July 2020 Wrap-Up

My July 2020:

BR novels:
– Limit, BR with Dennis, TBR challenge, ongoing & carry-over into August
– The Traitor Baru Cormorant, BR, ongoing & carry-over into August

– Dragonflight, as part of The Dragonriders of Pern, ★★★★☆, in the beginning there was a queen‘s dragon egg… Who wants to continue with this series?
– The City We Became, June SF GR, audible, ★★☆☆☆, not for me.

Solo reads:
– Lullaby for a Lost World, short, ★★★★★, magic comes at a high price. Vengeance!
– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, HarryPotterAtHome, read by various actors (https://www.wizardingworld.com/chapters), TBR challenge (most reviews/highest ratings), ★★★★☆, #HarryPotterAtHome
– Dwarf Stars 2020, poetry, ★★★★☆, SF poems of 10 lines or less.
– Grace Immaculate, short, ★★★★☆, first contact via SETI, alien aliens…
– Wohllebens Waldführer: Tiere & Pflanzen bestimmen, das Ökosystem entdecken, nonfiction, ★★★★☆, easy guide about 250 species of plants and animals in central Europe.
– David‘s Head, in Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156, ★★★★☆, short story about a roadtrip with an AI
– 2389, ★★★☆☆, space horror brain candy.
– Das Seelenleben der Tiere: Liebe, Trauer, Mitgefühl – erstaunliche Einblicke in eine verborgene Welt, nonfiction, ★★★☆☆, the inner life of animals, pop science.

Comics, aka my guilty pleasure:
– Skyward #13, ★★★☆☆
– Skyward #14, ★★★☆☆
– Skyward #15, ★★★½☆, the end!
– Ascender #6, ★★★★☆
– Ascender #7, ★★★★½
– Sea of Stars #1, ★★★½☆
– Black Science #1, ★★☆☆☆, Lost in Space, travelling other dimensions.

Wanted to read, but didn‘t:
– Unconquerable Sun, BR, wasn‘t that interested anymore
– Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea, #8, 9 & 10, plan to read it eventually…

Skyward #13 by Joe Henderson Skyward #14 by Joe Henderson Skyward #15 by Joe Henderson Ascender #6 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #7 by Jeff Lemire Sea of Stars #1 by Jason Aaron Black Science #1 by Rick Remender 
Dragonflight (Pern Dragonriders of Pern, #1) by Anne McCaffrey Dwarf Stars 2020 by Robin Mayhall Grace Immaculate by Gregory Benford Wohllebens Waldführer Tiere & Pflanzen bestimmen, das Ökosystem entdecken by Peter Wohlleben 2389 by Iain Rob Wright Lullaby for a Lost World by Aliette de Bodard 
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Das Seelenleben der Tiere Liebe, Trauer, Mitgefühl - erstaunliche Einblicke in eine verborgene Welt by Peter Wohlleben Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156 by Neil Clarke 

Plans for August:
I am in the middle of several things that I need to finish. Plus there is a vague committment to read Shark Week related stuff… 😝

Say it in ten lines or less, again…

Dwarf Stars 2020
by Robin Mayhall (editor) 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So, my second, third, fourth and maybe fifth read through of this SF poetry anthology of very short poems…

I narrowed the selection of favourite poems down further and further. To make the decision easier, I looked for poems that created interesting imagery in my mind, wanting me to spin the story forward…

My favourite three: 

1. [seeing stars] • Christina Sng 
2. [stargazing on Olympus Mons] • Greer Woodward 
3. [hoping for the best …] • Johannes S. H. Bjerg 

seeing stars with

my final breaths

hull breach


These slightly longer ones are my runner-ups:

1. [Notes for the Next Letter Home] • Herb Kauderer 
2. [Balancing Act] • Deborah L. Davitt with D. A. Xiaolin Spires & Gretchen Tessmer 
3. [Standing Up] • John C. Mannone 

To be honest, if I read the whole anthology again in a few weeks, I would probably end up with a completely different set of poems!

Official website: https://www.sfpoetry.com/dwarfstars.html

Say it in ten lines or less…

Dwarf Stars 2020
by Robin Mayhall (editor) 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

More SF poetry. The Dwarf Stars Award is an annual award, presented by the Science Fiction Poetry Association to the author of the best horror, fantasy or science fiction poem of ten lines or fewer, published in the previous year.

