Tags: audience participation

Me and My Shadow

Where Am I Going, Where Have I Been?

I know, I know, try and control yourselves. Yes, this is a blog from Dave - a rare and endangered species.

Things have been pretty wild here. Additionally, my work has blocked LJ, so...that pretty much sucks.

But here's a quick update:

Briarpatch, the audiobook written by Tim Pratt and read by me, is now available at Audible.com! It's an amazing book, and I'm thrilled that I was able to read it! It's just an amazing contemporary fantasy - it's dark, twisted, sexy, funny, and really heartfelt. l loved every page of it, and that I was able to record it just blows my mind!

(People who have rated it have given it good ratings...no reviews yet, though.)

There's possibly more audiobook news coming, which is the other reason things have been quiet here. I am excited!

So, other stuff. The chickens. My God they're HUGE. I really need to post some more pictures of them. Hopefully they lay some eggs soon so Greg van Eekhout can come up here and make us omelletes or scrambles or whatever it is he does with eggs.

The kids are wonderful. Claire had her first sleepover (a friend at our house) last weekend. They watched one of the American Girl movies (Claire's now read almost all those books). Oliver enjoyed having Claire's friend over too, and enjoyed it even more when we went swimming at the grandparents house, and then he got to stay by himself and spend the night at his grandparents house by himself. He's slept over there lots, but never without his big sister. Being the second kid is tough, I guess.

I am not writing as much as I like (SHOCKER, I know, with all the other stuff). But I have been doing quite a bit of thinking, and I have a pretty solid idea on where I want to go next. We'll see if I get there or not.

I'm lstening to GRRM's Storm of Swords. You know, sometimes you hear so much about a series of books, that it...well, I don't think it turns me off, but it made me feel like I can put them off (probably that it was part of a larger series that's still not complete is something). But a friend of mine at work hounded me, and I listened to the first two and loved them. And Storm of Swords is easily the best thus far. I just got to that part where the character I've hated for the last three books has...well, maybe not redeemed himself, but I don't hate him as much as I did previously. That's pretty hard to do, consdering what that character did in the first place to make me hate him so much. So, yeah. Pretty amazing writing, and I'm so happy I gave in and checked these books out. I hear there's a TV show, and I should probably watch that at some point.

So, that's me. How are you all? Reading anything good? Listening to anything good? Let me know!
the writer's block

I've Always Been More of a Marvel Comics Kind of Guy, But...

Last month Daniel Abraham had a really thoughtful post on rebooting in general, and how it can help mythologize a character. And over the last few years, I feel like I'm more open to the possibility of rebooting stuff than I was, say, when Marvel's Ultimate line of comics came out. So I'm insanely curious about the whol DCU reboot. I doubt I'll pick up any of the single issues, but I'm pretty sure I'll check out some of the TPBs.

What I wanted to ask you all about, though, is this: why does the DCU reboot sound so intriguing, as opposed to say Marvel's "Brand New Day" Spiderman storyline, which just always sounded so incredibly stupid to me? Is it the framing device? The ham-fisted "explanation" of Marvel? Or something else?
Me and My Shadow

I Need to Change I Don't Know How, Don't Give Up On Me Now

Please cheer me up.

First off, I should preface that I'm okay. But the last 12 hours or so have been utterly, uniformly horrible. Actually, the last week has been really rough and I feel like I hit bottom last night. I'm just completely wiped out, exhausted, and frustrated.

On the brightside, nobody's sick anymore. And Ben Harper has done his best to help lift my spirits, or at least offer me a little catharsis but still.

I got up around 1am and stayed up pretty much for three hours. This has been the worst of it this week, and like I said, at least there's no puke. I haven't actually read this bedtime book yet, but I'm still so very tempted to put a looped recording of it on at nighttime. But I'm so tired I haven't been able to do anything else - even the dayjob's been rough. And I don't like it at all - I hate how everything's ground to a halt, and I absolutely despise how annoyed and pissed off I am about it all. But I am. 

So please help me out. I need some good cheer, some good news, some laughs, and some hugs.


Five Book Recommendations (For Chris R.)

My friend Chris asked me via Facebook the other day for book recommendations. He'd recently read Under the Dome on his Kindle and was looking for something new. I tried calling him up, but he works when I don't, and vice-versa, so I'm posting this here instead. Chris digs Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Harry Potter. So if anyone else wants to chime in and recommend books for him, have at it in the comments!

