My January 2022

And the first month of the year is over already! Here is what read, listened to and watched…

Activation Degradation ★★★★☆, audio, SF, not Murderbot, just ignore that. Different take on robots/cyborgs/AI.
Cursed ★★★★½, Alex Verus #2, ebook, UF, wizards in London battle it out, good fun.
Black Powder War ★★★☆☆, Temeraire #3, ebook, Fantasy, the way back from China to Europe over land, with stopovers in Istanbul and Prussia, set in 1806.
– Fruiting Bodies ★★★★★, short story, SF Horror, a little creepy.
– Life on Earth ★★★★☆, audio, TBR pile, David Attenborough narrates his book, natural history.
– The Sweet Rowan ★★★★¼, ebook, TBR, sweet Regency romance, set in Scotland, with a wee bit of magic.
– Saga #55 ★★★★☆, eComic, SF, finally back after three years of waiting.
– The Marrow Thieves ★★★☆☆, ebook, TBR, dystopian YA set in Canada. People have lost the power to dream, except for indigenous people, who are hunted for a cure.
– Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paper, DNF after 84 pages reading and skimming to 150 pages / 55%. Travel anecdotes, nice enough, but very repetitive.

Still reading, carry over into February:
Fire and Ice: The Volcanoes of the Solar System, audio. Fascinating!

Specfic Movies & TV watched:
– The Expanse, S6, Ep. 3-6 ★★★★☆ Season finished. They went off script quite a bit. Not sure yet how much I liked this.
– Foundation, S1, Ep. 4-10 ★★★★★ Season finished. Excellent!
– Venom ★★★¾☆ Entertaining and a little too silly.
– Kingdom, S1, Ep. 1-3 ★★★☆☆ Korean zombie series in a historical setting. Unintentionally funny at times. Different. The people in this have the survival instincts of gnats.

Some StoryGraph statistics:

(yes, the last and first page counts are different, I updates something in between screen shooting the stats… 😝)

What I am doing when I am not reading

Well, watching too much TV. I also try to keep updated with the James Webb Space Telescope. I am not having much luck with finding a decent livestream.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has reached its deep-space destination, but it’ll be a while yet before the $10 billion observatory starts its science work.

On Monday (Jan. 24), Webb slipped into orbit around the Earth-sun Lagrange Point 2, a gravitationally stable spot in space about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from our planet. The arrival ended a month-long journey for the highly anticipated observatory, but there are still a lot of boxes to tick before Webb gets down to business.

“We expect the first science images from JWST to come back in about five months,” Amber Straughn, the deputy project scientist for Webb science communications, said during a webcast Webb event on Monday.  

https://www.space.com/james-webb-space-telescope-l2-arrival-next-steps

Long wait ahead of us! In the meantime I finally watched Venom. I am only slightly behind. It was ok, maybe a bit on the too silly side. If you are looking for a bit of mindless entertainment, this might hit the spot.


It goes without saying that I watched the last season of The Expanse. Another one that was just ok. It was clear that they would not be able to wrap up the remaining books and Babylon‘s Ashes was a pretty good spot in the series to “stop”. It is debatable if including the teaser that is Strange Dogs was just mean and maybe confusing for those that have not read the books. Rumour has it that there might be movies covering the remaining books. We shall see.

And no sourdough bread baking this weekend. I am wearing my lazy hat for now.

November Wrap-Up

We are galloping towards the end of the year, potentially more lockdowns, increased social distancing, renewed distance education, a new Covid mutation, snow storms, and so on… but for now here is just another wrap-up for my November reading.

– Rovers ★★★★★ – audiobook, Of Men and Mice meets From Dusk till Dawn. Excellent. Highlight of my month! Potentially one of the best books I have read this year.
– Elder Race ★★★★½ – ebook, novella, another Tchaikovsky, Sword-and-Sorcery with a touch of SF and Horror.
– Fated ★★★★☆ – ebook, re-read, wizards, London, Harry Dresden meets Peter Grant and the Iron Druid. Buddy reading #2 in January.
– Relic ★★¾☆☆ – ebook, Alan Dean Foster, the last human in search of Earth. Meh.
– The Resurrectionists ★★½☆☆ – ebook, Netgalley, novella, TBR pile, graphic body horror, not for me.

