Category Archives: Maria V. Snyder

6 New Covers (Arthur, Caine, Kaufman & Spooner, Reisz, Snyder, Weber)

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Space-set Stories Appeal to Me. Have Yet to Identify WHY Exactly.

(Image via Wikipedia.)

NOTE: Though there are discussions about specific films and books, there are no spoilers.

Had a bout of unexpected melancholy this afternoon, which was a bit troubling since I couldn’t identify a definite trigger. So I tried to think of what I’d done differently today…which was going to the local cinema to see Interstellar.

When it comes to commenting on films, I always feel the need to qualify my opinion with, “I rarely watch films – maybe once or twice a year at most.” Which is true. (2013 was an anomaly, because not only did I watch two films, but I watched the second movie the very next day after watching the first. As a result, I may have used all up all my emotions – I cried – during Rush, so when I watched Gravity the next day I…felt kind of blank in comparison.)

Generally speaking, film is not an easy medium for me to connect with. The circumstances have to be right: I have to watch alone, in a half-full cinema at most, so I can properly immerse. I have to really want to see a particular film at the cinema, or else I just won’t see it. (DVDs at home just aren’t immersive.)

So about the melancholy: I wasn’t sure if it was because of the film. Others may (and will) disagree, but the last third of Interstellar is schmaltz. It’s laughable, and I heard someone else in the cinema laugh, so it can’t have just been my opinion. I did rather enjoy the film overall, especially the first two acts, but the final part…I think it required too much suspension of disbelief, and that’s something that pulled me out of the immersive experience.

So why the melancholy? Maybe I wasn’t quite ready to leave the world of Interstellar. It goes for almost three hours, which is long enough, but I found myself more interested in Amelia Brand’s story, from that glimpse at the very end. And maybe that sparked my belated melancholy – there were still more stories to be told. I wanted to remain immersed.

And I think it’s good to analyse why we like what we like, because that may help us find more things to enjoy. Here are all the films I remember seeing in recent-ish years (the order may be incorrect):

Lars and the Real Girl
Black Swan
Melancholia
Rush
Gravity
Interstellar

If you see a pattern there, you’re not alone. Rush is an obvious anomaly, but you can see my tastes change from psychological to…space? Melancholia is the perfect bridge – weird, fascinating science with psychological trauma to make it relatable.

Also, Melancholia, Gravity, and Interstellar have another factor that makes them appeal: interpersonal relationships that aren’t romantic. In film, storytelling is more condensed, so it makes sense that there’s no romantic subplot. Interstellar easily could’ve forced a romantic relationship, but it didn’t and I’m glad it didn’t.

So while I didn’t love Interstellar, I certainly got value from it. Even though the last third is ridiculous πŸ˜‰

My reading also tends toward science fiction. It may have been Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox that taught me that sci-fi isn’t always military battleships in space against aliens (which was the stereotype of sci-fi that I had, for better or worse). My first book set in space was Tess Gerritsen’s Gravity (have you heard about the legal action?), and I absolutely loved it – reading it anywhere and everywhere, because I didn’t want to NOT read it. Albeit, that was in the days of dial-up Internet, so I had fewer distractions, but still…an immersive experience.

And Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Glow that taught me that stories set solely in space can work for me, too. Since then, I’ve read and enjoyed more space-set books (Maria V. Snyder’s Inside Out duology, Imogen Howson’s Linked duology, and Alexandra Duncan’s Salvage), with many more on my wishlist. (Beth Revis’s Across the Universe, to name just one.)

But why space? Why is it calling me? I know nothing about physics or quantum mechanics, or whatnot. Is it because I like the pretty photos taken by the Hubble telescope? Because shiny coloured lights appeal to me? Because I like science, even though I don’t necessarily understand it? Because it’s “other”?

But maybe I don’t NEED to understand why I like what I like. So I’ll just go with it, and see where my tastes might lead me to in the future…

Authors, Genre Cats & Servals

Readers, I’ve forgotten to post some stuff on the blog! Let’s play catch-up.

A few months ago I started Genre Cats, a Tumblr dedicated to authors photographed with their cats. All photos are submitted by the authors, not just random stuff found on the Internet. Authors include M. J. Scott, Kate Gordon, Teri Hall, Marissa Meyer, Jeff Hirsch, Gretchen Hirsch, Laura Bickle/Alayna Williams, Merrie Destefano and Mike Mullin. Authors, would you and your cats like to be featured on Genre Cats? Here‘s how πŸ˜‰

I went to Werribee Open Range Zoo for my birthday treat. The highlight was of course the African Cat Encounter, which was $70 to meet the zoo’s servals, learn about them, and watch them train. You can see my photos of various animals on Facebook.

