There is a first time for everything…

The Chronicles Of Pern: First Fall (The Dragon Books)
by Anne McCaffrey

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Discovered this in my reading pile… big surprise! I have been reading Anne MaCaffrey since I was a teen and I re-read many of my favourite Pern books over and over again. Eventually I lost interest and never got back into the series. 

After a little research I figured it out—at some point in 2019 I apparently decided to fill my gaps in this series in chronological order. So I seem to have gotten this as a start. After a little further research it turns out that McCaffrey herself suggested to read her books in publication order. But here we are…

This is a collection of five short stories/novelettes, „gripping episodes of early Pern.“

The P.E.R.N. Survey

We start of with a survey mission from space…

„Barring some unforeseen factor discovered in the analyses of soil, vegetation and biological samples, they were all three quite willing to let Castor initial it P.E.R.N. – parallel Earth, resources negligible.“

I would have liked to stay with them longer, to find out what becomes of them…

The Dolphins’ Bell

Early days with the dolphins of Pern. Vulcanic eruption, flight and the favourite word of this episode is „pyroclastic“-something-or-other. Master and Commander meets Dante‘s Peak, with dolphins… (not really).

The Ford of Red Hanrahan

A new Hold is founded… Lots of horses. The river crossing is mildly entertaining. The least interesting story of this collection.

The Second Weyr

Finally, a proper story about dragonriders.

“She was close enough at a roughly thousand-foot altitude to notice the churning of the water beneath where schools of every fish that thrived in Pern’s seas had gathered to feast on drowning Thread.“

Now that is more exciting than the previous stories!

Rescue Run

Maybe the colonists will get rescued? You and me know differently. Or do we? Not bad.

So, all together this story collection was ok. Nothing spectacular, however for fans it casts a light on the early colonists on Pern, how they got there, their abandonment of the Southern continent, beginnings in their new homes further North…

I‘ll have a look at the series in publication order. Maybe I will pick up one of the newer books.

People are definitely worse than zombies…

The Walking Dead, Vol. 6: This Sorrowful Life
by Robert Kirkman,  Charlie Adlard (Illustrator), Cliff Rathburn (Illustrator) 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bloody hell, I am not even sure what to say to that. Intense, incredibly violent and way too graphic. I could not put it down and at the same time I wanted to run screaming. Unreal.

More like welcome to hell! I considered to stop reading, because it was just too much. Disturbing is a good word for it. Still, I continued and could not put it down. If you think that volume 5 was gruesome, hold on to your hat.

My daily dose of Zen…

Sir Patrick Stewart, a seemingly lovely man, started to read Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram. Just mentioning this, in case you haven’t noticed or aren’t on there… Lovely, really, to listen to his gorgeous voice, even if I sometimes don’t have a clue what he reads… and very relaxing.

Here is today’s offering, sonnet #10:

A Sonnet a Day


For shame deny that thou bear’st love to any,

Who for thyself art so unprovident.

Grant if thou wilt, thou art belov’d of many,

But that thou none lov’st is most evident;

For thou art so possessed with murd’rous hate

That ‘gainst thyself thou stick’st not to conspire,

Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate

Which to repair should be thy chief desire.

O change thy thought, that I may change my mind.

Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?

Be as thy presence is, gracious and kind,

Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove.

  Make thee another self for love of me,

  That beauty still may live in thine or thee


I copied the sonnet from here, where you can also find a useful modern text adaptation.

Reading makes hungry…

I give you an excursion into bread baking!

Spelt-carrot bread

Ingredients:

  • 300 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 100 g buckwheat flour
  • 50 g golden linseeds
  • 50 g five-grain breakfast cereal
  • 25 g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cloudy apple vinegar 
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp bread spice (nutmeg, cumin, coriander)
  • 380 ml water
  • 1 pkt dry yeast
  • 150 g carrots (two medium sized carrots)
  • + a little butter or vegetable oil to grease your baking mold
  • + Bread baking mold
  • + Shallow pan

Instructions:

Start your oven on the lowest temperature.