Official website: https://www.sfpoetry.com/dwarfstars.html

Here are the ones that I liked during my first read-through:

[The knife blade flutters] • Colleen Anderson 1
[hoping for the best …] • Johannes S. H. Bjerg 2
[she had broken] • Susan Burch 3
Balancing Act • Deborah L. Davitt with D. A. Xiaolin Spires & Gretchen Tessmer 4 
[space station yoga] • John J. Dunphy 5 
Erwin Schrodinger • Jean-Paul L. Garnier 7
[Feast of St. George—] • C.R. Harper 8 
Epitaph for John Carter • Herb Kauderer 9 
Notes for the Next Letter Home • Herb Kauderer 10 
[pi day] • Deborah P Kolodji 11
red shirts • David C. Kopaska-Merkel 12 
Standing Up • John C. Mannone 14 
Cold Weather Accessories for Imaginary Creatures • Lorraine Schein 17 
[the ghost wife] • Gloundan Smorpian 19 
[seeing stars] • Christina Sng 20 
[iron in the dunes] • Greer Woodward 22 
[stargazing on Olympus Mons] • Greer Woodward 23

I will go over them again and narrow them down more and more, until I am left with my 3 or 4 favourite ones…

June Wrap-up

Here is my June 2020:

It might look like a lot, but if you ignore the comics, it‘s only 2 novels and half an audiobook. 
I did enjoy How To Be A Normal Person and Boundary Crossed though. That one was a surprise anyway. I picked it for my TBR Challenge, not really checking that closely what it was about and going in with very low expectations. Lo and behold, it was fun.
I am however really struggling with City We Became. Great concept, really excellent audiobook narration, but the story itself is not doing it for me.

BR novels:
– How to Be a Normal Person, romance readers, ebook, ★★★½☆, grumpy guy romances asexual hipster.
– The City We Became, SF group read, audible, started & carry-over into July. 60% done and getting there…

Solo reads:
– Tell Me It’s Real, ebook, ★★★☆☆, mm-romance, humorous, DNF at 23%, didn‘t hold my interest enough to beat the expiry date of my KU subscription.
– Boundary Crossed, ebook, TBR challenge, ★★★★☆, typical UF with witches and vampires. Enjoyable.
– The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, short, TBR challenge, ★★★★☆, ethical dilemma, what are we willing to give up or live with for our privilege? 

Comics, aka my guilty pleasure:
– Civil War, ★★★★¼, entertaining and suspenseful, similarities to the movie.
– Doctor Strange, Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird, ★★★★¼, grimmer than expected. TBR challenge: Judge That Book (cover)
– Skyward #11, ★★★★☆, still trying to bring gravity back.
– Skyward #12, ★★★☆☆, not really buying this.
– Ms. Marvel Infinite #1, short, ★★★☆☆, introduction, little substance.
– Black Panther Start Here!, short, ★★★☆☆, Black Panther previews.
– Faith #1: Digital Exclusives Edition, short, ★★☆☆☆, supersized, flying superhero. Mostly boring.
– Vampirella Issue #1, short, ★★☆☆☆, boring vampires.
– Dead Irons #1, short, ★☆☆☆☆, Wild West with a werwolf, vampire, zombie… messy, no story, did really not like it.

Tell Me It's Real (At First Sight #1) by T.J. Klune Ms. Marvel Infinite #1 (Ms. Marvel Infinite Comics) by G. Willow Wilson Black Panther Start Here! (Marvel Previews) by Various Faith #1 Digital Exclusives Edition by Jody Houser Dead Irons #1 (Dead Irons Vol. 1) by James Kuhoric Vampirella Issue #1 by Eric Trautmann How to Be a Normal Person (How to Be, #1) by T.J. Klune Civil War by Mark Millar Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic, #1) by Melissa F. Olson The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin 
Doctor Strange, Vol. 1 The Way of the Weird by Jason Aaron Skyward #11 by Joe Henderson Skyward #12 by Joe Henderson 

Plans for July 2020:

BRs started:
– Limit, TBR challenge, started
– The Dragonriders of Pern (Dragonflight only), mid July, started already

