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I picked the next couple of items for discussion on the Good Story podcast.

The last two picks I had were heavy so I thought “what’s the opposite of heavy”? To my mind came The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. An old favorite. We’ll definitely be talking about audio drama a bit in that episode… as much as I can get away with!

For my movie pick? Inherit the Wind, starring Spencer Tracy, who is particularly good in this movie. It’s a courtroom drama around a case where a high school teacher is on trial for teaching evolution. I have no idea how accurate it is in comparison to the Scopes Monkey Trial, but people connect the two all the time. I’ll look into that. The movie has a lot to say about belief, science, and society.

I’ll be back on SFFaudio (recording May 7, posting I don’t know when) to discuss The Running Man by Stephen King, who published it under the name “Richard Bachman”. I’m sure we’ll hear the words “Hunger Games” at some point in that discussion. Jesse also wanted to talk about a few movie versions, so I better get busy on this one!

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Reconnection


Over the past several years, I’ve read less and less. There are lots of reasons for this, but those reasons all fit in the file drawer labeled “Distraction”. It has been a very long time since I’ve finished an SF novel that I would consider “current”.

Using Hugo nominees for Best Novel as a guide, it looks like I stalled completely in 2013. That year I started but didn’t finish two of the nominated novels and didn’t read any of the others. In 2014, the same. I dnf’d two of the nominees and didn’t attempt any of the others. In 2015 and 2016, I didn’t read nor attempt to read any of the nominees.

Looking at this year’s Hugo nominees, I see an opportunity to reconnect. Three of the Hugo nominees are sequels, and two of those are sequels to previous Hugo winners. I haven’t read any of those, but in doing so I’d be reading a couple of previous Hugo winners in addition to this year’s stuff, so bonus.

When I’m finished, like them or not, I’ll feel able to rejoin the conversation.

Here are the books I’ll read:
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (currently reading)
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (nominee)
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (nominee)
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (nominee)
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (nominee)
A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (nominee)
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
The Dark Forest bu Cixin Liu
Death’s End by Cixin Liu (nominee)

I have till July 15th if I want to finish in time to vote. No deadline at all if I don’t care about voting. I’ll leave that in the air.

My history of posting lists isn’t so good. There’s something it that is unmotivating. At the moment, I’ve starting reading again in a big way and I’d love to post here more regularly. I’m very interested to find out if I like these books or not. If the list doesn’t damage my enthusiasm, then I’ll post something here about each one.

I won’t force myself to finish them. I will treat each of these like I do other things I read: if I’m not looking forward to getting back to the book after reading 40 pages then I’ll drop it and move on.

UPDATES:

– I read 40 pages of All the Birds in the Sky and set it aside. No real connection there for me.

– Once I got 250 pages or so into The Fifth Season, I skimmed to the end. There was some powerful stuff there. Some images/emotions will stick with me, including a dead boy on the floor at the beginning and his mother, and the power of the orogenes. After these two books, I wonder if this is a problem between me and fantasy in general? Reading this book, I was thinking, “yeah, that’s a nifty idea” but just wanted to move on. I’m not interested in the sequel. People love this book so I’m sure it’s me.

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Desert

Off to the desert till Easter…

Desert

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Friday Video: Chimamanda Adichie on What Americans Get Wrong About Africa

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The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovannino Guareschi

The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovannino GuareschiThis week, one of my favorite episodes of Good Story posted. Julie and I talked about The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovannino Guareschi.

The book is a collection of very short, very poignant stories about a Catholic priest and mayor, written in and about Italy right after World War II. Fun to read, even more fun to talk about.

Find the episode here: Good Story 152: The Little World of Don Camillo.

Next up over there is a movie Julie picked that is up for an Oscar this year: Hell or High Water. I’ve seen it and liked it, but will watch again with my Good Story goggles on.

I have the two picks after that. We’ll read “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes (the novella, not the novel), a story about “what it means to be an intelligent being” said a very smart friend of mine at LTUE this past weekend. Then we’ll watch Arrival, which is also up for an Oscar. I’m eager, among other things, to talk about how “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang was so successfully brought to screen when I considered it unfilmable.

What do I know, anyway? Answer: NOT MUCH. Not much at all. So happy to be wrong.

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“A Walk in the Sun” by Geoffrey A. Landis, from Infinivox

Science Fiction - A Walk in the Sun be Geoffrey A. LandisWritten long before Andy Weir’s The Martian, “A Walk in the Sun” by Geoffrey A. Landis gives us a science fiction survival story a bit closer to home. Trish Mulligan is the last one alive on the moon after crash landing a ship that was never meant to land at all. Luckily, her solar powered spacesuit is operational. Unluckily, a rescue is thirty days away. To survive, she’s got to keep her suit working, and to keep her suit working? She’s got to keep it in the sun.

I like a science fiction story that lets me involve my calculator. (And yes, I mean “calculator”. My trusty old HP-15C… still love that thing.)

The diameter of the moon = 6786 miles.

The moon rotates once every 27 days.

So to keep that suit in the sun, Trish needs to average 10.47 miles per hour for 27 days. And she’s only got her legs to move her.

Can she keep that pace in the low gravity of the moon?

I listened to Infinivox’s recording of the story, read by Amy Bruce. She’s quite good and a great match with the story. It runs 51 minutes and you can get it on Audible for $5. I’ve listened to this a few times over the years so yeah, I enjoy it very much.

  • Here’s a link to the whole story at Baen
  • “A Walk in the Sun” won a Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1992.
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