Here we go:

1) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - This is the one all the cool kids are reading. Actually, all the cool kids have already read it, and are watching the HBO miniseries. (I just finished listening to it and still have not been able to watch the show yet. So I guess that makes me not-such-a-cool-kid, which will probably not surprise anyone reading this.)

Anyway, this is epic fantasy that's brutal and raw and nobody is safe. Like the Walking Dead meets Lord of the Rings. (Did I mention, there are zombies in the prologue?) Listening to it almost killed me - there's this sense of impending doom that narrator Roy Dotrice nailed so perfectly, I think the 30+ hours I felt weighed down with dread about what was going to happen to these characters. That said, I can't begin to say how much I was impressed by the characters and Martin's writing. It's loooooooooooooooong, I don't think this will scare Chris off, because I'm pretty sure it's much shorter than Under the Dome. Then again, this is only Book 1. I will say, after hearing so much about this book, I didn't think it could live up to the hype, but it totally did.

(Note: Anna told me she got to book 3 and stopped because she realized she was just reading to see the characters get killed off because she'd come to hate them so. And Anna likes to hate characters. So I'm interested to delve further into this series and see if I have a similar reaction to her.)

2) The Dragon's Path, by Daniel Abraham - So you've read (or been scared off by) A Game of Thrones and now you're looking for something to cure being so thoroughly depressed? This is the epic fantasy for you! I've heard it described as "Clint Eastwood comes to Narnia" and as a comedy. Or...maybe Clint Eastwood coming to Narnia is supposed to be a comedy? Eh, either way - this book is fun! And totally a blast. There's sword fights, badass warriors, magicians, politicians, and bankers. And at least one of the characters has spiders for blood. I'm already waiting for the follow-up.  

3) White Cat, by Holly Black - Mobsters with black magic. In this book, Prohibition outlawed both magic (working) and booze. Booze, of course, became legal again. Magic is still illegal, which means the mob is making a killing (pun intended) using it. This one's a contemporary urban fantasy/crime mash-up.

4) Old Man's War, by John Scalzi - I feel relatively confident that Chris hasn't read Scalzi yet. So hey - why not pick up this insanely fun space opera. In the future, you're given a choice. You can die old, or you can join the military, get an upgraded body, and live to die even older while fighting aliens. Really, what's not to love?

5) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin - Probably my favorite SF/F book I've read this year. After her mother is murdered, a young princess is brought to the Kingdom of Sky, the city that rules all other kingdoms, where Gods and godlings walk the halls (or are chained up) in this castle in the clouds, and is made heir to the throne. Of course, this means just about everyone in Sky wants to kill her, but she's not a tame princess.

So hope that helps, buddy! Let me know what you decide to read!
the writer's block

In Light of the Absence of That Fifth Hugo Short Story Nominee

So the Hugo nominations came out this weekend, and there's some cool stuff there.

There's also something that's not there. Namely: a fifth short story nominee. I understand that the reason for this is that a story must garner at least 5% of the votes for it to become a nominee. Thus, only four stories had that high a percentage, and unfortunately, none of the other stories did.

All that said - damn. There were some pretty good other stories this year, and I wish one more of them had been nominated in that fifth slot.

So hey! Why don't we play that here?

What was your single favorite short story that didn't get nominated for a Hugo this year? Tell me in the comments what you wish filled that fifth slot.

Feel free to signal boost or grab as a meme for your own LJ/blog.

And keep in mind, this is totally for kicks; it has nothing to do with the actual Hugos, it's not a complaint, and the only agenda here is to hopefully make a couple authors smile.

Here's a list of the Hugo Nominees, for those who have missed them.

See you in the comments!
Me and My Shadow

Fantasy Has Cooties. MAN Cooties.

At least, according to this NY Times review of "A Game of Thrones." Because nobody in her book club demands that they read "The Hobbit" instead of something by Lorrie Moore. (Who?) Apparently, Bellafante needs to join a different book club? Preferably one with bogwitch64 or in it?

Annalee Newitz at io9 has what I assume is a brilliant takedown (it has spoilers, and since I haven't finished the book, I skimmed the spoilery stuff. FWIW, I'll probably watch the damn thing on DVD).

