Saturday, May 19, 2018

Book Blogger Hop May 18th - May 24th: Rome Won the Battle of Adis and Lost the Battle of Tunis in 255 B.C.


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: What were your worst movies based off of books?

So many of the books I love have been adapted into mediocre to miserable movies that, for the most part, I have given up on expecting a good movie adaptation of books that I like.

For example, Dune was adapted into a movie in the early 1980s. I love Frank Herbert's novel Dune, but the movie is simply not very good. The movie also mangles the story, throwing ray guns into a story that explicitly didn't have them, and wasting time with pointless scenes involving "folding space". The movie is a bloated monstrosity with hilariously miscast actors struggling through scenes involving whispers and voiceovers. As far as filmed versions go, I prefer the miniseries that aired on the SciFi channel, although that has a lot of issues as well, mostly stemming from the limited budget it was provided.

Another movie that fails to measure up to the book is the adaptation of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, which is a good (although often controversial) book that was made into a hamfisted, slapdash movie. Everything about the movie is half-assed, from the costuming, to the special effects, to the acting, to the incredibly poorly written script. The movie wasn't originally written as an adaptation of the book, and Veerhoven didn't bother to read more than a chapter or two after securing the rights to the name. This sort of lazy approach is apparent throughout the entire film.

The worst film adaptation of a story that I can recall is actually an adaptation of a work of short fiction: Issac Asimov's Nightfall, The story is a classic of science fiction involving a planet with six suns that almost never experiences night. In the story, night does fall for the first time in a thousand years, and the inhabitants do not deal with the darkness very well. The movie keeps the outlines of this premise, but mangles it into a low budget mush involving crystal swords, lots of wind chimes, and an entirely unneeded love triangle.

Those are just the offenders that sprang to mind first. Even as I wrote this out, I thought of several terrible film adaptations of books I like: Peter Jackson's version of The Hobbit, the adaptation of Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising, the adaptation of Lloyd Alexander's Black Cauldron, and so on and so forth. There are just so many bad movie adaptations of good books that I sometimes wonder why movie studios bother trying to adapt books at all.


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Monday, May 14, 2018

Musical Monday - The Special A.K.A. Live! [Too Much Too Young] by The Special A.K.A. featuring Rico


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: February 2, 1980 through February 9, 1980.

Too Much Too Young is the first song in the 1980s Project that I never actually heard in the 1980s. To be blunt, I never heard this song until a few days ago when I tracked it down for this project. I have to say that I'm not particularly enamoured of this song. Maybe I heard it too late. Maybe if I had been 16 in 1980 and heard it then, the high energy, exuberance, and anger contained in the song would have been more appealing. As it is, however, the song seems to me to be barely tolerable chaos.

The interesting thing about this song is that it is not actually the "single" that reached number one on the U.K. charts. What actually reached number one was a five song EP that included Too Much Too Young as well as Guns of Navarone and a medley of Long Shot Kick De Bucket, The Liquidator, and Skinhead Moonstomp. Shortly after this EP reached the top spot on the U.K. charts, the eligibility rules for determining what is and is not a "single" were changed so that another five song EP could never claim the top spot.

Previous Musical Monday: Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders
Subsequent Musical Monday: Do That to Me One More Time by Captain and Tennille

Previous #1 on the UK Chart: Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders
Subsequent #1 on the UK Chart: Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

The Special A.K.A     Rico     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Book Blogger Hop May 11th - May 17th: A Plane Can Be Subdivided by 22 Lines into a Maximum of 254 Regions


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Could you ever pick a favorite book or is it like choosing your favorite child?

No.

I have several books that are at the top of my list of really good books, but I could never settle on just one, mostly because books offer so many different experiences. I mean, I could say that Samuel R. Delany's Nova is my favorite book, but then I would have to overlook Frank Herbert's Dune, and Ursula K. Le Guin's Lathe of Heaven, and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World, and Mary Nash's Mrs. Coverlet's Magicians, and, well, you get the idea. There are simply too many really good books for me to be able to pick just one as my favorite, so I simply refuse to play that game.


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Monday, May 7, 2018

Musical Monday - Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: January 19, 1980 through January 26, 1980.

Songs like Brass in Pocket are the reason I decided to include the UK Charts in my 1980s project. This was the Pretenders first big hit, and reached #1 in the United Kingdom, but had slightly less success in the U.S., peaking at number fourteen. I[m not entirely sure if there is a deeper meaning in this kind of divergence between the Billboard and Cash Box charts and the UK Charts, but it is interesting to see how different the tastes of those in the two counties are.

