green_dreams: Books, and coffee cup with "Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book" on the side. (coffee and a book)
I did many other things, and I would like to say I am deeply grateful to the friend who met me for lunch, and to the light of my life for listening and handling dinner and generally being the man I married.

That said. Bookses.

While wandering around downtown, I hit the library, where I picked up Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 and Straight to Darkness. Both are horror anthologies.[1]

Then it turned out there was a United Way fundraising booksale in the place I was meeting a friend for lunch, so we stopped by. I got Bradbury's Long After Midnight, LeGuin's Rocannon's World, Barbara Gowdy's We So Seldom Look On Love, Koontz's The Darkest Evening of the Year, and Special Delivery (which is a coffeetable book on Canada Post's history).

Then on my way back that afternoon, I picked up Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, since I have Hugos to vote on and should make an informed decision.

(Also, on Tuesday, I was returning books to the library, and I hit the Book Nook and picked up Two of the Deadliest, a crime anthology, and The Specter from the Magician's Museum. It is a continuation of the John Bellairs series with Lewis Barnavelt--a lovely kid's series from when I was young, featuring necromancy and wizardry and hands of glory and mean witches and beanies and the colour purple.)
[1] Actually, uhm, is anyone able to take a quick look at the names in Straight to Darkness and peg, by name, whether there is a gender mix in the authors? I would normally assume so, but frankly the last three Mythos anthologies I picked up had (1) no women at all, (2) no women at all, and (3) two women out of eighteen authors, so I have gotten a bit cynical. And I am trying to hit gender parity in my reading this year.
green_dreams: A green picture of a rainy city street at night in the rain. (green rain)
I am feeling odd tonight,
and cold. It was a warm night;
they liked my hair
--cold purple, warm purple, amethyst and plum--
better than I thought,
and it was good to listen,
and Sarah left me a spindle and a bag of fiber
I don't even know the name of.
It's not-white and faintly scratchy. A princess
would spin it into diamonds. Gold only comes from straw.

But I have
so many things to do, so many nearly done
and books begun
and cleaning undertaken
and rooms and jobs and plans and good intent
that I can feel them teetering above me
just one more
just one more
and they will come down and paralyze me in a pile.
The word is tsundoku. I think of time in terms of books.

and so tonight I will finish one step. Just one.
And go to sleep, and waken lighter in the morning
and feel the sillier for writing all this down
with line breaks studding it like beads
in an enthusiast's first clumsily assembled earrings.
green_dreams: "Heard of Rodney King, Patrolman Jefferson?" "It's Inspector Jefferson." "Not once I get through with you." (Cheswick has teeth)
In the future, I should probably not start on the last third of a Dennis Lehane novel before going to sleep. It is inconducive to relaxation.

(Also, iconed a quote in the book that had me grinning a bit:
I'd have used it here--I did on DW--but my paid account expired on LJ, and I am not paying for more-than-six-icons right now, dammit.)

Abby is being grouchy, and I suspect it has something to do with our cat-sitting Gizmo; will see. And it's currently -22°C (-30 with the windchill[1]), so I am thinking that perhaps it is a day to get as many things possible done from inside the house.
[1]-7°F/-22, for those of you not using metric.
green_dreams: (flour and eggs)
Bear with me for background: there's an author called Jay Lake. His weird short story "The Soul Bottles" was actually the first story I ever bought in e-format, and is still one of my favourites. He has cancer, and it's not going well. And someone organized an online fundraiser (I think around noon today, my time?) to see if they could get him a particular diagnostic tool, and it went really well.

It's... partly being happy that he's getting help, and partly "oh god internet I'm so glad you make nice things happen sometimes," and partly just... I hope it helps, I really do.

([profile] cmpriest doing a steampunk/gothic fashion show with her pets should also be cool.)

(Also [personal profile] seanan_mcguire filking. I understand it's filk, and not "Wicked Girls", but still!)

I made dinner tonight; I got the A Feast of Ice and Fire cookbook last night, after deciding that dammit I really wanted to look up a few things, and today I made the modern leek soup. (Not the same as the blog recipe; the one from the book has less spice, and uses butter and potatoes.) It actually worked out really well; the book calls it comfort food and it manages to be that, despite being a large pile of vegetables. It's less odd when I remind myself that it has butter and carbs.

(At some point I need to figure out exactly which cooking tends to stress me and which doesn't. I know part of it is mood and part of it is familiarity, but that's not all of it.)

Also, I finished three books today, and am halfway through a fourth. Only started one of them today, but still. Am trying to actually write reviews on goodreads, so may be a bit before I toss them all up there, but still. Coraline is the fourth; I'm finding I like it better than the movie in most particulars.
green_dreams: (ragged yes)
Wildside Press has put out The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack for less than a dollar as an ebook. Ignore the slightly retro-sounding title, please, and note that in addition to 39 other stories which include ones by Lovecraft, Bloch, Clark Ashton Smith, and Frank Belknap Long, it has T.E.D. Klein's "The Events at Poroth Farm".

