Other People's Books

Another inbox-clearing ebook roundup post

Acquired from Kobo:

  • Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler. I already had a copy of this in paperback, but I snagged the ebook as I’d built up enough credit points with Kobo to snag it for free. And having an ebook copy ups the chances I’ll read it, which I want to do because I definitely need to read more Butler.
  • The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt. Another book I already own in print, but I snagged the ebook as it was on sale.

Acquired from Angry Robot:

  • Hunger Makes the Wolf, by Alex Wells. SF. Nabbed this one as it was on my To Read list, but it got an award! So Angry Robot put it briefly on sale, and I nabbed it then.

22 for the year.

Movies

Movie review: Avengers: Infinity War (no spoilers)

My household doesn’t usually see movies on opening weekend. But a couple of days ago Dara informed me that spoilers were falling like rain on her social media feeds! So yesterday evening, we scampered off for a viewing of Avengers: Infinity War at one of our local theaters.

I was deeply amused that said theater was running the film on almost every single one of their screens. I was equally amused, on the way out, to see that one of the ticket takers was dressed up like Loki. So they were clearly milking the Marvel money cow for all it’s worth.

As for the movie itself? This post will talk about it in a general non-spoilery fashion. I’ll do another post with in-depth spoiler-laden commentary.

Pacing and cast

I’ve seen multiple headlines of reviews talking about the movie being overstuffed. These reviews are not wrong. Almost every single character we’ve had introduced to us in the last ten years of the MCU shows up. Some get more screen time than others, as is inevitable with a cast this large. But with so many characters in play, the film has very little time to do much with any of them, except for the ones specifically involved with the biggest plot points.

And, given that the film’s running time is 2 hours 29 minutes, that’s a lot of time to be juggling so many characters.

Fight scenes make up a lot of the two and a half hours. Dara and I talked about how in some ways the pacing of this movie felt like The Battle of the Five Armies, in that it was almost non-stop fighty fighty fighty fighty. Because of this, some of y’all may find the film kind of exhausting. I personally didn’t; despite the long running time, I mostly felt like it moved well. I felt only a time or two that things were dragging a bit, and those moments were fleeting.

So very much in media res

I cannot stress this enough: this film expects you to know what happened in the films that led up to this one. If you haven’t been heavily invested in the MCU up until this point, this is so very not the place to come into the storyline. This is the cinematic equivalent of trying to come in on the Harry Potter books with book 7, or The Lord of the Rings with Return of the King.

For me, this was just fine. I have been heavily invested in the MCU. But I can definitely see that a casual moviegoer, someone who may have missed one or more of the previous movies, could come into this movie and be very, very lost.

So what I’m saying here is, brush up on previous MCU plots before you go see Infinity War. Go read Wikipedia plot summaries of them at the very least, if you don’t have time to watch the actual films. You don’t need to know every single previous MCU film well for the important plot points of this one to make sense. But you should brush up on Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Civil War, and Thor: Ragnarok.

Comic book cosmology, oh my yes

One more important point I want to make: we are now well and thoroughly into the territory of some of the wackier aspects of comic book plots here, people. In particular, we’re getting into the cosmology of the Marvel Universe, with the entire notion of the Infinity Stones, and what Thanos wants to do with them.

A lot of the action is in space, or on worlds that aren’t Earth. Some of these sequences are handled more realistically than others. Dara told me after we came out of the film that certain parts of it knocked her right out of the story, because of her immediate “uh, no” reaction. You’ll want to break out the industrial strength cables for the suspension of your disbelief here, y’all.

There are multiple on-screen deaths, be warned. But more than one of them failed to hit me with the Feels that I think the film wanted out of me, specifically because I knew that this was a comic book plot and that deaths are almost never final in these sorts of storylines. Knowing that we’re into the wackier cosmology of the Marvel universe at this point distanced me in a way some of the earlier films didn’t do, because of their better grounding in realism. (Notably, the first two Captain Americas.)

That said: I did totally tear up at certain points during the climax of the story.

