The Week in Womble
So, summer is over and the urge to turn on heating is rising. Its been a strange old summer this year. I was expecting before it began to be safely in a new home with more bookshelf and sadly after two buyers managed to mess things up I’m still in my old place. House moving is stressful – doing it twice without moving is realllllly stressful. But third time lucky and then finally I can have some books unboxed (trying to make your home suitable for non-bookworms is awful!)
So apologies if content this summer has been sporadic I really can’t read a lot when stressed but I have managed to keep reading (just slowly) and one thing I want to do is get at least one review out a week from now on but I suspect you’ll get a bit more than that next month as I’ve a lot of review books outstanding. Colder days really suit reading and helpfully train companies work hard to make my commutes longer just to finish a few more chapters….bless em. One thing I thought I’d do more is a quick update on life and things I’ve been interested in.
A very decent election of Hugo awards this week and for me the standout is N K Jemisin’s third Hugo for the Broken Earth trilogy. Its really set a high standard for what fantasy can achieve that all writers should aim for. If you’ve not seen her award acceptance speech check out this link
and promptly after that high a rather pathetic ‘golden age’ author decided to criticise the speech and her win (admitting he never had even bothered to read it). The nice thing about such people is it helps me decide which authors I cannot be bothered to spend my precious time on. Farewell Silverberg you won’t be in my TBR! For me Jemisin’s work and her speech capture what I think SF needs to aim for. I don’t think that is vulgar I think it’s awe-inspiring. I so want to do a quick review on the series (which won our Subjective Chaos award) but when the books that good the review needs to be decent…
The Good Old Days
There has been an interesting debate in Who fandom where the latest Doctor Who monthly has a feature where much younger fans are watching the classics. There has been outrage that watching “The Talons of Weng Chiang” the team while saying it had its moments also had huge amounts of racism – this story very much borrows from the Fu Manchu stories where the villain is a stereotypical Asian man and the clichés keep on rising and on top of this most of the Asian roles are white actors using ‘yellow face’ (made up to resemble those from asia). Some older fans have said that’s not taking into account the times it was made in and putting such social commentary in reviews of these things ruins the experiences. You won’t be surprised to hear I say sod that to such fans. I suspect there were many people of colour feeling television in the day was racist back then but very few white people listened. I think reviewers of classic stories that want to focus on just the ‘story’ should be able to look at something from the past and say is this something really that speaks to us now? You can still say a show or book has some good and bad elements and if that means in 2018 a forty odd year story is now rightly seen as racist and problematic that I think a) shows us how much we have come and b) may mean that we can find better stories to recommend instead? There are quite a few!
Television – Yes, I’ve finally rediscovered television and two big things are popping up on my “To Watch” list. The Good Place (Netflix) where a woman arrives in Heaven by mistake and spends the series trying to hide it is not just both very funny and heartwarming but gives the viewer a fascinating tour through moral dilemmas and philosophy. If you’ve not seen it - go ahead!! Then tweet me about it
I’m finally after having been spoiled multiple times braving Star Trek Discovery and overall nearly half way am enjoying a new take on Trek. My suspicion like the title is that this is where humanity discovers the actual message of the show/philosophy of Starfleet and the Federation. There seems a running theme about war/isolationism and friendship/science and I’m intrigued where that is going…Don’t tweet me about this yet!!
Podcasts – On that has really grabbed me this week is Zig Zag where two women from public radio in the US have decided to create their own media company. I’d usually be switched off by business chats but this story is done really personally (the stresses on them and their families) but also takes in the fate of US journalism; capitalism; sexism and the new powers of silicon valley. I am about half way and I’m finding it very enlightening about why journalism is suffering so much and why social media tycoons scare the hell out of me
What I read
- City of Lies by Sam Hawke – one of the best debuts this year – see below or the review!
- The Might Captain Marvel Vol 2 – ah that annoying time when a Marvel series has to tie into the year’s arc….
- Lumberjanes Vol 8 – Greek Gods, Gorgons and all the joy you need
What I want to read next
- King Of Assassins by RJ Barker - the final instalment of an amazing trilogy
- The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark – one of my favourite debuts now tells me what happened next
- Darksoul by Anna Stephens – the sequel to another one of my favourite debuts