Journey through the Hugo Award Nominees

As I mentioned the 2018 Hugo Awards Finalists list was released last weekend and since I get to vote and attend the ceremony this year I’m going to try and consume as many of the nominees that I can before August. I will post the finalists list as a sticky on the blog and then update it as I make my way through the list and post about each entry. The list is as follows:

2018 Hugo Awards Finalists

Best Novel

  • The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (Tor) My Review
  • New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit) *Will likely be the April book club selection for my sci-fi fantasy book club, Fantastical Voyagers*
  • Provenance, by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
  • The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit) *I read the first book in this series and liked it so I may have to finish the trilogy*

Best Novella

  • All Systems Red, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing) MURDERBOT!
  • “And Then There Were (N-One),”by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny, March/April 2017)
  • Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)

Best Novelette

  • “Children of Thorns, Children of Water,”by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny, July-August 2017)
  • “Extracurricular Activities,”by Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com, February 15, 2017) *I love TOR so I will read this one first*
  • “The Secret Life of Bots,”by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017)
  • “A Series of Steaks,”by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld, January 2017)
  • “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,”by K.M. Szpara (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
  • “Wind Will Rove,”by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, September/October 2017)

Best Short Story

  • “Carnival Nine,”by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, May 2017)
  • “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,”by Fran Wilde (Uncanny, September 2017)
  • “Fandom for Robots,”by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny, September/October 2017)
  • “The Martian Obelisk,”by Linda Nagata (Tor.com, July 19, 2017) *Sticking with my TOR theme and will read this one first*
  • “Sun, Moon, Dust”by Ursula Vernon, (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
  • “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™,”by Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex, August 2017)

Best Related Work

  • Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, by Zoe Quinn (PublicAffairs)
  • Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction), by Paul Kincaid (University of Illinois Press) *I’ve started reading the Culture series so I will tackle this one first*
  • A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, by Nat Segaloff (NESFA Press)
  • Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Liz Bourke (Aqueduct Press)

Best Graphic Story

  • Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time, written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Marvel) Review Blog Pending
  • Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
  • Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters, written and illustrated by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 7, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics) *I’ve been wanting to read saga for a long time now so I will make my way through this one right off the bat too, but I will start with Volume 1*

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

  • Blade Runner 2049, written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Alcon Entertainment / Bud Yorkin Productions / Torridon Films / Columbia Pictures) My Review
  • Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Blumhouse Productions / Monkeypaw Productions / QC Entertainment)
  • The Shape of Water, written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro (TSG Entertainment / Double Dare You / Fox Searchlight Pictures)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson (Lucasfilm, Ltd.) Star Wars, Yeah!
  • Thor: Ragnarok, written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi (Marvel Studios) Hulk and Thor, Smash!
  • Wonder Woman, screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins (DC Films / Warner Brothers) WW Review

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form

  • Black Mirror: “USS Callister,”written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes (House of Tomorrow) *I will start with this one*
  • “The Deep”[song], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)
  • Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time,”written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Cymru Wales) *I’m not fully caught up on Dr Who but were on the current doctor before he regenerates into Jodie Whittaker, which I’m really freaking stoked about*
  • The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit,”written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television) *Love me some good place, I’ve already watched the whole series but I will rewatch and then blog this episode*
  • The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem,”written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television) *ditto from above*
  • Star Trek: Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,”written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett (CBS Television Studios) *I’m not quite done with the first season yet but I did like this episode, blog post coming soon*

Best Editor – Short Form *I’ll so some research on these folks before I vote*

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Lee Harris
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor – Long Form *I’ll so some research on these folks before I vote*

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Joe Monti
  • Diana M. Pho
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist *I’ll so some research on these folks before I vote*

  • Galen Dara
  • Kathleen Jennings
  • Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Sana Takeda

Best Semiprozine *I’m familiar with several of these so I’ll check out the rest of the nominees before voting*

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
  • Escape Pod, edited by Mur Lafferty, S.B. Divya, and Norm Sherman, with assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney
  • Fireside Magazine, edited by Brian White and Julia Rios; managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry; special feature editor Mikki Kendall; publisher & art director Pablo Defendini
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Kate Dollarhyde, Gautam Bhatia, A.J. Odasso, Lila Garrott, Heather McDougal, Ciro Faienza, Tahlia Day, Vanessa Rose Phin, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine *Not familiar with any of these so will give them a look see before voting*

