A Bookish Post

A little something for everyone.

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The Book Designer has their monthly cover awards up. It’s fascinating viewing and reading.

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Do you ever want to revisit old friends, of the book species, every now and again? I did the other evening, so I checked out my local library which only had it in audiobook form. (which is pretty cool when you think about it) So I went to my next go-to book resource, Amazon.

Lo and Behold, there it was, and free. This is a book by a gazillion selling author, and I though to my self, ‘Self, this is how you sell a series, (once you’ve got  all or most of the books published) you make the first one free.’ So I immediately downloaded it onto my kindle for PC, and prepared to indulge … then I thought, ‘Self, what about the second book in the series?’

After more Lo-ing and Behold-ing, there it was, free as well.

Sadly the third book wasn’t, but you can’t have everything.

If you’d like to read a truly kick-ass, will-make-you-think, well written SF, woman-saves-the-universe military-ish series, and you like free ebooks, try ‘On Basilisk Station’, by David Weber. I know they’re free on the Zon.com and .ca., don’t know about elsewhere.

UPDATE: Looks like book 2, ‘The Honor of the Queen’ is off the freebie list – bugger.

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Finally, I read a short story the other day and it enjoyed immensely except for one niggardly thing; one of the character’s complete misuse of Aussie slang. This is where Inigo Montoya would skewer them with the immortal words, “I don’t think that means what you think it means.”

For the love of all that you hold dear, if you don’t know what a slang word means, DON’T USE IT! You risk coming across as a pretentious idiot. Even if you think you know what it means, double check, that’s what the interwebz is for.

In the interests of sisterly … erm … sisterhood, I emailed the writer and politely offered up the correct slang term. She emailed me back with a chagrined, ‘workin’ on it’ and that she’d got quite a few such communiqués.

I cringed in sympathy for her, but as an author, I’d prefer to have a bunch of people letting me know such things, than no-one at all.

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P.S. Finally saw Star Wars The Force Awakens – very much fun-ness. :)

Legends (in their own minds) of Tomorrow

The Legends of Tomorrow pilot attempted to hit every tired old trope in the book. It was as though someone pulled down a trunk from their attic full of clichéd plot points that one must shove into a pilot otherwise, ‘emegherd, we’ll have to actually tell a story, and those impatient viewers won’t stick around’ (because someone somewhere said so) … and shoved them all into the pilot.

The whole thing felt like they were trying too hard.

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If you haven’t seen it yet and you going to, (I’m going to watch a few more episodes in ‘wait-and-see’ mode) … this is your five second warning …

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Time lord/captain/master bloke is all vengeful ‘cos the bad guy murdered his wife and kid – tick.

Time lord/captain/master emotes by swirling his long coat and speaks in staccato bursts of expository dialogue, and twitches a lot – tick.

Bad guy is evil, but also evil because of jealousy – tick. How many bad guys have been set off on their path to the dark side (including the original Dark Side guy) because some darn woman done him wrong?!!! (hell, Padme even died in childbirth, a double whammy)

The hawkish couple who aren’t sure they’re a couple (and the actors have even less of a clue) are motivated by the death of a child too – tick.

A couple’a do-good-dudes want to achieve more than footnote status in history – tick.

Jaded criminals ‘ain’t got nuthin’ better to do’ – tick.

The list goes on, and on.

As pilots go it wasn’t terrible …

And I’m sure hope that as the season goes on the show will hit its stride, much like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did.

I think shows like Sense8, Daredevil, The BlacklistJessica Jones, House of Cards, have shown that you don’t have to throw everything at the audience in the first episode for the show to work, especially if you already have an audience willing to go the distance or at least willing to give the show a chance, already built in, as these shows that are part of greater film and TV universes do.

… it just could’ve been a lot better.

However, White Canary busting up a 1975 bar was worth the wait. :)

 

The Cost of Sound

My new hearing aids that I go all excited about a few posts ago have arrived.

These squiggly little things?

These squiggly little things?

The sound quality is streets ahead of my old ones – five years of technological advances in micro/audio electronics, baby! – and I don’t feel like my head is an echo chamber every time I talk. They’re so unobtrusive, I actually forgot I was wearing them the other day.

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I am surrounded by sound.

Typing. I type loud! I reckon it comes from learning to type on a 20th Century clunky old electric typewriter. I did own a manual one …

I think mine was a boring cream colour

I think mine was a boring cream colour

… but thankfully transitioned fairly quickly to my trusty IBM

You could choose green, green, or green

You could choose green, green, or green

(then I upgraded to my Smith Corona daisy wheel for serious writing-ly stuff)

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The bell-tone of my fingernail brushing up against a ceramic bowl. The gurgle of hot water falling into my teapot. Walking barefoot across a carpet and hearing the floorboards underneath murmur to each other.