Comics:
– The Whale Library ★★★★★ eComic, Netgalley. Pretty story about a whale who contains a library.
– Dragonflight ★☆☆☆☆ paper, TBR pile, bad adaptation of Anne McCaffrey‘s first book of the Dragonriders of Pern.
– Cyber Force (2012) #1 ★☆☆☆☆ eComic, DNF after 8 of 24 pages, no idea what is going on.

Started, carry over into December:
The Quantum Magician, ebook + audio, ~60%. Around 3.5 to 4 stars right now. Ocean‘s 11 in space, post-humanism.
– Life on Earth, audio, TBR pile, ~30%. David Attenborough talks about evolution.

Movies & TV watched:

Nature Documentaries
– David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet ★★★★★+ Beautiful images, important story, fabulous Sir David!
– Our Planet — Behind the Scenes ★★★★★ The walruses, OMG!, and the calving ice shelf, wow!
– Our Planet — One Planet / Frozen Worlds / Jungles / Coastal Seas / From Deserts to Graslands ★★★★★
– Night on Earth: Shot in the Dark ★★★☆☆

Specfic Series
– Foundation, S1, Ep. 1 ★★★★☆
– Infiltration (Invasion), S1, Ep. 1-8 ★★★¾☆
– Wheel of Time, S1, Ep. 1-4 ★★★☆☆

Planned for December:
Leviathan Falls Expanse #9, the final novel, audiobook owned
Silent Blade Kinsmen #1, Ilona Andrews, re-read
Silver Shark Kinsmen #2, Ilona Andrews, re-read
A Mere Formality Kinsmen short, Ilona Andrews, re-read
Fated Blades Kinsmen #3, Ilona Andrews, the new one
– maybe Black Powder War, Temeraire #3
– maybe Dragonsong, re-reading Dragonriders of Pern

Monthly wrap-up

My October 2021:

– Ancillary Mercy ★★★★★ audio, Imperial Radch #3, re-read. I really liked this. Not sure what I did during the first read, but I definitely did not pay attention, because I barely remembered any of this. Great fun, I loved all the AIs and their dynamics. And Translator Zaiat was precious.
We Have Always Been Here ★★★★☆ ebook, colony ship (is it?), AI, a litte horror, mystery, dystopia.
– Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen ★★★★☆ audio, about institutionalized racism in Germany and the experiences of a black woman growing up in Cologne. Not bad, a bit on the shallow side. Very readable.
– Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora★★★★☆ ebook, #ReadBIPOC2021, TBR pile, Netgalley. This is a very strong anthology. Even the stories that didn‘t fully grab me gave me plenty to think about. Recommended! 
– Dark Path ★★★☆☆ ebook, TBR pile, mystery fluff. Buddhist forensic pathologist solves a case in Florida.

Short stories:
– The Lottery ★★★★☆ online. Famous story by Shirley Jackson from 1948.
– You Can Make a Dinosaur, but You Can’t Help Me, Uncanny Magazine Issue 23: July/August 2018 ★★★★☆ online. About a trans man and his Jurassic Park-inventing dad.
– You Perfect, Broken Thing, Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020★★★★☆ online. Dystopia? Winning a race to stay alive…

Poetry:
– Uncanny Magazine Issue 41: July/August 2021 ★★★★☆ online, I read three of the four poems, about Japan and sacrifice, Beowulf and Madame Curie, here: https://uncannymagazine.com/issues/un…
– What to expect from the Hadron Collider as a college roommate, Uncanny Magazine Issue 16: May/June 2017 ★★★★☆ online, pretty amusing poem.
– A tenjō kudari (“ceiling hanger” yōkai) defends her theft, Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020 ★★★★☆ online, a spectre gets her revenge.

Currently reading:
– Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paperback, TBR pile
– The Resurrectionists, ebook, Netgalley, TBR pile

Abandoned reread:
– BR zombie Persepolis Rising, audio, Expanse #7, re-read
– BR zombie Tiamat’s Wrath, audio, Expanse #8, re-read

Movies & TV watched:
– No Time to Die ★★★★★, last 007 with Craig, cinema.
– Smoking Aces ★★¾☆☆, action thriller comedy with lots of blood, pretty pointless. 