I saw The Hives at The Palace as a second birthday treat. They played three new songs, and some old favourites. They’re the best band to see live, with such elegant attire, quirky humour, and high-energy songs πŸ™‚

And just this Thursday, I met author Maria V. Snyder at the Target Centre πŸ™‚

January Through June 2011 Reads – Star Ratings

Books I read in January through June this year. Separated into star ratings, then listed by order in which I read them. All up at GoodReads. Some reviews here on my WordPress. Does not include books that I didn’t finish, because I’ve deleted them from my catalogue, and likely my memory.

Let me know if you decide to read or not to read them, based on my ratings. Because yes, I am that egocentric πŸ˜‰

5 STARS: Rage (Jackie Morse Kessler), American Vampire (Jennifer Armintrout), Project 17 (Laurie Faria Stolarz), The Gathering (Kelley Armstrong), The Repossession Mambo/Repo Men (Eric Garcia), Moongazer (Marianne Mancusi), Wither (Lauren DeStefano), Girl Hero (Carrie Jones)

4 STARS: Outside In (Maria V. Snyder), Stocking Full of Coal (Amanda Feral), The Walled Garden (Michele Lang), The Shadow Runners (Liz Maverick), The Vespertine (Saundra Mitchell), Linger (Maggie Stiefvater), Dark Life (Kat Falls), Demonized (Naomi Clark), The Reckoning (Kelley Armstrong), Midnight Alley (Rachel Caine), Feast of Fools (Rachel Caine), Lord of Misrule (Rachel Caine), Carpe Corpus (Rachel Caine), Fade Out (Rachel Caine), Coming Home (P. D. Martin), Kiss of Death (Rachel Caine), XVI (Julia Karr), Ghost Town (Rachel Caine), The Girl in the Steel Corset (Kady Cross), Matched (Ally Condie), Uninvited (Amanda Marrone), The Bradbury Report (Steven Polansky), Uninvited (Justine Musk), Exile (Rebecca Lim), Helper12 (Jack Blaine), Darkness Becomes Her (Kelly Keaton)

3 STARS: Jealousy (Lili St. Crow), Among the Betrayed (Margaret Peterson Haddix), Among the Barons (Margaret Peterson Haddix), Becoming (Kelley Armstrong), Shadow Days (Andrea Cremer), Day of Fire (Kathleen Nance), Dreaming Anastasia (Joy Preble), Things Bogans Like, Beyond Heaving Bosoms (Sarah Wendell & Candy Tan), Fugitives (Alexander Gordon Smith), The Power of Two (Patti O’Shea), Coming Undone (Lauren Dane), In the Arms of Stone Angels (Jordan Dane), The Iron Witch (Karen Mahoney), Damaged (Yolanda Sfetsos), Falling Freestyle (Vivian Arend), Jeweled (Anya Bast), Thyla (Kate Gordon), It Takes a Village Idiot and I Married One (Alex Borstein & Cherry Chevapravatdumrong), Burn Bright (Marianne de Pierres), A Touch Mortal (Leah Clifford), Night and Chaos (Naomi Clark), Savage Transformation (Lexxie Couper), The Official Illustrated Guide (Stephenie Meyer), Exit Strategy (Kelley Armstrong), Made to Be Broken (Kelley Armstrong), You Are So Undead to Me (Stacey Jay), Hereafter (Tara Hudson), Relentless (Lauren Dane), The Scarlet Empress (Susan Grant), Close Encounters (Katherine Allred), Perfect Cover (Jennifer Lynn Barnes), Killer Spirit (Jennifer Lynn Barnes), West End (Laura Van Wormer), Moon Sworn (Keri Arthur)

2 STARS: Defiance (Lili St. Crow)

6 New Covers: Keri Arthur, Marianne de Pierres, Amy Garvey, M. J. Scott, Janni Lee Simner & Maria V. Snyder

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February 2011 Releases

Done with January 2011 Releases? Here are February’s releases. To see further into the future, check my Reading Wishlist.

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7 New Covers (Armintrout, Arthur, Barnes, Richardson, Snyder, Somers & Stiefvater)

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