Perhaps better think of it as a month in womble this time!! But largely this is due to having some rather busy good things happening (largely). I went to London to see friends and do some book shopping and as you saw last week I also went to my first Fantasycon which was a really good experience. I have once again done the UK publishing industry a lot of goof and my TBR pile a lot of bad. Sadly, my third attempt this year to move to a new house failed at the last minute (buyer number four is now starting the joy and I am awaiting to find a new home to move into – please keep fingers crossed. and work has got me a new project, so it’s been hectic (but I did get a promotion)– lots of reading time but not much else accomplished!
Doctor Who – I’ve been watching it since I was five and its influence on me is profound. It got me into reading and I suspect why I love mash-ups of genre so much and a focus on character. With a new Doctor and showrunner in Chris Chibnall I was intrigued how I was going to react and I’m pleasantly surprised. Jodie Whittaker has a lovely warm kind alien approach to the Doctor and the large cast is actually really well balanced – I am amazed how subtle and mature Bradley Walsh’s character is. It’s giving me a big early Davison feeling after the angst and high drama of the Twelfth (who is still one of my faves) I like this show because it feels the correct decision to remove a lot of the last decade’s continuity. Highlight for me so far was Rosa because that’s the most emotional and intelligent a show on racism I’ve seen in the show’s history. Intrigued where it goes next
Strictly – Yes, a show I never expected to love but there is something about people learning to enjoy dancing that I really love. I don’t feel I’m being emotionally manipulated, and it has a sense of humour. I just feel sorry for non-strictly fans when I start scoring every Saturday
Quatermass and the Pit – This is from 1959 BBC and I’m really enjoying it halfway. It doesn’t feel like it’s embarrassed of the genre and it’s a fascinating glimpse into how the post war Britain was. It feels a nation not sure where it is going between wanting to have a nuclear weapons base on the moon to a London still rebuilding from the Blitz. Tension slowly creeping up so intrigued where back half goes. Worth a look on iPlayer.
Star Trek – Finished season one of the original series and I was glad go see while horribly sexist the bones of what I call Trek are in there. The characters start to gel, and the show has a refreshing take away from just blowing everything up. Its definite a show from the warmer end of the Cold War period and that feeling of warring nations ready to fight is prevalent but it’s still a fascinating look at SF and the ideas it starts stay with SF for many decades to come.
Films – This month was rubbish I still don’t think I saw a single one? Any recommendations?
Podcasts – Audio shows I feel hugely relaxing when stressed so I played catch up on three shows I can recommend
Females in Fantasy – Been gobbling up these episodes where Briana Da Silva interviews various female authors to discuss various topics. Really good flowing discussions on subjects such as bisexuality, colonialism and othering. Guests are very impressive and so far, I’ve heard Jeannette Ng, Temi Oh, Justina Ireland and Joyce Chng with quite a few more to come.
Lore/Unexplained – I cheat as these are two different podcasts where a single narrator tells us a story of the paranormal. Unexplained tends towards multi-episodes on one format (with a British focus) and Lore tends to have a range of stories of varying length on one area (more with a US focus). Perfect for Halloween build up I think I prefer the story-telling model in Lore though but if you like the idea of a half hour of dark tales give this a go
What I read
- Small Gods by Terry Pratchett – wow this book was angry. Fundamentalism is clearly in his sights and it feels the first time that the social politics that the Discworld can explore are being awakened. Loved it!
- Rosewater by Tade Thompson – Reviewed below – great piece of SF exploring aliens in Nigeria with a compelling mystery and intriguing use of flashbacks. Strongly recommended.
- Petra McDonald and the Queen of the Fae by Shon Kinsella - Reviewed below a charming tale of fae gods and humans that I really hope leads to future tales.
- In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard – Beauty and the Beast retold in an SF setting – reviewed below and gorgeous
- A Hidden Hope by Laura Ambrose – Reviewed below - a tale of two SF writers rekindling their relationship at a London SF con. Charming
- Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames – Reviewed Below. Loved this look at life on the road with a band of heroes with a touch of Almost Famous thrown in
- In the Stacks by Scott Lynch – a short story/novella where four students must return books to pass their next uni at a magician’s school. The library is rather dangerous. Funny and clever – well worth your time
- Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson – Reviewed below – In 2047 we have conquered the moon but society on earth is at a crossroads. Intelligent SF I just wished had a few more joined up plots
What I want to read next
- Darksoul by Anna Stephens – the sequel to another one of my favourite debuts Godblind
- Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – I loved Uprooted and read the novella version of the tale earlier this year. This goes in a different direction so think it sounds just what I need
- Burning Sky by Weston Ochse – an action SF tale about something strange happening to veterans
- Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri – a new debut author with a tale inspired by India’s history
- The Winter Road by Adrian Selby - a new series looking at mercenaries in the wilderness
- The Dark Vault by VE Schwab– a duology of two of her earlier works