I’m so psyched to discover that NPR has an iPhone app!
Okay, that’s really awful. I must be tired. So, I’ve spent a productive day tidying up loose ends so I can enjoy the rest of my week, stress-free, at Florida Pagan Gathering (camping+bonfires+hopefully, writing), and then I procrastinated the night away watching the pilot episode of the new “V.”
Tiny review, with spoilers: not bad, but not great, either. I love the cast they’ve assembled, including Battlestar, Firefly and 4400 alumni, but that’s no guarantee. Morena Baccarin as Anna the alien Visitor is dead-on, easily the best casting choice and acting talent. I love Alan Tudyk (FBI guy) and Joel Gretsch (a young priest) although lately Alan Tudyk’s stint against type as Alpha on Dollhouse totally tagged him as potential baddie, which this episode quickly confirmed. However, the show’s major problem, so far, is pacing. It felt like several episodes crammed into one: don’t set up a crazy-sounding conspiracy theory group and reveal that they’re legit in the same hour, don’t try to make the viewer like your platonic-nice-guy FBI partner and then reveal him to be an vicious alien bad guy, don’t hand us a likable priest who doubts the Vatican’s word that the Visitors are a blessing from God and then have him joining a potentially violent resistance group. I like characters who with rounded corners and angsty hearts go through gradual changes of motivation, give up on their dreams or compromise their ethics for the greater good with lots mental hand-wringing. V just isn’t capturing that.
Enough talk! Me write now.
What should I read next? I’m a picky reader, but I’ve taken some risks this summer and tried books and authors that I knew little about.
I’ve recently put a few down after struggling through four or five chapters, notably Greg Bear’s City at the End of Time. Feel free to chastise if you liked this book, but I can’t get into a novel that deliberately keeps the reader in the dark about almost everything. I like a puzzle, but this was too convoluted for my tastes.
I just finished S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire, and I was pleasantly surprised. A good post-apocalyptic yarn hooks me every time, and while some of his dialogue falls flat, the man can write some action scenes. Sword fights, brawls, archery and battles were nuanced and knowledgeable. I may have actually learned a bit reading it. The big surprise was Stirling’s interesting attempt to use Wiccan culture as a major part of his story. He doesn’t always succeed (characters say things like “Well, Goddess bless me!” far too much), but it’s one of the more even-handed and realistic depictions of pagans I’ve read in fiction. Nobody pulls out a fireball or some “secret knowledge,” talks to animals, or anything like that. He also demonstrates some insider knowledge of the pagan community (lingo, religious activities) although I’m unsure if he’s pagan himself. Anyhoo, I liked it well enough, but not necessarily for that reason. I’ll resist the urge to read the sequels, at least for now.
Help me decide what to read now! Pick a random unread from my bookcase or suggest something different (I tend toward “classic” sci-fi, the post-apocalyptic, first contact novels, and “sociological” sci-fi such as Ursula K. LeGuin).
- The Ghost Light by Fritz Leiber
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- Souls in the Great Machine by Sean McMullen
- Babylon Babies by Maurice Dantec
Any thoughts on this greatly appreciated. Happy reading!
A youngish person with serious chops.
Chat live with Albert Einstein (sort of).
After a few minutes of chat, he asked what I was wearing. Hmm.