Aug. 7th, 2011

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People are complicated, but sometimes I imagine that I need to give a 1-2 sentence blurb to explain someone as clearly and succinctly as possible.  For my sister, I would quote one of her impressively blase blog posts: "Last week, I climbed Pacaya, an active volcano, and walked right up to the lava. RIP, the sole of my right hiking boot, which started to melt off my shoe."  For S, I would just explain that she listened to the Star Wars radio plays while she was in labor. She heard them for the first time when she was 4, and they are comfort food, perfectly memorized and beloved.  She considers them the canonical version of the story, and has been telling me about them since we got together 14 years ago.  And for most of that time, I have been entirely unable to appreciate them.

On long car trips, S has a habit of putting on the plays while I nap.  I've tried to listen a few times, with no success.  I considered this a defect on my part: clearly, I had missed the critical period for learning how to reconstruct a story from a radio play.  It's a very particular genre, requiring different work from the audience than a novel.  So when we got on the road to go house-hunting, and she put on the first CD, I closed my eyes and settled in.  Only this time, the switch flipped for me and the story made sense.  And now I've got to explain to you that these things are absolutely brilliant.  And they are, no question, the canonical version of the story.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] houseboatonstyx points out, correctly, that there are spoilers for both movies and radio plays here.  I am the queen of spoiler-shyness and should have remembered to include the warning.

"The Empire is doomed now. You've declared war on life itself!" )
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Packing and moving = time for books, but a lot of stress-induced rereads.

The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold. I've lost track of how many times I've read this.  And it was right there, about to go in a box.

The Commitment by Dan Savage. It was right there, about to go in a box.

Tramp Royale by Robert A. Heinlein.  It was right there...  Actually a very good historical piece, particularly the points he feels he needs to argue with his presumed audience.

Radiance by Alicorn. The second of Alicorn's Rational!Twilight series.  It follows Bella's daughter, who is not named Renesmee, and wraps up the tension from the first book in some really nice and unexpected ways.  [livejournal.com profile] robling_t has been reading the originals and telling me bits about them, and I have to say that they sound a lot more like bad fanfiction of Alicorn's stuff.  All the villains appear to have been seriously defanged, for one thing. [livejournal.com profile] robling_t has also been trying to talk me into reading and deconstructing the originals myself.  Um.  I am trepidatious, but not sure I can resist the call.

Intuition by Allegra Goodman. Lablit recommended at Wiscon.  I enjoyed it, because I've been in a lab, and because I've recently gotten out of academia--but at the same time, I found the characters annoyingly whiny and petty in a way all too common in mainstream stories.

The White City by Elizabeth Bear. The latest of the New Amsterdam stories, and as tightly and poetically written as you would expect.  I like how Bear jumps around in the character's lives from story to story--it very much highlights the morality of the human characters.

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick. A graphic biography of Richard Feynman.  About half is adapted from his autobiographical writings, but this is nevertheless fun.  It's not like I get tired of hearing the story about stealing the door.

Athyra, Orca, Dragon, Issola, Dzur, and Jhegala by Steven Brust. The Vlad Taltos series seriously benefits from being read in a lump, especially if like me your plot memory is less than perfect.  In particular, the last three (I've read Iorich since) have a lot more kick and coherence when read in context, and I enjoyed them a lot more than I did the first time through--though Jhegala seems likely to remain my least favorite.  There's a lot of really intricate worldbuilding in here, and a lot to pick up in a rearead.  And my timing was about perfect, since Tiassa was waiting for us when we got to the new house.

Other Media Consumed:

Shadow Unit, Season 3, episode 9 ("The Small Dark Movie of Your Life"). That hurt.  And I did send a contribution to My Sister's Place.

Star Wars radio play and The Empire Strikes Back radio play, along with their respective movies.  Reviewed elsewhere.

Total Books: 13
Recent Publication: 3/13
Rereads: 9/13
Recommendations: Radiance, and the radio plays by S.  Intuition by someone at Wiscon's lablit panel. Feynman by Shelby.
New Music: none
New Media Produced: I figured out the problem with the second Aphra Marsh story, and am moving ahead on it once more

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