Thanos

Last but not least, Thanos, our Big Bad. How well he’ll work for you will, again, depend upon how well you roll with wacky cosmic comic book plots. Arguably, Thanos’ motivations are shaky at best. But given that, Josh Brolin played him well. We get into some of Thanos’ general backstory, as well as the backstory of how he took Gamora off her home planet when she was a child. That helped make me buy his direct interactions with Gamora and Nebula, at least, if not his overall motivations.

And I’ll say this: the big guy was legit scary in battle. So were his minions, generally referred to as “the Children of Thanos” on screen. (These characters do actually have names; I looked them up on Wikipedia. But I don’t recollect hearing any of them called by these names in the movie.)

All in all, Infinity War definitely entertained me. One more warning, though: this movie ends in a dark cliffhanger-y sort of place. The real resolution isn’t due until the next Avengers flick drops in May 2019. So if you’re not a fan of cliffhangers, consider whether you want to see this film in a theater now, vs. watching it much closer to when the next one comes out.

Stand by for the spoiler-y post, wherein I will talk about this flick in a lot more depth. 😀

Bone Walker, Faerie Blood, The Free Court of Seattle

New Faerie Blood and Bone Walker print editions

After working with fellow indie authors in NIWA for a few years now, I’ve decided that it’s stupid that I don’t have print copies of my books available on Amazon (and by extension, a couple other places that carry books published via CreateSpace/KDP). Some time in the next month or so, I’m going to fix this problem. There are going to be new Faerie Blood and Bone Walker print editions!

The particular motivation here: I’m flat out of copies of Faerie Blood, since I sold my last remaining five copies at Norwescon (yay!). I’m down to only five copies left of Bone Walker as well. These will be the last remaining espresso-book-machine copies of that book!

So if anybody wants ’em, this would be a real good time to get ’em. I bumped the price down to $12 at Norwescon after I sold out of Faerie Blood, and will keep that price until they’re gone. Likewise, I have a couple of copies with misprinted covers, and a couple of damaged ones, available for only $5. (The damaged ones were ones I’d signed and mailed out to Kickstarter backers. But they were damaged by the Post Office in transit and came back to me.)

Since I’m doing whole new print editions, I’ll also do a minor edit pass on both books. Notably, I’ll finally correct that typo in Chapter 20 of Faerie Blood in the name of the demon, Azganaroth! But I’ll fix a few other minor typos as well as I find them. Dara will make any adjustments necessary in the PDF and print masters, including the edition numbering in the books’ front matter pages.

Once I finish the edit passes, I’ll deploy the print PDFs up to Amazon. I’ll be able to get author proof copies and vet them before finally releasing the new editions for sale.

The end result? Hopefully, more discoverability and ease of purchase for people who don’t already know me or follow me on social media. Hopefully nicer covers, too! Once I deal with any hiccups in the process, I’ll deploy print books this way moving forward. I’ll be doing Walk the Wards this way as well.

Any questions? Talk to me in the comments!

Bone Walker, Faerie Blood

March 2018 Faerie Blood and Bone Walker sale!

Norwescon is coming, so y’all know what that means: the March 2018 Faerie Blood and Bone Walker sale! Both books are on sale for 99 cents each on all major ebook vendors, as well as on my Square store. I will also honor this price for anyone who wants to buy the books directly from me without going through a vendor.

This price applies until the end of the month, March 31st, to give Norwescon attendees plenty of time to get home from the con and look me up. It’ll also give the rest of you time to read samples, if you don’t already have the books!

The ebooks

As always, this price applies to all major ebook vendors, as well as to my Square store. See the individual Faerie Blood and Bone Walker pages for all the places you can buy the titles.

Or, here is a list of the most important ones:

Faerie Blood:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play | Square

Bone Walker:

Bone Walker | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play | Square

The print editions

I’m trying to sell out of my current print editions, as I plan to do a new run of each book. If I have any left after the convention, I’ll waive shipping costs on any order, applicable to anywhere within the U.S. or Canada. (Overseas readers, shipping to you is prohibitively expensive, so I can’t do that. Sorry!)