I looked for a copy of that for years after reading it, and was significantly motivated to pick up the entire American Supernatural Tales anthology on the strength of it containing that. It is more than worth the price of admission all on its own, although given the low price that isn't quite the flattery it deserves.

Anyway! The ebook is available on both Kobo and Amazon; if you're going to pick it up on Amazon, consider doing so through the Lovecraft eZine link (it's the sixth one down)? They're a good 'zine, and if you're going to buy it anyway, it costs nothing more to be buying it through their link.
green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
Well. Leverage is over, and I went through way more books than I expected to this year (96, and still time to finish one if I focus). So while I still don't like to dwell on how many books I am in possession of that need reading[1], I figure my turnover is pretty good, and I will need some recommendations for next year.

What TV should I be watching that I'm probably missing (if it's not Doctor Who or an ensemble cop/crime-ish show, I'm probably missing it)? What books should I take a look at (you may consider Night Circus and everything by both ChiZine and Innsmouth Press to be on the to-read list) that I probably haven't?
[1] Hush it's not very far into three digits.

Yes, well.

Dec. 7th, 2012 09:01 pm
green_dreams: Greyscale silhouette of a black cat with grey eyes (boo-cat)
Dinner out tonight (was lovely, also there was much geekery), and stopped at Chapters on the way back. I picked up Dodger and The Killer Inside Me on the same trip and am mildly amused by the contrast.

In case of needing some assistance unwinding for the weekend, I have found that this image (completely work-safe!) is very helpful. May not be suited for ailurophobes, but then again, I don't think I know any.
green_dreams: (little red heart)
I noticed a certain common colouration in the books I had to hand:

Covers of /Lies and Ugliness/, /Bedlam/, /The Weird/, and /Breed/.

I'm cheating a bit with this picture, since both the hardback cover and the dustjacket of Breed are shown. (I took the dustjacket off because something about the paper just feels subtly repellant--some weird combination of sooty and greasy.) On the flipside, I'm not including The Rivals of Frankenstein, which continues the black-white-red theme, so it all balances if anyone's keeping score, which I sort of doubt.

Am mildly amused by this, especially since the other books I am reading, or have just finished, or have just started, have a black-and-white thing going for the covers. (Apparently the subtraction of red takes you from horror to crime, who knew? Although Bedlam is an exception to that.)

Not feeling well today; I'm hoping it's just after-effects of the flu shot, since those should clear up more quickly than anything I might have actually caught. Managed to get a little cleaning done, though, and get out of the house to pick up groceries and return library books. (Mildly annoyed that one of the books I have on hold has been in transit for just over a week, now, and is still not at the local branch. It's a Lovecraft collection, so I suspect I could find the contents on Gutenberg, but I find I really prefer physical copies of anthologies and collections. Screens and ereaders work best for single works, for me--novels or novellas or standalone short stories, any length is fine, just not several short stories.

Probably turning in early tonight; the nap after the vet's was nice, but I'm still wiped.


Nov. 9th, 2012 07:23 pm
green_dreams: (fallout icon - love. love never changes)
John has made my day SIX BILLION times better.

ETA: He did it twice. I've mentioned this one nearly seven years ago, and then again three years back.
green_dreams: "The trouble with you, Ibid, is that you think you're an expert on everything." (Ibid)
You know how when a character's described in a book and something about them isn't specified, there's a default assumption about them? If gender isn't specified, they're assumed to be cis male[1]; if orientation isn't specified, they're assumed to be straight; if ethnicity isn't specified, they're assumed to be white.

Is there a word for this other than "cultural default assumption"? And is there a source that confirms this kind of thing happens that you can point to?
[1] I still remember being bitten in the ass by this one. The story was written in the first-person perspective, and I was two-thirds of the way through before I realized the narrator wasn't a man. I don't think the author was trying for a clever dodge or anything, it just... gah. *embarrassment*
green_dreams: (break the cycle)
Rather quick, rather flip notes, as I down coffee before work...

First; There are movies I haven't seen. Quite a lot of them. Two that came up this morning were Scarface and Johnny Got His Gun (because the morning drive music included "Jack Sparrow" and "One").

What else am I missing? What movies are really worth seeing (and trust me, the expectation that I've already seen it is not to be trusted)?

Second; So I'm on goodreads. It allows for a five-star rating system, and for me that basically seems to boil down to (1) I'm rating this because I want to establish I thought it was terrible, not that I just didn't bother to rate it; (2) pretty bad to not-great, but with redeeming moments; (3) decent way to spend some time; (4) everyone interested in the genre or subject matter should try reading this; (5) everyone should try reading this.