  • File 770, edited by Mike Glyer
  • Galactic Journey, edited by Gideon Marcus
  • Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry
  • Rocket Stack Rank, edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
  • SF Bluestocking, edited by Bridget McKinney

Best Fancast *Hooray podcasts, I don’t listen to many of them but I will give each of these a listen then vote*

  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
  • Fangirl Happy Hour, presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  • Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts; produced by Andrew Finch
  • Sword and Laser, presented by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
  • Verity!, presented by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

Best Fan Writer *I will check all these out then vote*

  • Camestros Felapton
  • Sarah Gailey
  • Mike Glyer
  • Foz Meadows
  • Charles Payseur
  • Bogi Takács

Best Fan Artist *I will check all these out then vote*

  • Geneva Benton
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Maya Hahto
  • Likhain (M. Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Steve Stiles

Best Series

  • The Books of the Raksura, by Martha Wells (Night Shade)
  • The Divine Cities, by Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
  • InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan (Tor US / Titan UK) *I’ve been wanting to check out this series for a while so I will start here, these will be tough to get through the series before August so I’ll try to read the first book in each series*
  • The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson (Tor US / Gollancz UK)
  • World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Harper Voyager / Spectrum Literary Agency)

 

2018 Associated Awards (not Hugos)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer *Hopefully I’m on this list someday*

  • Katherine Arden
  • Sarah Kuhn
  • Jeannette Ng
  • Vina Jie-Min Prasad
  • Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Rivers Solomon

The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Award for Best Young Adult Book *Hopefully Harbingers is on this list one of these some days too*

  • Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)
  • The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
  • The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman (Knopf) *I’ll start with this one because Knopf published a lot of Crichton books*
  • In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan (Big Mouth House)
  • A Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK / Harry N. Abrams US)
  • Summer in Orcus, written by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon), illustrated by Lauren Henderson (Sofawolf Press)

 

As you can see I’ve got my work cut out for me before August. The voting period ends July 31 so lots of reading and devouring amazing artists work. But I’m looking forward to the journey, now I’m off to find, purchase, and mark want to read on Goodreads for all the nominees. Yeehaw, happy Summer!

No April Foolin’

Spring has officially arrived in the Tri-cities. Along with spring Camp Nano and the Hugo nominees have arrived. I’m attending my first writing convention with my co-worker this year. It’s WorldCon in San Jose and I’m pretty damn excited. One of the most exciting things about going to WorldCon, other than potentially meeting a bunch of awesome folks in the publishing industry, is that we get to vote on the Hugo awards and go to the awards ceremony. Along with Camp Nano, I’m going to start making my way through as many of the nominees for the Hugo’s that I can before we have to vote. Oh yeah we get to vote on the awards too! I’ll post a list of all the nominee’s and then start tracking what I’m reading and watching and blogging about.

My goals for April are to blog every day, write every day, and read or watch something from the Hugo awards list every day. I’ve officially listed book 2 of the Harbingers series as my Camp Nano novel but I’m also going to work as much as possible on book 1 revision. My plan is to have the first 30-40k words on Harbingers book 1, a query letter, a synopsis, and some art work and maps ready to try and give to agents or publishers at WorldCon. I’m not even sure if that’s how it works but I guess I’ll find out. My friend, who is doing the artwork for my books, and her husband will, also be at the convention along with another writer friend from work, so we should have some fun and have people to hang out with.

The book club my buddy and I who are going to WorldCon is going strong. We have our meeting for our 4th book here in a few weeks and we might assign a nominee or two as books to read. There’s lots of awesome things to read and I’m very much looking forward to it. That’s all for now, time to go revise some more and then watch a Hugo nominated episode of Black Mirror.

Ready Player 2018?

2017 wasn’t too bad to live through and it sure seemed to go pretty quickly (I’ll be 36 in April and the years just seem to go by quicker the older I get). After 11 days of a nice little staycation where I left my house as little as possible, but didn’t have to work for the holidays, 2018 is upon us. Other than politics, which 2017 at least helped me learn I need to pace myself in consuming certain types of media, the year went fairly well. I did get some decent work in on my Novel revision during my time off, I’ve got a good path forward, and powered through the chapter I was stuck on writing. But overall working on revision and writing in general was lacking in 2017. 2018 has plenty of opportunities for success in it and I plan on journaling more, blogging more, and writing and revising much much more!

