Monthly Archives: November 2011
|November 28, 2011||Posted by annathepiper under Other People's Books||
She was kind enough to give me a coupon for a review copy from Smashwords, and I’ve just finished reading the book as of this weekend. It’s a bit of a mashup of Western, SF, and time-travel romance, and I found it a good solid read. A proper review will be coming later (I’ve rated it on Goodreads but haven’t written up a review yet), but I wanted to go ahead and mention it now. Click over to her page to read an excerpt, and if you like what you see, buy it and tell her I sent you, mmkay?
|November 28, 2011||Posted by annathepiper under Faerie Blood, Short Pieces||
Since Faerie Blood is no longer officially for sale anywhere (and what few places it’s remaining I’m not likely to see any money from), I wanted to remind y’all that if you haven’t read the book and you want to, I’ll be happy to direct-sell it to you!
And since it’s Cyber Monday, let’s make this easy!
I have three CDs left from my previous stock. These include both a PDF and an ePUB copy of Faerie Blood, and along with it, a PDF of my short story “The Disenchanting of Princess Cerridwen”. If you’d like one of these, five bucks to all comers, including the cost of shipping it to you if you’re not local to me.
ETA: All three CDs have now been spoken for. However, if you’d still like a CD copy of Faerie Blood vs. one just emailed to you, talk to me and we can work something out!
If you’d like to just buy a copy of Faerie Blood directly from me, let’s call that four bucks, and you should specify if you want a PDF or an ePUB copy.
If you’d like a copy of my short story “The Blood of the Land”, previously published in the anthology Defiance, you can have that for .99. Again, please specify your desired format.
And I’ll give you Faerie Blood and “The Blood of the Land” both for an even five bucks.
The best way to pay me would be via PayPal, addressed to my gmail address annathepiper. If you want one of the CDs, you should also email me directly at the same address with an appropriate address to send the CD to you!
I will keep these prices valid not only through today, but also through the rest of the holiday season. Please feel free to spread a link to this post around as well if you so desire!
|November 27, 2011||Posted by annathepiper under Book Log||
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I really wanted to like Julie Moffett’s No One Lives Twice–after all, a comedic action-adventure story starring a girl who’s a computer geek should have been tailor-made for me, right? Certainly the premise is promising enough: Lexi Carmichael is a computer expert working for the NSA, leading a predictably boring life, until the disappearance of her best friend.
Speaking as a woman employed in the computer industry, though, I fear I found Lexi’s ability with a keyboard distressingly lacking. Much is made of how this girl is supposed to be a hacker, yet she spends an awful lot of time getting the men in the cast to do actual computer work for her. And off the top of my head, the one bit I can remember where Lexi herself is at a keyboard on camera involves her specifically screwing something up. None of this did much to impress me with Lexi’s computer ability.
Likewise, Lexi shows distressingly little agency in finding out what’s going on herself, as opposed to relying upon the various men in the cast. There’s much mileage spent on the obligatory selection of sexy men and the question of which one of them Lexi’s most attracted to–which is all very well and good–but I would have respected this book more if it’d spent less time trying to convince me the boys were sexy and more time showing me that Lexi was, in fact, a hacker.
Mind you, the book’s not wretched by any means. Moffett’s got some genuinely lighthearted moments in here, and to be fair, the book does pick up a bit towards the end. I fear I’m not its target audience, though. Two stars.
|November 27, 2011||Posted by annathepiper under Book Log||
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Prismatica is the other of Elizabeth Barrette’s poetry collections I’ve read this year, and of the two, this is the one I prefer. Since I’m not a regular reader of poetry, this collection’s being SF-themed made it quite a bit more accessible to me than the other collection, From Nature’s Patient Hands.
As with the other collection, I found in general that Ms. Barrette had a lovely way with a word. Several of the poems in this collection stood out for me as examples of what I always want a poem to do–i.e., take a concept and coalesce it into a few short lines of verse. Moreover, the concepts in question were excellent SF-themed ones.
There are too many poems here for me to talk about them all, but some of my favorites included:
“One Ship Tall” – The opening poem in the collection, about FTL flight
“Star Orphan” – About the finding of a single young survivor on the ruin of an alien planet
“Resolutions” – About the path of a woman’s lifelong determination to reach the stars
“lush rain” – About a rainstorm not quite what you might expect
“From ‘Aliens’ to ‘Zooming’” – An alphabetical exploration of a clever alien emissary to Earth
“Crib Notes” – A pithy little suggestion about why, exactly, we haven’t had any confirmed alien visits to Earth yet
So all in all, not my normal reading, but nice to have explored nonetheless. If you like SF-themed poetry, you should check this out. Four stars.
|November 25, 2011||Posted by annathepiper under Books||
Re-bought electronically from Diane Duane’s site:
- Stealing the Elf-King’s Roses, by Diane Duane. Re-buy of a book previously owned in paperback. This is Ms. Duane’s take on urban fantasy, recently re-issued with new content. Picked this up because I’d been meaning to re-read it, and I’m curious to see how she changed it.
