Monday, February 18, 2013

This n' That: Scalzi, Guy Mark Foster + Updates

Hey, how is everyone! I've been missing lately, I know, and slow in posting, but so far this has been one of those tough blogging months for me. Let's see... I had one long week of migraines that would not go away, I am still serving on Grand Jury duty every Thursday and won't be done until the end of February. That means double duty at the office. I can't seem to catch up no matter what I do! Plus, the situation with my mom seems to be deteriorating and it is both an emotionally draining and stressful time for all of us.

But you wonder if I've been reading, I have! Reading is one of those personal joys that I need to keep going. So what have I read lately? What am I reading now? I think I've chosen to read everything but "romance," and by that I mean mainstream contemporary and historical romance.

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I have been keeping up with John Scalzi's new science fiction serial, The Human Division and read, Episode #3: We Only Need the Heads, and Episode #4: A Voice in the Wilderness. In We Only Need the Heads, Scalzi returns to the Ambassador's negotiating team and Harry Wilson, cleverly weaving in the events that took place in the wildcat colony featured in Walk the Plank. In A Voice in the Wilderness, Earth is the setting and readers get an inkling as to how the Colonial Union is viewed from their perspective. Political ramifications, manipulation by and of the media play a big part in this installment and I love that this episode ended with a bit of bang! I have Episode #5: Tales from the Clarke in my queue to read, but didn't get to it yet.

I'm really enjoying this serial, folks! So far Scalzi has alternated between the overall storyarc involving negotiations between the Colonial Union and different aliens and key events that affect or will affect those negotiations. So far some of the individual episodes work well on their own while others do not, and as a whole book the flow may seem a bit choppy. However, as the story moves along and revelations come to light, it works. I think that after Tales from the Clarke the story may flow better. I will let you know. So far this is a solid B read for me.

The 2013 Science Fiction Experience 
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Earlier in the month I highlighted The Rest of Us: Stories by Guy Mark Foster. Foster is a gay African-American writer whose collection of gay fiction stories turned out to be fantastic. I purchased the digital edition, began to browse and ended up reading the whole book in one sitting.

The collection begins with "Boy," a short piece that sets the tone for the rest of the book, where a father explains to his son what manhood is all about, "rest the ankle of one leg on the opposite leg's knee-never cross one leg over the other's knee, and people won't too easily peg you for the punk you are right under my very roof due to become; " and ends with the amazing "Between Us," a story in letter form addressed to "Dear M" where Foster's character Mark attempts to explain to his former white lover why he tends to push people away. Foster's character explains that in addition to being black and gay he also has to "navigate the ever present complexities" of racial history: "simply being a human being presents a whole host of conflicts, but to be gay and of African descent in our society only increases those conflicts."

In between, Foster's wonderful collection of stories captures the social and cultural complexities of growing up as a gay African-American male while dealing with difficult family issues, religion, racial differences, racism, homophobia, and snapshots of men who continue to love men regardless of the obstacles. Highly recommended, this was an A- read for me.

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Then, I got all caught up reading Jordan Castillo Price's addicting PsyCop series. Now, some of the books in this series have been sitting in my eReader for years. No kidding. So yeah... I gloamed and read: Among the Living #1, Criss Cross #2, Secrets #3, Body & Soul #4, Camp Hell #5, GhosTV, Book #6 plus the novellas Many Happy ReturnsStriking Sparks and In the Dark, to complete my reading experience. As you can imagine, I really enjoyed that experience, otherwise I would not have read all of these books consecutively. Expect an overview of the whole series soon!

I'm not done with Jordan Castillo Price yet. I'm planning on reading more of her series, plus Hermovore. All books already in my Kindle. Can't wait!

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I began but have not finished The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke. I really wanted to concentrate on that book and unfortunately my migraines hit while I was in the middle of it and I had to place it aside for another time. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone suffered the same fate. This is a book that has been sitting in my Kindle since last year and I was enjoying it so much! But, I really needed the time to concentrate on the world building which is quite intricate and unfortunately my head was not in the right place to do so. So I will be reading it at another time. Hopefully soon.

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What Am I Reading Now?



Two upcoming March releases: In Search Of and Others is a collection of speculative fiction stories by Will Ludwigsen that's working perfectly for me at this time because I can read and enjoy a few stories at a time in between other books. I will let you know how it turns out when I'm done, but there are some great stories in this collection so far.

The other book I'm reading is Rigoberto González's upcoming creative nonfiction release from UA Press, Red-Inked Retablos. This is another book that I'm thoroughly enjoying. It is totally different from my other reads in that it is nonfiction, but because the book is essentially a collection of distinct essays it can also be read slowly. So far a great read.

That's it for now folks! Hope those of you in the U.S. are enjoying President's Day.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Hils, sorry to hear about those awful migraines and that your mom's not doing too well. I'm sending hugs.. wish I could do more. Can I do more? Let me know. xo

    It's good you're still finding (making) time to read. I'm sure it helps you unwind and escape a little bit every day.

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    1. Thank you, Christine!

      Reading is the best outlet and a cureall for me. I get lost in my books and stories and yes... you wouldn't believe how much it helps. :D

      XOXO!!

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  2. I hope things get better for you soon, Hils.

    I'm really liking the Scalzi serialisation as well. Tales from the Clarke was a good one, IMO. I am definitely curious about whether all the episodes work as a coherent book - very interesting experiment.

    And I love that JCP PsyCop series. Her other series (Channeling Morpheus) didn't work as well for me though.

    Li

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    1. Thanks, Li1

      I'm planning to read Tales from the Clarke and The Back Channel together since I didn't make time to read my episode last week. I love serials, but have never read a sci-fi serial. It's beginning to take shape as a book, IMHO. I guess I'll know better after reading these two episodes.

      I really enjoyed the PsyCop series by JCP. And I just finished Hermovore last night. I have two other series by her in my Kindle (complete), now I have to choose which one to read. Thanks for the heads up on Channeling Morpheus. :)

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