Wrap-up July

My July was of middling success. I really enjoyed Shards of Earth, it‘s one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I decided to DNF One Last Stop and Left Hand of Darkness for now, as I really couldn‘t work up any motivation to continue with either of them. Reading Volumes 2 and 3 of Ascender by Jeff Lemire was a lot of fun. The artwork is still stellar and the plot was enjoyable. And I watched some good movies in July.

Novels read in July:

Shards of Earth (facilitator), ebook, ★★★★★ Great fun!
Questland, ebook, Netgalley, ★★★¼☆ LitRPG, Tolkien meets Jurassic Park, not terribly exciting.
– The Voyage Of The Beagle, ebook, ★★¾☆☆, mostly skimmed through this.
One Last Stop (author of Red, White & Royal Blue), ebook, DNF at 19%, ★★¾☆☆, not interested enough to finish…
– Nightstalkers, ebook, ★★☆☆☆ Sharkweek. Bring on the crazy!
The Left Hand of Darkness, ebook, TBR pile, DNF at 20%, ★¾☆☆☆

Comics: (Mostly single issues of 25-30 pages each)
– Snow Angels #1Snow Angels #2Snow Angels #3Snow Angels #4Snow Angels Season Two #1, KU, ★★★☆☆, family in an ice trench. Dystopia. Hunting, blood, fighting and feeling…
– Ascender #8Ascender #9Ascender #10 ★★★★★+, TBR pile, fabulous conclusion to Vol. 2! 
– Ascender #11Ascender #12Ascender #13Ascender #14 ★★★★☆, fairly predictable ending.
– Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2: Avengers of the New World, TBR pile, #ReadBIPOC2021, ★½ ☆☆☆ DNF at 68 pages, 23%. Missing a read thread and homogenous narrative.

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2 Avengers of the New World by Ta-Nehisi Coates Shards of Earth (The Final Architects Trilogy, #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky Snow Angels #1 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #2 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #3 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #4 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels Season Two #1 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Ascender #8 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #9 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #10 by Jeff Lemire 
Ascender #11 by Jeff Lemire Nightstalkers (Meg #5) by Steve Alten The Voyage Of The Beagle (Illustrated) by Charles Darwin Ascender #12 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #13 by Jeff Lemire Questland by Carrie Vaughn Ascender #14 by Jeff Lemire One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin 

Movies watched:
– A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood ★★★★★ Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers.
– Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ★★★★★ Quentin Tarantino is a god.
– The Homesman ★★★★¾ Hilary Swank / Tommy Lee Jones, Western
– Blood Red Sky ★★★★☆ Unusual horror movie, vampires on a plane.
– Playing with Sharks ★★★★☆ National Geographic documentary
– The Tomorrow War ★★★½☆ Military SF, aliens conquering Earth, Chris Pratt does a good job in a CGI slosh-fest. Not brilliant, but entertaining.

We find our souls, strife and zombies…

The Walking Dead, Vol. 15: We Find Ourselves
by Robert Kirkman,  Charlie Adlard (Illustrator),  Cliff Rathburn (Illustrator) 

Cleaning up Atlanta… moving from day-to-day survival to re-building civilization. The next catastrophe has to be just around the corner, right? Instead we mostly get Rick searching his soul and contemplating Carl (the little, creepy twat). Internal strife is brewing, on more than one front. 

Atlantic is starting feel boring after several installments. It‘s time for a new story arc. Which makes me a little apprehensive, considering what comes next…

And while we are talking zombies, I watched this movie last night:

The Dead Don’t Die is a 2019 American comedy horror film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It features an ensemble cast including Bill MurrayAdam DriverChloë SevignySteve BuscemiTilda SwintonTom WaitsDanny GloverCaleb Landry JonesRosie PerezIggy PopCarol Kane, and Selena Gomez and follows a small town’s police force as they combat a sudden zombie invasion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dead_Don%27t_Die_(2019_film)

Nuts! I haven‘t decided yet, if this movie is just absurd or if it‘s genius…