And, bought electronically from Kobo Books:
- Star Trek – Die Anfänge: Alle Romane in einem Band!. This is a German translation of three Star Trek novels, grabbed because I noticed Kobo’s site has got a lot of SF/F in German now, and I was curious about the translations. The novels included are Vonda McIntyre’s Enterprise: The First Adventure, Margaret Wander Bonanno’s Strangers from the Sky, and Diane Carey’s Final Frontier.
230 for the year.
|November 22, 2011||Posted by annathepiper under Other People's Books||
Like most of the rest of the net, I’m seeing the news today that Anne McCaffrey has passed away. The initial link I was given is here, and another early report link is here. They’re saying she had a massive stroke.
This one hurts, people.
I remember the Pern books being among the very first SF/F books I read as an adolescent. In turn, they influenced other books I went in search of–notably, Sharon Shinn’s Samaria series, which always struck me as Pern-like in flavor. And as I’ve mentioned in the past, I get huge echoes back to Pern through the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, as well.
PernMUSH is one of the three MUSHes that formed the bulk of my online roleplaying history, and almost at the same time I joined PernMUSH, I also joined the offline group Telgar Weyr. Like many in Pern fandom, I had my share of issues with many details of Anne’s world, and eventually I actually enjoyed Pern fandom in many ways more than I did the original canon material. But I cannot deny that she created a world that had a massive, massive influence on me. To this day I have friendships that were forged because of Pern fandom.
PernMUSH established my ability to roleplay–and by extension, to write–from a male point of view, since F’hlan was the first significant male character I ever played. F’hlan taught me a great deal about the kinds of male characters I liked to play, and how to keep a long-running romantic relationship lively. (Melora, I am looking at you.)
I must also give mad props to the Crystal Singer books, since a significant bit of my roleplay history was on CrystalMUSH as well. Killashandra Ree, I loved you. You led me to roleplaying Kevlan Sharr, Tance Vokrim, Jerrik Rawn Deegan, and Tamber al-Acorrin (who had the distinction of being the first gay character I ever played on a MUSH).
Because of all the writing I’ve done for Pern fandom, McCaffrey’s influence on me as a writer has certainly also been profound. I have characters that still vividly live in my head, and make sad faces at me that I haven’t ever properly finished their stories, or otherwise adapted them into characters I can put into my own work. McCaffrey’s been a template for me on how to do strong female characters–and, since I always took issue with her penchant for setting up strong female characters only to have them eventually play second fiddle to their men, she contributed to my resolve to never do that with my own heroines. Similarly, as I was always unhappy that she gave queer males a presence on Pern but never queer women, that has set a goal for me to achieve in my own work.
I even met Ms. McCaffrey once, way back in the day when
The sound you hear, O Internets, is every single dragon I have ever written or roleplayed for keening. Gold Timbrith. Bronze Tzornth. Bronze Valreth. Brown Trollith. Blue With. Green Yfandeth. Likewise, all of my characters at Far Cry Hold must mourn.
RIP, DragonLady, and thank you so much for your works and how you have molded my life. You will be missed.
Also, io9 now has a post up.
|November 22, 2011||Posted by annathepiper under Music|
I’ve been anticipating the new album by La Bottine Souriante for weeks now, and WOO! It’s finally out! The album’s called Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée, and I yoinked that thing right down from iTunes as soon as I saw it go up.
For my first exposure to the band’s current lineup, it performed splendidly. I had an undeniable initial “buh?” reaction to several of the tracks–because I have of course imprinted on a lot of the earlier La Bottine albums as my example of what they should sound like, and that’s not entirely fair to the newer members. Yes, vintage La Bottine is a POWERHOUSE OF AWESOME, and those are mighty large (smiling, aheh) boots to fill. I’m now quite prepared to state that the newer members are also awesome, but you have to go in with an open mind and open ear. Since there are so many new people in the lineup, the overall flavor and chemistry of the band is not the same, and so it’s necessary to judge the current lineup on their own merits and less on how much they sound like all the people that came before them (though I’m not discounting that, either).
