The Name of the Place? Babylon 5.

A lovely appreciation post for Babylon 5 over at First Draft. B5 was always my first sci-fi love for a multitude of reasons: Ivanova, the politics, the battles, Ivanova, the heart at its core, the conflict, Ivanova… It’s a nice post. Go read it.

First Draft

Apologies to everybody who came hither through Galatica or Game of Thrones. This show was my first true love: 

Over the course of the first season, the show focused on crisis-of-the-week storylines, such as the station dockers going on strike after Earth refuses to pay for more advanced and safer equipment after a horrendous accident kills several workers, and also on a series of longer-running mysteries. Sinclair’s missing memories (which gradually start to return) is the most prominent of these, but there are also the military provocations by the resurgent and belligerent Narn Regime against their former conquerors, the Centauri, which infuriate the proud Centauri Ambassador, Londo, whose constant plans to stymie the Narn are frustrated by what he considers to be a cowardly government…until he is offered a deal with the devil that rapidly spirals out of control. Other storylines are more mundane, such as Security Chief Garibaldi’s constant…

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Song for David Bowie

It’s been more than a year since David Bowie passed away, striking the first notes in what has at times seemed like a 12-month long symphony of grief, strife and unpleasantness (despite the occasional happy jingle). After he passed, the wonderfully talented Kat Robichaud wrote ‘Song to David Bowie’. It is a lovely tribute, which makes me both sad for the loss of a great artist as well as oddly hopeful for those who will stand on his shoulders to create even bigger and better things. I figured now would be a good time to share this, if only to remind myself that art is not dead and that forwards and upwards is still the direction we should take.

2016 in books – a selection

I’m thrilled about by my reading list for 2016. Something old, something new, all of it exciting. These are the novels I particularly can’t wait to read.

2016 releases

The Bands of Mourning / Shadows of Self (Brandon Sanderson). Fantasy western set in the vast cosmere. I’ll be reading both back to back after the Bands of Mourning is released later this month. Having enjoyed the first book, Alloy of Law, immensely, it’s terrific to be having two new ones on my list.  

Fellside (M. R. Carey). Creepy, atmospheric Yorkshire-based story from the author of The Girl With All The Gifts?  Yes, please. April release.

Edit: I’ve just learnt that one of my writer friends on Twitter, Austin Hackney, is releasing the first book, Beyond the Starline, of his steampunk trilogy, Dark Sea. Will definitely be picking that one up too. the Starline


Pre-2016 releases

Find Me (Laura van den Berg). Dystopian novel that has been compared to Never Let Me Go and A Handmaid’s Tale.

The Emperor of All Maladies (Siddharta Mukherjee) – winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. A personal, historical and medical account of cancer.

Star Wars: Aftermath (Chuck Wendig). This one has received mixed reviews, but after seeing the film (twice), it’s definitely high up there on my list.

The City and The City (China Miéville). It’s been on my list forever, and I don’t know why I have not read it yet. Has received accolade upon accolade, and I’m sure I’ll be beating myself up for not reading it sooner.

1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow (Adam Zamoyski). Recommended by a friend, whose opinion I highly value. Excited to delve into a part of history about which I know embarrassingly little.

The Haunting of Hill House / We Have Always Lived In the Castle (Shirley Jackson). Classic horror that I’ve somehow not read yet. I’m utterly thrilled to have them in store.



Goodreads glass half-full

So I signed up to a goodreads challenge a few months ago, at the behest of a friend. “Read 25 books in a year”. I keep track of my reading and know that I average on about 30+ books per year (excluding re-reads), so I thought it shouldn’t be too difficult. But this year, I’ve read less. Much less. In fact, when taking stock I was dismayed to find that I’ve only got 14 under my belt so far in 2015. The ones I’ve read have been pretty good, and some pretty long, but still – 14!? So I mentioned this to my sister, and got the following reply:

“Lucky you, having plenty of books left to read.”

Lesson learnt. The glass is half full. Going to go read now.