BRs planned:
– The Traitor Baru Cormorant, mid to end July or August

Ongoing Solo reads:
– Hexarchate Stories, NetGalley, started
– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, HarryPotterAtHome readings, up to chapter 10 with Whoopi Goldberg… (https://www.wizardingworld.com/chapters), TBR challenge (most reviews/highest ratings)
– Dwarf Stars 2020, poetry

Want to read, but probably no time:
– Unconquerable Sun, July 7, Buddy Read
– Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea, #6-10

2020 Rhysling Anthology

And here is my final selection of poems for this anthology, based on my previously posted longlist:

Final round of Short Poems, narrowed down from the below longlist:

1. Sphere, page 20
2. All-Father, page 40
3. What You Hear When Your Best Friend Falls for a Supervillain, page 27

Those three could have ended up in any order. I read them several times, shuffled them around, read them again, shuffled again… it‘s impossible. Sphere and All-Father both immediately start my internal movie theater and my imagination spins off into the realm of a full novel…

1. The Snow Globe, page 76
2. Witch, page 54

And my final choice for the Long Poems, narrowed down from my longlist:

1. Sycophantam astrum, page 106
2. The City That Changed Hands, page 110
3. Stormbound, page 176

1. Heliobacterium daphnephilum, page 105
2. Childhood Memory from the Old Victorian House on Warner, page 109
3. Fune-RL, page 129 

What is this Rhysling thing, you ask? Have a look here: 

The SFPA Rhysling Awards and Anthology 

Monthly Wrap-up — May 2020

Thanks to a friend I discovered Kindle in Motion, aka kindle books with animated illustrations and small movies/gifs. Fascinating! I downloaded and paged through Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as a kindle in motion and it was really charming…

I am also in the process of listening to various actors etc. reading the book at https://www.wizardingworld.com/chapters

Buddy Reads with friends:
– 2020 Rhysling Anthology, SF poetry, ★★★★☆
– Das Joshua-Profil, thriller, ★★☆☆☆, kidnapping, conspiracy, DNF at 36%
– A Hidden Fire, PNR, ★★★☆☆, an almost sparkly vampire and a librarian…
– Network Effect, SF novel, ★★★☆☆, Murderbot fluffed up to novel length
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 9: Here We Remain, comic, ★★★½☆, the survivors gather and start into the unknown.
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become, comic, ★★★★☆, Abraham is a hard guy to like!
– Pandemic, popcorn horror, ★★★☆☆, zombies Down Under.

2020 Hugo Award Finalist / Best Short Story:
– “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing” (Strange Horizons, 9 September 2019) , ★★★☆☆, revenge story set in colonial India.
– As the Last I May Know (Tor.com, 23 October 2019), ★★★★½, decisions and consequences.
– Blood Is Another Word for Hunger (Tor.com, 24 July 2019), ★★☆☆☆, a slave girl and her revenge.
– “A Catalog of Storms” (Uncanny Magazine Issue 26: January/February 2019), ★★☆☆☆, climate fic, pretty abstract.
– “Do Not Look Back, My Lion” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270), ★★★☆☆, war, loss, betrayal, hope.
– “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island” (Nightmare Magazine, Issue 80), ★★½☆☆, reads like footnotes, about colonialism and feminist cannibals.

Solo reads / comics & manga:
– Paper Girls #1, comic, ★★★★★, Stranger Things meets War of The Worlds?
– Paper Girls, Vol. 1, comic, ★★★★☆
– Gon: Volume 1, manga, ★★★☆☆, cute little T-Rex, b&w, wordless story telling.
– Overwatch #1: Train Hopper, comic, ★★★☆☆, Wild West meets SF.
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 11: Fear the Hunters, comic, ★★★★☆, more shockers…
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 12: Life Among Them, ★★★★☆, Alexandria
– Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #1, ★★☆☆☆, very little plot.
– James Bond #1, ★★★☆☆
– What If? Planet Hulk (2007) #1, ★★★☆☆
– Divinity #1 (of 4): Digital Exclusives Edition, ★★☆☆☆

Other solo reads:
– Blast Off to the Moon!, picture book, ★★★★☆, explaining the moon phases…
– Sauerteig: Echtes Brot und mehr, cookbook, ★★★☆☆, complicated and high maintenance, but very pretty…
– Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: Practical Recipes & Techniques for the Home Baker with Almost No Kneading, ★★★★★, very please with this practical, unfussy baking book!
– Feast of Stephen, short story, ★★★★☆, snippet from a series I like.