One additional thing that makes the UK-oriented success of this song interesting is that it contains a some Midwestern-based (specifically Central Ohio-based) slang, such as the reference to the "Detroit lean", although most of the sang used in the song is decidedly British, which makes for a set of lyrics that only really make sense if you spend some time studying what they mean, or happen to have had the exact same life experience as Hynde, who grew up in Ohio, but moved to the U.K. in her early twenties.

That last fact is probably part of the reason that Hynde didn't want this song released as a single. She has said in interviews that she didn't think people would understand the lyrics and didn't think that the song would be very successful. Instead, the song went on to be one of the most successful records produced by the band, and was a concert staple for them for years. I note this fact because this seems to be an example of an artist not knowing that the art they have produced is as good as it actually is. This phenomenon doesn't occur often enough that I would call it "common", but it isn't all that uncommon either.

This isn't the first video that I saw Chrissie Hynde in: I first encountered the Pretenders when I saw a video they had made for their cover of the Kinks song Stop Your Sobbing, which they released as a single in the U.K. before Brass in Pocket. Brass in Pocket, however, is the song that forever cemented Chrissie's position as a rock goddess in my mind.

Previous Musical Monday: Rock With You by Michael Jackson
Subsequent Musical Monday: The Special A.K.A. Live! [Too Much Too Young] by The Special A.K.A. featuring Rico

Previous #1 on the UK Chart: Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) by Pink Floyd
Subsequent #1 on the UK Chart: The Special A.K.A. Live! [Too Much Too Young] by The Special A.K.A. featuring Rico

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

The Pretenders     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Book Blogger Hop May 4th - May 10th: Aemilianus Was Roman Emperor for Three Months in 253 A.D.


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you ever feel like you have emerged better for reading a book?

Isn't that one of the main reasons that people read books? I mean, not all books are meaningful, and some that try to be have contents that are counterproductive to that goal (or are aimed at "educating" the reader and directing them towards a goal that I find repugnant), but lots of books are, and that is a big part of why we read them. Reading books is one of the primary ways that we educate ourselves, that we learn how to empathize with others, and experience viewpoints that differ from our personal perspective.

On that note, I suppose it is obvious that my answer to this weeks' question is yes: I have felt like I emerged better for reading a book. The number of books for which this is true is way too extensive for me to even begin to list them, so I'm not going to try. Suffice it to say that my thinking, my outlook, and my life have all been affected by a vast number of books, and will likely be affected by many more in the future.


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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

2018 Clarke Award Nominees

Location: Sci-Fi London at Foyles Bookshop in London, United Kingdom.

Comments: One of the things that makes the Clarke Award interesting is that its nominees generally have very limited crossover with other major genre fiction awards. I believe the only novel on the Clarke Award shortlist that has also been nominated for another award is Borne by Jeff VanderMeer, which was also nominated for the Locus Award. This lack of commonality with other awards is, in part, due to the fact that this award is limited to genre fiction books that were first published in the United Kingdom, excluding a wide range of books published elsewhere, but it is also due to the difference in tastes between readers in the U.S. and the U.K.

On another note, although they have not done so yet, the "Shadow Jury" participants have announced an intention to provide a "Shadow Shortlist", just as they did in 2017.

Winner

TBD

Shortlist
American War by Omar el Akkad
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock
Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed
Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař

What Are the Arthur C. Clarke Awards?

Go to previous year's nominees: 2017
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2019

Book Award Reviews     Home

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

2018 Locus Award Nominees

Location: Seattle, Washington.

Comments: I don't really have much to comment upon concerning the nominees for the Locus Award this year. It is a good list full of strong nominees, any number of whom would be worthy winners.

The real question to be asked is the one that comes up pretty much every year: What place does the Locus Award hold in the genre fiction world. Once again, this list of finalists came out after the deadlines for submitting nominations for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award had passed. This means that the Locus Award no longer serves its original purpose of providing recommendations for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. So is the Locus Award to simply be a discount Hugo Award? Is that its ultimate place in the world?