My wife and I sold our first house and bought our 2nd in 2017. Moving sucks in general but it especially sucks when you’ve just bought a new house and have 5 days to get your old one ready to sell. It was quite a hectic few months in the fall but we got moved in and are now nice and settled. Our five dogs are doing much better in a .35 acre yard as opposed to a .17 acre yard. Having a shorter commute is also fantastic, but has definitely cut into my audiobook listening time. Oh well. Changes are a foot at work with a new assignment but Hanford treats me well so I can’t complain.

Border Collies
My wife and I saw this Icelandic tradition where you give books on Christmas eve and then hang out, read, and drink hot coco then rest of the evening. So we decided to partake and start it up in our family. Much to my surprise and delight she got me Ready Player One. Not only that but she got me a signed first edition copy. Getting a signed copy of Ready Player One was a hell of a way to start of this new tradition. Good luck topping this next year! We’ve added a stipulation moving forward that books for this new tradition should be signed (I got her a signed Joe Hill, Horns book) since both of ours were. I read almost half of RPO that first evening and had a hard time putting it down until I had finished it. I love this book so much! The movie comes out in March and I know its going to be different than the book but I’m still freaking stoked anyway. 2017 was apparently the year where I re-read a ton of books. I’ve just recently started up a book club to help find new authors so I don’t think I’m going to re-read as much in 2018 but I wouldn’t be surprised if I read RPO again after the movie.

My goal for 2017 was 40 books and I finished 28. Not quite where I want it to be but I’m going to set it at 40 again for 2018 and hopefully hit the goal this year. 2017 was definitely the year of the re-read for me. The books I re-read in 2017: Dune, Harry Potter books 2, 3, and 4, Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear and Ready Player One. I even ended up reading Name of the Wind twice in 2017 because they released the 10th anniversary edition at the end of the year. In 2017 I also got 3 books deep into The Expanse, tried out Terry Pratchett for the first time, read a new Crichton novel for the first time in a long time, and continued to read the Jim Butcher Furies and Dresden series. I also read quite a few Star Wars books, with Thrawn by Timothy Zahn being the best. I also made sure to read some comics in the form of Rat Queens and Calvin and Hobbes.

I started a book club with my buddy at work in late 2017. We’re looking for new authors and stories to read and decided to start with some Hugo Award winners. We’ve only read one book so far, The Fifth Season, but we’ve got a nice long list of potentials to be read and a goal to meet monthly. I’m currently finishing up our second entry, Blackout, for our book club and it’s interesting so far.

I also won this awesome Kindle Fire tablet through The Portalist that had 10 YA Sci-Fi Fantasy novels on it and got through several of those. I’ve been making myself use my e-readers more and I’m definitely getting used to it, but still prefer an actual book. It’s nice having options though, especially for travelling. Speaking of travelling, 2018 has some potential good times lined up. We also had some good R&R in Kauai this year, I got my tweet shown on the fan photos on the Mariner’s broadcast while at Waimea Canyon and it was so epic! I’m planning a 10th anniversary trip with my wife that may take us to Canada or maybe somewhere a little more tropical, we haven’t decided.

Joe-Waimea

I’’ve decided I’m going commit to going to at least one writing convention this year. I need to coordinate with my writing friend at work, Bob Brown. He has a new anthology out of political speculative fiction stories, Alternative Truths and More Alternative Truths. Go check them out they’re a lot of great stories. If things go as planned 2018 could be big for my writing so networking sooner rather than later is going to be a good way to make sure things keep moving forward with Harbingers. I’m considering some projects for the blog to help with a regular writing schedule, it’s good to just write everyday that I can. More to come! That’s all I’ve got for now, I’m going to be utilizing Cuppa more this year and possibly even upgrading my blog, so expect to hear from me more. I’m considering posting chapters of Harbingers on the blog if it’s upgraded.

Discworld! Or the time I tried a new author I’ve never read and can’t figure out why it’s taken me so long.