Add linseeds, cereal and seeds to a bowl. Pour over most of your water (boiling) and let the mix stand for a little. I added my honey and vinegar to that as well.

Dissolve your yeast in the rest of your water, about half a cup,  lukewarm—not hotter! 

Add flour, salt and bread spice to a mixing bowl. Add your seeds mix and yeasty water, mix well. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and put on a grate in your warm oven.

Peel and grate your carrots. Clean up your mess. That should give your dough a chance to rise a little. Take it out of the oven and mix in the grated carrots—gently! Set overn to 180 C.

Put the dough in your greased baking mold, smooth it out a little on top with a wet spatula and sprinkle some linseeds on top.

Ready for the oven…

Place mold in the oven. Place the saucepan with a liter of boiling water in the bottom of the oven. It keeps your bread moist and helps to get a nice crust.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and if needed, bake a little longer. The bread should sound hollow when you knock on it. Let bread rest for five minutes.

Out of the oven…

Take it out of the mold and let it cool. Voila:

Ready to eat!

Rough storm

Listen and watch…

The Tempest

by William Shakespeare

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hell is empty, And all the devils are here.

I am listening/watching this on an app on my iPad. I posted about it a few days ago.

As mentioned there, my main motivation really was to watch Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi read this at me. And the hope of understanding it better. The biggest help for the understanding of the text were the annotations and explanation in the app. 

Very, very good! I recommend this app and if they bring out some other play, I will gladly pay for it and watch/listen, whatever play it might be!

Link to app

For tracking purposes I downloaded a kindle unlimited version as well and re-read some parts there as well.

How familiar am I with Shakespeare? Not very. I watched some movies and I read Hamlet about 30 years ago. The Tempest is a first for me, in any kind of medium, I think. I tracked down a movie version with Helen Mirren, that I will probably watch in the next few days.

I am not going to review the actual play, I am sure everything has been said, that could be written about it. And much more knowledgeably.

McKellen is fantastic as Prospero in the app. 

The instalove is a bit odd. They meet, they like what they see and on the spot decide to get hitched. Ok…

At times I felt the need for a translation into plain, current-day English. Some of the speeches went right over my head.

The motivations of the various characters were not always clear to me. Why did Prospero ‚abjure‘, for example, and forgive everybody?

„How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world

That has such people in’t.“

Is this where Aldous Huxley got the title for his book?

I am sure I will come back to this, re-read and discovery many new things I missed the first time around.

Aliens in between

ALIEN: In den Schatten: Die komplette Staffel

(Canonical Alien Trilogy #1)

by Tim Lebbon (Goodreads Author)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the German version of Alien: Out of the Shadows, which came for free from Audible Germany. And that is a full-cast, abbreviated version of the novel of the same name.

Set between the first two movies. Ripley was awoken somewhere else first and—you might have guessed already—things go downhill fast from there. Not bad. Although it was a little challenging at times to figure out what was going on. The mine reminded me very strongly of the setting of the second movie, especially the whole brouhaha with the escalator. The plot was not terribly imaginative. You basically wait for everybody to be decimated one by one with the exception of Ripley and generally just wonder who will bite the dust next.

Ripley sounds like Ripley (or rather like her German dubbing voice). Great voice casting in general. Ash is a little too repetitive for my taste.

I do not recommend this to anybody who hasn‘t seen some of the movies. As this is an abbreviated version with a lot of vague sound effects and there is little to no world building, I think it would be too meaningless to anybody completely new to the Alienverse. 

P.S.: FROM FILM TO FICTION: CREATING THE ALIEN FRANCHISE’S LITERARY CANON

https://bookriot.com/2020/03/19/alien-franchise-books/


Currently participating in this readathon:

#24b4monday #24b4mondayreadathon 

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/957268-24b4monday-readathon


And now to something completely different—OMG, is it just me or is this newer WordPress editor a major pain in the derriere? Wow.