Also worth noting: Benioff did write the excellent Spike Lee Joint script The 25th Hour. He also wrote Troy and Wolverine: Origins (two movies that, despite of what you thought of the quality of the films, or lack thereof, surely we can all agree that Brad Pitt's shaved and oiled body and Hugh Jackman's wifebeater were solely aimed at The Boys in the audience).

I have no supporting evidence for this next claim (because I am too lazy), but I feel like I can go out on a limb and suggest that the majority audience of HBO's True Blood is female. Maybe?

Oh, but that's not epic fantasy, is it? Girls don't like epic fantasy.

Really? Those female readers of this LJ, I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to set-up a Harry Potter marathon. Because my wife told me to, that's why. Ta!
Me and My Shadow

No Blades, No Bows, Leave Your Weapons Here

Jo Walton posted  on Tor.com about violence in genre fiction the other day, and essentially: how difficult it is to actually find a SF/F book that doesn't have violence in it. She gave some examples of fiction that doesn't have violence in it, including Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey,  which I recently listened to and enjoyed. (I'm not completely sure I agree with Walton's assessment that it doesn't have violence in it, but regardless: it's easily the least violent book I've read in the last couple years as far as I can tell.)

And that right there kind of dumb-founded me.

It's not that I think there's anything wrong with having violence in fiction. I like violence in fiction. I like adventure stories. I like the real dark and gritty stuff. I like reading about the horrifying effects of violence. But I don't like that every book I've read in the last 3 years or so has been violent.

I can think of short stories I've read or listened to that I've loved that have absolutely no violence. I'm having a much more difficult time thinking of SF/F books that don't. So...help?

Walton also mentioned Connie Willis's books in general, and someone in the thread mentioned Kij Johnson's The Fox Woman.

Anyone out there have any suggestions on good SF/F books that are non-violent? 

Me and My Shadow

PodCastle Wants You! (To Signal Boost!)

Oh, my beloved You All Everybody! Would you consider signal boosting PodCastle's call for narrators for me? It's also in audio, for those of you who just can't get enough of me talking. (I am not the lovechild of Wilson Fowlie and M.K. Hobson, as it turns out, but I am the prophet of said lovechild. I think.)

Thank you!!!

PodCastle wants you! We’re continually looking for volunteers of all backgrounds and ethnicities to read the cool stories we’ve bought. So if you’re listening to this, and you’ve ever wanted to read for PodCastle, or any of the Escape Artists podcasts, and you have recording equipment, we’d love for you to send us an audition.

Here’s what you do: Record a sample of you reading something, an excerpt from a story or a book, preferably under five minutes, just so we can get a feel for how you sound. If you can do accents – Creole, Spanish, Southern, Irish, Turkish, French, Japanese – please include that in your audition, and mention it in your email. Then drop us a line at
editor@podcastle.org with your audition attached. .wav, .mp3, .aif attachments are preferred. Please mention “audition” in the subject line.

As I said, we’re looking for readers of all backgrounds and ethnicities, but what’s driving this casting call is an urgent need for a story featuring an African American man in Louisiana. Here at PodCastle, we’ve always prided ourselves in bringing you a selection of diverse stories, and we’d love to have more people of color read these stories for you.

If you have any questions, please post on our forum, or email us at
editor@podcastle.org. Thanks for listening, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Me and My Shadow

Female Heroes in SF/F Movies?

Kind of x-posted from Facebook, but this blog post, made me curious about how many strong female protagonists in SF/F movies there have been over the last five or so years? Specifically, movies in which the woman is the protagonist. Not the girlfriend/wife, not the supporting character. The hero. (So, Uhura, Padme, etc. would not count.)

(I'd also like to avoid animated movies or movies where the protagonist is a child.)

Any help would be appreciated - and if you want to signal boost, that'd also be cool. Thanks!
Me and My Shadow

Guys: Where Are We?

Totally stealing this awesome "Where Do You Think We Are" meme from tithenai. I feel a bit like I'm cheating since my LJ's been irregular of late, but I love the idea, and it's been too long since I've done a fun meme. Here goes:

There are sites that make me feel like I'm sitting in someone's living room. There are others that make me feel like I'm seated in the audience, watching stand-up or a play. There are others who make me feel like I'm wandering fairytale woods, others that make me feel like I've come in from the cold.

So I ask you. If my blog were a place, what would it look like? Tell me how you found your way here, and share the question if you're so inclined, that I might answer it for you.