As with almost everything genre-related in my life, the reason I became interested this year in reading as many Hugo Award-eligible works as I can before March 28 this year is all thanks to my former college professor Dr. Atara Stein (may you rest in peace).
As a young undergrad at Cal State Fullerton, I had taken her Science Fiction literature class because I’d become interested in learning how other people have written science fiction in the hopes that I would be able to write my own. One of the first things she told us on the first day was that because even the science fiction genre encompassed a wide breadth of topics and themes, we would be focusing on what to her embodied what science fiction was as its very heart: What does it mean to be an intelligent “human”?
Through the clarifying lens of the “artificial intelligence” theme, a partial list of everything I read that school year is as follows: Neuromancer, Frankenstein, “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and He, She and It. We also watched the director’s cut versions of Blade Runner and Terminator 2 as well as the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Measure of a Man” (because she was also a secret Trek fanfic writer on the side).
It’s because of her college course that my philosophy about what makes “good” science fiction has to flow from satisfying at least two of these three criteria:
Does the work examine what it means to be “human” in some extensive way?
Is a very important part of how the plot and/or setting works tied to the use of technology created by sentient beings?
It is very improbable that the events in the setting of the book will happen during my lifetime?
This is a rubric which I’ve been following both consciously and sub-consciously my entire life, and it’s the rubric by which I plan to read and critique as many science fiction comics, short stories, novellas, and novels as are eligible for the 2016 Hugo Awards as I can before the nomination deadline of March 31.
One of my favorite blogs to dip into from time to time is Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Originated by writers Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell, the blog seeks to showcase what’s good, fun, informative, sexy, and surprisingly intelligent about the romance novel industry through their irreverent and occasionally deep book reviews.
Growing up, I loved romance novels. In my parents’ bedroom, half of a shelf was dedicated to Danielle Steel books. These were “forbidden” books so naturally as a teen, I devoured all of them. Once I graduated from college, reading romance novels became something my mom, my sister, and I could talk about—just as long as we didn’t talk too long about the sex scenes, that is.
About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to get back into reading some romance and especially finding a new author to follow as I’d phased out of my Danielle Steele, Fern Michaels, Catherine Coulter, LaVyrle Spencer, Maeve Binchy, Jennifer Crusie phase of reading. And before you ask, even Nora Roberts’ romance novels had been wearing a bit thin. Thankfully, Candy and Sarah have a section on their website devoted to their “best” blog entries, which is how I learned about Loretta Chase. Armed with a new name, some Amazon.com credit, and a visit to the bookstore, I was ready to read. Continue reading “Two Books Enter: Lord of Scoundrels versus Your Scandalous Ways“→
[Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Lauren at Kid Champ for letting me borrow her “Thundertome” idea for this review series. – TL]
When I first got my Android-enabled phone, I searched for something to read on it during a long 45 minute subway commute. A Google search for “free ebooks” took me to Google Books and their app, and I downloaded two books by Jane Austen, one I’d never read before (Sense and Sensibility), and one I’ve read so very many times over the years: Pride and Prejudice.
The first time I read Pride and Prejudice was outside of a school context, and while the text was somewhat unwieldy to me, I really loved the story of these two mismatched lovers who have to get over themselves before they can really appreciate each other and fall in love. Over the years, I’ve read the book hundreds of times, and I was looking forward to reading it all over again. As I turned the pages on the touch screen with my thumbs, the finer details of the story sunk deeper into my brain and I began to gain a new appreciation for the story. Which, of course, lead to my next thought: How can I read more? Continue reading “Two Books Enter: An Assembly Such as This versus A Wife for Mr. Darcy“→
When I first dreamed up the idea behind GeekingOutAbout.com, I was determined that one of the key things we would always do is to not only highlight what’s neat and geeky out there in the world but also to highlight those other creative people who are choosing to get up off of their butts and make their dreams a reality. That’s why I was extremely excited when a fanfic author named Jennifer Matarese whose work I’ve followed for years finally self-published her first original fiction novel to the Kindle, with other eBook formats to come.
Back when I was in elementary school, the one book I had a love/hate relationship with was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. We read it in our GATE class because it was a Newbery Award winner and one of the first science fiction books aimed at children.
I thought the plot of the book was rather cool, but I wasn’t great at sticking to the same chapters as the rest of the class or turning in the vocabulary homework. As a result, the D- I got that semester was the lowest I ever received and I got into trouble with my parents.