– lots of Star Trek and Stargate Atlantis from http://keiramarcos.com/fan-fiction/

Blast Off to the Moon! (Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog) by Lauren Gunderson The Walking Dead, Vol. 9 Here We Remain by Robert Kirkman A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries, #1) by Elizabeth Hunter Paper Girls #1 by Brian K. Vaughan Sauerteig Echtes Brot und mehr by Sarah Owens Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5) by Martha Wells Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan Gon Volume 1 (Gon) by Masashi Tanaka The Walking Dead, Vol. 10 What We Become by Robert Kirkman Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling 
As the Last I May Know by S.L. Huang Uncanny Magazine Issue 26 January/February 2019 by Lynne M. Thomas Overwatch #1 Train Hopper by Robert Brooks Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270 by Scott H. Andrews Nightmare Magazine, Issue 80 (May 2019) by John Joseph Adams The Walking Dead, Vol. 11 Fear the Hunters by Robert Kirkman Critical Role Vox Machina Origins II #1 by Jody Houser Artisan Sourdough Made Simple Practical Recipes & Techniques for the Home Baker with Almost No Kneading by Emilie Raffa Feast of Stephen (A Charm of Magpies, #3.5) by K.J. Charles The Walking Dead, Vol. 12 Life Among Them by Robert Kirkman 
James Bond #1 by Warren Ellis What If? Planet Hulk (2007) #1 by Greg Pak Divinity #1 (of 4) Digital Exclusives Edition by Matt Kindt Das Joshua-Profil by Sebastian Fitzek Pandemic (Plague War #2) by Alister Hodge The 2020 Rhysling Anthology by David C. Kopaska-Merkel 

That was a lot more reading material than I had planned. The comics/manga consist of some shorter issues, so they were very quick reads.

No audiobook this month and I did not miss it. My audible subscription is suspended until July and I keep thinking of cancelling it all together.

I am quite pleased that I decided to read the Hugo nominated short stories, although I did not rate them all that well. Which reminds me to look up the comics finalists again and to check who won the Nebulas…

First round of poems…

The 2020 Rhysling Anthology
by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What is this Rhysling thing, you ask? Have a look here:

The SFPA Rhysling Awards and Anthology

Another foray into SF poetry, this time as a buddy read. I am going to list my favourites, bundle them in groups of five or six and pick a favourite from those, and so on, until I am left with my three favourites for short and long poems: (inspired by Diane, thank you!)

Short Poems First Published in 2019, liked the most during my first two read-throughs:

1. Sphere, page 20
2. New Stars, page 22 
3. Ten-Card Tarot, Pentacles Wild, page 23
4. The Ruined Library, page 24
5. Fallen But Not Down, page 25 

1. My Ghost Will Know The Way, page 25
2. A Purring Cat is a Time Machine, page 26 
3. What You Hear When Your Best Friend Falls for a Supervillain, page 27
4. Continuum, page 28
5. Halsted IV, page 31

1. The Journey, page 32 
2. Robert Goddard at Roswell, page 37
3. All-Father, page 40
4. How to Colonize Ganymede, page 53
5. To Skeptics, page 54

1. Witch, page 54
2. Creation: Dark Matter Dating App, page 58
3. Abeona, Goddess of Outward Journeys, Pilots the Interstellar Ark, page 58
4. If All the Seas Were Blood, page 64
5. Óòjí Íjè [Kola Journey], page 65

1. Huitzilopochtli, page 75
2. The Snow Globe, page 76
3. The Wolfman and Space Girl, page 78
4. No Fairy Tale World, page 81
5. Three of Swords, King of Cups, page 82 
6. The Root King´s Winter, page 85

Long Poems First Published in 2019, liked the most during my first read-through:

1. Afterlife, page 96
2. Maculation, page 99
3. Heliobacterium daphnephilum, page 105
4. Sycophantam astrum, page 106
5. Childhood Memory from the Old Victorian House on Warner, page 109

1. The City That Changed Hands, page 110
2. Fune-RL, page 129
3. The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly, page 132
4. The Woman Who Talks to her Dog on the Beach, page 137
5. The Making of Dragons, page 154

1. Keep My Course True, page 159
2. Why Not?, page 161
3. Stormbound, page 176
4. In The End, Only The Gods, page 189
5. Driven, page 196
6. The Wolf Isn‘t The Only One Who Hides in Human Clothes, page 208

The long poems were more difficult for me. I am not going to read all of them again, instead I will now move onto picking favourites from the above.

