Saturday, February 27, 2010 3 comments By: Suzanne

Short Story Challenge - February Recap

 

If you missed signing up for the Short Story Challenge, it's not too late.  Each month I will post a recap to discuss what everyone has read for the challenge. Everyone who still wants to sign up go back to original post to sign up (which I will leave a link to in every current post). Then leave comments in the current post.

Again, I have just read the bare minimum, as I am still re-reading my way through the WOT series. I'm on book five, so it won't be too much longer and then I can read something new! And that includes more short stories. Hope everyone else is doing well on their challenges!

This month I read the February 2010 edition of Realms of Fantasy. I have never read this magazine before and will most likely not again unless a specific story in it look interesting. There's too much other junk in it I'm simply not interested in, like game reviews. Boring! At least I think so. But the stories themselves were pretty good.

How Interesting: A Tiny Man by Harlan Ellison is an interesting take on human nature and what is a natural life. The story starts like this: "I created a tiny man. It took me a long time. But I did, finally: he was five inches tall. Tiny; he was very tiny. And creating him, the creating of him, it seemed an awfully good idea at the time."

I like this not only because of the implications of creating a tiny man but because of the humor with which the story was told: "There were threats. Some of them curiously misspelled - its, rather than it's - and suchlike." or there is also: "And so, I have a car, I use raw sugar instead of aspartame, my pants do not sag around my shoetops, and I drive a perfectly utilitarian car. The make and year do not matter for this disquisition."

Mister Oak by Leah Bobet wanted to be something more than what it was. It wanted to be a look at human nature through the eyes of plants but it took the metaphor too far and left me just feeling wanting.

The Demon of Hochgarten by Euan Harvey was beautifully told and was a complete story in it's own right. It does not need to be expanded into a full length novel to make sense or feel complete. I think that's a very important part of being a "short story." Also, I very much enjoyed the new aspect of the classic werewolf tale.

Melanie by Aliette de Bodard was also a very well written story and a good commentary on human nature and our fears, though I believe the story she did for Asimov's was much better.

My favorite story in this collection is The Unknown God by Ann Leckie. I love the irreverent way in which she tells the tale of a god who regrets his hasty actions. I will leave you with a bit of this story in which one god, Aworo, is contemplating another, Smerdis:

Aworo had heard of devotees who, laying a hand on the bull as it passed, had been granted inner peace and enlightenment. "There's a procession..."
"Every month. They'd like to do it more often, of course, but they can't get the permit. Can't have gods parading around the city whenever they like, we'd never get anything done!"

Happy Reading!
Friday, February 26, 2010 32 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: Evermore


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

This week's selection comes from Evermore by Alyson Noel. I haven't gotten around to reading this, though it's been sitting next to my computer for a couple months now. I am determined to finish the WOT series re-read before I start on anything else. This is also why there have been no reviews on my blog lately. So sad! I'll back to it soon though.



"Wonderful!" Mrs Machado says, smoothing her long glossy braid as she stares at his canvas, her aura vibrating a beautiful cobalt blue as her mind performs cartwheels and somersaults, jumping in glee, racing through her mental roster of talented former students, realizing she's never had one with such innate, natural ability - until now.

If this is any indication of her writing style, I may have a problem with this book. Technically it's correct but truly, it should be more than one sentence. There are too many ideas in that one sentence to leave it as one. Smoothing her braid, her aura, and her thinking of the talented students should be three separate sentences too make the flow easier on the reader. Just my three cents (inflation).
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 2 comments By: Suzanne

How Twilight Works....

A friend sent me a link to How Twilight Works. It's obviously written by a man but it says pretty much everything I said about the series but in a much more concise and funny way. Thought everyone might enjoy. Even if you're a Twilight fan, I'm pretty sure you'll like this!
Friday, February 19, 2010 19 comments By: Suzanne

Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

These books seriously need to be put away on a shelf! Until then...the closest to me today is Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan.

Two of the sisters she passed ignored her simply because they did not see her.

Friday, February 12, 2010 10 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: The Fountainhead


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

HAPPY FRIDAY!
The closest book today is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Sorry I'm late today!

He had prepared himself to explain how busy he'd been in NY; but explanations seemed irrelevant.
Friday, February 5, 2010 30 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: Please Understand Me


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

HAPPY FRIDAY!


Wow, I almost forgot today! This week's selection comes from Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates. If you've never taken this test, go out and get the book. It's so much much to find out what type you are and what is says about you. I've found it to be amazingly accurate on most points (if you're absolutely honest when answering the questions). I am an INFJ. To know what that means, go get the book.


This is under the section about the Promethean Temperament, or the NTs.

This distancing sometimes causes the NT to make personal commitments which he later regrets. In particular the NT whose "feeling" is not developedcan become involved with members of the opposite sex who might be totally unsuitable as life companions.
Monday, February 1, 2010 9 comments By: Suzanne

Short Story Challenge - January Recap

 

If you missed signing up for the Short Story Challenge, it's not too late.  Each month I will post a recap to discuss what everyone has read for the challenge. I've decided not to include a new Mr. Linky for each one, as this could get tedious but have everyone who still wants to sign up go back to original post to sign up (which I will leave a link to in every current post). Then leave comments in the current post.

This month I read Asimov's Science Fiction, the February 2010 edition, to satisfy the requirements of the Gold level. Part of the reason I wanted to do this challenge was because I don't read enough short stories and, as a lover of the Sci-fi/fantasy genre, I felt I was leaving out a significant portion of good reads. 
For the most part I was impressed with the level of writing in this magazine, though the very first story was by far the greatest. Although Stone Wall Truth by Caroline M. Yoachim was a complete story on it's own (as I feel a good short story should be), it could very easily be adapted into a longer novel at some point. I know it
 left me wanting more and wanting to know where a longer version of this might lead.

The Wind Blown Man by Aliette de Bodard gets a firm runner up prize. If I hadn't been so blown away (no pun intended here!) by the first story, this one may have been my first choice. It appealed to the side of myself that enjoys Buddhist philosophy. It took that philosophy and turned it on it's side briefly while still telling a beautiful story. This one I would have a hard time seeing as a full novel, unless this were the final chapter. It is so complete on it's own that there is no reason to tell more.

Although not a bad story, the weakest in the magazine was Dead Air by Damien Broderick. I feel Broderick has the great outline of a story but it needs a good editor. He also should look into not trying to pepper his story with as many big words as possible. It's wonderful that he knows what these words mean and that he uses them correctly but it's a distraction for the reader to encounter unnecessarily long words every sentence. It speaks of a slight immaturity. 

I can't wait to read what every one else read this past month. If you're doing one of the lesser levels that don't require a collection every month, leave a comment and let me know how it's going anyway!

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