There's a whole lot of things falling into the three-star category, including some things that I'm feeling a little bad about, because they'd be four-star books if five-star ratings weren't reserved for truly amazing things. And I'm wondering if I should reorganize, give everyone-should-try-this books their own shelf and stretch my ratings out so that there was a middle ground between "decent" and "everyone interested in the genre or subject matter should try reading this".

I may be putting a bit too much thought into this, but I wondered.
green_dreams: Lamppost and orange-leafed trees against a cloudy sky. (autumn lamppost)
On my way home on the bus yesterday, I was flipping through my copy of American Supernatural Tales, looking to find the excellent "The Events at Poroth Farm", when a fragment of text caught my attention:
...not an "animal of some kind," as he put it. Something with a dragging tail, with scales, with great clawed feet--
And in the back of my head, a little voice is going wait, wait, I remember this...
--and I knew it had no face.

"The Lonesome Place", by August Derleth.

It's been so long since I read that that I have no idea, now, where I first saw it. It's been printed in a ton of places, but none of them ring any bells. I was surprised to discover it was by Derleth; I always thought of it as a children's story, the kind of thing you'd find sitting on a shelf with A Touch of Chill and Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Witches. It's got a sort of calm tone to the horror, nothing giddily overbearing. Puts me in mind of Bradbury:
"See, baby? Something bright... something pretty!"
A scalpel.
(It occurs to me, as I write this, that I might have a mildly elastic definition of "children's story." Might. I'm just tossing that out there for consideration.)

But yeah; I just thought I'd make a note of that feeling of recognizing an old acquaintance, is all, one I didn't expect to see there.
green_dreams: (spooky cats)
Hey, guys. I know I've mentioned Innsmouth Press before; I've got all their anthologies, and their magazine is the kind of awesome that leads to me buying the magazine even though it's free. (Admittedly, it's $2, but does that not make it even better?)

Anyway, their fourth anthology (Fungi) is coming out, and they're preparing for their fifth. They want to pay full pro rates for that one, a Sword & Mythos anthology; and since they're in Canada, they can't run a Kickstarter, but they're set up on Indiegogo. To quote:
What kind of anthology will Sword and Mythos be? Well, it’ll have the sword and sorcery flavor you are looking for, but it will also thread further into unexplored reaches. Why should the worlds of wizards and heroes be limited to faux-European shores? We plan to look for international writers who can provide unusual backdrops and points of view. We want to feature tales of daring female warriors. We will look for kick-ass female writers, established authors and new voices. In short, we want to excite and inspire. We want to take you from cold mountains where icy palaces hide dark terrors, to distant deserts where ghouls roam in the sand dunes, and beautiful pagodas which shadow wizards of might and magic.

Sword and Mythos would be released in October 2013.
Honestly, I know times are tough all over, but even if you can't chip in, maybe pass the word along? They're a pretty amazing little micropress.
green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
By then serials were dying anyway, and of what use was a green suit with a long cape and wings on the sides of its cowl? In the real world, there was no room for Green Falcons.
Got to work this morning and I couldn't get "Night Calls the Green Falcon" out of my head. It's from Robert R. McCammon's Blue World collection, or at least that's where I first read it.
A shriek like the demons of hell singing Beastie Boys tunes came from the speakers.
So I went looking, and bless the man, he has the whole thing up on his website. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised; it's written as a serial, it really suits being posted online.
"No, I haven't seen him for a while, but I know what his name was." He grinned, gapped-tooth. "John Smith. That's what all their names were." He glanced at the Green Falcon. "Can you breath inside that thing?"
It's about a man who used to play a hero in the old movie serials--you know the kind, right? Ten chapters to a story, dramatic cliffhangers, come back next week for the next thrilling episode in this dynamic mystery, "The Star and Question Mark"!
"Hey, amigo," the man said, and flame shot from the barrel of the small pistol he'd just drawn.
I mean... okay, it is not entirely surprising that I am a sap for stories about people trying to live up to the stories; ones about the power of stories to change the world. Galaxy Quest. Shakespeare in Love--not the romantic plot or subplot or whatever it was, but the sheer weight of the theatre, the "I don't know. It's a mystery." Hogfather, and the difference between the sun coming up and a giant ball of flaming gas illuminating the world.
He kept going to the stairs, burdened with age.

"‘Dear Davy,’" the voice rang out. "‘I am sorry I can't come to Center City this summer, but I'm working on a new mystery...’"

The Green Falcon stopped.
I'm not saying it's great art. It's a four-colour story, bright and simple and clear. It has a grim and bloody moment or two, but then of course it does; they always did.
Who was he? somebody asked. The Green Falcon? Did he used to be somebody? Yeah, a long time ago. I think I saw him on a rerun. He lives in Beverly Hills now, went into real estate and made about ten million bucks, but he still plays the Green Falcon on the side.