The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1)The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I decided to try out a new author for my first book while on vacation in Kauai. I’m not sure why I’ve never read any Terry Pratchett before, especially since I’ve known about his series and heard nothing but high praise for it since I can remember, but this book is absolutely amazing. I cannot wait to read more of the Discworld series. It’s hard for me to even convey how much I loved this book. I will admit to being a little lost at first as to what exactly was happening but before I knew it I was whisked away on an adventure with Rincewind the wizard and Twoflower the tourist as the sapient pearwood luggage chest follows them all over Discworld. So many authors I read on a regular basis have sung such high praises for this series and now I know why. It is simply put, one of the best books I have ever read. I found it hard to put down even with the Pacific Ocean lapping at the seawall outside of our rental house. My only complaint about this book was that each of the chapters was extremely long, I believe there were only 4 in the entire first book, and I vastly prefer shorter chapters. But honestly who the hell cares how many chapters there are or how long each of them is when the writing, characters, and story are as amazing as what Terry Pratchett put onto the page. RIP Terry Pratchett, I feel ashamed for not finding your truly fantastic series of books before now.

View all my reviews

Travels while Travelling

If you’ve ever hung out with me much and heard my talk about Michael Crichton you’ve probably already heard my story related to my first reading of this book when I was around 12 years old. I had started reading Crichton in 4th grade and was just devouring book after book of his. I had never much been into autobiographies, and I still am not, but this is one of my favorite Crichton books, fiction or non-fiction. Even though this didn’t seem like any of his other science fictiony/technological horror books I was more interested to learn about the author himself. As you can guess from the title this book involves what Crichton’s experiences were up and traveling across the planet trying to learn more about himself and humanity as a whole.

The story I alluded to earlier happened when Crichton was in Africa. I was on a road trip with my family somewhere in the Pacific Northwest and as often was the case, and still is, I came across a word that I was not entirely familiar with. The word was Clitoris. There was some African children that were walking down the road in white dresses headed towards a ceremony where they would have their genitalia mutilated. Crichton described the strangeness of the scene and since this was before the time of smartphones or even Personal Computers really, I had to ask my parents what the hell Clitoris meant. My mother immediately snatched the book away from me aghast at what exactly it was that I was reading. I was naturally very upset and didn’t understand what I had done wrong. It also didn’t help that they never told me what exactly the word meant. Eventually after reading parts of the book herself my mother gave it back to me and let me finish the book. But it’s a funny anecdote that I’m sure I will tell for the rest of my life. So when I picked up this book for a re-read on my current travels to Hawaii, I was pretty damn excited to see what it was like reading this book 20+ years later. I was surprised at how much I actually remembered and how specific my memories of reading them when I was 12 were. As soon as I started reading chapters everything that was going to happen would rush back into my mind. It didn’t hamper my enthusiasm for the re-read at all though. I stayed up about 2 hours later than I wanted to last night finishing the book and it was so so good. It was remarkable the amount of things Crichton talks about in Travels that actually relate to my current life. He talks a lot about consciousness and figuring out who he was as a person. He even devotes a lot of the book to his exploration of meditation, auras, physic phenomenon, and so on. I, along with my wife, have been interested in this same sort of exploration over the past few years. It was really kind of crazy how much it paralleled to certain things happening in my own life. A lot of the things he does and Travels he takes were happening to him at around the same age I am now.

I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed re-reading this book. I have been doing a re-read of all of his works over the last few years and this book has really amped up my excitement to continue that re-read and get into more of his books I enjoyed so much as a grade school and middle school kid. Here’s a pick of me chillazin’ in Hawaii.

Joe Hawaii Yoda.jpg

Old Man’s War and The Slow Regard of Silent Things

I’ve been finishing up books like mad this New Year and I’m happy to report that my resolution to read more is 2015, so far has been a success. Writing has also been a success in the New Year so far, I have gotten some good work done on Harbingers and my wife and I have been plodding away on our original TV Sitcom Pilot Script. More to come on our Pilot Script, we just finished the treatment and are starting to get to the actual writing, but first I want to discuss two awesome books I have recently had the pleasure of reading. Just a heads up there will be spoilers for Old Man’s War and The Slow Regard of Silent Things, so stop now or forever hold your peace.

