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Showing posts from December, 2016

Alive in 2016

Part of me wants to sum up this year in one or two words - it sucked! - and be done with it. I've spilled a lot of virtual ink in service of pessimism lately so maybe it's time to put paid to 2016 and be done with it.

Instead, I'd like to take a moment to remember some of the good things about this year.

This was a year of friends. I met a bunch of amazing people this year, had time to hang out with old friends, and had some of the best conversations about politics, speculative fiction, movies, and life. If you spent time with me, helped me understand this world a little bit better, filled it with life and laughter and hope, well, the least I can do is thank you. Thank you for reading my stories, putting up with my mistakes, and giving me your support. Thank you Lauren for being the best friend a person could ever hope for and congratulations for finishing your masters.

This was a year of video games. Maybe not the most consequential aspect of life but, you know what, if I…

What I Read in 2016

This was a great year for speculative fiction, both novels and short stories and I had a little trouble narrowing down my favorites to just five. Which is part of the reason this post is running right up to the end of the year. Every story I'm listing below is one that is still sitting with me all these months later. 
For the record, I have one more of these year-end posts left - a sort of wrap-up of everything else.

In comparison to last year, which was nearly all science fiction (and one very Sfnal fantasy novel) I've got a slightly more eclectic list going here.
The Fisherman by John Langan: This is the last novel I read in 2016 and the best. Langan's tale of two widowers bonding over fishing the streams and rivers of Upstate New York combines intensely personal tragedy, with scenes of compelling weirdness and terror. The story raises interesting questions about the nature of language and the responsibilities of those in grief. Infomocracy by Malka Older. A political thr…

What I Watched in 2016

For my second year-end post, I'd like to talk about movies. There are five movies that stuck with me this year, perhaps not the five best movies, but certainly good ones that meant something to me. From my limited perspective as a routine movie-goer the gap between blockbuster movies and "quality films" continues to grow each year. Are these even in the same genre anymore? While certainly the basic technology employed by movies and films is the same (except when it isn't) the point of films seems to be diverging. The point of a movie like Marvel's Captain America: Civil War is to serve as the vehicle for cathartic spectacle while the point of my favorite movie is something closer to communication - the passing on of knowledge to the audience. In principle, I enjoy both modes but I wish they would cross-pollinate a bit more. It is the rare movie, (The Lord of Rings Trilogy, Star Wars, and Interstellar come to mind) that seems to want to do both: to create a grand…

What I Listened to in 2016

Each year, I like to gather together the albums, movies, and stories that meant something to me. I wouldn't call this a "Best of" list, exactly, although I do think that all of these works are worth your time to track down. My intention is simply to record those things that felt important or helped me understand the world in someway. In a confusing, disappointing, and increasingly terrifying year like this one, maybe art doesn't really matter all that much. If that's your response, I say more power to you. For better or worse art keeps me alive and these lists are meant to record what kept me writing, creating, and working.
Alright, so THIS list is about music and as far as the year goes, while I liked a number albums very much I wasn't blown away by any particular album. While I think this list contains very strong albums, it may not match up with many BOY posts you see elsewhere. These are simply the albums I listened to the most though this year.

Swans, &quo…

Review of Star Wars: Rogue One (no spoilers)

I have to admit it took a little while to get into the new Star Wars movie. The beginning felt weird to me: both in terms of the scattered, start/stop nature of the set-up and also, being honest, the lack of the title crawl. I know it's a small thing but details matter. Without the crawl, some part of the task of determining what is going on and how it fits in with everything else falls to the viewer. Perhaps that's the point here. Without the frame of mythology and a redemption arc, how does the conflict of Star Wars look to the people who actually fought it? 



Gareth Edwards, the director of the new movie, makes some wise decisions early on, despite the muddle: Jyn's story of lost parents and abandonment is classic storytelling in the epic mode - certainly something Star Wars fans have come to expect from the franchise.

Overall, though, none of that really mattered. The ending for this movie is tremendous, perfectly setting up Episode 4, giving a sense of the sacrifice emb…

What I Read in November 2016

November was a great month fiction and miserable month for just about everything else. First off, I'll mention I'm in process of getting together a "Best of 2016" list together in preparation for the "Short Sharp Shocks," panel I'll be on for next year's Arisia. I'm on the panel with some incredible writers and reviewers of short fiction but one awesome thing is that one of the panelists shares an appreciation for one of my current favorite short fiction writers, Gwendolyn Kiste (highlighted below). This promises to be a great conversation.

I'm also going to make a shameless plug because: why not? "Gazer," by Karen Osborne appears in the same "Electric Spec Magazine," issue as my story "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY." Read her excellent story first and then give my a try in if you're in the mood for a coming-of-age story set in a world beset by virtual creatures come to life. Although not described here, the o…

"The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY" is now available!

My new story, "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," is now available in the current issue of the Electric Spec magazine. I'm very proud that this story is getting published at Electic Spec for the simple reason I've been reading the magazine for years, dreaming of the day I might get a story published there. Well, it's finally happened.

The story of "Yuru-chara" is pretty simple: a young girl wakes up to discover that her old virtual friend, a seven-foot-tall yellow monster named Tama Bell, has come to life. While navigating through waves of other virtual creatures released through a world-wide hack, the young heroine tries to come to grips with her responsibility to her forgotten friend and the losses inherent to growing up.

I hope that you enjoy my story and that you give the other stories a try. They're awesome!

Thank you for your continued support.