Oh, yeah, somebody else said. I heard that too.
I heard that too.
green_dreams: (judge dredd snowman)
32°C as of 3 p.m., calculated to come across as 41 with the humidity. (That's 105 down south, I understand.) I'm going to grit my teeth, get through the trip home, and then not move outside the air-conditioning until a civilized temperature is re-established.

Going to give the e-reader a factory reset. The Kobo help desk suggested this might also solve the battery problem[1], which could be due to a firmware issue, but I confess to being somewhat skeptical. Will be very happy if it works, though.

Also! Pretty things, for values of pretty things that cover post-apocalyptic video games (no, not Fallout).
green_dreams: A woman from behind, with an octopus splayed over her butt. (sucker butt)
Proof that it's been a long busy week: I haven't mentioned this yet...

The latest issue of Innsmouth Magazine, available here for free (online or in PDF), and here for $2 (buyyyyyy ittttt... It's $2! When was the last time you got half a dozen good stories for $2?). Enjoy!
green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
Was driving home from dinner with John, and the "Were you born in the 80s?" test came on. So I got weepy, as I tend to; poor Lir, after all. And we started talking about lines; the bright standalone ones that brought something home to you, and that stay with you.

This is by no means anything close to exhaustive, and some really well-done lines aren't here; "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" comes to mind, as does "No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream", and "So it goes." And there are some excellent stories that aren't represented, because for me no one single line could sum up Machen's "Lost Hearts" or Michael Shea's "Fat Face" or Tiptree's "The Screwfly Solution"[1] or Susan Palwick's "Gestella"[2] or Stephen King's "N" (and yes, I am aware I have reasons to be partial to that one that have nothing to do with the Mythos) or Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" or Bradbury's The Hallowe'en Tree.

So here they are: lines of prose, occasionally reworked by the fuzzing of memory. How many of them mean something to you? Which ones do you have?
One side of his face cuddled too hard into the sand, and one leg kicked the air three times.

But in Bedford Falls, it was always Christmas Eve...

I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.

There's nothing behind those eyes. There's just clay and magic words.

O embleer Frith!

I have no doubt that it will happen, none at all. None at all. Because I have positive proof that Loob can undo his interference with the past.
The proof is this: they are here, the Goster County dogs.

Sometimes we forget to blink.
[1] I am nearly done my anthology of apocalyptic fiction. I have skipped the Tiptree story towards the end, because I have not been up to reading it these last few days. I'm not saying the story included will be one of the ones that leaves me shaking. I'm saying it's Tiptree, and after my introduction to her, I do not approach James Tiptree Jr. casually.

[2] It's in her The Fate of Mice anthology. I'd heard it was the darkest story in the book, so I skipped straight to it--it's the second--rather than reading them in order. Then I read it through. Then I wept. I can loan it to anyone local, as soon as I get it back.
green_dreams: (...crap)
Why do you own the books you do? I mean, why did you buy them instead of take them out of the library; why did you keep them instead of reselling or trading or giving them away?

What makes them worth it?


Apr. 30th, 2012 09:05 pm
green_dreams: (call. the. police)
...I only very very very rarely say this, but I think there will be a little break from book acquisitions for a while.

There are a couple of exceptions. First, I've already spoken to the best beloved local independant bookstore, and they are holding a copy of The Weird for me.

Second! Innsmouth Press is coming out with its Fungi anthology this autumn (oh lord, when day next dawns it will be May, where is the time going?). The table of contents is up, and they're still looking for examples of fiction-with-fungi for their database. It's their first anthology in both paperback and hardcover, too, and I'm actually really glad for them. (Also, you could do worse than check out their other books!)
green_dreams: (Welcome to Eldritch)
I was actually looking at my bookshelves. There are, for the record, a lot of Night Shade Books products on there. So! The company that brought you The Mall of Cthulhu, Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year, The Book of Cthulhu, London Revenant, and oh my god they have Manly Wade Wellman reprints...!
Ahem. Yes. Anyway! Times are tough, and they're having a sale. Fifty percent off everything, both what's currently available and what's getting printed in 2012.
Want The Best Horror of the Year Vol 4 (or earlier volumes)?
Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl (Hugo winner! Nebula too)
or Pump Six collection?
Joe Lansdale's formerly out-of-print The Boar?
Trial of Flowers by Jay Lake?
Elizabeth Bear's The Chains That You Refuse?
Some Agatha Heterodyne books?
Fallen angels vs. fae in 1970s Ireland?
Or The Lurker in the Lobby
(rumours that I am thinking of using it as a checklist are totally false)?
And it's all half-price. Plus there are raffles every day.

How can you go wrong?
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