Friday, September 16, 2011

Steampunk Novels -- Sept 2011

The books I've really enjoyed so far this month:

1. Heartless by Gail Carriger -- the 4th in the Parasol Protectorate series, set in Victorian England about Alexia Tarabotti who has no soul which gives her power over werewolves and vampires. At one point, I had to tweet the author about her great plotting and characters. Within a few pages, Ms. Carriger threw in a red herring; revealed the truth about a doomed love affair that broke my heart; a flirtation between two minor characters that were in character that made me cringe; then broke my heart again with 2 other characters. So well done!
2. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve -- the first of a 4 book series in a post-apocalyptic Earth far in the future where cities are built in tiers and mounted on wheels where they roam around hunting and eating other cities and towns. They call it Municipal Darwinism. They're opposed by the Anti-Tractionists who believe that cities should be stationary. Very inventive and fun.

I've pre-ordered Goliath by Scott Westerfeld, the 3rd in the Leviathan series. It's set during WWI between the Darwinists (genetic engineering) and the Clankers (steampowered machines with legs instead of wheels).

What these all have in common are action, adventure, and romance.

Another book was A Life in Stitches by Rachael Herron, aka Yarn-a-go-go. It's a series of essays about her life, really the important people and events in her life, that have knitted pieces associated with them. For example, her quest to knit her own wedding dress, but really it's about her wedding to Lala and what weddings and marriage are really about. Another book that mad me smile and tear-up. Lovely book.

So far, September's been full of good books.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dragon*Con 2011 and water damage

Husband and I went for the second time this year, which was also D*C's 25th anniversary.

There are tons of pictures on the web, on Flickr, How Stuff Works, CNN, etc. I didn't take many pictures myself, unfortunately.

When it began, I wanted to go to sessions about Whedon, Dr. Who, Writing, and Alternate History/steampunk and Silk Road, the "Asian" track. For the first time this year there was a Dragon*Con app, which was so cool! With a few clicks, I could add the sessions I wanted to attend to my iPhone calendar. I double, triple, quadruple booked myself for nearly every time slot.

What I actually made it to:

  • A few steampunk panels, including one about Steampunk and Orientalism, a term that makes me cringe. However, the panelist was very clear that it was a very Eurocentric term to include anything East and South of Europe. One person asked for recommendations for steampunk books set in Asia. The panelist said he couldn't think of any that are available in English.

  • A reading by Jammy Wurtz. I want to broaden my reading horizons and picked that reading randomly. She gave out copies of her 4th book in a series of 7 to newbies. I was the only newbie. That one was alright. I wish I went to the author that preceded her; sounds like she wrote romance fantasy/sci-fi. Good thing I can look her up on the app or paper schedule.

  • A fan panel where Snape, the Winter Queen from Narnia, and another villian explained their side. Was the weakest of the panels I went to, but they can't all be gems.

  • Urban survival in case of zombies -- now I know what the Y2K survivalists are doing. Husband suggested that I take a class on how to use a shotgun. Hmmm.

  • Market trends in sci-fi/fantasy -- It was an interesting peek into the business side of publishing.

Spent a lot of time wandering the exhibits. Didn't buy anything. Other than the cost of the membership, my money went to food and drink. A lot of drink. Which is kind of why I missed a lot of the sessions.

Another reason I missed alot of panels: the night before Dragon*Con started, some of the sprinklers in our condo building malfunctioned, spewing water. So I had to stay and take care of that with the maintenance people, calling insurance (which could not find our policy at first), etc.

All in all, however, it was a great time. Definitely thinking of going again next year. Thinking of making a little Jayne hat as a fascinator or headband. I'm not one for dressing up but would like to let my geek flag fly a little. Let's see what's on Etsy....