HUGO AWARDS 2020 announced

The HUGO AWARDS have been announced and I managed to miss the live stream of the ceremony. Bummer. Here is the list of the winners.

I am pleased about these category winners, as I read and liked them:

BEST NOVEL — A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine — looking forward to the sequel!

BEST NOVELETTE — Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin — she‘s been hit and miss for me so far.

BEST SHORT STORY — “As the Last I May Know”, by S.L. Huang

BEST SERIES — The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey — this makes me want to re-read them or at least some of my favourites.

BEST RELATED WORK — “2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech”, by Jeannette Ng — great to see that individual people can make a difference!

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM — Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation) — loved it! Michael Sheen and David Tennant were brilliant. This was so much fun to watch!

https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/2020-hugo-award-winners

GRR Martin was the Master of Ceremony for the proceedings and apparently made a mess of it. It ran overly long, he mispronounced many of the winners’ names and seems to have come across as racist and misogynistic. I am refraining from linking more stuff in this post. But google it and you find a ton of blog posts about it. I can‘t really say yay or nay about it, as I haven‘t watched it. Dang it.


Link to my entry about the finalists

Link to my entry about the short stories

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… 😝

Apex Magazine is back, baby!

What’s coming back in January, 2021?  Apex Magazine, that’s what!   The Magazine went on hiatus last year, and now funding their 2021 year through a …

Apex Magazine is back, baby!

Of the stories mentioned in this re-blogged post I have read these two:

Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™“ by Rebecca Roanhorse

A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies“ by Alix E. Harrow


It looks as if I never posted my review for Roanhorse‘s short story over here, so without much ado I give you this:

Apex Magazine Issue 99
by Jason Sizemore (Goodreads Author) (Editor),  Rebecca Roanhorse (Goodreads Author)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review of Rebecca Roanhorse’s Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™
Winner of the 2017 Nebula Award and 2018 Hugo Award for Best Short Story

Quite a mind bender. Difficult to comment without giving something away. About representation of Native Americans in SFF, about self-image, loss of self…

The second person narrative briefly confused me, but I got into it easily enough. Horrible ending, trippy indeed. Not sure what would be worse—this beeing his reality or his experience. If it‘s his experience, he at least has the chance to go back to a possibly better life, fingers crossed. 

Rebecca Roanhorse podcasts: https://rebeccaroanhorse.com/2018/06/…

1. with Native journalist and SFF writer Rob Callahan to talk all things Native SFF on KFAI Minneapolis/St. Paul.
http://www.kfai.org/wednesday-1pm-res…

2. talking about one of her favorite books, Erika Wurth’s Buckskin Cocaine.
https://bookriot.com/listen/finn-murp…

3. on Publisher’s Weekly Radio talking Trail of Lightning:
https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/p…


And here is my blog post about her novel Trail of Lightning

Robosaurus…

A bit of a gap since my last book post… Maybe it‘s the weather, but I can‘t quite get myself to read for longer stretches at a time right now. So I am not making much progress with the novels I am currently reading. Here is another short story…

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156
by Neil Clarke (Goodreads Author),  Suzanne Palmer (Goodreads Author), Bella HanSara Saab (Goodreads Author), M.L. Clark (Goodreads Author), Gabriela Santiago

Review for Dave‘s Head by Suzanne Palmer

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is—you guessed it—a short story about a head.

He’s taken his head off again, somehow, and I never can figure how he does it with no thumbs or even fingers, and I know my uncle didn’t help, but there it is on the rug waiting for me, Dave’s head, and he opens his gigantic mouth wide and looks at me with his big, brown fake eyes, and says, “Road trip?”

Dave‘s Head by Suzanne Palmer

The narrator takes an interesting road trip with Dave’s head, that‘s for sure! A slightly different AI story… This was fun, although I couldn‘t quite grasp what the author intended to say with this story — I didn‘t read it in one sitting though, which might have been the reason.

Can be read for free here….

I will read more by the author, this is the second of her stories that I really liked. The other one was The Secret Life of Bots. Recommended!

Vengeance at any price

Lullaby for a Lost World
by Aliette de Bodard (Goodreads Author) 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Charlotte died to shore up her master’s house. Her bones grew into the foundation and pushed up through the walls, feeding his power and continuing the cycle. As time passes and the ones she loved fade away, the house and the master remain, and she yearns ever more deeply for vengeance.

Grim Short story! Beautifully written and unexpected. I liked it a lot.

Can be read for free here: https://www.tor.com/2016/06/08/lullab…

Further reading, interview with the author about this and that: https://www.tor.com/2020/07/09/aliett…

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

What are you willing to do?

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
by Ursula K. Le Guin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I picked this up, because I wanted to get to know Le Guin a little better. It looked like a good starting point, having won so many awards. It languished on my shelf for a while, as I couldn‘t get into it the first time I picked it up.

So, I finally read it last night. I felt like a student having been given an assignment to „read and discuss the tale’s ethical message“ afterwards. The question being, (spoiler) would I really give up an amazing life for one child? This question and moral dilemma can be spun in many directions, from situations in our past to the current antiracsim debate and our privileged lives in general.

What are you willing to give up to do the right thing? Would you walk away? And would that be good enough? Obviously not, but it‘s not as easy as that. You‘ve dealt with your guilt by walking away, but that doesn‘t really help that child, does it? How do we deal with our privilege, what would be a acceptable response?

Can be read for free here:
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&am…
or here:
http://sites.asiasociety.org/asia21su…

PS: The Left Hand of Darkness is waiting on my TBR pile…

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.

Fanfiction:
– 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…

Short stuff

I recently got a bunch of free comics and just looked through them (my comiXology app is having kittens, as I downloaded so much) and picked two very short ones to read.

And I finally read that Charm of Magpies short story, that has been stuck on my TBR pile for a while…

Feast of Stephen (A Charm of Magpies, #3.5)
by K.J. Charles (Goodreads Author) 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Finally read this and enjoyed it quite a bit. Very short, but for fans of the series worthwhile. Stephen seems to have gone through some interesting changes in the previous book. 

As I still haven‘t read Flight of Magpies, I had some gaps. I finally got a copy of that as well… 

So much for my attempt to reduce the height of my TBR pile.


Overwatch #1: Train Hopper
by Robert Brooks,  Blizzard EntertainmentBengal (Illustrator) 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I got this very short 10-page freebie, because I liked the look of the cover.

It‘s too short for anything meaningful. McCree travels on a train, he looks like a cowboy and seems to be an outlaw of some kind. The setting is in the future. The train is attacked by some guys in full body armour, abseiling from helicopters at over 600 km/h. That‘s about it.

The artwork was ok.

730-F825-D-D371-48-C2-8-A09-419630-E51-DE5

I don‘t feel the urge to continue with this.


Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #1
by Jody Houser (Goodreads Author),  Matthew MercerOlivia Samson (Artist), Msassyk (colorist), Ariana Maher (Letterer) 

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Nice artwork, but next to no plot. And the plot that was there, was full of holes. Perhaps I am missing something to be able to appreciate this. It takes part in the middle of the series somewhere or might be a spin-off, so I am pretty sure I am missing a lot of backstory.