To be found here: http://sfpoetry.com/ra/pages/20rhysli…

Detours inspired by this anthology:

– Old Houses by Lizette Woodworth Reese – https://poets.org/poem/old-houses
– Robert Hutchings Goddard – https://roswell-nm.gov/348/Robert-H-G…
– The Root Queen’s Winter by Jessica P. Wick – https://enchantedlivingmagazine.com/t…
– Good Neighbors by JESSICA P. WICK – https://uncannymagazine.com/article/g…

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey;

Along came a spider,

Who sat down beside her,

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

2020 Rhysling Nominees Announced

The 2020 Rhysling Award nominees have been announced. Our thanks at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association go to the 84 members from …

2020 Rhysling Nominees Announced

I am slowly working my way through this. I read the short poems twice and compiled a list of my favourites, that I will narrow down to my top three choices.

The long poems are taking a little bit longer. I started, but it will take me a while to read them all… WIP!

There is something in the walls…

Uncanny Magazine Issue 27: March/April 2019
by Lynne M. Thomas (Editor), Beth Cato (Goodreads Author)

Review for Childhood Memory from the Old Victorian House on Warner BY BETH CATO, ★★★★☆, May 2020

SF poetry is still something new for me. A learning process. Right now that means: do I grasp what is going on and does it generate an internal picture or movie in my head. This one did. I saw the room, the wallpaper, the butterfly trying to escape and I felt the horror of the narrator, wanting another room…. am I too simple?

I was five years old

when I began to awaken

before dawn

to watch the first beam of sunlight

coax the green wallpaper awake

Complete poem can be read for free here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/c…

April 2020 Wrap-up

I had few plans. Which was good, as I dropped out of two BRs in March and read not a single thing for my TBR challenge… My reading experience was very colourful in April—a bit of everything, from ★☆☆☆☆ to ★★★★★…

BR novels read:
– Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope, Featured BR #stayhome edition, audio, ★★☆☆☆, I was very bored!
– Behemoth, Hard SF novel, ★★☆☆☆, last of the Rifters series. 

BR novels started and ongoing:
– 2020 Rhysling Anthology – read the short poems, long poems ongoing into May.

TBR Challenge / Solo reads:
– The Chronicles Of Pern: First Fall, fantasy, ★★★¼☆, early days on the planet of Pern.
– Zero Day, creature feature, ★★★¾☆, it‘s the spiderpocalypse…
– Justice Calling, UF novel, ★★★★☆, shifters and magic.
– Deep Storm, thriller, ★★★★☆, danger at the bottom of the Atlantic.
– The Massacre of Mankind, netgalley, ★½ ☆☆☆, boring sequel to War of the Worlds, DNF at 21%
– The New Avengers, Volume 2: Sentry, comic, ★★★★★, great fun!

Other solo reads:
– The Walking Dead Vol. 7: The Calm Before, comic, ★★★★☆, some quieter moments in the calm before that storm. Some shockers. Good.
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 8: Made to Suffer, comic, ★★★★★, the final battle at the prison. 
– To The Center Of The Earth, horror, ★★★★★, adventure yarn, horror in a cave / creature feature
– The Beast of Devil’s Rock, horror, ★★☆☆☆, horror in the woods, creature feature
– Truth or Beard, contemporary romance, ★★☆☆☆, frenemies to lovers.
– Monster 1983: Die komplette 1. Staffel, supernatural mystery, ★★★☆☆, murders in a small town.
– New Avengers Vol. 1: Breakout, comic, ★★★★☆, quick re-read (more of a skim) in preparation for vol. 2.
– Sub Zero, horror, ★☆☆☆☆, antarctic octopi infected by aliens. Blue gunk. Horrible writing. DNF at 21%. O.o

How was your April?

Plans for May 2020:

BR novels/poetry:
– 2020 Rhysling Anthology, SF poetry, started in April & ongoing
– A Hidden Fire, romance readers & TBR challenge, started
– Network Effect, Murderbot! Ordered, pub date May 5th

BR comics:
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 9: Here We Remain
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become