Going to the Eclipse

I will see the total eclipse on the 21st! I will have to sleep in my car and drive for many hours, but I will see it!

I’ve never seen one, and can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for ancient peoples who had no idea what was going on. I’m sure total eclipses spawned religions like meat draws hornets…

The fear, the awe, the beauty… all of it combined must have driven people mad thinking the world was over. What did they do in those minutes of darkness?

Maybe I’ll find out next week…

Walk a new path

Walking generates ideas. It turns gears that churn the mix in my brain and make new things pop up. However, I’ve found that walking the same geographical location, turns up the same thoughts. It’s as if my mind is walking down it’s own internal path, and passing the same ideas over and over again.

I’ve been stuck on my current novel for a while now. I go out during breaks and walk around and think. But I’ve been coming up with nothing. Today, though, I walked a different path. It was barely different, just slightly off my usual path, facing a new direction, seeing new sights, and it felt as if my mind was pushing through the brush, forging new trails, and I had new ideas. Finally, my block is over, all because I stepped off the path just slightly.

Try it! If you walk or bike or run or drive to think, take a different path than you usually do, and I bet you’ll have some fresh ideas!

Game of thrones episode 5 Eastwatch

More forcing of Dany and Jon together, even though Dany and Jorah had more chemistry than those two. Even her interactions with Drogo felt less forced…

But it was rad seeing Jon pet a dragon. He’s going to ride one, next to Dany and some other mysterious third person will ride the third dragon. But who?? There has been no evidence of a third Targaryan, though I keep hearing people mention one… if it’s evidence in the books, okay, but we should have got some hint by now in the tv show as well.

Could Cersie really be pregnant, or is she making it up to be sure Jamie is loyal to her? I hope it’s real, and I hope she gives birth to a dwarf…

Everyone was so angry at Sam for interrupting Gilly’s important reveal! Jon Snow is not a snow after all? Jon, not a bastard??? Does this make him the rightful heir to the throne? Either way, it was exciting to see Sam take those books and scrolls and hit the road. His dream was always to be a maester, but if they won’t give him what he needs to help save the world, he’s gunna take it and go on his own. Sam is turning out to be one of the strongest, best characters on the show.

It was cool to see Genry swing his huge hammer, but come ON Tyrion, can’t you just LOOK? You’re coming down the side of a cliff, how can you not see those guards and just hide for two minutes. Especially after we just saw Davos do the most awesome smuggler stuff. (In d&d terms his bluff skill and charisma are off the charts!) But as soon as he gets it all taken care of with his smooth talking, Tyrion comes stomping down the path without a thought to anything.

Littlefinger is a clever, clever man and his use of Sansa’s old force-written note to make her look bad to Arya was a work of genius. But does Arya know she was played? Maybe she’ll turn the tables on him and play him right back. Or, perhaps Bran will inform her, if he somehow knows…

The night king has powers… he saw Bran warging into the ravens, before that he saw Bran in the dreamworld… what other powers does this guy have??

I think we’ll find out next episode!

The City and the City, by China Mieville

I finished reading The City & The City and was impressed, intrigued and am interested in reading some of his other books.

A murder investigation in a foreign city which is actually two cities who spend their days ignoring each other… what could go wrong?

I found this crime novel to be very creative, and though it is not quite fantasy or sci fi, it is not exactly in our world either (this city obviously doesn’t exist, though its location is real enough). Nothing supernatural is involved, besides the strange powers of the human mind to be blind to the things we train ourselves to unsee.

The story was quite engaging and exciting, and the mystery very gripping. Only at the very end did it lose a bit of steam, when it fell into the cliche of the hero and villain having a long conversation to explain all of what happened while pointing guns at each other. Otherwise, a very satisfying read and I’m glad I picked it up.

I’d recommend it to any fans of crime dramas, as well as fans of speculative or weird fiction.

What strange dialogue

I started listening to For Whom the Bell Tolls recently, and am wondering why everyone is so enamored with Hemingway. The story so far is engaging and well told, but it seems so… prosaic… which is not what I expected from one so universally praised. I’ll give it time though, it is drawing me in.

The dialogue, though, I find very strange. The way people talk does not seem to reflect my experiences in reality. Leaving aside that for some reason Hemingway felt he should put ‘unprintable’ and ‘obscenity’ in place of cursewords… just the actual form of the sentences people speak seems odd. Very repetitive and oddly formed. They don’t really seem to talk like human beings.

I’ve been told in so many words that I’m an idiot for not immediately seeing the majesty of Hemingway, and maybe I am? But this one is not striking me as a masterpiece by any means just yet…

Television is increasingly amazing while movies are festering sores on the face of all entertainment

I just heard the news that Dawn,the first in Octavia E. Butler’s Xenogenesis series is being made into a TV series!

The fact that this series would even be considered for anything on screen is testament to how awesome TV has become. There are no space battles or explosions in this series. There is no TV friendly conflict at all, really. The aliens aren’t sexy, but also aren’t fangy and spikey horror monsters that make for good shock value. All the plot and storyline is based on psychology and morality, and thoughtful dilemmas.

While people going to the movies get Transformers 8 and Fast and Furious 11, those watching TV are getting increasingly thoughtful and well done entertainment the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

So stop watching movies, and watch some TV! Maybe if the film industry stops making so much money, they’ll start producing stuff that isn’t hot garbage.

Peace on Earth, by Stanislaw Lem

I finished Peace on Earth and I think it’s possible that I didn’t ‘get’ this book. I have found afterward that it was meant to be a satire, and though some of it was funny, I took it more of a straight up sci fi adventure/thought piece. Maybe that is why I was a bit disappointed.

The idea of someone with a split brain was the most interesting factor to me, and the reason I wanted to read the book in the first place. So when the story veered off into moon robots and different technologies in the society, I got a bit bored. A huge amount of time is spent describing technologies on the moon, and different kind of weaponry that has evolved, and the main characters experiences there. But all of this is told as a flashback, so there is no tension. Even then, the character is experiencing all this through a ‘remote’, a robot he is controlling with his mind–so he’s not even on the moon himself to be in any danger.

Quite often I think sci fi writers forget that there needs to be danger and excitement, and plot and characters even, when they get excited showing off all the cool things they dreamed up.

Got kind of bored with this one, but the parts about consciousness were thought provoking and interesting. I’d still recommend it because Lem is a great writer.