Old Man’s War is a book that I have had for a while, I won it from the tor.com best sci-fi/fantasy novels of the 2000’s contest, and randomly decided to bring down to Boise with me for Christmas. It’s not a very big book and for that I’m thankful because I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. Old Man’s War is John Scalzi’s debut novel and if my own debut novel is even a tenth as good as Old Man’s War I will consider it a success. This book was pretty much a space opera, but for the first quarter or so of the book we don’t really have any idea what is about to happen and I think that is one of the reasons it works so well. I also really enjoyed it because it dealt with being in the military in the future and in space and being an Air Force Vet myself this was also fun to see how my imaginings stacked up against Scalzi’s.

John Perry is the main character of the book, at the age of 65 humans on Earth can sign up for the Colonial Defense Force or CDF, because of course Acronyms for everything that’s totally how the military rolls, and he and his wife do so when they are given the opportunity. The population of Earth knows that there is a wider Universe and that aliens in it do not particularly like humanity, but no one seems to know exactly what the deal is with the CDF and why their age limit to join is 75. John just recently turned 75 and since his wife has passed he decides to follow through on his commitment and he joins the ranks of the CDF, knowing that he will never return to Earth. Everyone is under the impression that the CDF has some magic technology that will reverse aging or something similar but when they finally learn the truth I actually thought it was more crazy and awesome than I or the old humans in the book imagined.

The deal is simply this, your consciousness is transferred to a modified younger superhuman version of yourself, that is green, and you go out and fight the Universe in the name of humanity and the CDF. If you last the 10 years required of your contract you are given a new young non-modified version of your body and a nice place on some far away planet to spend the rest of your days. Most of the recruits will die however and we see most of the people John meets along the way find this fate, but John is able to survive, thrive, and make some crazy discoveries along the way. The military training scenes were some of my favorite because they really reminded me of how things went down in Basic in the Air Force.

John heads out as a grunt into the Universe, fighting a lot of crazy Alien species, like tiny versions of humans called Covandu, that they stomp on and are easy to defeat in a ground attack but nearly impossible in space. There are also the dastardly Wraey who have a taste for human flesh and have discovered a way to detect ships entering the system, even though their technology is not to that capability yet. In fighting the Wraey on a distant planet called Coral John runs across his wife, but as it turns out it is just his wife’s shell and her body is now in use by a Special Forces member named Jane Sagan. It seems that when human’s sign on the dotted line, giving DNA during the signup, if they don’t make it and join the CDF when they turn 75 their DNA are still used to make enhanced bodies for Special Forces to inhibit. This was a very interesting aspect of the story because these Special Forces are human it seems, but they were only “born” when the CDF created them and gave them consciousness (not from 75 year old humans). They have only known life in the Special Forces and to me it would be pretty damn weird to gain consciousness without having to grow up and have a childhood first. They are very good at their job though and John is able to help them win the battle of Coral and make his way into the ranks of Officer.

I can’t recommend Old Man’s War enough to anyone out there that has not yet read it, there are six books total in the series and I look forward to devouring each of them in turn very soon. Up next is the Amazing Patrick Rothfuss and his quirky novella that takes us back to the world of 4 corners and gives us an inside look at the mysterious Auri.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

In retrospect I wish I had soldiered through and made it to Seattle for the Rothfuss book tour and reading where I had a signed copy waiting for me. But alas I didn’t make it but was able to quickly snatch up a copy of his new novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things. It was a weird read, I have honestly never read quite anything like it before, but this is a good thing not a bad one. Auri is such a strange and mysterious character in the Kingkiller Chronicles. She lives under the school in an old abandoned section of it called the Underthing. She is odd, flighty, solitary, picky, and a character that I honestly didn’t necessarily want to know more about. But I’m not sad that I do.

Although The Slow Regard of Silent Things doesn’t delve into what made Auri the way she is, it does give a sneak peek into her day to day life. Holy hell is it a weird life. Auri seems to be a Namer, as we see from her finding things and areas and dubbing them as she sees fit, and she knows Alchemy as we see from her expositions into soap making. Kvothe always wondered how Auri got around in the Underthing, because ya know its underground and freaking pitch black, and we quickly learn about a little ball of glowing light named Foxen. Foxen is one of many collectibles that Auri has created or found, were not quite sure, though I suspect she made Foxen. The entire novella centers on the fact that Auri knows that Kvothe is coming to visit her and she must get three presents ready for his arrival. My main complaint with the novella was that it ended before we got to see the exchange between Kvothe and Auri. I do suspect that since one of his presents was a bed and a place to stay if he needed, that our hero will be using it as a refuge in the third book. The details of her day to day existence again are very strange but also strangely interesting. She is so much of a different character than any that have met in the Kingkiller Chronicles so far. There are probably a half dozen or so other characters I want to know more about but I’ll take anything Rothfuss wants to give me.