The sounds of my passage through my home are all soft.

Outside, gravel crunches, grass crackles, wind clunks tree branches together, cars rumble, birds sing, doors slam, children chatter, traffic screeches, the cacophony of a cafe, I swear I can hear the clouds letting go of raindrops …

When I get home I take the hearing aids out and feel the tension in my body dissolve into the familiar quiet.

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This is gonna take some getting used to.

The filters I used to have to block out extraneous sounds slowly drifted away as my hearing deteriorated and I evolved different senses to navigate my everyday world.

These new little blue ‘ears’ that enble me engage with that world have their advantages and disadvantages. Phone calls and face-to-face conversations are easier, (although I’ll have to retrain my brain not to anticipate so much – filling in the words I didn’t hear) physically navigating through complex spaces (narrow isles in stores for example) is tricky – like my ‘sonar’ doesn’t work.

It certainly makes it easier for others to engage with me. (which for the purposes of this post is a separate issue from how far the differently-abled are expected to move beyond themselves in order to make the ‘other’ feel comfortable around them)

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So, my external support devices:

Synthroid – for the missing thyroid organ. Walking stick – so I don’t fall over when my knee gives out. Hearing aids – see above. Glasses – three different kinds, driving, computer and reading. Four, if I count really close-up for crafts.

I am a cyborg of the 21st century!!!

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Mirabeau - Ooooh, I can hear the Galaxy breathing! Widder – You’re hearing yourself. Mirabeau – No, it’s the Galaxy. It has a Scottish accent.

Mirabeau – Ooooh, I can hear the Galaxy breathing!
Widder – You’re hearing yourself.
Mirabeau – No, it’s the Galaxy. It has a Scottish accent.

Well, Bugger! … Bon Voyage Alan Rickman

I’m just gonna skip right over my 69th birthday altogether.

If Ever I Win An Academy Award …

… for the movie adaptation of one of my stories I’ll act surprised, yet quietly confident I would’ve been the winner all along. I’ll thank Mrs Widds, and producers and cast, (Emily Blunt, Zoe Saldana, Helen Mirren, Ming-Na Wen, Ellen Page) all sorts of other people, and then I’ll thank the makers of Bejeweled Twist.

Twistin' the night away with Scrivener

Twistin’ the night away with Scrivener

When I’m deep in the think-y parts of a story, which is the bit after the initial adrenalin rush of getting that first idea down on e-paper, I need to write a few sentences then pause, find the right word or the right science-y fact, then write some more. In that pause, staring at the debris on my desk just stalls the process. I need to have something not too taxing to occupy one bit of my brain so the other can problem solve.

Enter the Twist!

It’s not time sensitive so I can blather about and a single level will last me for hours (minutes) It doesn’t take up the whole screen so its easy to minimize and get back to work

And, Mirabeau approves!

I approve of this computer game, and wool

I approve of this computer game, and wool

Confession time. I’ve watched Live, Die, Repeat, or as it was (stupidly) released as, Edge of Tomorrow, at least four times, just to tastefully admire Emily Blunt’s rather magnificent body.

S’alright, Mrs Widds and I have a “you-can-look-but-don’t-touch’ policy.

The movie is excellent too if you’re interested in military SF that breathes new life into the Groundhog Day meme. Tom Cruise (the other lesser known lead, heh) is at his best when he does action stuff, but Emily steals the show for me.

 

Bon Voyage David Bowie

Let’s Start With The Facts, M’am

(apologies to Joe Friday from Dragnet for mangling his line :) )

I recently read a review/opinion piece on one of the big tentpole movies out now in which the reviewer tore open several issues the movie dodged.

They prefaced the piece by saying they hadn’t seen the movie yet and wrapped several core pieces of their argument around reviews and opinions they’d read written by other people who (presumably) had seen the movie.

Their arguments were passionate and most likely correct knowing the subject matter and Hollywood’s stance on just about anything outside of their whitebread world.

But …

I wonder how they’d feel if someone reviewed something they’d written/filmed/recorded and prefaced it by saying they hadn’t read/watched/listened to it?

Credibility. At the very least, damaged. Right there.

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You want me to be moved by your passion, be motivated to think deeply about the points you’ve made, be inspired to make change?