the cold" to being "so much better now" is. The last couple of years have been hard in many ways, but the root cause has been the unsettled nature of my life as I have moved from a relationship that alternated between cold silence and screaming matches to one that, well, doesn't. Although I have some regrets here and there, and definitely wish some things were better, there is no doubt that most of my life is on a better track now than it was three years ago, and so I will let Kansas speak for me today.

Previous Musical Monday: Cats at Parties by The Doubleclicks
Subsequent Musical Monday: Opening Band by Paul & Storm

Kansas     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Blogger Hop January 2nd - January 8th: Federalist No. 85 Was the Last of the Federalist Papers

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: What is your Blogger's New Year's Resolution?

I have a couple of New Year's resolutions for this blog this year, but the most important one is to move this entire blog over to the new URL that the redhead got for me for Christmas also known as MyOtherWorlds. I've got a bunch of other resolutions, mostly involving being better at blogging this year that I was last year - I didn't read as many books or magazines in 2014 as I should have, and I didn't review nearly as many books and movies as I intended, and I'm planning on doing more of both. I'm also going to finish up some projects I've been meaning to finish like finishing out the full list of author pages, reviewing all of Cathouse, Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Farscape, and finally finishing the 30 Days of Genre. But all of that takes a back seat to moving this blog to my own URL, and converting it to Wordpress. If I can do that in 2015, I'll be a happy blogger.

Subsequent Book Blogger Hop: Maxwell Smart Is Agent 86

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Follow Friday - At Least Five Plane Crashes Were Numbered Flight 191


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the two Featured Bloggers of the week - Corazones Literarios and Even If It's Not Real.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Happy New Year!!!! What was your favorite book of 2014 – or books if you can’t name just one?


My four favorite books that I read in 2014 were American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle, Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie, Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross, and Parasite by Seanan McGuire (writing as Mira Grant). If I absolutely had to pick one as my favorite, it would probably be Ancillary Justice, although the other three would only be a hair's breadth behind.

Previous Follow Friday: Everclear is 190 Proof

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Musical Monday - Cats at Parties by The Doubleclicks


The holiday season is a season for parties. New Year's is especially a time for parties. While I am a fan of small celebrations like getting together with friends for gaming, this song pretty much describes how I feel about the traditional style of party with lots of people sitting around drinking champagne and eating finger foods as they make small talk. When those kinds of parties come up, I'd really rather sit with the cats and read a book. Or find a couple of like-minded nerdy people and play a game. Oddly, both of these activities are frowned upon at most social gatherings, which I consider to be a mark of the lack of civilization of our society. At least the cats are civilized.

For everyone who goes to Times Square, or a big party full of loud music and lots of alcohol, I hope you enjoy yourselves. I won't be there, and I will be happy not to be. I'm also not going to have any cats for company this New Year's Eve. Just the redhead, some really good friends, a pile of games, and an evening that is the kind of evening that I find fun.

Subsequent Musical Monday: What's On My Mind by Kansas

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Blogger Hop December 26th - January 1st: It Takes 84 Years for Uranus to Orbit the Sun Once

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you have a book with a location that you just HAD to visit after reading the book?

Since most of the books I read are science fiction or fantasy, the answer is pretty much no. There is no way I could feasibly visit them Moon, or Mars, or Jupiter, and no way at all I could visit Asimov's Foundation, Doyle's Lost World, or Burrough's Barsoom. As much as I would like to go see Lorién, or Rohan, or Prydain, those places don't actually exist, so one can't actually visit them. I suppose that one could visit Wales, since Prydain is loosely based upon that country, and I certainly would like to do so, but I haven't yet. So, no, I haven't actually visited a place because I read about it in a book. Mostly because I seem not to be reading the right kind of books for that.


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Friday, December 26, 2014

Follow Friday - Everclear is 190 Proof


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the Featured Blogger of the week - Jooniel Obsesses Over Stories.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: What books did you give other people this holiday season?


I didn't give very many books as gifts this year - this was a year for getting other kinds of gifts for most people. But I did give a few. I got The Coldest Winter, a book about the history of the Korean War, and Winged Victory, a book about World War II aviation, for my father. He has a special interest in military aviation history, so I was kind of surprised that he didn't already own Winged Victory, and when I discovered he didn't it seemed like the obvious and perfect gift. I got my mother Finding Betty Crocker, a book about the corporately created fictitious every-housewife, and Dear Cary, a biography of Gary Cooper by Dyan Cannon.


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