If you are new to the world of 4 Corners and Patrick Rothfuss then I, and even the author himself in the introduction, would not recommend you start with this book. I’m glad I read his books twice before I picked up The Slow Regard of Silent Things, I even look forward to my next re-read when I can make more sense of the areas of the Underthing that Kvothe searches for the secret entrance to the Stacks. This novella would be awfully confusing if you are not familiar with his work. But everyone should check out The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear anyways so go out and pick them up, give them a read (or two), and then settle down with The Slow Regard of Silent Things, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Up next I have a blog post coming, hopefully by the end of the week, on Odds On by Michael Crichton written under his pseudonym John Lange. That’s right I’m back in the Michael Crichton Experience after a small break and I really enjoyed this crime novel and I’m looking forward to more. Any Crichton book that I haven’t read before is always good times.

The Testing Cycle book two: Independent Study, The King Killer Chronicles book one: The Name of the Wind, and NanoWrimo

You can find my post on the first book of the testing cycle here. These books are nice short reads in the YA genre set in a dystopian future a la Hunger Games, but they are different enough that I still have enjoyed them. The 2nd in The Testing Cycle is called Independent Study, though after reading the book I couldn’t quite figure out why. The 2nd book in the series was not as good as the first but still held my attention enough that I want to find out what happens to end the series. From talking with friends and co-workers who have read Hunger Games and other dystopian YA novel series everyone’s favorite book is always the first and they usually end up not liking how the author ends the series. I will be finding out if that trend holds true for The Testing Cycle.
Cia, the main character of The Testing Cycle series, is now settling into her routine at the University. Her memories from what exactly happened in the first book have been erased but there is a recording she has hidden for herself that gives all the grisly details of just how cut throat and murderous the Testing really was. She doesn’t want to believe what her own voice is telling her but after being assigned a specific field of study she witnesses another student being “re-assigned” from the University and she finally comes face to face with the truth. Cia’s field of study that she is forced to enter is Government, which was not even close to her first choice. There are of course more Tests to initiate the new students, because you know it’s the Testing. Crazy adventure, betrayal and ultimately triumph ensue but the leaders of the Testing seem to know something is up with her. The rebel sub-plot that was in the first book is explained more fully but it is still pretty confusing as to what exactly is happening and who can be trusted. That is probably the point though. I look forward to finding out what happens in book three and I hope to not be disappointed.
After finishing up book two of the testing cycle I grabbed several books that I have been wanting to read; Foundation and Empire, Dune, and The Name of the Wind. I end up deciding on a good ol’ fashion re-read of The Name of the Wind. I have said this before on my blog but if you haven’t read The Name of the Wind yet I feel sorry for you. My co-worker calls Rothfuss the Tolkein of our generation and I find it hard to disagree with his assessment. I could write a couple thousand words on all the different aspects of The Name of the Wind and why I like it so much but I won’t bore you with all that. There is an excellent re-read of the series by Jo Walton at tor.com that does the series much more justice that I ever could, it can be found here.
Rothfuss has a new novella out next week that is an adventure with Auri, the mysterious girl who lives in the Underthing below the University. He is doing a book tour for its release and I have tickets and a signed copy of the book waiting for me in Seattle. The 30th cannot come soon enough. I absolutely devoured Name of the Wind on the re-read; it only took me a little over a week to finish the book, which for me lately is a record. Currently I am almost halfway through The Wise Man’s Fear, the 2nd book of the Kingkiller Chronicles and with the weather forecast being lots of rain I should be able to finish it up this weekend.
NanoWrimo starts November 1st and I am looking forward to getting as much writing done as humanly possible in a month, hopefully finishing up book one of my Harbingers series. I have an itch to get revision started but I have to finish the rough draft of the book first. This year I am going to try and be a little more social with Nano and go to some meet ups and attend some write-ins. There is a local group here in the Tri-Cities for Nano and my wife and I need to get out of the house and try to make friends anyway so this will be a good excuse to do so. If you are also doing Nano this year feel free to friend me my username is Jobi-Wan.