On the whole I do quite like this album. After the first listen, I was a bit dubious. But after two more, I found it growing on me considerably. Granted, I was predisposed to like it anyway just because Éric Beaudry sings many of the songs–but on the other hand, his presence in the vocals was actually also kind of confusing to my ear! I’ve gotten used to hearing him as part of De Temps Antan as well as on his album with his brother Simon, so hearing him in this context is something I’m not quite used to yet.
There are two other gentlemen singing lead on the album as well, for whom I do not yet have names, and both of them did a fine job. The presence of so many backup singers makes for nice round vocals on many of the tracks.
Instrumentally, overall, the horns are sometimes more subdued than I might like–but again, a good chunk of that is coming out of my exposure to vintage La Bottine. When I cut back on that reaction and judge the blend of the horns with the rest of the instruments they’re playing with, I feel much better about them.
And now, track by track reactions!
Cette Bouteille-Là – I really like this one, which was the first of the free tracks the band was offering for download just before the album came out. This has an excellent blend of all the instruments and voices, and some jaunty energy to it. This is a great track for showing how the current membership of the band are inheriting from the older members.
Mon Père – Ah and here we have Éric Beaudry’s first lead song on the album! This has strong vocals in general, not only M. Beaudry’s, but also all the backup vocals. Some great deep vocals in the background, and all of the voices are set off nicely against the percussion. I particularly groove on M. Beaudry hitting his high notes in the background on the very last few bars of the song.
Reel à Roland – This is an instrumental, and starts off sounding fairly standard until the horns start coming in on the second iteration of the A part. Once the horns and piano build up, you start thinking, okay yeah, this is La Bottine Souriante.
Le Gourmand – Back to M. Beaudry on the lead vocals, which is always a good thing, though this is one of the songs on the album that kept making me think “wait wait this isn’t a De Temps Antan song”? Mais non, because there are horns here, and a lot more backup vocals! Also, M. Beaudry is rather more expressive on his vocals here than I’ve heard him be with De Temps Antan so far, possibly because he’s doing more lead singing here.
Chus Chatouilleux – Good strong punch from the horns to start this one up. I don’t know who’s singing here since I don’t know all of the current lineup of the band yet, but the singing’s good. It’s a bit weird for me though since whoever’s doing this singing has an accent similar to the lead singer over in Mes Aieux, so I’m once again having to remind myself that this is in fact a La Bottine Souriante album. When in doubt, listen for the horns.
André Alain en sol majeur – Another instrumental. It sounds like there’s a keyboard in here, which is another thing I’m not used to yet with the current La Bottine lineup. There’s a bridge in the middle with a keyboard solo, which gives this piece an almost jazzy feel. I find myself wishing that the horns were doing more than just backing up the keyboard, though; I really want to hear some trumpet love on the melody line.
Au Rang D’aimer – Back to Éric! A more plaintive ditty, this one, but nice full vocals.
Intsusadi – This is a good one! I don’t know what’s doing the main percussive line here–a steel drum? It’s a new sound for me in my La Bottine experience, regardless, and it makes this one the most interesting instrumental on the album for me.
Reel Calgary – While the previous was perhaps the most interesting instrumental, this one is nonetheless very appealing to me. Nice fiddle and footwork. As with track 3, the horns are pretty subdued–more than I might perhaps like. But on the other hand, they’re coming in at a good balance with the rest of the instruments and the overall somewhat wistful flavor of the piece.
On Va Barrer Les Portes – The other La Bottine singer I don’t know yet, but this is the same gent who sings lead on track 1. This song’s primarily vocal call-and-response, with just piano and footwork on the verses, until the horns and fiddle come in on a nice jaunty bridge. That bridge? That’s what I listen to La Bottine Souriante FOR.
Pèle-Mèle – One more Éric song! Good big fat bridge from the horns and keyboard.
Le Baillard – The album’s final track is one more instrumental, and a good long, strong one as well, layering in all the various instruments and letting them build power at a good pace. By the time you’re three minutes into the track, oh yeah, there’s excellent muscle to the horns here. And about halfway through, an excellent stomping bit! This one reassures me that while I may miss the powerhouse of awesome that was vintage La Bottine, modern La Bottine can bring it too.
Long story short, if you’re into Quebecois music or think you might want to be, yes, you should buy this album. I was delighted to see it go live on iTunes AND on the Amazon MP3 downloads store for purchase, which means it’s readily available to US customers. Their record label also has it available for purchase right over here!