That said, I think that the Locus Award does still have a small piece of ground of its own to stand upon. There are very few credible awards that split their "Best Novel" into subcategories the way the Locus Award does. The only other major award that recognizes anthologies and collections with their own categories is the World Fantasy Award, and that award is limited to fantasy works, leaving out science fiction anthologies and collections. The point here is that there is some room for the Locus Award to exist without being a poor man's version of other awards, although it is a fairly narrow space.

Best Science Fiction Novel
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
Provenance by Ann Leckie
Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee
Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer
The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

Best Fantasy Novel
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Delirium Brief by Charles Stross
Horizon by Fran Wilde
The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard
Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley
Jade City by Fonda Lee
The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone
Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory
The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

Best Horror Novel
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
After the End of the World by Jonathan L. Howard
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
The Changeling by Victor LaValle
Food of the Gods by Cassandra Khaw
Ill Will by Dan Chaon
Mormama by Kit Reed
The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge
Red Snow by Ian R. MacLeod
Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem
Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Best Young Adult Book
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
Buried Heart by Kate Elliott
Chalk by Paul Cornell
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi

Best First Novel
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
Amatka by Karin Tidbeck
The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

Best Novella
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Agents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle
Passing Strange by Ellen Klages
The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

Best Novelette
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Children of Thorns, Children of Water by Aliette de Bodard
Come See the Living Dryad by Theodora Goss
Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee
The Hermit of Houston by Samuel R. Delany
The Hidden Girl by Ken Liu
The Lamentation of Their Women by Kai Ashante Wilson
The Mathematical Inevitability of Corvids by Seanan McGuire
Waiting on a Bright Moon by JY Yang
Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker
The Worshipful Society of Glovers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Best Short Story
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim
Dear Sarah by Nancy Kress
Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue by Charlie Jane Anders
Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Fire. by Elizabeth Hand
The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata
Persephone of the Crows by Karen Joy Fowler
Starlight Express by Michael Swanwick
Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM by Rebecca Roanhorse
Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell

Best Collection
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories by Naomi Kritzer
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
The Overneath by Peter S. Beagle
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente
Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Tender by Sofia Samatar
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories by Ursula K. Le Guin
Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages

Best Anthology
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
The Best of Subterranean edited by William Schafer
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year, Volume Eleven edited by Jonathan Strahan
Black Feathers edited by Ellen Datlow
The Book of Swords edited by Gardner Dozois
Bookburners edited by Max Gladstone
Cosmic Powers edited by John Joseph Adams
The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin
Infinity Wars edited by Jonathan Strahan
Transcendent 2: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction edited by Bogi Takács
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fourth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois

Best Nonfiction, Related, or Reference Book
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Don’t Live for Your Obituary by John Scalzi
Iain M. Banks by Paul Kincaid
The Invention of Angela Carter by Edmund Gordon
J.G. Ballard by D. Harlan Wilson
A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff
Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal
Not So Good a Gay Man by Frank M. Robinson
In Search of Silence: The Journals of Samuel R. Delany, Volume 1, 1957-1969 by Samuel R. Delany
Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Liz Bourke
Star-Begotten: A Life Lived in Science Fiction by James Gunn

Best Art Book
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess
The Art of Magic: The Gathering: Kaladesh by James Wyatt
The Art of the Pulps: An Illustrated History edited by Douglas Ellis, Ed Hulse, and Robert Weinberg
Celtic Faeries: The Secret Kingdom by Jean-Baptiste Monge
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, illustrated by Omar Rayyan
Line of Beauty: The Art of Wendy Pini by Richard Pini, illustrated by Wendy Pini
The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist by Craig Hodgetts, illustrated by Syd Mead
Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor, and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love
Spectrum 24: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by John Fleskes
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Imaginarium by Paul Kidby

Best Editor
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow
Gardner Dozois
C.C. Finlay
Jonathan Strahan
Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer
Sheila Williams
Navah Wolfe

Best Magazine
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Asimov’s Science Fiction
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Clarkesworld
Fantasy & Science Fiction
File 770
Lightspeed
Strange Horizons
Tor.com
Uncanny Magazine

Best Publisher or Imprint
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Angry Robot
Baen
DAW
Gollancz
Orbit
Saga
Small Beer
Subterranean
Tachyon
Tor

Best Artist
Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Kinuko Y. Craft
Galen Dara
Julie Dillon
Bob Eggleton
Gregory Manchess
Victo Ngai
John Picacio
Shaun Tan
Charles Vess
Michael Whelan

Go to previous year's nominees: 2017
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2019

Book Award Reviews     Home