Please spread the word, and talk to me if you have any questions!

Books

Super quick ebook roundup

I have finally concluded a massive reorganization of my ebook library, all in the name of getting it onto my new Kindle Oasis. So of course I’ve got a couple more books that I have to add to the library now!

Picked up from Kobo:

The Girl With Ghost Eyes, by M.H. Boroson. Urban fantasy, but historical urban fantasy, featuring a Chinese immigrant protagonist. Snagged this while it was on sale for $1.99.

Picked up from Amazon:

Pro Git, by Scott Chacon and Ben Straub. Yeah, I know I said I normally don’t get things from Amazon unless they’re confirmed DRM-free, but I made an exception in this case. Mention of this went around at work as a free download. So I went ahead and leapt on it because a) we use Git at work, and b) hey, I like free!

Also, this particular text isn’t on Kobo. And while it is on Barnes and Noble, the free price isn’t in effect there. As of this writing (March 18th), it is still in effect on Amazon. So if a free ebook textbook about how to use Git sounds relevant to your interests, you can snag the Kindle edition here.

That makes 19 ebooks acquired for the year.

Ebooks and Ereaders

Device review: Kindle Oasis

For the longest time, I’ve been reading ebooks on my last purchased Nook, a Samsung Galaxy S2 tablet, with a side helping of periodically reading on my iPad or iPhone. But this has been bugging me for a while, for a few reasons.

The problems

One: I’m getting older, and my eyes are getting weaker. Which has made me want to go easier on them. Given this, I thought it’d be nicer to shift my digital reading back to an e-ink device rather than on devices with much brighter screens.

Two: These days I want to be less distracted by my technology. But I still love ebooks, and I’ve missed my prior experience of reading on e-ink devices. Which is to say: devices whose entire reason for existence is to do one thing, show me whatever I want to read. They can’t distract me with Facebook or Twitter or games or email or whatever. There’s something very restful in that.

Three: The ongoing slow decline of Barnes and Noble has made me disenchanted with the idea of ever buying an ebook from them again. Never mind a new device.

Four: While most of my ebook purchases these days are from Kobo, I haven’t liked reading on the Kobo device I own, a Kobo Mini. I like how tiny it is. But I don’t like that if I load it up with even a reasonable fraction of my library, its performance slows down considerably.

And while Kobo has higher-end e-ink devices, those are hard to come by in the States. There have been reports of Kobo beginning a partnership with Walmart to sell ebook cards and devices here. But as I flat out refuse to set foot in a Walmart, buying a Kobo device from them isn’t on the table.

I could go up to Vancouver and get a Kobo there. But that distance also means that if the thing breaks, there isn’t an easy way for me to see about getting it repaired or replaced.

All of which led me to do something I hadn’t ever foreseen myself doing: purchasing an e-ink Kindle. Specifically, an Oasis.

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Movies

(A quite belated) Movie review: Black Panther

This is of course a super late post given that Black Panther came out a few weeks ago at this point. But I wanted to get this written up anyway, since I did like this movie immensely, and wanted to document my thoughts. 😀

I’ve been seeing discussion posts all over the place about it, but notably on The Mary Sue and Tor.com, both of which have had multiple interesting commentaries on various aspects of the film. They’ve ranged from the overall joy of fans of color for this film, which is massive, to the rightful and eminently correct praise of the multiple awesome women in the cast.

Now, while I’ve been a solid fan of the MCU since the first Iron Man film came out, I’m also of course squarely in the White Chick bracket of fandom. As such, I cannot by definition have the same sort of gut-deep reaction of joy to this film that a fan of color could. But I will say this: given how much joy I got out of seeing Wonder Woman, I can totally extrapolate. I am delighted that this film exists, and that fans of color get to rejoice in it. The opportunity to support it by giving it my theater-going money has pleased me, and I did in fact have enough fun seeing it that I’m strongly considering seeing it again.

For the more in-depth details of things I loved, have a look behind the fold!

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